Being a Battlefield Guide
Being a battlefield guide is different to being a regular tour guide. In general terms, a tour guide shows you places and objects of great historical interest – wonderful architecture, beautiful churches, majestic castles and dramatic buildings.
On my battlefield tours, although they do include beautiful landscapes and some bullet riddled buildings, many of the places I take you to are just fields, woods, rustic farms and village roads. Sometimes the visit is not about the visual appeal of a given location, but based solely on the events that occurred there in the winter of 1944-1945. It is the job of the Battlefield guide to use photos, maps and his own interpretational skills to somehow conjure up a picture of the battlefield as it was then, weaving veterans’ stories, anecdotes and facts to take you back in time.
What is a guide?
I would like to explain what is meant by the term “guide”. This is a highly debated subject. Every touring company uses the word “guide” in some shape or form. Here are two definitions of the word “guide” from www.dictionary.com.
verb – to accompany (a sightseer) to show points of interest and to explain their significance and meaning.
noun – a person who guides,especially one hired to guide travelers,tourists, hunters etc.
This is another one from a University website :
noun – a person who advises or shows the way to others.
The word ‘guide’ is therefore in common worldwide usage, it is not a trademark, neither it is a title or qualification like : Lawyer, Surgeon or Architect. However there is an official qualification in Belgium where an individual passes an examination and is awarded the status of “Guide”.
I do refer to myself on this website as a ‘Battlefield Guide’ and use the term “guiding” to describe what I do. I respect the Belgian laws and mean no disrespect to holders of the Guide qualification – all of whom have proved their knowledge of Belgian history.
The difference about being a good battlefield guide is it’s something anyone couldn’t possibly do well without having a deep passion for the subject matter. I live and breathe WWII and the battlefields in the Ardennes, Belgium. One can quote from books but if there’s no passion for the subject, one can’t be a good battlefield guide.
‘A BATTLEFIELD EXPERIENCE IS WHAT I OFFER.’
Sharing my passion for WWII history with like-minded people is not a chore and although it is hard work, I really like it.