My wife and I will be visiting France for the first time in August, we will spend some time in Normandy where my father fought as part of the D-Day invasion. I'm really hoping to retrace his steps from Omaha beach through the area around Saint Lo. I would like to hire a private guide for a day who is really knowledgeable about the invasion and can personalize the tour around my father's experiences. I would appreciate any suggestions from those of you who may have undertaken similar journeys. Thanks!
I second Kens recommendation on Dale Booth and Paul. Both are highly knowledgeable, they have a knack of bringing the experience alive with their stories of the soldiers.
Barry, It's very likely that you'll be able to get a private D-Day tour that will focus on the areas where your father served. However, it won't be cheap! If your budget will allow, here's a few possibilities you could try: www.daleboothnormandytours.com (Dale Booth) www.ddayhistorian.com (Paul Woodage) www.ddaybattletours.com/elldi.php (Elwood von Seibold) All of those Guides are very knowledgeable about the history, and I'm sure you'll have an outstanding tour. Check their websites and then send an E-mail to determine availability. Be sure to allow LOTS of lead time, as they may already be booking for tours into the fall. You may have to adjust your travel days to suit their availability. Good luck and happy travels!
Barry, It's great to hear that you've found a Guide. As Allan Bryson worked for BattleBus (Paul's old firm) and was recommended by Ellwoood, I'm sure you'll have a wonderful tour! Regarding Paul's E-mail, it's always worked well for me. However I do recall there was a problem a few years ago communicating with people in the U.S. that were using AOL or a few other U.S. providers. I wonder if that could be the issue? In any case, you've found a Guide. I'll look forward to reading your trip report! Cheers!
Thanks so much for the recommendations. I contacted Dale and Ellwood, but each has conflicts on the only full day that we can be in Normandy. I was unable to make contact with Paul via e-mail (perhaps a problem with his e-mail account). Ellwood was kind enough to refer me to Allan Bryson who has considerable experience through some years with Battlebus and comes with Ellwood's recommendation. I've already provided Allan information about my father's unit, and he seems very knowledgeable about the areas where Dad saw action. I'm really looking forward to this tour. It will be the highlight of our 3 weeks in Europe. I'll post a review of the tour when we return. Thanks again for your help!
This will be a win-win. He'll enjoy doing the additional research to bring your father's story to life, and you'll enjoy the fruits of his labor. I took a regular tour with Battlebus about 5 years ago and count it among my best experiences here in France. You're in for a real treat.