EL Alamein 2019 Best thing I EVER did was go on a tour of the Western Desert Battlefields with Steve Hamilton and his crew. The SECOND best thing I ever did was go a second time. Looking forward to the next trip Steve whenever that may be. Thanks all for making it such a great success especially Mark and his grandfather. Andrew D. Mareth Line Battlefield Tour June 2019 Our trip to Tunisia was a really special experience and fantastically well organised in every way by Steve. I travelled with my parents to find out more about the place and circumstances of my Great Uncle’s death at the Mareth line. Steve put together a wonderful, informative experience over 4 days which really helped to put a full picture around Lionel’s time in North Africa. Airport transfers and hotel transfers were very smooth. Our driver for the trip was extremely good and great company. As a bonus we got to explore the magnificent El Djem, a Roman colosseum in fantastic condition before heading down south to Gabes to pick up the history of the conflict at the Mareth Line. Hotels were all good and the food was all very good. Buffets at the hotels and we stopped at some traditional Tunisian eateries along the road for lunch plus coffee or mint tea stops. Roads were all good until we got closer to the battle sites then we really needed the 4x4 vehicle! Steve’s itinerary was spot on and we really enjoyed the excellent Mareth Line museum, getting our first taste of the Mareth line itself here, exploring the guns and some command posts and trenches. Visiting the spot where Lionel died was incredibly moving. The terrain spoke for itself, as the wadi crossing was extremely exposed and difficult to breach from the south. Bullet holes, shrapnel and barbed wire at the site make it feel like little has changed since 1943. We visited a tiny memorial to the battle at Wadi Zigzaou which was nice to see, before moving north to follow the sites of the next battles, and visiting the spot where Steve’s grandfather died was another highlight. We were given some wonderful Tunisian hospitality and a stroll around a lovely farm. Visiting the cemetery at Sfax on our final day was an appropriate and moving end to the journey, and we took flowers to leave on the grave. Having learned that Lionel was so close to Steve’s grandfather in the Tank Regiment at the wadi made it a very moving day. Their graves are just metres apart in the cemetery at Sfax. All in all a wonderful trip. Steve’s knowledge and enthusiasm for the subject shines through and it was a pleasure to learn so much from him. Thank you! Elinor, Ann & Bob EL Alamein October 2018 May I say on behalf of Vicky and myself how much we enjoyed it. Thank you so much for escorting us round. As a gang I thought we all got on fine. As far as Nick and I were concerned, the trip covered all we wanted to see exactly. Cairo to see where we born etc and El Alamein where our father fought. As you can understand, for my parents the years 1938 to 1947 in their late 20s and early 30s was the highlight of their lives. They were forever talking about it and I can quite see why. Their real close friends were from their Cairo days. My main impression was how damn flat and featureless the battlefield was. Ruweisat and Miteiriya Ridges were barely recognisable and one now quite understands how difficult it was to navigate in, there was so much to take in. How appropriate it was getting back in time for Remembrance Sunday with one thoughts still filled with all those immaculate cemeteries we had just visited. Anyway many thanks again. A trip we have been so looking forward to and one will never forget. Adrian Kasserine Pass and Sicily July 2018 “Thanks for your expertise and enthusiasm for honouring those who fought for our freedom during the war. You do honour to them for devoting 30 plus years to learning and telling their stories. It was an exciting and very interesting tour. I admire great tour guides like you and benefit enormously.” Chuck L. “Your passion for this country and its people, your knowledge of the events that took place here and across North Africa during WWII, and your experience of and feel for the land itself are simply remarkable. The way in which you thought about my Fathers story; his experiences; the locations; and caring about what I was hoping to find here are far more than I ever expected. I am truly grateful for being able to share this solitary and personal journey with someone who really understands. Thank you for the invitations to join you and Talal and for sharing your friendship and stories with me. I felt welcomed and included in the respect and warmth that you both have for each other. This is perhaps the greatest gift of all” Samantha J. El Alamein October 2017 75 th Anniversary I want to thank you sincerely for a tremendous tour - one of the highlights of my life........ I can hardly remember all of where we went or all of what we did - we crammed so much into 10 days. This tour will be fodder for the rest of my cruise dinners at sea - no other guest will possibly have done this! I will tell all my friends (those who will listen!) of my Alamein Tour and 'Aboukir Bay' and my side trip to 'Sinai'. I will recommend you to all my friends and acquaintances. Your 'Tour Guide' is a treasure and keepsake. John B. David and I just want to say again how pleased we were with everything on the tour. The accommodations, food, the sites themselves, your explanations and expertise and comradery were all wonderful. We're considering taking another tour with you because of this positive experience. Art S. I am now back after a truly amazing 10 days in Egypt on an El Alamein battlefield tour. Steve Hamilton and his team looked after us all superbly and I've increased my knowledge of the Battle of El Alamein hugely. Nothing can replace the experience of actually standing there amongst the shell fragments and seeing the positions that were fought so hard for with your own eyes. The high point was the 75th Anniversary Ceremony at the Commonwealth cemetery. So many young men buried there after fighting over virtually featureless desert thousands of miles from their home, Very moving. A tot of 8th army rum was taken with the remembrance oath. My father's photograph now lies buried under a tree in the Allied Cemetery with his fallen comrades. He is forever 'Up the blue' with his mates. Richard P. Operation Torch and Operation Dragoon 2017 We had a wonderful two weeks with you. Thank you so much. Bill and Dru Vodra. Thanks for a great trip with many interesting and varied sites visited. George M. Operation Dragoon 2016 We made it home safe and sound, and want to thank you for a wonderful trip. It was a pleasure traveling with you as always. What an opportunity to learn about WWII and see the beautiful French countryside close up. As you Brits would say..."Brilliant!!". Thanks again, and happy travels! I toured North Africa three times in the last two years with an outstanding guide, Steve Hamilton. I got to meet veterans on both sides of the conflict at the 70th Anniversary of the Battle of El Alamein in El Alamein, Egypt. I have been to many of the battle sites in Tunisia fought by the GIs and the Commonwealth Forces. I have been to Tobruk and outlaying battle sites. Being in situ really brings to life the events which went on over 70 years ago. I have found that Steve Hamilton is more versed in the history and location of the various battle sites in North Africa than most that write the books and haven't even been there. He has the local contacts and travels with Talal Bariun, a former Libya judge and current lawyer for the Libya stock exchange. It amazes me how few Americans are interested in visiting the North Africa battle sites. It may be the "terrorist" threats, but Steve has taken extra steps to make sure his guests are safe and secure. The tours have enlightened me. Don W. El Alamein October 2015 Our annual October tour to El Alamein went ahead as usual with everyone enjoying themselves. Before leaving Cairo we arranged for our guests to sit at Churchill’s and Montgomery’s desks, a real treat with very few getting the opportunity. We only had three special requests for this tour from a RAF enthusiast – to visit the old airfields of Sidi Haniesh and Fuka, and on the way back to Cairo one of the El Daba airfields. The first two were both attacked by the the Special Air Service. Our guests were lucky enough to find bullets at both sites. “Thanks for the photo! Yes, we arrived home safe and sound. What a wonderful time we had! The tour was everything we hoped for and more. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and carting us about on the north coast of Egypt . . . an adventure we will always remember” Bob and Nan “We had a really lovely time on the tour - it was certainly a very thought-provoking and moving experience in many different respects e.g. seeing the actual sites of the battles, the cemeteries, the environmental factors (the rubbish), the traffic, the hospital for all those poor horses (I'd thought beforehand it was a museum displaying treatment given during the various wars). Finishing with the meal & trip on the Nile was a good idea as we went out on a high. The hotels certainly exceeded our expectations as we never stay anywhere so grand - usually B&B or Travelodge’s! We enjoyed the company of the other travellers & felt we gelled well together. We’re now reading your booklet which gives an excellent guide to the background & details of the battles. Anyway, thanks for making the whole tour a very meaningful, well-coordinated & varied experience. We'll be thinking about it for a long time to come. Let's hope some effort is made to preserve the battle zones” John and Alyson “Just want to say thanks very much for an excellent tour as well. Well organised and very enjoyable” Brian “It was great Steve, thanks for putting it together” Richard. Kasserine September 2014 “Want to thank you again for a great trip. Enjoyed hearing about the history of the war in Tunisia, along with seeing the actual sites. Your crew did a great job as well. My best to everyone” Craig “It was a great trip largely because of your expertise and the team you have put together. So thanks” Dave Kasserine May 2014 "Steve was a wonderful guide. We loved getting out on the back roads of Tunisia, meeting locals, eating lunch at roadside