We're not lost, Sergeant, We're in … France


Bryson’s website up!

For all those of you who’ve been searching and hitting my blog looking for Allan Bryson’s tours, there’s good news. Allan’s website is up now! I heartily recommend Allan’s tours, as well as those by the other two Battlebus alumni that I’ve had tours with Dale Booth and Paul Woodadge.

In regards to evaluations, I’d say that Dale is probably the best speaker of the three, having spent some time in sales management for Ford Motor Company. He was also Paul’s first hire, so has long experience giving tours and covers all sectors well. He also trained some of the other Battlebus guides (whom I don’t know) in how to give tours. Allan may have more depth of knowledge on the American airborne and has been working on a book on it with Paul. As to Paul, he’s probably more knowledgeable than anyone you’ll meet. He’s been giving tours the longest and provided the structure for Battlebus and the set of tours each of them gives.

I expect that in five years, each of them will have evolved their style and selection of tours, but currently they are similar. Paul has come up with a schedule he’ll use – offering the two-day American Experience Tour every Monday & Tuesday, then the Band of Brothers Tour on Wednesdays – so that it should ease the hassle of scheduling, while still allowing him to offer British and Canadian tours as well as other specific, private tours, on a more limited basis. Paul and Myriam already had extensive experience with more free-form scheduling, so it wouldn’t surprise me if Dale and Allan find some schedule that suits their rythms as well.

Melissa and I will likely be back in Normandy again in September. I think all three are terrific guides, but Dale is Melissa’s favorite, so our guests will have a tour with Dale as the guide. I might also spend a day or half a day with Paul, since he’s written a good monograph on the fight at La Fiere and can give a day-long of just that site.

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The end of an era
13 November 2010, 14:20
Filed under: Normandy, Tours | Tags: , , , , , ,

I got terrible news in Normandy. Battlebus has broken up. Paul had built the business from a one-man shop to six guides and mini-buses, but, from what I understand, he and the other guides will each become to being one-man shops starting in the spring. I toured with Dale Booth and Allan Bryson while in Normandy last month, then exchanged messages with Paul before he made the announcement on the 1st of November. While it will make it more complex for people to book tours with these gents, the good thing is that Paul will be back out giving tours on a regular basis.

I loved a number of things about Battlebus:

  1. Consistency & Competency: You know that Paul wouldn’t hire anyone unless they were good guides and they would follow the general process and format of his tours.
  2. Simplicity: It gave you access to several excellent guides through one email address, one scheduler and one process. It was also easy to remember – I’ve run into people who absolutely remember they used Battlebus, but can’t be certain who the guide was.
  3. Location: By basing out of Bayeux, they were centrally located to go to either the US or British beaches. It’s also just a fantastic area in which to stay. It made giving advice about where to stay in Normandy easy for me. “Just stay within 10k of Bayeux and everything else falls into place.”
  4. Collegiality: Since I kept in touch with them, I knew that in the off-season, these guys were studying and travelling to other sites together, further enhancing their knowledge of Normandy and the war as a whole. Battlebus was more than the sum of its parts.

I think it’s a shame that Battlebus itself has gone away, but at least they will continue to give tours as individuals. I heartily recommend all of them, though I’ve only toured with three.

Paul’s is at paul@ddayhistorian.com and his new website is http://www.ddayhistorian.com

Dale’s email is dboothholidays@sfr.fr and his website is http://daleboothnormandytours.com

Allan’s email is allan.bryson@orange.fr and his website is  http://firstnormandybattlefieldtours.com




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