Mat McLachlan Battlefield Tours offers the best War Historians in the business. Our Historians are all published experts in their field – you will recognise their names from books, TV shows, newspaper articles and radio programs. No other tour company can match the quality of our Historians. Click on their pictures for their bios.
- Mat McLachlanMat McLachlan
Mat McLachlan is one of Australia's leading war historians and battlefield guides, and has spent almost two decades following in the footsteps of Australian troops on battlefields around the world.
His 2007 book, Walking with Anzacs, is considered the definitive guide to Australian battlefields on the Western Front. It was reprinted in 2008, 2009 and 2011.
Mat also produced and appears in the First World War documentary Lost in Flanders, which aired on the ABC in April 2009.
His second book, Gallipoli: The Battlefields Guide, was published in 2010 and is the most comprehensive guide to the Australian battlefields of Gallipoli yet published.
He also appears regularly as a historian on the ABC, The History Channel, Channel 7's Sunrise and Radio 2GB.
Mat is the founder of Mat McLachlan Battlefield Tours and personally designs all our tours.
- John AndersonJohn Anderson
John Anderson is an experienced and popular battlefield guide, historian and author who grew up in Alnwick, Northumberland. He was always fascinated by the history of the town especially the men who trained at Alnwick camp prior to their journey to the Western Front.
John first visited the battlefields of France and Belgium in the 1980’s and was a regular visitor until he and his wife Kathleen decided to make their home in the heart of the Somme battlefields almost ten years ago.
As well as guiding on the western front John also takes tours to Gallipoli, Normandy, the V1 & V2 rocket launch sites & the medieval battlefields of Crecy & Agincourt.
He specialises in bespoke tours which are meticulously researched taking family members on a very personal journey to the places where their forbears served.
John is a member of the Somme Battlefield Partnership and is registered with them as an Official Guide.
- Rhys CrawleyRhys Crawley
Rhys Crawley has been fascinated by the Gallipoli campaign for as long as he can remember. Equipped with an Honours degree from the University of Wollongong and a PhD from the Australian Defence Force Academy – both of which focused on aspects of Gallipoli – Rhys now works in the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre at the Australian National University.
Rhys has been the recipient of research scholarships from the Australian War Memorial, the Australian Army History Unit and the University of New South Wales, and has given talks on aspects of his research at the University of Birmingham, the Imperial War Museum and the Australian War Memorial.
His most recent publication appeared in Zombie Myths of Australian Military History (New South, 2010) and he is currently working on a book about the August Offensive, and another about Gallipoli's Chief Cipher Officer, Captain Orlo Williams. Rhys is a regular historian on our Gallipoli tours.
- Will DaviesWill Davies
Will Davies spent his working life as a producer of historical documentaries. He has written four books: Somme Mud (editor), In the Footsteps of Private Lynch, Beneath Hill 60 and The Boy Colonel. He regularly leads battlefield tours to the Western Front and Gallipoli, is completing a PhD at the ANU and leading an initiative to build a memorial school in Pozières.
Will is the historian on many of our Western Front tours.
- Peter HartPeter Hart
Peter Hart has worked as the oral historian at the Imperial War Museum since 1981. He is the author of many books on the Great War including Gallipoli, The Somme, Aces Falling, Jutland, 1916 and most recently Voices from the Front.
He has appeared in a number of TV documentaries and is a popular speaker on the military history circuit. He regularly heads battlefield tours for the British Army to Gallipoli. From here the same!
Peter has a huge knowledge of not only the Australian involvement in the First World War, but also the broader political and historic significance of the conflict. He joins us as a historian on our Western Front and Gallipoli tours.
- Jon HaslockJon Haslock
Jon’s curiosity about the First World War was sparked as a young boy listening to the stories of veterans in his village. His interest in the military and the Great War increased when he researched his own relative’s actions and became fascinated by the part that they played.
Jon served in the Territorial Army for five years, furthering his understanding and knowledge of the military. He went on to increase his love of all eras of military history when he returned to education to study at degree level. The course also developed his abilities for researching and interpreting historical documents. Having completed his History degree he took the decision in 2005 to move with his family to the Somme and convert this interest into a career.
