medals-in-frameCanadian Battlefield Tours is a Battlefield Tour Company, specializing in the Canadian actions in WW1 and the Canadian and British actions in WW2.

Our aim is to provide to you with a very unique experience while in Europe. If you were in the Canadian Military, have friends or family that have served in the Canadian Military, or have an interest in military history, our tours will provide you with an unparalleled experience relative to the Canadian battles in WW1 and the Canadian, British and Polish battles in WW2.

Our tours are private, custom tours designed to be intimate and personal. They are available on a first come, first serve basis to anyone and will especially appeal to relatives of Canadian front line soldiers who were at the “sharp edge” and saw action in these theatres. To accomplish this we have restricted the size of our groups to 1 to 3 people. A personal tour, with pick-up at your hotel, may cost more when compared with joining a fixed-itinerary ‘bus’ tour, but the value, attention to detail, and personal touch is priceless. We feel it is by far and away the best way to see the battlefield. This is especially true, when this may be your one occasion to make the visit of your lifetime, making your battlefield visit a seamless experience. A personal tour is also better suited for the quiet exploration and reflection of past events, without the possible distraction of others making up your group – and the need for the tour leader to stick to a fixed time schedule!

Conducted (usually bus) tours, whether large or small, understandably, require you to comply with a fairly strict itinerary. The reason for this, is that the larger bus tours tend to take you primarily, to the better known monuments, museums and cemeteries.

Of course, with us, you will also visit these same monuments, museums and cemeteries, but always, with us, you will see so much more. For example, by the sheer size of their buses or coaches, they are unable to navigate the narrow farm tracks/roads, etc., to where some of the most poignant events took place. We don’t have those problems and our tours by their very nature, will take you through some of the most beautiful, scenic countryside you will ever see, usually on good quality, paved “back roads. We try to avoid, where possible, the extremely busy main highways. If you travel as part of a large group you may become frustrated by not being able to explore the landscape and ‘follow your nose’ to uncover the legacy of the battlefields. It can also be frustrating to be told to get back on the bus, to be herded to the next ‘must see’.

As noted above, our tours include visits to a select number of monuments, museums and beautiful Cemeteries, maintained and operated by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. We also include a few select German cemeteries. Our tours are always flexible and will allow you the time you wish, to reminisce at the cemeteries. We will also make sure you have sufficient “free time” to enjoy other local tourist attractions.

Meet Your Guides

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Testimonials

  • Gary - The trip was perfect and we only have great things to say about Jon. I could tell from the first minute when my history-buff father-in-law and Jon started talking as we drove out of town that they were going to hit it off. He took us to all the planned sites and some that were off the beaten track with very personal relevance. He had researched where the fighting was on the day my Great-Great Uncle was killed and was able to show me where he believed he had fallen. It was unexpected and very moving. We give Jon a 10 out of 10! Even in the fourth day when my father in law’s energy was lagging a bit Jon was good enough to trim the agenda (at our request) and be flexible. Thanks for everything. It was exactly what we were hoping it would be.
    Bill Snider, Pam & Gerry Goddard
    Toronto, Ontario
  • Hi Gary: We are just back in Istanbul now, after a wonderful tour. Simply put, both tours were fantastic. Both Jon and Robin were very knowledgeable and passionate about their respective eras. Jon seems like a quieter person and Robin is quite the character but both were well-suited to us and our son. I think however that we enjoyed the WW1 tour a bit more because of the family connection to it. Visiting the cemetery where David Milne was buried as well as the possible battlefield where Darin’s grandfather was injured was very emotional. Jon also showed me some Chinese names listed on the Notre Dame de Lorette monument that were the same as my maiden name (Wei) and told me about Asians in WW1. I was not at all expecting this information as the tour was mainly for my husband and son and I appreciated that Jon did this research. We enjoyed Robin’s stories at all the places he took us too. We appreciated his maps and photos as they made the modern sites come alive. We could picture the gliders in the fields and the placement of the men and guns. We were even able to meet Madame Gondree at her family’s cafe next to the Pegasus Bridge. Due to an extremely low tide we were also able to walk out to the remnants of the Mulberry harbour on Gold beach - a highlight for our son. Robin took into consideration our son’s interest in tanks and guns so showed us some tanks on display and visited the Maisy battery. Both Jon and Robin were flexible in their tours and seemed to tailor the amount of info they gave to us based on our level of interest. We would definitely recommend both of them. Robin’s French partner also kindly organized some dinner reservations for us as we don’t speak much French. We stayed in an apartment in Bayeux so didn’t have a hotel reception to help us out. All in all, it was a great 5 days. Very emotional at times and it was eye-opening to see the scale of loss on both sides by visiting the many cemeteries. Our son is 16 and it was sobering for him to see how many 18 &19 year olds were buried in the cemetery plots. I was unaware there were so many Unknown Soldiers and we realized that we were fortunate that David Milne was identified and had his name on a tombstone. Thank you for helping organize the tours! NOTE: This was a pilgrimage tour for Gillian’s husband Darin, following the service of his grandfather David Milne.
