Comprehensive and captivating tour of the WW2 sites
Susan and Frederick Dwyer, Louisiana, November 2022
Thanks so very much for the comprehensive and captivating tour of the WW2 sites in Normandy. It would have been virtually impossible to cover the ground or understand the military action without your experience and insight. We would highly recommend anyone touring Normandy to utilise your services which so greatly enhanced our visit.
Johnny’s choice of sites, walks, and visits resulted in an amazing tour
Ben and Ann McIntyre, Canada, May 2019
Our two-day English Civil War tour with Brigadier Johnny Rickett was phenomenal! His wealth of knowledge, amusing anecdotes, and insightful quotations were truly illuminating. Johnny’s choice of sites, walks, and visits resulted in an amazing tour, and his entrée to special venues certainly enhanced our experience. We also appreciated the perfect pacing of each day. It was an honour and a privilege to spend two marvellous days with a professional tour guide of this calibre. We do not hesitate to give Johnny and Battlefields Direct our highest recommendation!
his understanding of military history is extraordinary
James Strickland, Indiana, March 2019
Brigadier Johnny Rickett is a true gentleman and his understanding of military history is extraordinary. The stories he shared during our tour of Normandy underscored the bravery and sacrifice of the Allied soldiers during the D-DAY invasion. Who better to share these perspectives than a professional soldier who has distinguished himself in the service of his country. I am grateful to Johnny for sharing his knowledge with us, and for making this a once in a lifetime experience for my father and me.
Our day with Brigadier Johnny Rickett exceeded all expectations
Neal Robb, USA, 2018
Our day with Brigadier Johnny Rickett exceeded all expectations. The D-Day invasion came alive as we stood on the bluff looking down over Omaha beach and Johnny talked us through the events of the battle. (As an added – and rather unexpected – treat, Johnny led us down an overgrown path to a hidden Nazi bunker concealed in foliage.) With frequent stops, the drive seemed short, even though we covered a lot of ground. And with dramatic, tragic – and sometimes funny – stories about individual soldiers who served on both sides, the tour never seemed dry or pedantic. It was an altogether wonderful day, and we look forward to our next tour with our now-friend Brigadier Johnny! Until our next adventure…
You won’t find another tour historian with the breadth of personal military experience and historical knowledge
Wayne and Edith Huddleston, Nebraska, October 2018.
We just completed several days touring WWII battlefields in France with Brigadier Johnny Rickett and couldn’t be happier. This was the third time that Johnny has served as our personal tour historian and each experience has been better than the previous one. You won’t find another tour historian with the breadth of personal military experience and historical knowledge that allows Johnny to easily explain strategic issues while also describing the actions of individuals and small groups of soldiers. Having personally met many of the individuals he talks about he brings to life the people involved and the actions they performed. In addition, his engaging personality and the personal relationships he has developed with local inhabitants is first rate. You get experiences with Johnny that you won’t get from any other tour historian. We feel privileged to have spent time touring the battlefields with General Rickett and you will too.
Ron Lowery, Louisana, July 2018
My wife and I spent two days with Johnny touring the Normandy battlefielfds and the cemeteries. We were deeply impressed with Johnny’s knowledge of all aspects of the events and the region. He took us to several key sites that are unknown to many. His knowledge extends to the individual units and personnel whose actions impacted the battle. We found Johnny personable and engaging. The tour was a thrill and we hope to book him again for the Battle of the Bulge trip. If you want a truly professional tour that goes above and beyond, General Johnny Rickett is your man.
Tom Hutton, Tennessee, July 2018
We had a wonderful time touring the eastern half of Normandy beach with you, hearing all of your wonderful stories. It almost felt like being there 74 years ago in a way. I have the utmost respect for anyone that has fought for their country and seeing this beach only strengthened my position. I feel it very unfortunate that our country is trying to forget certain history in our schools. It will be up to us to make sure our children realize the importance of our freedom. Regardless, we truly enjoyed being with you and will let you know if we decide to come back or travel over to the Luxembourg area to tour the Battle of the Bulge.
Will Ditzler, Indiana, July 2018
Fun, passionate, energetic and knowledgable all describe Bridgadier General Johnny Rickett. Highly recommend a day or two with him to make the most of your time and learn details you would never have access to on your own
Neal Robb, California, June 2018
Our day with Brigadier Johnny Rickett exceeded all expectations. The D Day invasion came alive as we stood on the bluff overlooking Omaha Beach and Johnny talked us through the events of the battle. (As an added – and rather unexpected treat, Johnny led us down an overgrown path to a hidden German bunker concealed in foliage). With frequent stops, the drive seemed short, even though we covered a lot of ground. And with dramatic, tragic and sometimes funny stories about individual soldiers, who served on both sides, the tour never seemed dry nor pedantic. It was an altogether wonderful day and we look forward to our next tour with Johnny again.
Chris Short, Sussex, May 2018
A rather belated thank you for such an enjoyable and interesting tour in Normandy. I know that the others were equally impressed. Since our return I seem to have had numerous conversations with many friends regarding the D Day Landings and these have served to remind me of the comprehensive coverage which you made of such an important landmark in our history. It was truly memorable and hopefully we can organise another tour in the near future. Needless to say I would not hesitate to recommend your services to anyone considering a Battlefield Tour.