Jon has been guiding full time since 2006 and undertakes tours of the various regions of the western front as well as other sites such as Agincourt and Waterloo. Jon is a member of the European Tour Operators Association and the Somme Battlefield Partners.
- Soren HawkesSoren Hawkes
Søren Hawkes is a British Artist & Battlefield tour guide living in Ieper, Belgium. His Great Grandfather Maurice Augustus Staunton served as a 15 year old in the Lancashire Fusiliers during WW1.
His great uncle Patrick Thomas Staunton served in the 1st Battalion Welsh Regiment, was killed in action at a place called the 'Bluff' on the 20th February 1915 and is commemorated on the Menin Gate.
Søren’s studio overlooks the Menin Gate panel on which Patrick Thomas Staunton's name is listed.
- Jo HookJo Hook
Jo Hook began guiding visitors to the battlefields as a reservist soldier over 10 years ago. She is currently undergoing a Masters in First World War Studies and is an Accredited Member of the Guild of Battlefield Guides as well as the Membership Secretary. Jo has been taking both British and Australian clients to the battlefields for last 10 years. Predominantly working in Europe covering the First World War but she has also guided at Gallipoli and covers Normandy, Arnhem, Dunkirk the Battle of Britain, and the London Blitz all of which are relative to the Second World War.
As a former reservist Jo feels she understands the perspective of the soldiers on the battlefield. She is also passionate that those who fell on the battlefield should not be forgotten and their stories and history should be told so that future generations understand the sacrifices made. Jo has led many WW2 veterans back to the battlefields they fought at.
She has also worked with schools and the media covering both World Wars and frequently writes a historical column in the local newspaper.
- Roger LeeRoger Lee
Since 1996, Roger has been head of the Australian Army History Unit and Army Historian. In this role, he is principal adviser to the Chief of Army on all matters relating to the history and heritage of the Australian Army. Before joining Army, he spent 3 years on the Directing Staff of the Joint Services Staff College, with responsibilities for the international relations and military strategy components of the course. A career public servant, he spent ten years as a senior analyst with the Force Development and Analysis Division in Defence. He also worked for several years in the Department of the House of Representatives, including during the period of the dismissal of the Whitlam government.
Roger holds a PhD and Master of Defence Studies Degree from the University of New South Wales (at the Australian Defence Force Academy), a Litt.B from the ANU and a BA (Hons) from the University of Queensland. He specialises in the history of the First World War and has published two books on the battle of Fromelles. He is currently working on an analysis of the Battle of Amiens. He has also written numerous articles and reviews for publication in a range of specialist and academic journals.
- Alan LindseyAlan Lindsey
Alan Lindsey, a retired English businessman, who has lived close to the battlefield and studied it for 20 years, takes small groups or individuals over the three battlefields of Waterloo, Quatre Bras & Ligny. The march of events, the dominant personalities, the manoeuvres of each army, and the actions of individual soldiers, coloured by the weather conditions and the influence of the terrain are all revealed with humour and insight.
Having studied architecture and music, then spent his business career in India (where he spent a year in Srirangapatna, in the footsteps of Wellesley's campaign against Tippoo Sultan), Switzerland, France, Monaco and Belgium (in the footsteps this time of the Emperor). A lifelong fascination with the history of the Napoleonic Wars enlivens this retirement activity of battlefield tourism.
- Brad ManeraBrad Manera
Brad Manera is the Executive Manager of the Anzac Memorial, Hyde Park, Sydney, and a keen battlefield archaeologist and public historian. His recent documentary work includes historical input into In Their Footsteps (2011) and Gallipoli: the Front-Line Experience (2005).
Brad has worked as a museum curator and historian for 30 years, beginning his career at the Western Australian Museum then building collections and developing exhibitions at the National Museum of Australia and the Australian War Memorial. His work at the War Memorial included curating the travelling exhibition Australia Under Attack 1942-43 and a major portion of the new Post-1945 Conflicts galleries.
He moved to Sydney to take up the role of Head Curator at Hyde Park Barracks Museum and, after helping achieve World Heritage Listing for that site, has moved to the Anzac Memorial to prepare it for the commemorative activities that will be part of the centenary of the Gallipoli campaign.