    Gillian Wei-Roberts
    Istanbul, Türkiye
  • As to our tour, I would start by saying that Robin’s enthusiasm and work ethic are excellent.  Although I haven’t taken a battlefield tour before and didn’t really know what to expect, it was obvious from the start that he had put a lot of work into personalizing our tour.  The specific work he did on the South Saskatchewan Regiment and their specific actions around my relative’s movements and injuries were unexpected.  I wanted to see where my uncle got hurt near Ifs in July 1944 and he did his best to take me to the exact spot.  We did see the main sights for sure in Normandy, but he did a lot of work in making the tour relevant to me and my family.  A highlight was him playing for us a CBC radio broadcast after the Dieppe raid where my uncle was interviewed!  Amazing! He also spent a lot of time trying to show us graves of some of the boys who would have known my relatives, or who they would have commanded.  The visit to Dieppe was a real highlight-we traced the SSR company that my Uncle was CSM of during the day right to the point where he was commanding a company headquarters.  Seeing Dieppe and Green Beach was something I’ve wanted to do my whole life and it didn’t disappoint.  He also ordered a couple of wreaths which were personalized for the SSR from the British Legion and we did a wreath laying at Bretteville and Dieppe which were emotional and very gratifying. One unexpected thing was once my wife indicated she had relatives flying Mustangs with the RCAF, he did some evening research and the next day showed her some flight records and a location of one of the airfields they flew out of in France.  She really appreciated that. I found the days long, but rewarding.  My wife probably would say they were a bit long for her, but she hung in there. We added on Abbey d’Ardenne at my request, and I’m glad we did.  My wife knew nothing about the SS, atrocities, or Kurt Meyer.  She was shocked when she found out it was not an uncommon occurrence and said afterwards she found that part haunting. As we travelled and stopped for lunch I generally picked up the tab, which I was happy to do. He did use his own car which was roomy and comfortable, and tried to get us off the beaten track locations for snacks and meals which we really liked. On the last day after we finished touring, he drove us back to Pourville and we spent some time on a patio discussing the tour, his plans for the remainder of the year, and life in general.
    Mr. & Mrs. Dan Long
    Calgary, Alberta, Canada
  • Hi Gary, We got home yesterday, exhausted but satisfied with our experience. Basically we had 4 days, on the road by 9AM touring all day and home at 7PM. Our basic tours were Vimy, Hill 70 and Cambria, Ypres & Passchendaele and The Somme  There were added side tours on each day. We were very impressed with Jon, he's a walking encyclopedia and very personable. We felt that he read our understanding of the war and our interests well and was flexible enough to accommodate our interests. For example, our grandsons were quite interested in the tanks, and Jon arranged to visit the tank Dolores? The buried tank found south of Cambrai. We enjoyed the spots he found for lunch and our visits over the meal were very pleasant. Our grandsons are typical  teenagers, but Jon got along with them well and they in turn thought he was great. The various cemeteries presented a solemn reminder of the lives lost . We were very impressed with CWGC work in maintaining them. All in all an educational and enjoyable experience
    Bob & Edna David
    Alberta, Canada
  • To cut to the chase we give both tours 10/10. This is interesting in that our two tour guides Jon and Robin have different personalities and styles. The common feature is that both guides are true historians and extremely professional. More important though is that they were able to judge our level of understanding and interest and adjust their itineraries and presentations accordingly. We definitely felt that each day was “ customized” for us. They obviously had more knowledge than we did but only took it as far as  we wanted at a particular cemetery, monument or battlefield. When we wanted more in depth information they gave it to us. They let us wander through cemeteries reading headstones and we never felt there was a schedule we had to keep. We thoroughly enjoyed our three days with Jon Haslock. He was excellent in showing us how the battles were fought. We stood on the grounds at Passchendaele, Vimy and Beaumont-Hamel and he explained the movements of the trenches, the attacks and the positions so we got a real sense of what it must have been like. We also talked about the impact on the civilians-farmers, shopkeepers whose homes and lands were in the occupied zones and what it must have been like to return or not to their village. The impact on civilians is not something that gets proper appreciation. A nice touch was one day when we stopped for lunch and met Jon’s wife and mother in law. Little personal things like this make the relationship special. We would highly, highly recommend Jon as a tour guide. We would be thrilled to come back and tour with Jon. We thoroughly enjoyed our 3 days with Robin Burrows-Ellis. Robin focused on lesser known facts and the true stories such as the Maisy battery and Pointe du Hoc. Robin has done extensive research on individuals, whether a grave marker or a battle leader. By drilling down to the personal side of a conflict he created a closer connection to the individual and turned names into persons. Juno beach was very special we walked in the beach and had our picture taken where wounded Canadians huddled against the sea wall for protection. The 1944 picture of where we stood was chilling. On the last day, Robin brought his partner along and her stories of her village were an appreciated special touch. We wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Robin to anyone interested in WW2. We would hire Robin again in an instant. Canadian Battlefield Tours exceeded our expectations - which were high. Over our three days at WW1 and three days at WW2 battlefields we had two professional historians who were able to judge our level of interest and go as shallow or deep as we wanted at a cemetery, monument or battlefield. We were particularly impressed with their expertise on Canadian subject matter. Both tour guides were personable and passionate. The administrative side was seamless with Gary handling all the details. We have already told many of our friends about CBT and how we highly recommend them. We could tell from some friends who had taken tours with other operators that CBT clearly surpassed their experience. Thank you for creating these special days in our lives.