Mark Read Staffordshire 2018
Just wanted to say thank you for an incredibly fascinating few days in the Ardennes, it was a privilege and a pleasure to have had you act as guide. You didn’t so much as take us on a tour but take us back in time and I could almost hear the panzers rolling. Your unique knowledge, anecdotes and telling style are absolutely first rate and the morning briefings were a delight. Looking forward to Villers Bocage immensely….Thank you again.
Michael Slade, London, March 2018
Just a very quick line to say how much I enjoyed meeting you and for your fascinating “tour” in Normandy. Your story telling is magical and your knowledge knows no bounds! I hope that our paths cross again soon.
De Thompson, Tennessee, March 2018
Thank you for taking us all for our recent tour in Normandy. You are a great history teacher! My wife, Jackie and I could not have conceived of a better learning experience for our children and grandchildren than what you provided them. I do hope that our paths can cross again.
Joel Warren (Lt Colonel), Air War College, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama
On behalf of us all thank you for a wonderful tour in Normandy. Getting to see the beach from that position on the last stop was my favourite. Incredible experience. Thanks again.
Tom Benton, OBE, Oxford, February 2018
Johnny Rickett gave us an excellent personalised tour of WW1 battle grounds. I have no hesitation is recommending his excellent and carefully researched programme to anyone with an interest in either WW1 or WW2.
The perspective of an experienced, combat trained military professional added greatly to the experience.
The Marshalls, USA and The Wilsons, UK, September 2017
Brigadier Johnny Rickett is a first rate guide, the proof of which is whether one is inspired to study the subject further later on. I have obtained one of the books he recommended and started reading it to complete the picture he gave us so effectively. He planned the itinerary perfectly with a mix of broad overview, detail and then extraordinarily moving occasions such as at the American cemetery. The perspective of an experienced, combat trained military professional added greatly to the experience, especially to that of the military veteran among the four of us qualified to engage Johnny in conversation about strategy and tactics. This accomplished while at the same time capturing and retaining the attention of the less informed among us.
Johnny’s charm and entertaining anecdotes made our two-day tour in his company that much more memorable. We commend Brigadier Rickett’s services to anyone truly interested in gaining an onsite understanding of D-Day and the immediate aftermath.
I cannot recommend him more strongly as an informed, delightful companion for a trip to the World War I battlefields.
Mark Boyer, Pennsylvania, September 2017
Brigadier Rickett claims that he prefers to be the mentor for those interested in the invasions and subsequent maneuvers of World War II but I cannot recommend him more strongly as an informed, delightful companion for a trip to the World War I battlefields. He says that World War II is “more interesting” because it is primarily a war of movement. A trip to Verdun, The Somme and Ypres however, is different; little movement but just an unrelenting slog over a few acres at the cost of thousands of men. It is striking in another sense. One cannot help but be almost overwhelmed and saddened by the sheer enormity of the casualties; a visit to Tyne Cot or the Menin Gate ought to be required for anyone who thinks that warfare solves much. And Brigadier Rickett goes to the head of the class as an introducer to the area; he is knowledgeable and takes you to virtually all the important sites.. Perhaps best of all (besides being an excellent travelling companion), he is not averse to going off “the beaten track” and talking to farmers and others who continue to live and work in this old combat area. He is excellent.
What a fantastic trip!! The fact that you have known and talked to many of the people who where actually there at the time makes your guidance so genuine.
Bobby Bell, Guilford July 2017
What a fantastic trip!! I am so grateful to you, it was so very interesting to hear the details of this incredibly brave Market Garden operation from someone with such knowledge and experience of military and armed services operations. The fact that you have known and talked to many of the people who where actually there at the time makes your guidance so genuine.
I was very moved by the visit to the war cemetery and impressed by the immaculate order of all the graves,it visibly shows one the enormous number of brave souls who died in what was clearly a poorly planned operation. I very much hope that I may have the privilege to accompany you on another of your memorable tours.
his knowledge of the “what and why” will be what we never forget
Erven & Hisano Kincaid, Eugene, Oregon USA, May 2017
Far more than looking at the beaches at Normandy, our tour with General John Rickett was an educational experience. He took us to vistas that are all but unknown to the public and had background insight that only a military man could have. While we did walk on the sands of the beach, his knowledge of the “what and why” will be what we never forget.
We learned a lot and loved every minute of the tour
Terence Tchen, California, USA, August 2016
We took a full day tour of the D Day sites with Johnny Rickett and thoroughly recommend him. He is extremely engaging and knowledgeable and brought in additional colour from his personal interactions with WW 2 veterans. We learned a lot and loved every minute of the tour, it was among the best we have ever been on.
It is without reservation that we would highly recommend anyone who wants an unbelievable and informative tour to hire Johnny Rickett.
Andrea and Rolland, Canada, June 2016
If you wish to bring history to life Johnny Rickett is the best option. We wanted him to take us to Dieppe and the Normandy Invasion Beaches. He told us that we were his first Canadian clients and we were thrilled that he did extra research to provide us with the best possible information. His individual stories and behind the scenes insight brought these historical sites back to life. During the tour you felt like you could have been one of the soldiers on the beaches. His ability to provide both Allied and German positions and points of reference helped establish an understanding of what was going on from different perspectives. It is without reservation that we would highly recommend anyone who wants an unbelievable and informative tour to hire Johnny Rickett.
