medals-in-frameCanadian Battlefield Tours is a Battlefield Tour Company, specializing in the Canadian actions in WW1 and the Canadian, British and Polish 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 4 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

  • Hello Gary, Judy and I are about two weeks post our tour, which included the WW2 fighting around the Scheldt Estuary, and The Liberation of Holland, with a visit to the Reichwald and Hochwald Battle sites in Germany. The tour exceeded any expectations we might have had. My father Samuel Kates fought with the Algonquin Regiment (Part of the Canadian 4th Armoured Division) from July 1944 until after the end of the war, when he stayed on with the Army of Occupation. Unfortunately he survived the war, but succumbed later to Hodgkins Disease at the age of 37. This left huge gaps in my knowledge of his wartime story.  Also, mementos were irretrievably lost, in the cleaning out my mother's apartment.  For years I had discussed with my wife Judy the possibility of retracing Sam's wartime steps by visiting where his Regiment had fought, and finally she decided to book this tour. We began, meeting Robert in the Roosendaal station, and then off to Bergen op Zoom, where we stayed in a comfortable hotel. Over the three days of touring we traced a number of the operations that the Algonquins and other Regiments of the 4th Canadian Division were involved in. At the beginning of each day Robert would orient us with maps of the Scheldt region, which gave an overview of the campaign to free up the Scheldt Estuary so allied shipping and supplies could make their way to the liberated port of Antwerp. Robert also showed film clips on his laptop, both Canadian and German, which gave further insight into the nature of the fighting.  Driving with Robert, we would stop at strategic points, to review maps, and the evolution of a battle. Robert also carried with him tunics and caps from soldiers who had participated in each campaign. This added a human element to the stories about the fighting. Robert helped us to understand the nature of the fighting, the Allied vs German tactics, and above all the difficult conditions faced by the Canadians, as they fought through the landscape of polders and dikes. Conditions were miserable, and casualties and suffering were high. A highpoint of the tour took place in Moerbrugge, where the Algonquins unsuccessfully attempted to cross the Leopold Canal, and to establish a beachhead so that an advance to cut off Germans retreating to Breskens could be achieved. One of the few stories I had from my father involved crossing the canal, and later being forced to retreat back across the water. The boats that had carried them across were gone and they were forced to swim. My father couldn't swim, but he recalled that the radio pack on his back kept him afloat. In Moerbrugge, we met Wilfred Morre, a local, who was a child at the time of the failed canal crossing. We toured the battlefield with him and saw the crossroads, which marked the limit of the Algonquin's advance. He also showed us a nearby farmer's field, where the body of a long lost Algonquin was recently retrieved. Later we joined Wilfred for lunch, which he insisted on paying for. What a charming and gracious man. Later that day Robert showed us his personal collection of books, uniforms and artifacts that he had collected in a private museum in his home in Welburg. Robert also took us to several Canadian War Cemeteries including one near Welburg. As we walked past rows of Canadian graves, often grouped by dates, corresponding to the battles we had discussed, Robert would stop and recount stories about several of the soldiers buried there. Again he helped to provide immediacy and relevance to the the personal side of the fighting. Robert also provided helpful suggestions to retrieve more wartime information about my father. After our time spent with Robert we were driven to Lochem to begin our Liberation of Holland tour. We settled into the Shanda Lee B&B, a comfortable place, located in the central square of Lochem. The following morning we met with Berry and Yvonne to begin our tour of the fighting in Eastern Holland. Berry and Yvonne not only served as guides for battlefield tours, they also were the owners of a local restaurant, Mondani, which specialized in Canadian cuisine, and served as a branch of the Canadian Legion. As Thursday was their day off, (Berry is the restaurant's chef, and Yvonne manages and serves)  both accompanied us for our day of touring. We began with the fighting around Lochem, and then visited Wierden, where the Algonquins suffered heavy casualties attempting to advance from Almelo across another canal to occupy a factory site within the approach to Wierden. In Wierden we were joined by Kees Kroon, a member of the local historical society.  Kees took us to the sites of several Algonquin advances, which failed to take the town from the German  defenders. We also visited a cemetery containing the graves of several Canadian Airmen who had crashed locally, as well as members of the local Resistance, who had lost their lives trying to liberate their town. A powerfully emotional moment happened when Kees pointed out the brass 'stumble stone' in front of the house of a Jewish Family, whose members had been deported to the Nazi death camps. Later Kees took us back to his historical society's location to show us plaques honoring the Algonquins, and a slide presentation, that he was preparing, documenting the liberation of his town. I learned that the Algonquins spent several months after the war, in Wierden, helping with the post war restoration. I also know that my father had stayed on after the war in Holland, probably it was here in Wierden. My father had mentioned that he had a Dutch girlfriend, who had died of typhus. Chillingly, Kees showed a slide, with a news clipping about a local outbreak of typhus.  Kees has promised to send the completed presentation, once it's done. The following day Berry deviated from the scheduled tour to take us to Germany. I had previously…