    Claudia and Randy Findlay
    Calgary, AB
  • We were delighted with Jon. He was extremely knowledgeable and not only knowledgeable but able to share his knowledge effectively with us. His passion shows. He met us on time and gave us full days that were well organized. He had researched our ancestors and was able to show us the places where they had fought. This was everything we wanted. Overall, an excellent tour and Jon was awesome!
    Marilyn and John Thornton
    Victoria, BC
  • The tour certainly met my expectations. Robin was a very knowledgeable and fantastic guide, just as he was in 2019 for the WWII portion of my Normandy tour. The most significant actions in Dieppe were covered within my one-day tour (we covered all five beaches, plus some actions around batteries further inland) and Robin's style gets you to immerse yourself in the setting and provides a good sense of what it would have been like to be there that day. I learned many more details about Canadian actions in Dieppe, but more importantly, Robin was able to cast the battle that day in a significantly different light from what I had learned in school, where it tends to be painted as a military failure/disaster. I have a much better appreciation for the sacrifices made in Dieppe and how the difficult lessons learned that day informed the planning for the D-Day invasion. Robin's tour also challenged my thinking about the raid and its place in Canadian military history. On a side note, Dieppe's natural beauty was also something I had not given much thought to beforehand. I had implicitly assumed it would have looked similar to some of the D-Day beaches, which I had seen before. That underestimation was a pleasant surprise and provided a unique tour backdrop among WWII battlefield locations. The town is certainly worth visiting even without a keen interest in Canadian battlefields. Thanks again to you and Robin for providing another memorable experience that I will cherish and recount for many years.
    David Catarino
    Oakville, ON
  • Our three days with Richard was absolutely first class. Richard’s depth of knowledge was remarkable and his use of stories to highlight issues and create a more human scale than the otherwise cataclysmic events permitted really brought things to life. We also appreciated Richard’s ability to share, rather than just air, his knowledge and all this with a sense of humour coupled with insights from his own military experience.
    Robin & Barbara Rison
    Cotswolds, England
  • We thoroughly enjoyed our tour and our time with Robin. Robin is very knowledgeable and we appreciate the considerable time he spent researching my Dad's war history. I can honestly say we feel we have walked in my Dad's footsteps, while thankfully not experiencing the horrors of war, we have a better appreciation of his journey and why he was not willing to share much of this part of his life. We are eternally grateful for his and his fellow comrades ultimate sacrifice.
    Ken Moore and Sharon Pekrul
    Matlock, MB
  • We had a fantastic trip. It surpassed our expectations. Jon was excellent. He started us with general information using maps and CWGC (troops movements dates, etc.) information to get us on the right thoughts from start to finish. He correlated this information about my family and planned our days with details of the information, and he could pin us down to the locations of the fallen soldiers we were following. He was also able to point us in the right direction to information that is available, and we were not aware of, so we can do some more research. We learned a lot about my family's soldiers that we never knew before. Logistically everything worked out fantastic. The days were busy and full. Trip of a lifetime for us. Thanks again.
    Rick and Jeannette Atkinson
    Edmonton, AB
  • Our time with Jon significantly exceeded our expectations for our tour of Canadian WW1 sites! Beginning the tour with a visit to a Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery, really helped to set the scene and provide background on the approach to honouring Commonwealth soldiers. Jon had researched the war records of my great uncle and took us to the field where he was shot, and could point out the area where the German soldiers had their machine guns. He then brought us to the nearby cemetery where we could see the graves of the other 215 Canadian soldiers who fought with my great uncle and are buried with him. This brought me such a sense of comfort to know he was buried with his colleagues. From here, Jon continued to provide a complete history of the Canadian contribution, and loss of life in the area. We were blown away with his detailed knowledge of the battles and very intrigued with stops at various German bunkers and fields where artillery can still (104 years later) be found. Jon really brought the history to life for us and for this we are very appreciative. He also used our lunch visits to share insights on the rebuild of communities in northern France. I would highly recommend Jon as a guide for any other Canadians looking to understand the contribution of Canadians in WW1, and will reach out to you again Gary when we decide to visit sites of WWII. Please let me know if any questions, or if anything more would be helpful.
    Cindy Dunn and Mark Florence
    Toronto, ON
  • Gary, It was an excellent day - thank you.
    Eric Slavens
    Toronto, ON
  • Jim exceeded our expectations in every way.  He was the ideal guide, and presented all the information in an easy to follow, informative manner. He was exceptionally flexible with the schedule, letting us start and end our days at the times we requested, and made sure we had plenty of time to spend at the key sites we really wanted to see. He always kept an eye on the weather and shuffled the order of events around to help keep us dry and/or warm, as required. His depth of knowledge was incredible, and on the rare occasion where he didn't know the answer right away, he had it for me the next day. He always had detailed maps and timetables of every battlefield we visited so that we could effortlessly orient ourselves to the battlespace. It was really more like travelling with an old friend than a tour guide--he was the absolute perfect choice for the two of us, and we wouldn't hesitate to book again if Jim is made available for a future tour.
    Matthew and Vince Daluz
    Ottawa, ON
  • Things exceeded my expectations frankly, largely in part to the personalized context Jon was able to bring based on the information I had about my Grandfather about also by his own research. He actually clarified a few minor inaccuracies of mine but also broadened my perspective on this personal journey of mine. He would take me off our route for 15 minutes just to say my grandfather likely walked a road or passed through a town between his postings. Jon was awesome, he even started looking for chalk and other mementoes from the relevant fields so that my wife could use some of it in her artist works once back in Ottawa. Happy to recommend your firm and Jon, thanks for your flexibility.