Your first hand knowledge and your real life scenarios as you pointed out French barns, beaches and gun emplacements was very sobering when you realize how many young men died for us and our cause.
Doug Kaye, Canada, June 2016
I knew a little bit about WW2 but in speaking with you and travelling with you over three days I realize that my knowledge was somewhat limited! Your first hand knowledge and your real life scenarios as you pointed out French barns, beaches and gun emplacements was very sobering when you realize how many young men died for us and our cause. I always wanted to see where my dad, my uncles and indeed my wife’s uncles had walked and fought. A lot of people do say that it was a trip of a lifetime and they are very jealous. It was a trip that I always wanted to do and I just want to say again how much I enjoyed our time together and to thank you for all the wealth of information you gave us. We were so lucky to have you and I have no reservations about recommending you to anyone.
your considerable expertise and off the beaten track sites made the experience so special
Philip Mackowiak MD, Baltimore, Maryland, USA, May 2016
Thank you so much for all that you did to make our tour of the Normandy battlefields so interesting and educational. We are truly in your debt for sharing with us your considerable expertise and off the beaten track sites that made the experience so special.
I had read extensively of D Day before we arrived, but your time with us put it all into focus and into proper perspective
Frederic Billings, Baton Rouge, Louisana, USA, May 2016
Just a short note of thanks for the wonderful time you gave us as we viewed the Normandy beaches of D Day. As you know I had read extensively of D Day before we arrived, but your time with us put it all into focus and into proper perspective. I particularly appreciated the time you took with us to show us special out of the way areas, which are “unknown” and which would not be normally shown to the average tourist. I wish I had copies of your notes on the statistics you have compiled over the years. Once again thank you for taking such superb care of us.
Charles Rush, Florida USA, June 2016
Due to his unique military background, General Johnny Rickett was able to make the battles come alive during our tour of Normandy. He is a true historian with a firm command of the events and the people involved. Thank you so much Johnny you made the last two days truly eventful.
David Wield, London, May 2016
I would like to add my thanks for giving us such a vivid, interesting and enjoyable tour around the Ardennes battlefield, which really came to life in your hands on the ground. Thank you also for stretching the tour into an extra half day. By the end I almost felt that I had met Peiper and, like you, felt that he had not deserved the French assasination of setting his house ablaze at night with him and his dogs inside.
Andrea Kaye, Canada, June 2016
We have been thinking and talking about you. Today is Canada Day and we have a new appreciation for what our men and the other Allied Forces did that allows us to so freely celebrate that. Thank you for such an informative, interesting tour of Dieppe and the Normandy beaches. We learned so much and are forever changed and more grateful. Again thank you.
I would strongly commend Johnny Rickett’s three day tour of the Dunkirk Retreat, the Battle of the Bulge and events at Oradour sur Glane, coupled with Operation Bulbasket.
John Robson, Welwyn, Hertforshire, June 2016
Johnny Rickett has just taken my brother, my son and myself on our seventh annual battlefield tour. That are a lot of places to visit and learn about, but each has been fascinating in large part as a consequence of his knowledge and the ability to describe events from his own battlefield experience. This year’s choice for us was the Dieppe and the Bruneval Raids (Op Biting). For me personally Bruneval was truly the highlight as Johnny Rickett’s combination of charm and knowledge of French enabled us to gain access on to private land to the cliff top site where the German radar site was actually positioned.
For those of you, like our son, who are the world’s workers, this was a truly memorable two day tour. For those of us of older age with more time to spare I would strongly commend Johnny Rickett’s three day tour of the Dunkirk Retreat, the Battle of the Bulge and events at Oradour sur Glane, coupled with Operation Bulbasket.
a most interesting trip around the Ardennes battlefields
Tony Jenkins, London, July 2016
Thank you for a most interesting trip around the Ardennes battlefields. One cannot appreciate the horrors of the forest fighting without having been there, albeit in summer rather than winter. It is all well and good a book mentioning the small tracks, but until one has actually seen them and related the bends to the size of the German tanks it doesn’t mean very much. Once again so many thanks.
Johnny Rickett’s superb, meticulous planning and professional tour organisation was masterful and typical of his always excellent, unequalled travel achievements.
Dick Semmel, Ohio, USA, July/August 2016
I have just returned from another exciting trip with Brigadier Johnny Rickett, my third tour with him. We visited a wide range of German, French and Belgian forts both along the Maginot Line and around Liege in Belgium; from Fort Verney, south of Metz to the massive Fort Eben Emael on the Belgian-Dutch border on the Albert Canal. Johnny Rickett’s superb, meticulous planning and professional tour organisation was masterful and typical of his always excellent, unequalled travel achievements. Succintly said: “he is the best.”
two great days, which we will always cherish
Galen R Carlson, California, September 2015
We enjoyed our trip to Europe immensely, however Mary and I both agreed that the most valuable and meaningful time was the two days spent with you. You provided us with an outstandingly comprehensive and thorough coverage of so many events and sites surrounding the D Day Invasion. We want you to know that your analyses of so many vital locations and your passion for your work is what made these two days so special, So many thanks for two great days, which we will always cherish.
two wonderful days
Sharon Jones, California, September 2015
I just want to thank you for two wonderful days on the battlefields of Normandy and being able to listen to you! Guess what? I finally got my homework done, which you gave me.
particularly good at painting the picture to those without any military background
Nick Ridley, Scotland, October 2015
I do not think that anyone could have given us a better battlefield tour of Normandy than Johnny Rickett. Not only did he have an amazing knowledge of the area and how the battle unfolded but being a military man he was not only able to talk effectively from a purely military perspective, but was particularly good at painting the picture to those without any military background. When it came to answering questions his detailed knowledge was invaluable. If anyone is looking for an expert huistorian/guide for the Normandy Campaign they need look no further.