Brad is the historian on many of our Greece & Crete, Western Front and Gallipoli tours.
- Gary McKayGary McKay
Gary McKay spent 30 years as an army officer after being conscripted for national service in 1968. He served in South Vietnam in 1971 as an infantry rifle platoon commander where he was awarded the Military Cross for gallantry and severely wounded in the last major Australian battle of the Vietnam War.
In 1987 Gary’s best-selling autobiography In Good Company was released and he began what is now a full-time career as a non-fiction writer and freelance historian. He is Australia’s most prolific writer on the subject of the Vietnam War having released 12 books with Allen & Unwin. Two of his latest, Australia’s Battlefields in Vietnam and Going Back have been highly acclaimed by veterans who have returned to Vietnam and those wanting to see where Australia fought during the war. Gary has been returning to Vietnam every year since 1993 and there is no better guide to the Australian battlefields of Vietnam and we are fortunate to have Gary as the historian on our Vietnam tours.
- Michael MolkentinMichael Molkentin
Dr Michael Molkentin has had a life-long interest in the First World War. He has a PhD from the University of New South Wales and is an experienced history teacher.
Michael's research has appeared in numerous publications and he is the author of three books, the most recent being Australia and the War in the Air, the first volume of Oxford University Press' Centenary History of Australia and the Great War series.
Michael was a featured contributor to Mat McLachlan’s ABC documentary Lost in Flanders and a historical consultant on Channel Nine's In Their Footsteps. Michael is a historian on our Western Front and Gallipoli tours.
- Tom MorganTom Morgan
Tom learned about the Great War as a small boy, listening to the stories of relatives who lived through it. It's perhaps because of this introduction that he became fascinated with the stories of ordinary people in those extraordinary times and with the battlefields themselves, which he has visited for over 30 years.
Tom's professional background is in Education with a long teaching career up to 1999, when he became a full-time battlefield guide. Tom's Hellfire Corner website, which he began in 1996, was one of the first Great War internet sites, with almost 3.5 million visitors to date.
Tom has a superb knowledge of the Australian battlefields and is the War Historian on many of our Western Front tours, having also guided for us in Gallipoli.
- Martin PellingMartin Pelling
With the experience gained from two operational tours of Afghanistan Martin understands how close combat can forge unbreakable bonds of comradeship, and try the nerves of every individual. This unique insight allows for a battlefield tour perspective that no text book can provide.
Holding a Master's Degree in Leadership and Management, a Bachelor's Degree in History and a Diploma in Modern European History, Martin is an enthusiastic guide with a sound academic background. He thoroughly enjoys engaging with his tour group and helping to develop their understanding and knowledge of the Great War. He is a member of the Guild of Battlefield Guides, The Western Front Association and the European Tour Operators Association.
- Michael PetersMichael Peters
Mike Peters is a British Army officer with more than 30 years of military service in the Army Air Corps. Commissioned from the ranks, he has served on operations in Northern Ireland, the Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Mike is also the Chairman of the International Guild of Battlefield Guides and has a lifelong passion for military history. He is a regular writer for Soldier magazine (official magazine of the British Army) and has also published two books, Glider Pilots at Arnhem, and, Glider Pilots in Sicily. Recently he has spoken at the National Army Museum (UK) and has also appeared on TV in several films about the Great War and Airborne forces in the Second World War.
Mike will always strive to tell you the story from the soldier's point of view. He is a regular historian on our Western Front and Second World War tours.
- Richard PorterRichard Porter
Richard has a strong belief that the best way of understanding what happened on any battlefield is to have a good and well informed knowledge of the soldiers, along with an intimate feel for the ground. He has a specific interest in The Great War, particularly the Western Front.
From a very young age he remembers finding history in general fascinating and over the years has built up a substantial collection of books on military history along with medals and militaria. He served with the Royal Marines for 7 years and he says “During my time In the forces I acquired my own personal experience of the military and how it operates”. It was during this period in the early 1990`s that he began to tour the battlefields of the Western Front.