    Cal Kirkpatrick
    Ottawa, ON
  • Gary, Our time with Jon significantly exceeded our expectations for our tour of Canadian WW1 sites! Beginning the tour with a visit to a Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery, really helped to set the scene and provide background on the approach to honouring Commonwealth soldiers. Jon had researched the war records of my great uncle and took us to the field where he was shot, and could point out the area where the German soldiers had their machine guns. He then brought us to the nearby cemetery where we could see the graves of the other 215 Canadian soldiers who fought with my great uncle and are buried with him. This brought me such a sense of comfort to know he was buried with his colleagues. From here, Jon continued to provide a complete history of the Canadian contribution, and loss of life in the area. We were blown away with his detailed knowledge of the battles and very intrigued with stops at various German bunkers and fields where artillery can still (104 years later) be found. Jon really brought the history to life for us and for this we are very appreciative. He also used our lunch visits to share insights on the rebuild of communities in northern France. I would highly recommend Jon as a guide for any other Canadians looking to understand the contribution of Canadians in WW1, and will reach out to you again Gary when we decide to visit sites of WWII. Please let me know if any questions, or if anything more would be helpful. Cindy Dunn and Mark Florence, Toronto, ON **Cindy was following in the footsteps of her great uncle, on a WWI pilgrimage tour Gary, It was an excellent day - thank you. Eric Slavens, Toronto, ON Hi Gary, Jim exceeded our expectations in every way. He was the ideal guide, and presented all the information in an easy to follow, informative manner. He was exceptionally flexible with the schedule, letting us start and end our days at the times we requested, and made sure we had plenty of time to spend at the key sites we really wanted to see. He always kept an eye on the weather and shuffled the order of events around to help keep us dry and/or warm, as required. His depth of knowledge was incredible, and on the rare occasion where he didn't know the answer right away, he had it for me the next day. He always had detailed maps and timetables of every battlefield we visited so that we could effortlessly orient ourselves to the battlespace. It was really more like travelling with an old friend than a tour guide--he was the absolute perfect choice for the two of us, and we wouldn't hesitate to book again if Jim is made available for a future tour. Matthew DaLuz, Saint John, NB Vince Daluz, Ottawa, ON **This father/son team were kept waiting almost 3 years for their 9 day Canadians Choice tour, because of Covid 19. I am most gratified after reading their testimonial, that the tour (Sept. 19-27, 2022) was well worth the wait. As always Jim, a job well done. Hi Gary, Things exceeded my expectations frankly, largely in part to the personalized context Jon was able to bring based on the information I had about my Grandfather about also by his own research. He actually clarified a few minor inaccuracies of mine but also broadened my perspective on this personal journey of mine. He would take me off our route for 15 minutes just to say my grandfather likely walked a road or passed through a town between his postings. Jon was awesome, he even started looking for chalk and other mementoes from the relevant fields so that my wife could use some of it in her artist works once back in Ottawa. Happy to recommend your firm and Jon, thanks for your flexibility , Ottawa, ON ** Another splendid pilgrimage tour provided by Jon Haslock for an extremely satisfied customer who had waited almost 3 years for his tour Sept. 28 & 29, 2022.
    Cal Kirkpatrick
    Ottawa, ON
  • This must have been the most rescheduled tour in the history of CBT! After the original booking I think we had to make 5 different changes to the schedule! Thanks for your patience. This 2-day tour of Ypres and the Vimy area exceeded expectations. The tour guide, Jon Haslock (aka Old Blighty) set a brisk pace and we covered more ground than I expected. Jon had done his homework and made sure we visited the important sites involving my ancestors: Sgt Percy Cote, PPCLI; Sgt James Faulds, 25th Bn.; Sgt James McInnes, PPCLI. I had not expected we would visit the Somme area and Beaumont Hamel was a definite highlight. Vimy was spectacular and we went there twice. Our second visit was early in the morning on day 2 and it was especially moving as there were so few people there. The other highlight was laying a wreath at the Menin Gate. A very moving experience. What was also great about the tour was gaining an understanding of the importance of the ridges. You read about this aspect of the Great War in countless books and hear about it in various lectures, but until you actually stand there you just can’t appreciate how important the high ground was – and as you know it really wasn’t that high! At every stop along the tour we would take a moment to look at the land around us and we really ‘got it’! Maps don’t give you that perspective. I think that covers it. Thanks again for your patience and providing such a great tour. And by all means pass on our thanks to Jon.
    Cam and Ann Gordon
    Kitchener, ON
  • Hi Gary, I wanted to let you know, from my perspective, how great the tour was. Jon is an excellent guide. Very knowledgeable, very approachable and extremely nice! Jon went above and beyond. He took us through the footsteps of Mark's uncle, showed us approximately where he had been killed (in the middle of a farmer's field!) and took us to the cemetery where he was buried. He also took us to ALL of the places Mark had wanted to visit. It was such a fantastic, awesome yet sombre experience. He had bits of knowledge that we would never have learned anywhere else and that is priceless. We learned many new facts and Mark had so many questions, which Jon answered or he told us where we could find the answers. Jon is also well known in the area and had many tips for us. Mark and I live in Ladner, BC, which is about 15 minutes south of Vancouver. Mark is a firefighter with Vancouver Fire and he has been very vocal telling his colleagues about how wonderful his tour was! I work for London Drugs at the Head Office. It was Clint Mahlman, the CEO, who originally told me about your company and he raved about how well the tour was run and how impactful it was. I have to agree. Thank you once again. I will definitely be talking about how fantastic our tour was and recommending your company. Sincerely, Gabriela Whincup ** Gabriela and her husband Mark took a WWI Pilgrimage Tour. I’m very pleased that the tour exceeded all their expectations.  