Johnny’s attention to detail and his knowledge are without equal
Ron Holley, London July 2015
I have recently returned from a battlefield tour of Monte Cassino and Anzio organised by Brigadier Johnny Rickett. Johnny’s attention to detail and his knowledge are without equal. If anyone wants to experience something special Johnny Rickett must be the man for you.
your ability to tell the story brought those days of June 1944 to life
Nick Petrusic, London June 2015
A brief note to say thank you for an absolutely fabulous couple of days in Normandy. I knew we wouldn’t be disappointed and we were certainly not! Your enthusiasm for getting the facts right, your excellent knowledge of events and your ability to tell the story brought those days of June 1944 and beyond to life. Many thanks for looking after us so well and doubless we will be in the Ardennes with you before we know it!
seeing it for myself with your insights was very moving
David Slade, London June 2015
Just a note of thanks for the outstanding couple of days we spent with you touring the Noemandy Landings and other battle sites. It is a period of history which has long fascinated me, but seeing it for myself with your insights was very moving. Great entertainment in ther evenings as well!
deeply researched and expertly told
Bill Staples, London May 2015
Another great battlefield tour with Brigadier Rickett. Last time we did the D Day Landings, this time we covered the Battle of the Bulge. As usual the tour was deeply researched and expertly told. We traveled the whole area of the battle and visited interesting spots that a less experienced and thorough person would have missed. We gained full context and had a wonderful time. During the day, Brigadier Rickett really brought the battle to life and each evening was filled with ninteresting and varied conversation, A 10/10 tour.
Your incredible knowledge is exceeded only by your unfailing patience in answering my many questions
Charlie Grizzle, Washington DC May 2015
Please forgive my tardiness in expressing my sincere appreciation for a memorable day touring the D Day beaches. Your incredible knowledge is exceeded only by your unfailing patience in answering my many questions throughout the day. Prior to our day together I felt I had a decent understanding of the heroic invasion, but until witnessing the sites with your expert guidance it’s hard to grasp the mind-boggling logistics of that amazing day. We were truly honored to be led by someone with such a distinguished career. Please know that we will insist that any friends we have, who may contempate a D Day tour, seek out your service.
particularly enlightening with so many untold stories of bravery, valor and mystery
David Minnick, Missouri May 2015
You made Normandy come alive for all 5 of us. We all had an uplifting experience in honoring and remembering those brave men who fought and died there – from the gliders at Pegasus Bridge to Utah Beach and everything in between. You were particularly enlightening with so many untold stories of bravery, valor and mystery. Fantastic tour, customized to exceed everyone’s expectations. I would highly recommend Brigadier Johnny Rickett to anyone who wants an outstanding tour of Normandy and its battlefields.
informative and great fun
Ken and Lynn Fisher, California May 2015
Lynn and I truly enjoyed your tour of Normandy. Your expertise and great delivery made our experience with you a day we will always remember. It was both informative and great fun!
He leaves no stone unturned to ensure clients easily capture the essence of his comments
Dick Semmel, Ohio. October 2014
My recent tour covering the German Army’s early lightening conquests of May-June 1940 exceeded my high expectations. British Brigadier Johnny Rickett planned and conducted the trip in his usual unremittingly superb manner. Johnny always provides indepth, well articulated incisive narratives with clarity and precision. He leaves no stone unturned to ensure clients easily capture the essence of his comments. These range far and wide to address pertinent places, events and personalities, He has no peer as a tour leader. Consequently, my admiration and affection for Johnny Rickett is limitless.
many years of military service has provided him with a depth of knowledge that few others can match
Wayne and Edith Huddleston, Nebraska. June 2014
We just completed a group D Day tour with Brigadier Johnny Rickett, which was, to steal a phrase from him, smashing! His many years of military service has provided him with a depth of knowledge that few others can match. He was able to clearly explain the high level strategic story while also providing us with stories of individual soldiers on the front lines. In addition, from having lived in France for several years, Brigadier Rickett was able to take us to places that few other visitors see. Johnny was available to answer questions and of course as “the senior officer” in our group he was constantly checking to ensure that group morale was always high. He knows the country, he knows the history and he knows the people. You will not find a more knowledgable, professional or personable guide than Johnny Rickett. Do yourself a favour and book a tour with him as soon as you can. You will be gad you did. We can’t wait to go back next year.
the most interesting and informative time spent with you on Operation Market Garden
Susie Marshall, September 2014
Thank you so much for the most interesting and informative time spent with you on Operation Market Garden. Visiting the hospital in Arnhem, which you so kindly organised, was so special and reading the citation for John’s father at the bridge very poignant and ending at the cemetery where so many brave and young soldiers now rest. The hotel was perfect overlooking the Rhine and they were so hospitable and breakfasts and dinners were delicious. We had huge fun with the rest of the ‘corps’ and I think you managed to keep us under control!!!
