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Remembered Today:

Guild Of Battlefield Guides Ypres weekend


salientguide
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The GBG held their annual overseas session 23rd - 24th September with 20 members from the Uk Holland and Belgium visiting Ypres. The Guild laid a wreath at an exceptionally packed menin Gate on FridayThe Saturday was occupied with visits to the IFF documentation centre which is now an impressive and evergrowing resource of salient information. A tour of Zonnebeke museum was lead by Frankie Bostyn museum curator and GBG member who then lead the group onto the excavated German CCS bunker at Crier farm. The Sunday morning was spent on a teaching session at the Bayenwald trnches, Croonart Wood on "Bringing the battlefield to life" lead by Guild Badged Guide, John Cotterill. A great weekend and some pics attached for general interest SG

Entrance to Crier Farm Bunker

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Franky Bostyn and members in the bunker.

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Original corrugated lining. The bunker now has an automatic electric pump to keep it dry inside otherwise would soon flood.

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German bunker in the re excavted Bayenwald trench system

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Badged Guides John Cotterill standing, Will Townend sitting left and graeme Cooper opposite at sundays teaching session

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No 5 crater St Eloi from March 1916 Battle of the St Eloi craters. Some good carp there judging by the swirls and bubbles.

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Guest wrinklyone

It's great to read that there is a guild of battlefield guides. I've had to bite my tongue on two occasions when I've earwigged some of the guides employed by opportunist tour companies.

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Andy dont think the others seen post but I,m the ugly one by the crater. Wrinklyone the Guild was formed a couple of years ago by a group of professional guides with expertise in many differing historical periods for just the sort of reason you mention. They aim to promote a high standard of all aspects of guiding. Anyone interested can find them on

G B G SITE

and skip intro. Theres some further pics there

SG

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For the past 3 years Worcester WFA have used the services of John Cotterill ( the GBG Training Officer ) to follow the Worcester's exploits.

2003 Worcesters on the Somme

2004 Worcesters in the Salient

2005 Worcesters in French Flanders (get the theme ?)

We returned from Flanders last week-end. His exposition on the Battle of Loos from on top of the Dud Corner 'viewing platform' was exceptional (if a little cold !)

John is an absolute mine of information, and if all GBGs are the same standard it bodes well for that organisation.

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You might have put a nicer picture of me on show to the public instead of my bald dome appearing out of the trench at Bayenwald!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

regards,

Scottie.

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Andy dont think the others seen post but I,m the ugly one by the crater. Wrinklyone the Guild was formed a couple of years ago by a group of professional guides with expertise in many differing historical periods for just the sort of reason you mention. They aim to promote a high standard of all aspects of guiding. Anyone interested can find them on

G B G SITE

and skip intro. Theres some further pics there

SG

There seem to be a couple from this board not on the list ... is it expensive to join, was there some level of controversy?

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scottie sorry havernt been in touch since, more time next week will e;- you. I wondered what it was dazzling me at the Bayenwald. Bring some camoflage cream next time!!

Andy doesnt cost much to join and worth every penny. Wasnt there when it started but I gather that like all new things there were those who were keen and enthusiastic, and others who didnt see the need of such things to those who were downright suspicious of the project and decided involvement wasnt for them. Fair enough. All I can say is I joined 18 months ago, am now trying very slowly to work my way through the validation process. Iam not involved in guiding on a professional basis but have found nothing but friendship and encouragement within the organisation. Like all industries sooner or later some sort of standard setting is going to come. As an NHS worker I have had to validate (original professional qualification) and annually re-register to practice with the Health Professionals Council so that everyone who employs me and comes to me for an ultrasound scan can be assured of at least a basic standard level of expertise and training. It only seems logical that if onepays for the services of a guide, wether individually or with a tour one can likewise be assured of a certain level of training and expertise.

To mak amends to scottie heres one of him and Adriaan Klop Dutch member at the Menin gate. Note splendid colour scheme of Guild Tie.

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Thanks for a 'frontal shot', however it still does not flatter me.

God as I get older I seem to be turning into my Dad!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Salient guide. I feel you are on the right track and without doubt, Some of your established guides, are very clued up and extremely knowledgeable! It does work! However, this next observation, is purely constructive and in no way should take away any of your hard earned applause! I live in Ypres and socialise in and around the restaurants and bars with my dutch wife. You wont know me, but I am often with flemish friends. I know who the guides are, because they are marked and badged. Some of the guides, make no attempt to speak the slightest word of Dutch. Not a please, thank you, let alone to converse in Dutch! I know the local staff, mostly all speak English, but I'm sure the basics of the Dutch language, would, be most welcome and would make the guide feel much more professional, in the company of his group! Language is a wonderful thing! When in Ypres, I speak Dutch 1st to my neighbors and friends and revert to English when having a nervous breakdown, trying to understand the strong Ypres dialect! I have watched and listened to Richard Holmes and Paul Reed, speaking French, ( in france). It does go down extremely well! The locals are impressed! I know this because they tell me! Is learning Dutch/French for example, part of the package, or is it purely a personal thing? Because as you have already mentioned, you are now moving up the road to perfection! Please, I mean no offence, it is purely, my own observations, of the various known guides, that visit Ypres! Keep up the good work! :)