    Gabriela Whincup
    Ladner, BC
  • We were so pleased with both of our tours. We are still amazed at how knowledgeable and passionate your guides were. Each tour day was well organized and informative. They had researched my father’s regiment and knew each location where he may have encountered a battle. Although these locations looked entirely different today, seeing the landscape made it easier for us to envision what took place. It was nice to talk with the local property owners too as they also knew the history of their properties and were able to tell us even more. The guides were very helpful in translating when needed. We can assure you that you do have the very best guides. They were outstanding not only in their guiding but also their kindness. We really appreciate all the work they do to keep this bit of history from being forgotten. Thank you for making this a memorable moment for us.
    Scott and Rosalie Brent
    Toronto, Ontario
  • Gary, We've just finished the WWI Tour. Jon saw to it that I visited all the important sites and battles where my Uncle's would have been involved! Very thoroughly done. We stopped at their Tearoom where I met his wife and even mother-in-law! Nice people! Thank you for setting this up. I could not have accomplished this on my own. The man knows how to drive this part of France, and how! Far from what I could have accomplished If I could help you or Jon with recommends, please don't hesitate to refer to me. Thank you!
    Frank Bucknum
    Victoria, BC
  • I thought that I should also send you an email regarding the tour that I had with Jon. I didn’t know that Gabriela had kept this a secret from me for over two years. When I found out that I was going on a private tour to see the battlefield areas of WW1 I still didn’t even know that I was going to the places that my great uncle would have been back in 1917. When I found out that what we were going to do I was so excited. I listened to the stories that Jon was telling us about the different sites that we stopped at, like a kid in a candy store. It was so emotional to see where my Uncle had battled, where he probably died and where he was buried. Jon was exceptionally knowledgeable on all the areas we went to. When we arrived at Vimy Ridge and I stood on the monument I have never felt prouder to be a Canadian. Jon took us to spots that I would have never known or been able to understand what happened at these sites if it wasn’t for him. This trip was amazing and I would recommend this to anyone that wants the best experience to see the WW1 spots. I never found out how much this experience costed or don’t care to know. Seeing this was an experience of a life time and you can not put a price on that. Thank you for this experience and if there is anything else you need from me regarding Jon I’m more than happy to help out.
    Mark Whincup
    Vancouver, BC
  • This was a very moving, well lead tour, with important details told in an engaging manner.  It was worth every penny, and then some.
    Tim and Carolyn Darling
  • The day with Robin, in Normandy, was more than expected, and he was an extraordinary host. We thank you, and Robin, for a very memorable day.
    Christina and Wayne Bornstein
    Waterloo, ON
  • Our tour involved two days on the WW I battlefields in France and Belgium and one day exploring WWII battlefields from Juno beach to Caen. Jim Smithson, our guide for the WWI battlefields, was very knowledgeable and entertaining. We had two very full and busy days and learned a great deal about the experiences and sacrifices of the soldiers of the Canadian corps. We spent the first day touring the Somme battlefields, memorials and graveyards, including Vimy Ridge and the Newfoundland memorial at Beaumont-Hamel. The next day we went to Flanders in Belgium and explored the Passchendaele battlefields and witnessed the last post ceremony held every night at 8:00 pm in Ypres, which was a very moving experience.  Jim has a wealth of information on WWI and gave us many insights into the battles and the experiences of Canadian and Commonwealth soldiers. Robin Burrows-Ellis, our guide for the tour of the WWII battlefields, was also very knowledgeable and entertaining. My wife’s uncle Philip (who died before she was born) was killed on July 21st in battle around Mondeville, south of Caen only two weeks after landing in Normandy. He was a private with The Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada. Robin did a great job of researching and tracing Philip’s steps from Juno beach to the area where he was killed. We visited the various locations where his battalion engaged the Germans in battle, including the location where he died.  Robin was very well prepared with battle maps and was able to obtain transcripts of radio communications by Philip’s battalion on the day he was killed which gave a blow by blow account of the battle. You could close your eyes and almost imagine the terror of being in this situation. We finished our tour at the Bretteville-sur-Laize  Canadian War Cemetery near Caen where Robin located Philip’s gravestone. We placed a small Canadian flag and some flowers near his gravestone and Robin read a poem. It was a very moving experience for us, even though we had never met Philip. I have no hesitation in recommending your company and Jim and Robin as great guides for those wishing to visit WWI and WWII battlefields and memorials with a focus on the Canadian and Commonwealth wartime experience.
    David & Michelle Mydske
    West Vancouver, BC
  • I thought John did a great job of taking us through the tour. He was well researched on our Uncle Jim’s service, I believe in part because we provided him with the 75 pages of service record from Ottawa. Also he did a good bit of research through the Canadian War Dairies to determine where Jim was and where he sustained his wounds. John was barraged by my brother Scott throughout our tour and I thought did a splendid job of answering all our questions. Although I think he was happy to see the last of us as we exhausted him through our many inquiries.