A great trip and very poignant and moving
Peter and Penny Fair, September 2014
A great trip and very poignant and moving. As a farmer I’m often asked why on earth anyone would want to endure the stress of relying on weather, unpredictable prices and long hours of work. For my part, I was always puzzled by those who risked life and limb to serve their country in the armed forces. The visit to Arnhem went some way to answering that question but I was also struck by the bravery and dedication of those young men who tried so hard to liberate occupied Europe. We should all be so grateful and the cemetery visit made us grieve for their families. John and Jane have always said that your tours bring the reality of battles to life and you certainly did that for us. We thoroughly enjoyed the whole two days, the company, the food and most of all your guided tour. Let us hope we can do it again at another venue.
Paul Joliffe, September 2014
Thank you so much for sparing your time to show us around the battlefields of Normandy, it was a great trip and something I won’t forget in a hurry, It was great to spend a few days learning about that terrible period as well as having a few laughs in the process! The discussions were great and I would love to do another tour at some point in the future, hopefully we can organise with Charlie, if you have any interest! Once again thanks for a great couple of days, and hope all is going well in Arnhem.
I was very impressed by your knowledge of almost any aspect of either WW1 or WW2 that we touched on
Tony Jenkins, July 2014
Thank you for one of the most interesting weeks I have had for a very long time. Although I had already been to Verdun before, I had not appreciated that the German Army was gradually grinding the French Army down and may have opened the road to Paris. I have long wanted to see the British mine craters, and expected them to be big but had no idea they would be that big. I have also read quite a bit about the Maginot Line, but to actually travel inside one of the forts was fascinating. However what was, for me, particularly interesting was your explanation of how the French army changed from a policy of always counter-attacking, to the idea of using forts to reduce the losses of their men I found the visit to the Somme humbling and terribly sad. I read Kipling’s “The Irish Guards in the Great War” some time ago but it is only by going to the memorials that one can appreciate the scale of the slaughter. All in all a most interesting week but I do hope you didn’t find us a “difficult” group. I do know that we asked a lot of questions, and I was very impressed by your knowledge of almost any aspect of either WW1 or WW2 that we touched on, even though many of our questions were well outside the stated purpose of the tour.
they found your input invaluable, particularly the insights you gave from your perspective
Adrian Rickett July 2014
Thank you so much for such a wonderful tour around Normandy last week. It was a brilliant trip and I know that everyone thoroughly enjoyed it. It was awe inspiring, humbling and fascinating to see where so many famous engagements happened and it certainly made everyone appreciate more the sacrifices that people at that time made. I hope that you enjoyed the company and I know that they found your input invaluable, particularly the insights you gave from your perspective. On the way back, they were asking about a trip next year (with the exception of George who wants to go again next month!!) perhaps to Arnhem.
Adrian Rickett July 2014
a fascinating narrative of the events that formed the D-Day Landings and subsequent conflict
Bill & Kristen Staples (London & San Francisco) May 2014
We thoroughly enjoyed every minute of our 3-day tour and have found ourselves excitedly telling friends and family what an engaging and knowledgeable host Johnny is. It is not often in life that one will get the opportunity to have a battle tested British Army General guide you through the beaches, hilltops, villages and lanes of history with a fascinating narrative of the events that formed the D-Day Landings and subsequent conflict. And even less often that you’ll find a guide who became friends with people who took part in the battles and has himself parachuted into Normandy. If you have the opportunity to get on a trip with Brigadier Rickett you’ll be glad you did. We’ll be back for the Battle of the Bulge tour next year. Thank You Johnny.
You were so knowledgeable about WW2 and about each of the areas we visited
Eddie and Ann Chandler, Louisiana June 2014
Johnny, We want to thank you for the tremendous job you did in leading us through 2 weeks of extraordinary history. You were so knowledgeable about WW2 and about each of the areas we visited. For us this was the trip of a lifetime and you made it even more memorable. Thank you for the time you spent with us and for reinforcing our beliefs about the bravery of our soldiers during wartime. We will never forget you. We even have you on video and enjoy hearing that accent. Good health and much happiness to you and your family. God bless.
The battlefields came alive under his tutelage
James Overman, NBC UNIVERSAL TELEVISION & Professor Linda Overman, California State University Northridge, Los Angeles, California June 2014
Honoring the 70th anniversary of Dday on an extended tour of battlefields and memorials in Normandy, Belgium, and Holland to name a few, we experienced the privilege of Brigadier Johnny Rickett as our guide and scholar. The battlefields came alive under his tutelage. His attention to detail enhanced our groups’ experience. Even though we were rather large in number, his personalized attention made each member of our group feel special. We highly recommend him for any such future tours that might interest you. This was a trip of a lifetime made more so by Brig. Rickett’s presence.
a moving and extremely memorable trip
James Isaacs Colorada, June 2014
Thank you for your very kind note. My Dad really enjoyed your guided tour. You have unique blend of deep historical knowledge derived from years of study, profound & visceral understanding from your military training of what soldiering means on the ground and the gleaning of eyewitness accounts from the returning veterans you have met. You are one of a kind! My Dad said at dinner last night, “General Rickett has to write a book. He knows so much.” I also really appreciated the solicitous way you interacted with my Dad. The flag ceremony was a marvelous, never to be forgotten moment. A great way for Grandfather, son and grandson to honor the past. We have a lot to be thankful as we are still living off of the dividends of freedom that the WWII generation paid for in sacrifice, blood and treasure. This was a moving and extremely memorable trip. Thanks for all your help. I hope we meet again.