cafes and learning history while immersed in Tunisian culture. We enjoyed visits to ancient history sites, along with the WWII itinerary. A bonus!" Mr and Mrs Rudd “Tigers in Tunisia” “Thank you for a most memorable battlefield tour. I found it to be extremely informative and enormous fun. The museum hopefully will re-open next week (which is why I am still up to my eye-balls in work and haven't written earlier) and what you showed us will have given me much greater authority and confidence to talk about the Hampshire Regiment in Tunisia. The organisation of your tour was excellent, the arrangements were impeccable and it was just a brilliant relaxed atmosphere that did everything that we asked and more” Lt-Col Colin B The Royal Hampshire Regiment Trust “I just wanted to say a huge “Thank You” to you for all your hard work in making our trip so informative and so personal. I must admit to feeling quite proud when I see the front cover of the booklet you prepared for us, with the monument to Hunts Gap. I’ve been showing the photos I took to the family and friends, and I must say I still get quite emotional looking at the ones of the Beja cemetery. Despite the emotion, I also feel more settled in myself – it’s very strange to be able to visualise the reality now of what has so far been pure imagination. Seeing all those gravestones I just thank God I have never had to go through anything like that. When I look at my children and grandchildren, it is sad to think of the generations lost through the deaths of all those young men - I had the most amazing time and have a whole new perspective on Tunisia as a country as well as a better understanding of the events there in 1942/43. As you can imagine, there were many emotional moments and I feel particularly privileged to have been asked to lay the commemorative wreath at Beja War Cemetery” Geoff P. “Since I got back many people have asked about the tour to Tunisia and what we did and what I enjoyed about it, I found myself waxing lyrical about it, without even trying! I had a fantastic time and really enjoyed myself, I learnt a lot and thoroughly enjoyed myself. It was a real treat to meet you, someone so enthusiastic and knowledgeable about the battles throughout the whole of North Africa, it really helped bring it all together and to put some flesh on the written histories, which is what I suppose it is all about!” Stephen B. El Alamein 70 th Anniversary Battlefield Tour
“What a fantastic group this was, some of them even going onto Libya, and then Tunisia” “Once again Steve I have to say that even after doing this tour three times it still amazes me, each time seeing something new. The desert is such a hostile empty place but in its own way beautiful, but no-one could ever imagine what it would be like to fight a war there, the heat, flies, sand and nowhere to hide but I love it more each time I go. I would recommend Western Desert Battlefield Tours to anyone and with a guide like you Steve they can't go wrong you go the extra mile for all the guests I know you have for my sister and me. Thank you so much” “Just to confirm, as you requested, that I got home without any problems but more importantly this is to thank you for an absolutely superb tour. I don't think it could have been bettered in any way, from the quality of the supporting information booklet all the way to the guidance on the battlefields themselves. On top of this, the hotels and tour management (thanks a great deal to Eslam) were of the very highest standard. I have travelled with others who claim to be the first, and still the best, in the battlefield tours business. They are good but not better than WDBT and considerably more expensive. It was a great and unforgettable trip.” “I would like to thank you for a great tour; it was a pleasure to meet you and a great group of fellow travellers and to actually be with an actual Alamein veteran that was something special. To visit the sites of the Alamein battles and see the vast areas the battles took place on was something to behold, the visits to the CWGC was a very solemn occasion. The hotels we stayed at were excellent especially the Cecil & Mena house hotel, the Egyptianhelpers we had with us were excellent a big thank you to Eslam & Mohamed, and a big thank you to Gladys for her expert Knowledge when we visited the pyramids &museum. It was something I will never forget it was a great 60th birthday present. Finally may I say what a pleasure it was to meet you and I agree with the people who left feedback previously your knowledge of the North Africa campaign is second to none”
Pier’s poetic tribute to El Alamein Seventy years after the decisive battle of El Alamein, Mike Greenwood travels to Egypt on the trail of a unique anthology of poems written by soldiers who served in the western desert. Mike is pictured here with Sapper Charles Westcott, a veteran of El Alamein, revisiting the battlefield with Western Desert Battlefield Tours Return to Oasis was Produced by Eve Streeter and broadcast on BBC Radio 4 at 4.30pm on Sunday 28 October. Film Maker Kaarina Miles, also came along seen here interviewing our Royal Engineer veteran Charles Westcott.