    Jamie, Scott & Fraser McTavish
    Vancouver, BC & Markham, Ontario
  • Just a quick note to thank you for the tour. I've had time now to review the war diaries and photo's that Robin provided for us and will be sending copies to my sister and brother in law as well. Robin did some excellent and deep research into the South Alberta's and consequently was able to take us exactly to the locations of where "C" squadron and John Barnett would have been during August of 1944. The planning and level of detail made the trip more than worthwhile. Thank you again for the good work.
    Todd Lemieux
    Nanton, Alberta
  • Firstly, we wanted to thank you for the tour, we were quite happy with everything.  John was very knowledgeable and provided excellent opportunities to experience the many different aspects of the conflict.  Being able to see the French memorial at Notre Dame de Lorette, or the Langemark German cemetery provided perspective that we were not likely to get with some other tours. John also was kind enough to order up some glorious weather to enjoy the tour. When we spoke to John about what we wanted to achieve during the tour, we stated that we wanted to visit some less travelled memorials and he managed to find some excellent locations. Again, thank you for everything, and please pass along our thanks to John.
    Dawn and Joe Barbosa
    London, Ontario
  • The tours with Robin and Jon were excellent and met all of my expectations. Both guides were extremely knowledgeable and passionate about their respective areas of expertise. I was very pleased with the requested focus on Canadian contributions to the battlefields and war efforts of WWI and WWII. Both guides were also flexible enough to incorporate visits to sites that I showed secondary interest in during the tour (e.g., Omaha beach and a WWI Portuguese war cemetery). Robin's researched storytelling approach to site visits was quite unique and provided me with some of the most poignant moments of my 5-day tour. Jon was a walking WWI encyclopedia and was able to answer all of the questions my curiosity could muster, including some I forgot to ask Robin in the first leg! Thanks again to you and your guides for accommodating me on what I now certainly appreciate was short notice for such a customized experience. The trip provided me with memories that I will recount and reflect on for a lifetime.
    David Catarino
    Oakville, Ontario, Canada
  • Our experience with Jim, without a doubt, exceeded our expectations. He was personable, organized, well-prepared and knowledgeable. Each day, Jim arrived at the set time and off we’d go to battlefields, memorials and military cemeteries. The days were full, but well-paced with pleasant stops for lunch. Every excursion was augmented by maps past and present, historic photos and other materials. Jim's passion and sincerity when speaking about WWI and WWII, the experiences and sacrifices of those involved and respect for the fallen are especially noteworthy. We not only learned details, but also gained a deep appreciation for all sides of these gruesome conflicts. David and I really appreciated the added effort to provide more background concerning my grandfather’s and great-uncle’s military service. Visiting my great-uncle’s burial site and the location where he was fatally injured was especially poignant.
    Brenda & David Barry
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • We were very well impressed with the tour Jim gave us. We came with three different levels of knowledge and he was able to make it so we all got something from each stop. I know what a challenge that can be. Jim went above and beyond keeping up on where the crowds would be and helping us avoid them.
    Megan Nagtegaal
    Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada
  • Our two days with Richard were absolutely perfect, exceeded any expectations we could possibly have. What a wonderful, personable, knowledgeable, compassionate man!  It was an amazing, educational and emotional two days!
    Kim MacKenzie
    Pipestone, Manitoba, Canada
  • We very much enjoyed our Normandy tour with Robin. It was a full day full of stories which made D-Day come alive. The Canadian cemetery was the most moving spot we visited.  Robin is very well informed and obviously passionate about making history come alive. We learned a great deal more than most tourists would from our day with him.
    Bev Noble & Brian Field, Lucan (Komoka)
    Ontario, Canada
  • The tour went very well. Our guide, was very knowledgeable about everything involving the Canadian campaign in Italy. He was also very enthusiastic, friendly, and a gracious host. He took us to several Canadian memorials in the Cassino/Liri Valley area and explained their history. He also took great effort to put special focus on the areas and points of interest that specifically involved where my Dad would have been with his regiment. I was very impressed by that. I truly feel it gave me a closer connection to what my Dad would have experienced, and where he was.
    Dwaine Balak
    Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
  • Great day with Robert. He really set it up well and gave us the tour we wanted plus. Would recommend CBT and Robert highly.
    Glen Wright
    Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
  • Robin was outstanding. He was engaging and enthusiastic, as well as knowledgeable. Robin brought documents, maps and photos to amplify his explanations. This was really helpful. After the tour, he gave us copies of a number of his papers for us to take, and to read at our leisure after the tour. One the best aspects of Robin’s delivery is the way he was able to personalize the events, by drawing on the stories of heroic acts by Allied soldiers and members of the French resistance. It was brilliant, and he had all the time in the world to spend to help us better understand and appreciate D-day events. Robin also provided directions which were instrumental to getting us to the Dieppe battle site… I don’t think we would have found it without his help.
    Peter Cameron & Brenda Reid
    Ottawa, Ontario
  • Jane and I thoroughly enjoyed the 3 day world war 1 tour last week. The tour guide you arranged, Jim, was very knowledgeable on the area and the subject. He customized the trip for us to focus on the Canadian role in WW1, which is what we were interested in. Jim also did additional research for us and identified cemeteries where two of my relatives were buried. He then worked these two cemeteries into the schedule so we could visit them in the context of the battles they fought in. It was a humbling and moving tour, made personal by finding my two relatives. We enjoyed our Canadian Battlefields tour and would highly recommend Jim as a guide for anyone interested in doing a similar tour.
