Winster man set for historic year of First World War battlefield tours

Winster resident Brian Long is preparing for a historic year as a tour guide to First World War sites in northern Europe.
Winster resident Brian Long is preparing for a historic year as a tour guide to First World War sites in northern Europe.

An amateur historian from Winster is preparing for a momentous year leading centenary tours of former battlefields in northern Europe.

Brian Long, 70, is making plans to mark the centenary of the First World War’s end with his company Battlefield Memorial Tours.

Tour destinations include the Ploegsteert Memorial to the Missing.

Tour destinations include the Ploegsteert Memorial to the Missing.

He said: “A number of trips are planned for this year which will take in the Somme and Ypres Salient battlefields and Compiegne, where there will be a visit to a replica of the famous railway carriage in which the warring nations brought the war to an end on November 11, 1918.

“A further trip in November will feature a special visit to the Menin Gate at Ypres to mark the centenary of the end of the conflict. This visit will also take in the battlefield of Waterloo.”

Brian, a former bank manager, has been leading tours since 2014, when the company was reformed in time to mark the centenary years.

He had previously worked alongside the original founder Alex Bulloch, who set it up as a historical research group in the 1970s, dedicated to taking relatives to the graves of family members killed in both world wars.

Brian will also escort travellers on a visit to the infamous battlefields of the Somme.

Brian will also escort travellers on a visit to the infamous battlefields of the Somme.

At the time it was unique for being the only group which both researched the whereabouts of graves free of charge, and reunited families with their loved one’s resting place.

For more details, see www.battlefieldmemorialtours.co.uk or call Brian on 01629 650780.

Tyne Cot memorial in Belgium bears the names of some 35,000 men of the British and New Zealand forces who have no known grave.

Tyne Cot memorial in Belgium bears the names of some 35,000 men of the British and New Zealand forces who have no known grave.