    Judy and Martin Kates
    Ontario, Canada
  • We recently returned from our three-day tour of the Scheldt battlefield area with Robert Catsburg as our guide. We were in Belgium to attend the burial service for a relative, Private Kenneth Duncanson, at the Adegem Canadian War Cemetery. He was killed during an unsuccessful attempt to cross the Leopold Canal near Bruges on September 14, 1944. His remains were recovered and identified in April of this year. He was laid to rest with military honours by his unit, The Algonquin Regiment, 72 years to the day after his death. Our personalized and customized tour began the day after the service. The tour followed the movements of the Algonquin Regiment, who were part of the 10th Infantry Brigade in the 4th Canadian Armoured Division, from Moerbrugge, Belgium to Welberg in the Netherlands. It was a truly memorable experience because of Robert’s encyclopaedic knowledge of the Scheldt battlefield area and the role Canadian forces played in the liberation. Robert travelled with a large map of movements of the Canadian army in the Scheldt. At each stop he pulled out the map that covered the hood of his car. It helped us visualize what it must have been like for both the Canadian and German troops at the specific battle site we were visiting. The daily changes in his travelling museum of artefacts in the trunk of his car added to our understanding of the life of the soldiers. Viewing Second World War news footage on his computer reminded us of the hardships and triumphs experienced by the soldiers. This personalized tour allowed us to get to out-of-the-way sites and see things that would have been impossible to visit in a large group tour. In spite of a very full schedule, we never felted rushed and had ample time to absorb the information. Robert was always ready to answer our questions and made sure we fully understood the significance of what we were viewing. We would also like to thank you for putting us in touch with Walter Cami. He is truly a remarkable gentleman. He took us to the Last Post Ceremony at the Menin Gate and arranged for Judith to lay a bouquet of flowers in remembrance of Lewis Finch, a first cousin twice removed who died during the Battle of the Somme. He is buried in the Albert Communal Cemetery Extension. On the way to the Gate we stopped at Essex Farm and on the way back we visited the Brooding Soldier monument. Walter also insisted that he drive us from Bergen op Zoom to the Brussels airport when our tour with Robert concluded. We have nothing but praise for the prompt and efficient way Gary organized this tour for us with very short notice and for the enthusiastic and passionate way Robert guided us for three days. We would recommend without hesitation, Canadian Battlefield Tours.
    Gordon & Judith Thomas
    Saskatoon
  • We're home now and remembering our tour with Ken Lees very fondly. His knowledge is impressive and the way he presented it, with maps and other materials, really helped us visualize the way things were for those poor soldiers. As for our stops in the Somme, words are inadequate. It was more meaningful than I could have ever imagined, being so close to the ground my great uncle Richard trod and died defending one hundred years ago. Another example of Ken's vast knowledge and the generosity with which he shares it was on the last day of our three day tour. We had stopped at the monument at Mouquet Farm where we happened to strike up conversations with two other couples visiting from Australia. As it turned out we had all lost great uncles on the same day, September 3, 1916, during the conflict at the Farm. Neither of their relatives had known graves, unfortunately, whereas we were able to go on to the Sunken Road Cemetery to visit mine. Ken pulled out his binder and showed them the approximate location of the Australians on that date. I could tell his information impressed them and will probably stay with them, as it will me, for a long time. I hope Ken gets a chance to send me the poem he read at the Sunken Road Cemetery. It captured the moment perfectly! Suffice to say our tour was one of the best experiences of our lives, thanks to you! I will have no problem recommending Canadian Battlefield Tours and Ken Lees as a guide.  
    Jane Holland
    Belleville, Ontario
  • We recently returned from our three-day WWI Canadian Battlefields Tour. We were very fortunate to have Ken as our tour guide and equally as fortunate that we were able to stay at the B & B run by Ken and his wife, Karen. Ken met us at the train station in Arras and drove us to their B & B in Flers where Karen had a delicious dinner waiting for us, even though it was later in the evening. Ken's knowledge of our Canadian involvement in the battles of WWI is amazing! He was able to describe the events of the battles in such detail that we were able to feel as if it was right in front of us. We never felt rushed and Ken was able to answer any questions we might have. We were amazed by the number of Canadian memorials in the area and how well all the memorials and Commonwealth war cemeteries are maintained. It is a tribute to the sacrifice made by the soldiers of WWI. At the end of each day, it was wonderful to be able to return to Ken and Karen's lovely B & B. Karen always had a delicious dinner waiting for us and it was so nice to be able to relax and go over the details of our day. The breakfasts prepared by Karen were feasts in themselves. We were so warmly welcomed into their home that we now feel that we have made great new friends. We would strongly recommend that every Canadian take this tour. It was very emotional and made us appreciate more than ever that the freedom we have today is largely due to the sacrifice of our Canadian soldiers. We would certainly recommend Canadian Battlefield Tours, as well as Ken and Karen. If you wish to refer anyone to us for a recommendation, please feel free to do so.