    Rob & Jane Carrs
    Calgary, Alberta
  • Our Canadian Battlefields Tour exceeded our expectations.  Jim Smithson, our guide, was outstanding.  We would rate him as our best tour guide ever.  He is a historian with an in depth knowledge and understanding of the history of Canadian WWI battlefields. Jim took us on a personal tour of the Canadian battlefields at Vimy Ridge and Passchendaele where my wife’s father participated and described the conditions, the Canadian battlefield strategy and what happened in each battle. Jim researched the battlefield actions of her father's company and showed us the military maps and documentation.  Jim also gave us a first hand look at the specific area in the Passchendaele battlefield (now a farmer’s field) where he was wounded. He showed us copies of the military reports, battle plans and casualty lists that allowed us to personally follow his footsteps in WWi.  Jim's vast knowledge of the cemeteries, and the soldiers who are buried there helped our understanding and appreciation of their sacrifice in WWI. Jim ran our tour without a hitch. He picked us up promptly each day and drove us to the Canadian battlefields and cemetery locations, some of which were small and would have been impossible for us to find on our own. While we were visiting some of the smaller Canadian WWI cemeteries we met other Canadians who were there on their own in remembrance of the 100th anniversary of a fallen relative. Jim explained the burial rites followed during and after the war and helped our fellow Canadians better understand their relatives final resting place. We were thankful and very pleased  that Jim so graciously shared his knowledge and understanding in such a kind and compassionate way. Would highly recommend CBT and your guide.
    Paul & Judy Sandulak
    Sherwood Park, Alberta
  • We are flying home at the moment and are taking the opportunity to send a few words about our tour. To summarize, the tour fully met our expectations and in the case of our time with Robert Catsburg in the Scheldt area, exceeded them. Notwithstanding that we had done research on our own we could not possibly have put together the tours we had with your guides. There is no substitute for local knowledge and the on the ground research that each guide did in relation to “Major Tom” and the Royal Regiment. All three without fail did what they said they would do. They were very good at reading us and pacing the tour appropriately. All were strong at developing a good personal relationship with us and were pleasant companions. All had “done their homework”. Of particular note is the depth of Robert’s scholarship and indeed passion for his subject. We were happy we never had to drive.  It would not have been as good an experience for us had we had to drive. Mark drove our car.  Robert and Berry drove theirs. In addition your suggestions for accommodation were good. We enjoyed the Hotel Bayeux, Tulip Inn and LOVED the Villa Rozenhof. We were spoiled by Berry and Yvonne at the Mondani. Anita at the Villa packed us a breakfast for our early flight from Amsterdam to LHR which lasted for three days! We chose CBT as a result of a recommendation by our friend Bob Lucas. We would not hesitate to recommend CBT to others.
    Anna Whitley & Fred Blair
    Ottawa, Ontario
  • I cannot reiterate enough how our tour exceeded all expectations. Jim was exactly the right choice for our wants and needs. At times, we almost felt we were in the battles that our fathers fought!  His skills as a guide were exemplary. It was obvious that his research regarding our individual fathers was extensive and we were pleased to receive copies of that information at the end of the tour. I will highly recommend your tour company without reservation. I might add that the personalized tour was the way to go for us. It certainly eliminated the areas that our fathers never fought in and therefore not pertinent for us. Thank you for helping to guide us through this very emotional but totally rewarding experience.
    Barbara Scott & Ruth Taylor
    Windsor, Nova Scotia
  • Thanks for contacting me about the trip.  My sister and I both agreed that it far exceeded our expectations.  It was clearly  customized to our requests - all of them. There was nothing generic about it.  Jim has an inexhaustible depth of knowledge and also an ability to organize the places we visited and the information he presented, in a very coherent way. He also inquired to see what we needed to help us understand.  I particularly wanted to understand the landscape  with respect to the various battles.   At every stop he anchored our discussions with excellent maps and he also kept us updated about our position while we were traveling. It was very satisfying. He never rushed us and answered every question. Whenever he provided perspective he also provided the reasons for his comments. That was also very reassuring. He was  a very well read and informative guide. The logistics of the trip were slick and well planned. There was no fuss about anything and we were never rushed  and yet there were always timely stops for food and loos. You mentioned that, given our interests,  we probably could not do better for a guide. I agree. I will highly recommend your company and Jim Smithson. Note: Pat & her sister took our WWI Tour
    Patricia Hunt
    Winnipeg, Manitoba
  • The tour with Jim (Canadian Battlefield Tours) was simply outstanding. It definitely exceeded any expectations we may have had. Jim provided an itinerary before hand detailing the tour timetable, more importantly, it was his in-depth knowledge of the historical facts and local geography which made the 3 days so memorable. He is a very likeable person, which made the travels quite enjoyable. We learned and witnessed so much. The sight of so many thousands of young people etched on graves and the walls will be us with forever. Jim personalized my Grandfather’s days around St Julian in April, 1915. Actually being in the area was moving. I really appreciated the background & the notes of those particular days. The Menin Gate ceremony stood out as one of many highlights. There was the live shell we came across next to a field or the recent burial of 4 Canadians from Hill 70. Would we recommend CBT… absolutely, no hesitation. My wife even suggested a WW2 tour in the future. Thank you again & please thank Jim.
