Vivien Whelpton

Accredited Guide Number: 72

Vivien gained her B.A. in English Literature at Bedford College London, and trained to become a teacher. She taught for thirty-eight years in a variety of secondary schools and colleges, heading up departments of English and of Media Studies.

It was through teaching the literature of the Great War and taking her sixth-form students to the battlefields of the Western Front that Vivien became fascinated by the history. After retiring from teaching in 2006, she undertook the M.A. course in War Studies at Kings College London. She also began a new career as a writer. She has published a two-volume literary biography of the First World War poet and novelist Richard Aldington. She lectures on the literature of the First World War and is a regular contributor of articles to journals. Vivien joined the Guild of Battlefield Guides in 2011 and became an accredited guide in February 2014. She works for the tour company ‘Battle Honours’. She has conducted, under the auspices of ‘Battle Honours’, a series of literary battlefield tours, aiming to explore the nature of the various conflicts on the Western Front in which the combatant poets took part and the roles they played, and to use this context to explore their writing. In November 2018, the hundredth anniversary of the death of Wilfred Owen, she conducted a tour of the battlefield sites where he served. She has also guided a series of literary tours for secondary school students under the government’s First World War Centenary Schools Programme and finds it particularly rewarding to introduce young people to the battlefields of the First World War.

Vivien’s knowledge of the literature of the war is extensive and she is happy to lead literary tours of the Western Front for both student and adult groups. But she also has a thorough grasp of the military history of the war and an awareness of how understanding is enhanced by visiting and walking the battlefields.

Vivien is a member of the Western Front Association, the Wilfred Owen Association and the Siegfried Sassoon Fellowship.




BelgiumEuropeFranceWestern Europe

Caters For

Adult Coach GroupsSchool Groups

Areas of Expertise

Wars covered:

  • First World War

Areas of expertise:

  • British participation in the First World War
  • Literature of the First World War