Peter Watson, Duende Travel Ltd, May 2014
We would all like to to thank you most sincerely for a wonderful two days in your company on our recent tour in Normandy. We are immensely grateful to you for sharing your knowledge, wisdom and experiences as well as your excellent company. On a personal note may I add that it has been a great pleasure to meet you and I would like to add my thanks to those that you have already received from your sovereign and country for the servive you have given to the United Kingdom.
extremely informative and brought the whole ghastly war to life with your expert and fascinating narrative
Mark Johnson, May 2014
Many thanks indeed for an excellent tour of Normandy, we all thoroughly enjoyed it and would love to do another one . It was extremely informative and brought the whole ghastly war to life with your expert and fascinating narrative.
bringing history to life with an insight into the key commanders and what conditions would have been like on the battlefield
Brigadier Richard Smith, March 2014
First of all and on behalf of London District, many thanks for stepping in at such short notice to conduct our Battlefield Tour of parts of the English Civil War. I know that we all learned a great deal on our own national history, which many of us had not studied since school. I certainly felt thoroughly educated! In large part, this was due to the way in which you guided us, bringing history to life with an insight into the key commanders and what conditions would have been like on the battlefield, allowing us to discuss certain issues and dealing with our plethora of questions so patiently! It is remarkable that from a war so distant in our history there are still a number of enduring truths on the conduct of warfare in general and also achieving success on the battlefield.
a unique and powerful insight into the momentous drama that unfolded on the beaches so many years ago
Donn & Toni Yoder, Hawaii, July 2013
Your knowledge of the events that transpired and the many forgotten and unknown locations that only you could have taken us to, gave us a unique and powerful insight into the momentous drama that unfolded on the beaches so many years ago. It was an education and most rewarding. Hopefully, mankind will never forget what those men did there and that their courage will be an inspiration for all future generations. The fear, given the history of our world, is that it may diminish in time and the lessons lost. But please know this well – you are doing an incredible job of keeping it fresh, making it live in the minds of those who are wise enough to enlist your services and understand.
Bruce and Lyn Garvie, Roma. Australia, August 2013
Johnny provided us with an in depth and passionate overview of the D Day Landings. Due to his extensive knowledge and understanding from his military career he provided us with a well informed description of the many facets of this historical event. Johnny made the day a pleasurable experience for us and was more than happy to answer any of our questions with a balanced view. This is an experience we will take with us for the rest of our lives and would highly recommend Johnny’s services.
John Majendie, Somerset Light Infantry Pilgrimage July 2013
Thank you so much for the really interesting day which you gave us last Saturday in Normandy, when you showed us Utah Beach and the American airborne operations at St Mere Eglise and on the Merderet River. Blessed with ideal weather, it was just what we hoped for and I left with some very contented memories of the whole day, thanks to your highly professional knowledge, and I know that all the others felt the same.
Bob, Lyna, Lori and Barbara from Louisiana USA. Frank, Netherlands
“Jolly good show” We thoroughly enjoyed the experience. We appreciated the personalized, historical account of the Normandy events & sites along with the interesting “stories”. We had a great time.
John Robson, Hertfordshire May 2013
Another wonderful week with the “le General”. Last year we explored the Battle of the Bulge with him and this time we returned to Normandy as we wanted to to see “some places off the beaten track”. Following a British battalion’s advance inland and viewing Omaha Beach from a German machine gun emplacement at its Eastern extremity were just two of the highlights. After the bocage battles we then examined the German counter attack at Mortain, which without Johnny’s knowledge would have been a hopeless quest. After the Falaise Gap battle we moved to Oradour sur Glane and explored the events of the SAS Operation Bulbasket in the woods around Vervieres near Poitiers. Johnny Rickett is good, not least for explaining military events with his own personal military knowledge; so good in fact that we have asked him to take us to Dunkirk next year and have told him to take us to Cassino in 2015.
John Robson, Hertfordshire May 2013
We were planning for a day’s tour of D-Day beaches and sites during our recent vacation to France and contacted a friend who knew of Brigadier Johnny Rickett. We could have chosen any one of dozens of tour directors for this day but chose Brig. Rickett because of his experience and we weren’t disappointed! Even though we had read books and watched movies and doucmentaries about the events of D-Day, he made it come alive! He planned the day to show how the battles unfolded, the strategies and challenges of the Allies and the Germans and how things progressed. We even got to participate in the flag lowering ceremony at the American Cemetery toward the end of the day. It was a great experience and we are so glad we had Brigadier Rickett to help make this one of the most memorable days of our lives!
If there were an award to Battlefield Tour Leaders for energy and enthusiasm, you would undoubtedly win it!
