Below is a somewhat arbitrary, but we hope helpful, list of related websites in no particular order. Do let us know which essential or useful sites should be added. We have not included those irritating ones that play loud music, try and sell you something, or announce that you have won some silly prize!
Cassino Battlefields is run by Frank de Planta who is a first rate guide to the battlefields of Anzio, Monte Cassino and Salerno. Each is studied in detail on the tour, from a military perspective, at Battalion, Brigade, Division and Corps level.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
The Imperial War Museum.
Established in 1980 by noted military historian John Giles, the Association has grown over the years to more than 6,000 members worldwide. The WFA has supported remembrance and research projects, from offering advice and assistance in the renovation of battlefield memorials, taking custodianship of the Medal Index Cards when they were under threat, and re-establishing the 11 o’clock two-minute silence at the Cenotaph on the 11th November each year.
The Society for Army Historical Research was founded in 1921 with the object of fostering an interest in the history and traditions of the British Army, the Land Forces of the Empire, the Dominions and colonies and the Commonwealth, including such notable non-governmental organisations as the Honourable East India Company. The Society’s principal aim is to encourage research in these fields.
First World War.Com is a commercial site offering general and comprehensive information about the Great War – maps, articles, essays, photographs, information about battlefield tours and updated information about the Western Front today.
The Wilfred Owen Association.
In Flanders Fields Museum, Ypres.
Historial de la Grande Guerre in Peronne, Somme.
An educational site containing text, documents, graphics, timelines, video and audio about Australians in the Gallipoli Campaign.
Produced by the New Zealand Ministry for Culture and Heritage, this part of the site is particularly good – and fair – on the strategic background and events.
A commercial site that is both accurate and concise – and easy to use; it gives essential details about battles fought by British troops worldwide, including complete lists of units and regiments taking part, casualties and results.
The Library and Archives Canada contains very well presented and written accounts of the battles that Canadians fought in the Great War, including official maps.
Site of Dr. Carlton Joyce who organises excellent Normandy tours from the US in meticulous detail.
The Library of Congess site, which contains among its treasures some of the greatest photographs (downloadable, in high res) from the Civil War. Also many great photos from WW1, WW2, Korea and Vietnam, most in the public domain.
The site of the US Naval Historical Center which manages the Navy Department Library, twelve Navy museums, art collections and archives… The NHC Website allows you to research naval history topics online and download a collection of fine photos of warships of all navies from almost the birth of photography.
The site of The Gettysburg National Military Park with much useful information about what to see and how to see it.
The official site of the Gettysburg Visitors’ Center. Contains up to date info – including latest weather forecast.
British site started by Eddie Clarke in 1999, and containing information about the fighting, the units, commanders, landing beaches…good on statistics and background. Useful for the first time visitor to the D-Day beaches.
The official site of the US Air Force Historical Research Agency, the AF’s document depository. Photos and bibliographies online with complete guide to AF heraldry.
London’s National Army Museum.
The Washington Smithsonian Institute.
The Belgian online guide [in English] to the battlefield of Waterloo with useful tourist info.
Avril Williams, as battlefield guides and tourists know, runs a B&B in Auchonvillers in the Somme, where she has restored WW1 trenches and started to reconstruct new ones. After a very good lunch she gives guests a tour of her museum, which contains a cellar with Tommies names etched into the brickwork. The site of Owen’s pillbox, where he suffered ‘seventh hell’ is close by (Serre) as, of course, are Pals monuments, cemeteries and the mementoes of July 1, 1916.
Dedicated to war poets of both world wars, with illuminating articles.
An impressive site by Chris Baker, well presented, with good background on the WW1 British army, plus a particularly helpful section on touring the battlefields with limited time to spare.
Devoted to the memory of the Spit’s designer, R.J. Mitchell.
The Bloody Hundredth, the US 100th. Bombardment Group, were based at Thorpe Abbotts in Norfolk, and the disused airfield still has its peri track and control tower, now a first class museum. This is an excellent site, perhaps the best of all the US Bombardment Group sites. The 100th. felt themselves a ‘hard luck’ outfit but in reality their losses overall were on a par with other Groups.
The site of the LAST POST ASSOCIATION that organises the playing of the Last Post every night by firemen buglers at 20.00 at the Menin Gate, Ypres. Essential viewing before a trip to Wipers as it gives details of special ceremonies at the Gate, schools and organisations attending etc.
Jon Baines ran Master Travel for 10 years, specialists in expertly guided tours, mostly of the east. He has now set on his own and his new company is as adventurous and efficiently run as Master Travel. Some of his tours are led by Dr. John Richardson, an expert in medical military history, well known to veterans of Bird Battlefield Tours.
The site of the Royal British Legion Somme branch. They have 8 meetings a year, the 1st July and 11th November meetings being always held on the Somme. The branch organises commemorative events and ensures that the memory of the battles of the Somme, and of the sacrifice of 90 years ago, is properly preserved.
C.E.W. Bean founded the Australian National Memorial museum in Canberra to commemorate the sacrifice of Australians at Gallipoli and at Pozières on the Somme, where Australian divisions suffered 23,000 casualties in less than seven weeks in 1916. Bean’s idea was to set aside a place in Australia where families and friends could grieve for those buried in places far away and difficult to visit. The Memorial complex includes commemorative areas, a sculpture garden, gallery exhibits and research facilities. The museum boasts some of the finest military artifacts, document and media collections in the world. Their excellent website is particularly useful for its comprehensive photographic collection.
This quiet, spotless, spacious hotel (without restaurant), is without doubt the best hotel in Ypres, two minutes from the Menin Gate. The owner, Christiane Decramer-Praet, ensures that guests feel welcome, and can offer battlefield tourists invaluable advice as to what to see and do. Rooms are large with high ceilings, and bathrooms are big and beautifully appointed. Breakfast in the elegant lounge/breakfast room is plentiful. We recommend walking round the corner to the Gros Markt for dinner – at Den Anker (good, inexpensive) or if you want to go upmarket try the Regina, but be warned, they have an irritating and somewhat pretentious affectation whereby they do not permit bottles on the table, so you are obliged to wait for them to fill you up. But the ALBION has no pretensions, only first class service.
I came away with a new appreciation for how you had planned and executed both of our tours, and how you had done exactly what I wanted – to give us the flavor of the combined bomber offensive, and a feel for the topography and geography of the Normandy invasion. All of this while enjoying your company. The evening meals and conversations were a delightful part of the overall experience on both tours.
The brothers Bird are keen historians and have an encyclopedic knowledge of the battlefields – especially the Normandy invasion sites. But they also have a good first-hand experience of commendable hostelries in the areas. They enjoy sharing their knowledge; and any ramble with them will be fun.
Having been on many of your tours over many years I can honestly say that I have never been stuck next to a bore at dinner (which is perhaps more than the lady sitting next to ME might say).
I enjoyed every minute of the tour and have returned the wiser and deeply moved by the experience. The only blip was the chap called Franklin I sat next to at dinner who banged on about train timetables.
Arrangements were perfect, and the brothers Bird were a constant source of lucid erudition…
As always your tour was expertly organised and guided and great fun, even in the rain.
More convivial still is that run by the epicurean-minded Bird Battlefield Tours, which takes small groups on a ‘wine and war tour’, blending a light serving of military history with some heavy feasting at the châteaux of some of the smarter vineyards. Bird Battlefield Tours also offers an Art and War tour, which involves spending a few days committed to culture and gastronomy in Istanbul before heading down to Gallipoli…