Hi there and welcome to the first History & Moore blog post! To begin with, I thought I’d take the opportunity to go into a bit more detail about how I got to be so interested in military history and how it led me to where I am today.
I have always been interested in history as a subject. I was fascinated with the subject as a child at primary school, taking much delight in studying the Tudors, the Egyptians and the Incas. But my interest increased dramatically when I reached Years 5 and 6 and we celebrated the 60th anniversaries of D-Day and then VE Day. We studied in great detail the Second World War, learning about rationing, life on the Home Front and the fighting itself. On the actual celebration days themselves, we sang songs from the period that we had learnt especially for the occasion, we were allowed to dress up in clothes of the era and we watched footage from the time, amongst many other activities. I became completely enamoured with the Second World War.
Fast forward a few years, to being at secondary school, where I became a proud library nerd. Being one of the library nerds, I spent all my free time there and as such, I made my way through all of the books I wanted to read very swiftly. I was getting bored with books (shocking, I know!) and remember telling my dad that I was running out of books to read that I was actually interested in. As a result of that conversation, he handed me Stephen Ambrose’s Band of Brothers and my interest in military history was born. I quickly made my way through the book and then the excellent TV adaption. More and more of our family holidays were to Normandy, or places where my dad and I could go and find museums to keep ourselves occupied for hours.
Now whilst I am interested in all kinds of military history, there is one particular period that is my greatest passion, the First World War. In all honesty, the First World War had never really been on my radar. I remember watching part of the 90th anniversary commemorations for the Battle of the Somme and had always known the connotations and associations that Remembrance Day had with the First World War. It wasn’t until there was an opportunity to go to the battlefields of the Western Front in Year 10 as part of my GCSE studies that my interest was really ignited. In preparation for the tour I read, and I read, and I read. I fell down the rabbit hole of First World War literature and haven’t stopped falling since. I went on that tour full of information and ready to absorb all of the sights and sounds of the battlefield. I was the kid on tour, and at school, that consistently had their hand up asking/answering questions and was busy being the guides shadow (tour guides will know exactly the type of kid I’m talking about!) That tour, and the second one that I managed to get on as an A-Level English Literature student, had a profound effect on me and my interest in the First World War.
This interest has been fanned by academic flames. I completed my undergraduate degree in History and War Studies and master’s degree in the History of Britain in the First World War, both at the University of Wolverhampton. Whilst completing my undergraduate degree, I knew that I didn’t want to just stop my study of military history and work in a job that didn’t involve history, but I knew that teaching wasn’t going to be the right path for me. Tour guiding was suggested as an option to me by one of my lecturers at university, and I was pointed in the direction of Mike Peters and TGT+V – Tour Guide Training and Validation. I attended 3 of Mike’s courses and I can hand on heart say I would not be where I am today without Mike, his courses, his support and guidance.
It was on Mike’s advice that I contacted Anglia Tours early in 2016 with a view to working for them as a guide. I took part in a variety of selection events over the course of the year. It took me a little while longer than others who were going through selection at the same time, mostly because I needed time to gain some guiding experience – as I had none previously. But eventually, persistence paid off and I was welcomed into the guiding team of Anglia, guiding my first tour in March 2017 and I’ve never looked back! I am one of the lucky ones; my life has taken me on a journey which has enabled me to pursue my passion as a living. I get to spend my time on the battlefields of the Western Front, passing on what I know to the next generation in some of my favourite places in the world. I can’t wait to share that knowledge with the internet as well!
’til next time!