David Welsh, London May 2013
…a most enjoyable and instructive tour. I would not have believed it possible, if we had not just done it, to encompass so much of the Normandy invasion arena in just two days. Part of your secret must lie in those detailed but concise briefings from the back of the car. Even Rommel, with his uncanny flair for turning up at critical points of a battle would have been impressed! I very much appreciated your carefully chosen viewing points; doubtless the product of exhaustive recces of the Norman countryside in earlier years. As we stepped out of the car at each OP, even the most confusing of those large-scale operations around Caen became instantly clear and vividly realistic and not just the hilltop pinpoints of ‘112’ and Mont Pincon. Lunch each day at a congenial Norman restaurant supplied the perfect antidote, before plunging us back ‘into battle’ for the afternoon ( no siestas allowed on your Tours!). Those beautifully preserved and maintained Memorials, often in such isolated countryside locations also made a deep impression on all of us and the Canadian ones were a bonus with our part-Canadian ancestry. The closure of the Falaise pocket was a fitting and awe-inspiring climax to the whole adventure! If there were an award to Battlefield Tour Leaders for energy and enthusiasm, you would undoubtedly win it!
nothing short of inspirational
Alan Murray, Adelaide, South Australia – May 2013
My two day tour with Brigadier Johnny Rickett was nothing short of inspirational…clearly, Johnny had researched my late Father’s tank regiment and its movements from mid July to mid August 1944 in and around Caen, Evrecy, Falaise and further on too. The detail and information proffered was so apt to my father’s experience that I felt as if I was reliving those traumatic times: in the fields, the streams, over bridges, passing villages that the 10th Hampshire’s would have negotiated in that summer of ’44. Thank you Johnny for helping me pay my respects to my father and all the men who fought so bravely in Normandy.
you are brought to an understanding of the battle in military, human, and historical terms
Tom and Gay Ross, South Carolina, 2012
Brigadier Johnny Rickett CBE vividly relates the story of D-Day, June 6, 1944, in a profoundly exhilarating manner. You are thrust into “Operation Overlord” as though you were a part of the Allied Army landing forces. As you traverse the cliffs, hills, fields, draws, and beaches of Normandy, you are brought to an understanding of the battle in military, human, and historical terms. At sunset as the colors are lowered and the last light of the day reflects upon the monuments to the fallen heroes, you shall forever carry in your heart a lasting understanding of the conflict. Thank you Johnny !!!!!
Donald and Cathy Fogel October 2012
Spectacular! Johnny made the battles of Verdun and the Battle of the Bulge come alive and highlighted the promise and the folly of the Maginot Line. Cathy planned this tour for Donald, a history buff, anticipating that she would be bored. As she expected, Donald was enthralled. To her surprise, she was enchanted as well. Johnny was able to explain historical events and military strategy at Verdun and the Battle of the Bulge and had excellent contacts to guide us through the Maginot line. A special added attraction: Johnny was a delightful four-day travel companion. We enjoyed getting to know him as well as absorbing his insight and knowledge.
Verne Harnish August 2012
Outstanding Tour — We met Brigadier General Rickett a few years ago when touring the Normandy Beaches. He came highly recommended as a military historian and guided our family on an amazing private tour – and has remained connected to our family ever since (I credit him for my oldest son’s love of history).
David Hall, Barrister, Leeds 8th May 2012
Johnny Rickett recently guided myself and a party of friends around the Ardennes dealing with the Battle of the Bulge. As ever his preparation had been very thorough and his presentation was detailed, erudite and entertaining. I heartily recommend him.
Richard Wright, Yorkshire April 2011.
I thought the Dunkirk tour was truly first rate. It was fascinating to learn that there was so much more to the engagement than the popular mythology speaks of, and that, in truth, the beaches were really the smallest part of the story. The trip held a particular appeal to me, as, when a young sea scout, I often crewed the engine room of MTB 102, a little ship that saw service throughout the battle and was the temporary flag ship for Wake-Walker for a time. I thought you drew it all together beautifully, and it was a real pleasure to receive the information from a true military man who is therefore well placed and entitled, to express opinions about the battle and its commanders. More than all that though thank you for your great company – we all enjoyed every minute and very much look forward to whatever you can cook up for us next year!
a dynamic, superb tour director and guide
Dick Semmel, Ohio, Patton Tour June 2011
Brigadier Johnny Rickett is the embodiment of an officer and a gentleman. He’s also a dynamic, superb tour director and guide. Johnny’s greatest strengths are: (1) His complete mastery of the subject matter. (2) His superb communication skills – he has a remarkable ability with his riveting narratives and (3) His engaging personality and cheerful demeanour. These attributes quickly compel confidence, respect and admiration, which magnify and amplify in concert with any tour progression. Succinctly put: “Johnny is first class!”
Our tour was exceptional, informative and entertaining
Eldon and Beth Anderson, Indiana, June 2011
Our tour of Normandy and eastern France, its beaches, battlefields and monuments, was exceptional, informative and entertaining. Brigadier Rickett combines his experience and extensive knowledge of these areas with a charming personality and cheerful attitude to make his tours very enjoyable. His experience as a soldier, along with his sense of humor and unique way of engaging everyone, kept our interest throughout each day. We most appreciated his willingness to seek out places where my Dad had been during WWII. We will reflect on this tour as a very positive experience for many years to come.