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Salient guide. I feel you are on the right track and without doubt, Some of your established guides, are very clued up and extremely knowledgeable! It does work! However, this next observation, is purely constructive and in no way should take away any of your hard earned applause! I live in Ypres and socialise in and around the restaurants and bars with my dutch wife. You wont know me, but I am often with flemish friends. I know who the guides are, because they are marked and badged. Some of the guides, make no attempt to speak the slightest word of Dutch. Not a please, thank you, let alone to converse in Dutch! I know the local staff, mostly all speak English, but I'm sure the basics of the Dutch language, would, be most welcome and would make the guide feel much more professional, in the company of his group! Language is a wonderful thing! When in Ypres, I speak Dutch 1st to my neighbors and friends and revert to English when having a nervous breakdown, trying to understand the strong Ypres dialect!

Chris thats a very interesting and pertinant point. One I shall bring to GBGs attention. and one I am extremely guilty of. From a personal point of view it is probably the old story. The British are extremely poor at others languages. Iam a rudimentary french speaker and enjoy trying to use it in France. But I gather in Flanders being Flemish it is not particularly welcome for obvious political reasons?? In self defence what little i know of dutch/Flemish marks it out as an extremely difficult language particularly in pronunciation. Furthermore most friends and others around Ypres are extremely keen to practice their usually excellent English and mor eor less insist on speaking it. But no excuse i should at least learn please, thank you and good morning/afternoon. Any recommendations on small phrase books?

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Hello Everyone,

I'm a badged guide with the GBG, see this link for my ugly mug etc!

http://www.battleguides.org/guides_cv/s_smith.htm

I missed the weekend through work committments, but I'll be going to the Guild weekend in Nov if anyone is going?

I agree with your points on language, I do try my best to speak French when I'm over in France and find that that sometimes helps in Belgium. :)

I can remember one memorable visit to Macedonia where a French Marine, a Spanish Soldier and a German airmen all got by by speaking French, it was quite weird!

Steve

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Im afraid you are quite right again! Our state schools didnt do us any favours at all! Forget the phrase books, just ask the locals, they will be more than happy to help you, I promise! :) If you apply the same dedication to learning 'Nederlands', that you apply, to the art of being a quality battlefield guide, then I'm sure you will be chatting away in no time! It makes you feel good too! :) My neighbours, Willie and Nadene, said it is always noted and most welcome, especially from the Brits! I even get free chocs when I speak Dutch to the chocolate lady, what an incentive that is, ha! :D

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Hi Steve. Your link is very good! The old american airbases in Norfolk, must hold fascinating information! Is there a book on the subject? We all live and visit the battlefields in flanders and france, but! We have them all around and in the UK! I wish I knew the history, of these places, very brave men, departed from these places, never to return! Indeed, their battlefields, can be all around us! Keep up the good work! :) Chris.

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Chris,

Thanks for the kind words!

You can't go wrong with any of the After the Battle books and there is one specifically related to Airfields of the 8th Air Force. Also any books by Roger A Freeman are excellent, see the links below:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/1...5088993-8906038

http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0...5088993-8906038

The After the Battle books can be a little dated, seeing as most were produced in the early 80s, but they still hold their weight.

I especially like the one on the Battle of Britain, this is a wopping book crammed full of useful info. For instance, it details every combat loss in the battle and their crash sites in the UK.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0...5088993-8906038

You hit the nail on the head when you say we have our own battlefields at our feet in the Uk. My very first assignment towards getting my badge was about a low level raid on a sector station in the Battle of Britain. My evaluators were interested in how I was going to bring a battle effectively fought in the air to life. Having finished, I was pleased to see that everyone in the room thought my presentation was able to do this.

I am in the process of building my own website detailing what I can offer people interested in tours to the Battle of Britain and 8th Air Force airfields as well as the generic WWI and WWII battlefields in Europe, which I love touring and guiding! :D

Steve

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  • 2 weeks later...

Bit late on this one but I think its a good point about language skills. And a shocking refection that after 20 years visiting Belgium my Dutch is limited to Een Bolleke, Bedankt as amply demonstrated in Ypres bars during the training weekend. Will try harder I promise. :)

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Bit late on this one but I think its a good point about language skills. And a shocking refection that after 20 years visiting Belgium my Dutch is limited to Een Bolleke, Bedankt as amply demonstrated in Ypres bars during the training weekend. Will try harder I promise.  :)

Mike wasnt it 'err 'itler wot only had " een bolleke " or have I misunderstood the translation ??