    Ed & Gail Walker
    Walkerton, Ontario
  • Just a note in reference to a tour our family took on Sunday, September 29 in Normandy. Our guide for the day, John, gave us a wonderful tour. He had information on my father's (Debbie's)  regiment so was able to make the tour more personal. We started with John picking us up at our hotel and had a little 'get acquainted' chat before we began so it was nice to get to know him a little before we started out. A very nice man and very personable. He started our tour by taking us to Juno Beach where he knew my father had walked onto land.  He explained the landings and what our soldiers faced. He then took us along the Maple Leaf route stopping at different points of particular interest. Unfortunately we only had the one day to tour so John made sure we saw as much as possible. His wife was good enough to make us a lunch for a small fee so we had a little picnic.  All told John was an excellent host and we were appreciative of his knowledge and patience when we asked questions or wanted to linger at certain places.  John, we just want to say thank you! A very memorable experience. Wishing you guys all the best and WHEN we do any tours again we will be sure to look to Canadian Battlefield Tours!
    Doug, Debbie & Shari Lemon & Tina Soetaert
    Alberta, Canada
  • We could not have been more pleased with our tour and our expert guides for our days in Normandy and Dieppe. The wealth of knowledge, dates and details form John and Frederick gave us a complete and much broader understanding of the times and experiences of our troops in both of those areas. With John the most moving site visit was the chateau where 27 Canadian soldiers were executed one by one and buried much later to be found in the owners gardens and then of course, the Juno Beach memorial. Frederick guided us through the battle of Puys Beach where my partner's father had arrived with 650 British and Canadian soldiers and where he was one of only 65 who survived - only to return to the Dieppe shore 2 years later. He survived that endurance as well to live a healthy and productive life. Frederick also gave us an option which we were glad to have taken - a visit to a missile preparation and launch site. Also a wonderful meal and visit with his family was very special. Highly recommend any Canadian to take advantage of your uniquely developed tours and exceptional guides - all made our time so valuable and memorable. Thanks from myself, Bill and my father for your care of us during our time with John and Frederick - never to be forgotten.  
    Gayle Sadler, Bill Milne & Jack Hill
    Ontario, Canada
  • The Vimy Ridge & Ypres tour was great. The details the guide shared was excellent. My father was very happy with the duration and the details of each site shared. It was one of the highlights of his trip. I also enjoyed it very much. Thank you for your assistance in arranging this for us. I would recommend this tour in the future.
    Darlene Swabb
    Edmonton
  • When we met our Canadian Battlefield tour guide Ken, we were greatly reassured that all our questions would be answered and that the tour would more than meet our expectations. Ken is an extremely knowledgeable guide and has the people skills to be able to read each member’s particular interests and to be able to respond appropriately. We grew to admire his passion, particularly when we saw the size of his library. Ken tailored an itinerary which provided for visits to the principal sites we wanted to see. The time allotted to each of our four days was appropriate and Ken was both good company and well informed. He was willing to undertake additional research when a person or site was of particular interest. The four days we spent with Ken were well planned, smoothly executed and thoroughly enjoyable.
    D’Arcy & Leslie McGee, Bill & Nancy Dickson
    Vancouver
  • Our guide, Richard, was attentive to our needs looking after us for three full-days. His knowledge of the battles and actions of the Great War was impressive and an unexpected bonus was his own experience in soldiering which added greatly to our understanding of the life of a soldier at that time. Also, we really appreciated the effort in researching and then explaining where my grandfather served in the Great War.
    Kevin Kitchen
    Saskatoon
  • John was very knowledgeable, informative and entertaining. He was also very patient with us and our 13 year old girls. We did not feel rushed at any point and John somehow managed to get us through the entire tour in the one day, which is a lot of ground to cover. A memorable and worthwhile experience. Glad we did it.
    David Wiseman
    Toronto
  • We had a wonderful day with Berry on May 13th. He took us to Veendam and Loppersum so we saw those places where Jim's father had been. We took some photos with us and with Berry's knowledge we located a church and the town hall in Veendam that look today just as the photo from the 1940s. Amazingly we also found a windmill that Jim's father had taken a picture of in Loppersum.
    Laurette Setterlund
    Edmonton
  • The Normandy tour with John was amazing. It was more than I expected. John went above and beyond my expectations. I would highly recommend Canadian Battlefield Tours for your tour. Thank you for the spectacular tour.