He is the education officer for the Somme Branch of the Western Front Association, a friend of Lochnagar, he is also a member of the Guild of Battlefield Guides and the European Tour Operators Association. Richard is actively involved in various historical projects which include archaeological and archival studies of Great War sites. He now lives on the Somme with his partner Michelle, renting out self catering properties for battlefield visitors.
Richard is a keen and enthusiastic guide who loves to share his expanding knowledge.
- Craig RoachCraig Roach
Craig Roach , aka "Roachie" has been involved in tourism and travel operations for nearly 30 years. His expertise has led him across the globe. 'Roachie' first visited the Gallipoli battlefield 30 years ago and since that time has helped train Turkish guides and run workshops about the Gallipoli campaign each year.
Craig has an enormous and still growing amount of knowledge on the subject. He has taken thousands of people to the site over these years and feels that he knows ‘what people want and expect' out of a visit to Anzac. He believes that everyone has an Anzac story, whether they came with that story, a family connection, or whether they leave with a story. Craig sees these stories as a legacy to future generations who will follow.
Roachie is also a budding artist and brings other budding artists to soak in the sheer beauty and tragedy of this place, known locally as 'The Gallipoli Artist' there are few sunsets with a bottle of local wine that escape him at Anzac.
- Peter SmithPeter Smith
Peter's life has revolved around the Great War since he inherited his grandfather's medals and diary as a small boy. He grew up in East Yorkshire before joining the Territorial Army at 17. At 21 he decided he needed a little more action and joined the Royal Marines, a unit he served with for eleven years.
For the next 14 years Peter worked in the print industry, finally as the sales director for a Dorset based company.
In 2004 he moved to the Somme battlefields of France, where he started a bed and breakfast in the historic village of Flers.
He now works full time as a historian, battlefield guide and researcher, with his expertise encompassing the British, Australian and American experience and battlefields of the western front.
Peter is a member of various associations; Guild of Battlefield Guides, Western Front Association, European Tour Operators Association, British Commission for Military History, and is a Friend of the Australian War Memorial.
Peter is also a prolific collector of Great War ephemera and photographs, many of which have been used in related publications He is the historian on many of our Western Front tours.
- Myriam ThompsonMyriam Thompson
Myriam’s interest in WW1 was awakened when she researched her family history and discovered her Great Grandfather’s and Great Uncle’s participation on the Western front. Like many of these men, they never spoke about their experiences, and their stories were never told. Her great grandfather returned but his brother didn’t.
Having located and visited his grave, and the emotion she felt when she visited his grave and saw her family name engraved on his headstone was a pivotal point in her life turning her to research military history, especially of the brave young Anzacs on the Western Front in WW1.
Over the years Myriam has gained extensive experience through the various military history jobs she has been involved in. She has worked in a French WWII memorial known as the ‘Maison d’Izieu’ in the Rhone-Alpes region for a number of years as guide and receptionist, which tells the sad and horrific fate of 44 deported Jewish children captured by Klaus Barbie and his team of SS.
She then gained experience in a WWI museum and local tourist offices as a battlefield guide in the area, meeting people from all over the world. Being Australian and living just near the Somme, Myriam has a deep connection and compassion for these brave young Australians who served in France so far from home.
- Tim WrightTim Wright
Unlike most other people with a passion for the Great War, Tim has Disneyland Paris to thank for the start of his journey.
It was during a trip to Disneyland Paris over 20 years ago that Tim passed through Ypres and witnessed the Last Post Ceremony, an event that would change his life forever.
From that point, he spent any spare time that he had, visiting the WW1 battlefields of France and Flanders, walking the ground he had read about and gaining a full understanding of the events that will be etched in the history books of the commonwealth forever.
After many years of visiting the battlefields came the realisation that "you only live once" Tim and his wife decided to purchase a property in the heart of the Somme battlefields, give up the corporate treadmill and start living the dream.
Tim, a glass half full person with a zest for life, has been carrying out research and guiding groups large and small around the battlefields of France & Flanders for many years, sharing his passion and knowledge with anyone who wants to listen.
He is a member of the International Guild of Battlefield Guides, the European Tour Operators Association and also in his own words “had the privilege of being the first chairman of the new Somme branch of the Western Front Association”