Tony Smith

GBG Badge 57

Tony comes from a family that saw service in both the World Wars. His mother's father was in France during the First World War and her two brothers fought in the Second War – one in the Royal Air Force, successfully evading capture at Dunkirk in 1940, and another with the Royal Navy in the Atlantic. On his father's side of the family, his grandfather saw service in the Royal Army Medical Corps in the First War and later became an Air Raid Warden in Burton on Trent in World War II, whilst his brother was with the Royal Air Force in the Far East.

Talking to them sparked Tony's own interest in military history which then developed to reading about battles and military campaigns — it was the part of the history lessons at school he liked most! When Tony had some pocket money he would buy books about battles and would always be scouring 'junk shops' for military cap badges, medals and the like.

Medal collecting led to Tony undertaking research into the lives of the individuals that had won them and in turn to research the battles in which they had fought. The next logical step was visiting some of those battlefields. Initially alone but later with friends and family, the visits developed into small guided tours with an emphasis on the human side of war and its effect on the people involved.

Tony worked full time in various sales and marketing roles until 2011 when he sold his business in Cardiff. This move has allowed him to pursue more of a 'portfolio' career including part time university lecturing, becoming the Secretary of the Guild of Battlefield Guides and leading off road Land Rover tours in the Brecon Beacons. It also gave Tony time to work towards badged status within the Guild. This he was proud to achieve in November 2012 and will now be spending more time guiding in the future.

Tony's areas of special interest are the First War Western Front and the actions of the Pals Brigades. He is also interested in the D Day Invasion and in particular the actions of the US 29th Division in their drive to St Lo and to Brest.

Tony has experience of guiding small mixed parties, usually Americans, particularly in the Normandy area and also has schools experience in Ypres and the Somme (CRB checked, First Aid certificate etc.). Tony is one of the 'team' being used for the First War Centenary Schools programme between now and 2018.



Page last updated: 22nd December 2016
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