Tonie and Valmai set up the first modern commercial battlefield touring company in the 1970s, when there was little tourist infrastructure or any previous model to follow. They blazed the trail for guiding battlefields and sold their business in the 1990s to concentrate on their books. They have been part of the virtuous circle that encouraged the development of commemoration and tourist facilities in local communities on historic battlefields.
Tonie and Valmai Holt started guiding when visitors included many veterans of the two world wars. For some years they were responsible for organising and conducting Pilgrimages for the Royal British Legion. They are honorary members of the Guild of Battlefield Guides International
The podcast is divided into three parts.
Part One – covers Tonie and Valmai’s background, how they came to set up Major and Mrs Holts Battlefield Tours, the challenges they faced setting up a battlefield touring company and some of the difficult problems they had to solve.
Part Two – The Holts tell some about some of the veterans they met, and share their stories, some of their most emotionally moving experiences on historic battlefields and introduce a song about D Day that they would like to be passed on as widely as possible.
Part Three – Tonie and Valmai talk about some of their most amusing experiences, guiding in the last century and their advice for battlefield guides.