What some of our customers think I have to tell you that the El Alamein battlefield tour was the very best I have encountered. Not only are you the consummate professional with your vast knowledge and attention to detail, but you carried it out with heart and soul. Taking such a group including 3 veterans in their mid-nineties could only be achieved with commitment. It was an honour to be part of the group. With kindest regards Rod Scott Chairman Desert Rats Assoc. Both Dad and I had a great trip thanks to all your organisation. He loved it and when I spoke to him yesterday was full of it. Can't thank you enough for that, and for your patience in putting up with the slow pace of things! Big, big thanks Kate R. I enjoyed the tour very much - your organisation, the flexible and comprehensive itinerary and the care provided for us both was everything I could have hoped for and it has left me with a lot greater understanding of the key part of my father's war, the El Alamein battle and Egypt generally. I am so glad we made the trip. Judith M. I found the entire trip to Tunisia exciting, challenging, adventurous, eye opening, and educational, in no small part due to your involvement. For that I thank you and wish you the best in your future endeavours. Don W., Orange County, California. Once again, my heart felt thanks for including me on the trip, I wouldn't have missed it for the earth. Norman C. I trust all is well at your end and your tours are continuing to do well with plenty of interesting people. We had a fantastic time and largely thanks to you and Talal – they will be memories treasured for ever. Tony D. Thanks also for a great trip, and I really appreciated your overall effort and talks about the battlefields. Michael N. G'day Steve, Mate, Dad and I had a ball, mainly due to you, Ruth, and your team. I can't thank you enough. It was something Dad had to do, we'd been talking about it for ages, he always seemed to have a reason not to go. I know he's glad he finally did. Kindest Regards, Bob F. All the best and thanks once again to both of you for your help and friendship on the tour. Well remembered and much appreciated. Alan D. I had a wonderful time. It was really interesting and I learnt a lot. Richard P. I thoroughly enjoyed my trip with the veterans to Egypt and I know my father and his partner did too. I thought your input made the trip; your knowledge and the way that you presented it to us was wonderful. Tina W. It has been an incredible week – every expectation met and more. Shirley D. My dad and I thoroughly enjoyed our time in Egypt. My dad says it is the best war tour he has been on. The hotels were first class and we enjoyed everyone's company. If we ever go to Libya then we will definitely go with you again. Thanks for such a memorable trip. Sam A. Just wanted to send you an e mail to thank you again for giving me the trip of a lifetime - no make that a trip in a thousand lifetimes! I had a fantastic time and enjoyed every single second of every single thing that we did! You really did make a dream come true, it was EVEN better than I even dared to dream. Rest assured that I am now making every effort to save up the cash for another tour and as soon as I can I will be going back! Please send my warmest wishes and deepest gratitude too, to Talal for his part in making the tour so fantastic. I have never felt on such a high and in such GOOD company as in this last week. I will be writing to Manfred very very soon to thank him for the special gift and to tell him what a great time I had, infact I think I will be telling EVERYBODY, whether they are interested or not!! Thank you again, for such a marvellous time I don't think you will ever know how much I really enjoyed myself, CANNOT WAIT TIL THE NEXT TIME!!!!! Natalie D. Just like to thank you for all your help and to say how much we enjoyed the trip. I learned a lot and that is going to help me and also seeing where my dad had been, I know that at least he'll be happy where he is. Karen W. and Eileen K. (With reference to the above statement Karen had scattered the ashes of her Father, as was his last wish, at Ruwesait Rdige, south of El Alamein) We had a wonderful time... Daddy has slept for the past two days! Thank you for all you did. Ambie D. Hi my name is Donna. I'm sending an email on behalf of my mum Ingrid Hempstock who went on one of your tours in October. She was with her sister Karen and her friend Eileen (the two scottish ladies!!!) I'm sure you will remember them... My mum had an amazing time in Egypt and I've heard nothing but since she came back. Her photos were amazing, all she keeps talking about is how fantastic the people were, from the other people on the tour to the drivers of the coach. I just wanted to say thank you for making her holiday so special for her and something that she will remember forever. To stand in the footsteps of her dad was something she will treasure forever. She is hoping to do it again one day and I think I will join her. Thank you again from both of us. Thank you so much for these photographs. The family will treasure them. You really are wonderful (yes I know.....so they say!!) but I can't express enough what this means to the family. His daughter never knew her Dad (he died when she was just over a year old) and she suffered at the hands of her stepfather so this will bring her lot of peace and closure. There are a lot of wonderful people in this world but you are truly special. Thanks again. Sue J Once again I had a thoroughly enjoyable time with Western Desert Battlefield tours and loved every minute I was there. Libya is definitely my favourite North African country and I came away knowing that I had seen only a tiny bit of what is actually out there (I am currently saving for my next trip!). In-between Steve's knowledge and his stories of the soldier's experiences, my thirst for knowledge about the Desert Campaign has only been heightened. Talal was a total superstar, enduring the 'punishment' of the long drive with his always-present good humour and laid-back style. While I was in North Africa, the Icelandic volcano blew and to get my experience in perspective, I'll say that I was most disappointed about two things: Firstly, that they started to allow flights back into the UK and I couldn't have an excuse to stay longer, and secondly, that I had to be back in England due to other commitments. I would highly recommend Steve as a guide in North Africa, for me, there is NOBODY better! Natalie D. We both enjoyed an amazing time with you...an excellent Tour... (El Alamein) Thank you so much for preparing the diary of my father's last days and thank you too for organising the flowers for the grave. This tour has been a revelation for me and I can't thank you enough...you are a lovely, lovely man...diolch yn fawr. Gina and Gwyn W. - October 2010 Thank you for the most exceptional tour (following in the footsteps of my Father Major General Roy Urquhart). It answered many questions and provided unforgettable sights and experiences not to be forgotton. You were a great and inexhaustable guide and continuous fund of information. I felt very lucky to have found your tour and cannot imagine a better leader. We were a good group aided by the Mohammed's and the trusty mini bus - with five star hotels appearing out of nowhere. Altogether an amazing week. Judy U.