    Bruce & Glenda Hayzelden
    Calgary, Alberta
  • The trip was all I expected and more. Ken was very knowledgeable and we had four great days together. I could not recommend him higher than I do. Four days was the right time for me. I would also tell anyone that intended tp go that to do so without a guide would be folly. Finding the places, let alone describing what happened at them, would be impossible.
    Warren Mitchell
    Vancouver, BC
  • Connie and I had a great time on the Canadian Battlefields tour.  Our guide was not only friendly and fun to be around, he was also an encyclopedia of knowledge. In fact, his depth of knowledge, and his ability to tell the stories in an engaging manner, made this tour extra special.  The added bonus? Sitting in the only Canadian Legion in Holland having dinner with his family.  We felt so very special.
    Don & Connie Campbell
    Vancouver, BC
  • We just got home yesterday and was about to send you a short note about our experience with your company.  Our two tours were great. Our WWI guide JOHN... was exceptional!!  We enjoyed his company immensely. John was so courteous and mindful about my condition (I'm in pain waiting for a hip replacement) and drove ever so careful over speed bumps and pot holes... and took the curvy roads in a very careful way as not to add to my discomfort. He was the best guide we have ever had in all of our travels. We will recommend your company and John to our friends who plan to do the same trip we just did. Our Normandy guide ROBIN was extremely knowledgeable and did a good job informing us on everything.
    Valerie & Henry Strong
    Vancouver, BC
  • The Normandy part of the tour was exceptional with Robin, he brings so much energy and pride to his tour. He gives a broad view of certain battles, but will focus on the individual stories, as he says " his-story". At the end of each 10 hour day he gives you a folder with all the information of the many topics covered that day. My dad and I were blown away.   The World War One portion with Jon was also very professional. He has very in depth knowledge of all the specific battles and weaponry. It never failed, every time we walked near a farmers field there was some form of war debris, including a couple of unexploded shells.   All in all a great memorable experience.
    Jeff Pentecost
    Burnaby & Vancouver, BC
  • The tour was amazing, far beyond our expectations!!! Andrew and I so enjoyed our time with Robin touring the WW2 battlefields and memorial sites. Today, Andrew and I started our “break day” with a visit to the Bayeux Tapestry, then we went to Dieppe and visited the Canadian War Museum to honour a great uncle of one of Andrew’s close friends. His grandfather, brother of his great uncle also served in WW2 after his brother, but is still alive (late 90’s now) and lives at the Veterans Retirement Residence at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto. Andrew and I were so excited to be able to take this trip/journey together, and extremely grateful to you!! Thank you so very much for making this dream come true for us. A huge thanks again for all your kind attention and amazing effort!!
    Marianne & Andrew Guizzetti
    Toronto, ON
  • The tour greatly exceeded our expectations. We had an absolutely fantastic tour with Richard Porter. It was a truly moving experience, especially the last day, during which he took us to the Somme area, where both my grandfathers were. Knowing their battalion number and regiment, he was able to pinpoint their exact location and movements. It was incredible. We will be talking about this vacation for a long time. Will heartily recommend your firm to anyone. Thank you so much!!
    Dr. Patricia Cairns
    Toronto, ON
  • The eight-day Canadians Choice Tour tour exceeded my expectations. Your guide Jim Smithson has a passion for and an encyclopedic knowledge of both WW II Normandy and the Western Front of WW I.  I was especially interested in sites associated with Canada.  He took me to many. Special was the “personal touch.”  Jim is a “keeper.”  I’d score him 10  / 10 ++!!
    Gord Yakimow
    Abbotsford, BC
  • Thank you for being our conduit to a wonderful educational experience. We met Andy at the train station in Arras and soon learned that we had the best tour guide possible. Andy is a wealth of knowledge and a great personality. After some brief planning and coffee at a local restaurant, we decided to take our journey south toward a number of Commonwealth Cemeteries, which included visits to Sere Road Cemetery No. 2, the Newfoundland Cemetery and of course the Bouchoir New British Cemetery where Gwyn’s uncle is buried. We travelled back to Arras for lunch, then during the afternoon we spent some time at Vimy Ridge Memorial and walked the grounds. We finished off with a visit to a German Cemetery nearby. I give your guide Andy Robertshaw top marks. Could not have been better. Gwyn and I are completely satisfied with this CBT experience, which we will recommend.
    Syd & Gwyn Perkins
    Tofield, Alberta
  • Mike was excellent!! Our tour experience was educational and enjoyable. We couldn’t have gained so much from the experience had we attempted it on our own. Mike was very accommodating and flexible to meet our needs. Mike is an excellent story teller and brought history to life. His car was comfortable and he was prompt in his arrival each day. Thanks so much for a tremendous experience!!
    Deborah Viel
    Yarmouth Nova Scotia
  • I thought I would let you know that the 3 days with Andy Robertshaw went great! He is extremely knowledgeable besides being fun to be around. The entire family enjoyed his company. He gave us new information and perspective on my Uncle Stuart Siddons’s  military service that I had not expected. I would be happy to give a recommendation to any of your, or his potential clients.
    Bill Boyd
    Marina del Rey, CA