Cheers Chris SG :D

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Is that what I've been ordering all these years? No better place to find out than Cronaert Wood I guess. Next time you take pictures let me know so you can get my good side not the back of my head (again)! Was it your pics on the website?

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I can remember one memorable visit to Macedonia where a French Marine, a Spanish Soldier and a German airmen all got by by speaking French, it was quite weird!

Steve

I've had many great experiences fooling about with even a small amount of fluency in other languages; one should just "bite the bullet" and give it a shot. One day in Istanbul I saw a cook, cooking in the window (a good way to get the saliva flowing and the customer in the door), making a Serb specialty, spelled (if memory serves) cevapcici (pronounced "chevapchichi"), little weiner-rolls of mixed minced meat and spices, best if the ground meats, spices, etc. are mixed and then left on a shelf for three days to tenderize it.

I was very excited, as I had not seen the dish in years, and knew that most Serb food is really a sub-set of Turkish food. I popped in and tried to ask the cook what the dish was called in Turkish, trying my seven words of Turkish, and English, and German, which often works in Turkey. Nothing worked, and in desperation I said the dish's name in Serb, and he laughed, and we were chatting away in Serbo-Croatian, and his co-workers were looking at him like he was nuts. He was a Bosnian refugee! Wife and I then ordered two plates of the delicious treat.

I worked very briefly in international trade for a friend's husband, a German/French crook (almost everyone in international trade is a crook), and we had a business meeting with three (sort of) Russians, who were looking to buy sneakers and stretch limosines. The meeting progressed in English, German, Russian, Serbo-Croatian, and Modern Hebrew. No one language spanned more than 2-3 participants.

My father, when he left high school and entered the German Army as a private in 1915, had good German, French, Latin, Classical Greek, English, and limited but workable Russian he had picked up in visits to pre-war Russia as a school-boy. He tried to save the life of a French officer in a pre-dawn raid on Hill 304 at Verdun, speaking to him in French, but the fool instead shot my father from inches away.

My remarkable wife can read 11 languages very well, and she is almost all Brit and Irish (family came to Boston from England in 1634), many others badly (but she does it all day long at work, for possibly 20 years, buying foreign-language books for a major research library).

A lot of puffing up above, I am sorry, but I really have had great experiences chattering away in languages that I might or might not really have a handle on. 95% of people really seem to respond wonderfully. A previous poster was right, I think; it seems that most Brits seem to have a defective gene in that corner. (No offense meant!) Just do it!

Bob Lembke

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I can remember one memorable visit to Macedonia where a French Marine, a Spanish Soldier and a German airmen all got by by speaking French, it was quite weird!

Steve

I've had many great experiences fooling about with even a small amount of fluency in other languages; one should just "bite the bullet" and give it a shot. One day in Istanbul I saw a cook, cooking in the window (a good way to get the saliva flowing and the customer in the door), making a Serb specialty, spelled (if memory serves) cevapcici (pronounced "chevapchichi"), little weiner-rolls of mixed minced meat and spices, best if the ground meats, spices, etc. are mixed and then left on a shelf for three days to tenderize it.

I was very excited, as I had not seen the dish in years, and knew that most Serb food is really a sub-set of Turkish food. I popped in and tried to ask the cook what the dish was called in Turkish, trying my seven words of Turkish, and English, and German, which often works in Turkey. Nothing worked, and in desperation I said the dish's name in Serb, and he laughed, and we were chatting away in Serbo-Croatian, and his co-workers were looking at him like he was nuts. He was a Bosnian refugee! Wife and I then ordered two plates of the delicious treat.

I worked very briefly in international trade for a friend's husband, a German/French crook (almost everyone in international trade is a crook), and we had a business meeting with three (sort of) Russians, who were looking to buy sneakers and stretch limosines. The meeting progressed in English, German, Russian, Serbo-Croatian, and Modern Hebrew. No one language spanned more than 2-3 participants.

My father, when he left high school and entered the German Army as a private in 1915, had good German, French, Latin, Classical Greek, English, and limited but workable Russian he had picked up in visits to pre-war Russia as a school-boy. He tried to save the life of a French officer in a pre-dawn raid on Hill 304 at Verdun, speaking to him in French, but the fool instead shot my father from inches away.

My remarkable wife can read 11 languages very well, and she is almost all Brit and Irish (family came to Boston from England in 1634), many others badly (but she does it all day long at work, for possibly 20 years, buying foreign-language books for a major research library).

A lot of puffing up above, I am sorry, but I really have had great experiences chattering away in languages that I might or might not really have a handle on. 95% of people really seem to respond wonderfully. A previous poster was right, I think; it seems that most Brits seem to have a defective gene in that corner. (No offense meant!) Just do it!

Bob Lembke

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