    Heather Roy
    Ontario
  • Canadian Battlefield Tours is an excellent way to follow the areas where a relative served during W. W. I or W. W. II. I would highly recommend this Canadian company. John was very knowledgeable and zeroed in on the areas I wished to visit in Normandy. Berry and Yvonne provided an excellent tour of the areas of the Netherlands I wished to visit, and included a prepared booklet on each tour day. They were very accommodating regarding time of day and length of tour each day.
    Sandy Armstrong
    Brandon
  • Barry gave us a Normandy tour that went way beyond our expectations. He was superb. The lunch his wife provided lasted us 3 days. His explanations at the sites and anecdotes of what happened gave us a greater understanding of what occurred at the different areas. We had an extremely full day although starting out rainy and later very windy was by far the best we had on the whole cruise. Good luck on your season.
    Bob & Marilyn Cowbrough
    British Columbia
  • The Normandy tour with John was amazing. It was more than I expected. John went above and beyond my expectations. I would highly recommend Canadian Battlefield Tours for your tour. Thank you for the spectacular tour. Heather had a particular interest in visiting her Uncles grave in Bretteville-sur-Laize. His name is Cecil Rogers, with the Algonquins- Grave reference XIII.A.2." - CBT  
    Heather Roy
    Ontario
  • Canadian Battlefield Tours is an excellent way to follow the areas where a relative served during W. W. I or W. W. II.  I would highly recommend this Canadian company. John Moule was very knowledgeable and zeroed in on the areas I wished to visit in Normandy. Berry and Yvonne Swarthoff provided an excellent tour of the areas of the Netherlands I wished to visit, and included a prepared booklet on each tour day. They were very accommodating regarding time of day and length of tour each day.
    Sandy Armstrong
    Brandon, Manitoba
  • Barry gave us a Normandy tour that went way beyond our expectations. He was superb. The lunch his wife provided lasted us three days. His explanations at the sites and anecdotes of what happened gave us a greater understanding of what occurred at the different areas. We had an extremely full day although starting out rainy and later very windy was by far the best we had on the whole cruise. Good luck on your season.
    Bob & Marilyn
    Cowbrough, British Columbia
  • We had a wonderful day with Berry on May 13th. He took us to Veendam and Loppersum so we saw those places where Jim's father had been. We took some photos with us and with Barry's knowledge we located a church and the town hall in Veendam that look today just as the photo from the 1940s. Amazingly we also found a windmill that Jim's father had taken a picture of in Loppersum.
    Laurette Setterlund
    Edmonton, Alberta
  • Ken and I Just wanted to let you know that we really enjoyed Lochem, the restaurants and your B & B. What a lovely town! We appreciate all the driving you did and the sites we visited. We loved your 'door to door' service from Amsterdam to Lochem and back. , 
    Ken and Sharon Weitzel
    Ontario, Canada
  • Many thanks to Gary McKay and Canadian Battlefield Tours for a once in a lifetime tour of Canadian World War I and II battlefield sites.
    Gord Wyatt
    Alberta, Canada
  • The tour was fantastic and John was excellent. We all really got a great appreciation for what happened on D-Day and it was very powerful to be at the actual locations where Canadian troops fought. Overall a fantastic and very moving day for all of us.
    Ian Ray
    Ontario, Canada
  • We had a wonderful time with John. He was a pleasure to be with for three days I'm just trying to deal with the photographs I hope to send a couple to John this weekend along with a thank you note.
    Allan & Nancy Walkinshaw
    Ontario, Canada
  • John went out of his way to make our tour in Normandy specific and personal as we retraced our Dad's and Grandfather's WW2 footsteps. We would certainly recommend Canadian Battlefield Tours to anyone who wishes to do a very personal tour.
    Marie Armitage, R. Gary Carey and Sherry McLeod
    Ontario, Canada
  • Both Richard and John were amazing in their amount of knowledge and we really enjoyed 2 days with each of them. They customized the tour to suit our needs and brought along their own pictures and books.
    Bruce and Lori
    British Columbia, Canada
  • I would, and have, recommended Canadian Battlefield Tours to everyone.
    Charles Ireland
    Northern Ireland
  • Thanks Gary, for the marvelous tour. We very much appreciated your knowledge and insight into D-day and the contribution made by Canadians (often overshadowed) but also to the co-ordination required by all allies. The scope cannot be fully appreciated until one sees the vastness of the site. more...
    Donna and Doug Banks
    Bethany, Ontario
  • My expectations were exceeded on all counts. Rosemary and Lt Colonel Chilcott were charming hosts, and our accommodations at the Le Manoir des Doyens in Bayeux were quite enjoyable. It was great that Rosemary was able to provide us with transportation both from and to the train station, more...
    Earl Walter & David Anholt
    Alberta, Canada
  • Robert, I've no idea how to thank you properly. Today you connected me to a part of my father's life story that had been, until now, a closed book. It was overwhelming on an emotional level and I am profoundly grateful to you for your kindness and sensitivity.
    Tim Barr
    Scotland