M W R of Cheshire, 4th April 2011
You handled our two day tour of Dunkirk beautifully – seamless narrative, good maps, lots of information and an excellent picture of unfolding events before our very eyes. Having read Julian Thompson’s book to get a feel for this tour in advance, I realized of course that the beaches themselves – the famous bit of the story – is the least interesting when compared to the gradual holding and the rolling up of “the sack”. Of course the detail about the characters involved is also interesting and above all in many ways the overall gloss, which you provided as a proper fighting commander yourself with your experience in live theatres. All good stuff.
His personality, knowledge and enthusiasm are unparalleled by any other tour.
Greg “Hurlz” Hurley, US Air Force 2011
When placed in charge of coordinating a trip to the Beaches of Normandy for several friends and family members, I lucked out and hit the jackpot with Brig General Johnny Rickett! His personality, knowledge and enthusiasm are unparalleled by any other tour. He takes you places where tour buses can not physically go, he shares stories that most others do not know and he makes the entire event unforgettable. If you are looking for a once in a lifetime, memorable trip to the beaches of Normandy, look no further. You won’t find a better tour guide than Mr. Rickett. Thanks for enlightening us on this special place in World history.
I shall never forget our trip.
Jimmy Lee, Alabama 6th June 2011
Our trip to Normandy was a really emotional experience. General Johnny Rickett took us on a really exclusive tour showing us German machine gun nests above Omaha Beach and telling us the inside story of what really happened there. The lovely cemetery makes you proud to be an American to see what those great heroes did to liberate Europe. I shall never forget our trip.
Mike Primiano, US Forces, Germany October 2011
I cannot thank you enough for our tour of the beaches in Normandy. It was everything and still more that my friends Drew and Greg had said it would be. Your expertise and knowledge is uncanny. Your love for your job is very apparent. I can honestly say that you really made my father’s trip to Europe worth it.
Dr Tom Meek, Louisianna September 2011
Johnny Rickett provided insight, anecdotes and a sense of how the battle progressed in Normandy during the first several days. We visited German gun emplacements and command posts. He contrasted the terrible loss of life at Omaha Beach with the relative ease with which Juno, Gold and Utah beaches were taken. Our group could never have come away with any realistic appreciation of the battle without Johnny Rickett.
well organised and packed with detailed information
Ed Milner, Louisiana September 2011
In September 2011 we did a three day tour of the Battle of the Bulge with General Rickett. The trip started at the Siegfried Line and then we followed the path of SS Colonel Peiper until we reached the stone which marked where the panzers ran out of petrol. We took time to explore and discover remnants of tank traps, trenches and foxholes along the route and then around Bastogne. The trip was well organised and packed with detailed information. We really had a fine time and appreciate all the planning and recon you did in preparing for the trip. I would recommend this for an in depth study of the battle.
Tim Simon, Gloucestershire September 2011
Our trip to Lorraine covered both the WW1 Battle of Verdun, the Maginot Line, the German breakthrough over the Meuse at Sedan and finally the evacuation of the BEF at Dunkirk. Johnny Rickett brought so much to life and helped us to understand the appalling carnage at Verdun, which went on for such an incredibly long time; the incredible but sadly ineffective engineering of the Maginot Line; the chaos in the allied command after the German breakthrough in 1940 and the bravery of our troops in defending to the last our escaping army at Dunkirk.
Bucky Bloom, Georgia October 2011
We cannot express what a great time we had touring Normandy with you in October and so appreciated your expertise in showing us around. Ed and I particularly want to express our gratitude in your arranging for our participation in the Flag lowering Ceremony at the American Cemetery at Omaha. It is something we will never forget.
Cassa Duncan October 2011
I have recently returned from an excellent battlefield tour in Eastern France led by Johnnie Rickett and organised by Ultimate Travel Company. The places Johnnie arranged for us to visit were all extremely interesting and he had something special and distinctive to say about each of them. Clearly he had put a huge amount of effort into his research for which we were very much the beneficiaries. The hotels he arranged for us to stay in were unique and had history and stories of their own. It was altogether a thoroughly enjoyable and interesting trip. I would highly recommend anyone wishing to go on a battlefield tour to contact Johnnie Rickett as he does many different tours on the continent on both the 1st and 2nd World Wars.
John and Jane Lochore, Essex, October 2011
Thank you very much indeed for a very good week in Lorraine ending up in Dunkirk. We were both very moved by your excellent accounts of the events of past years and much appreciated the great detail with which you made them so meaningful. Everything was first class and I hope sincerely you have got some energy left!
Ed Fitts and Sue Rathbone, Pennsylvania, USA
Thank you so much for the “extraordinary” tour of Normandy, the Beaches and the Battlefields. Your insight, knowledge and special points of interest made this visit a memory that will last for ever. We clearly loved our time with you in Normandy and tell people of your tour frequently.
You made it all so fascinating even for us ladies
Ellen Williams-Bulkeley, Anglesey, North Wales.
Thank you so much for being our Military Historian in France and for making our trip to Verdun, the Maginot Line and Sedan 1940 so interesting. I was completely riveted by the construction of the Maginot Line and we couldn’t have had a better trip. You made it all so fascinating even for us ladies.
Ken and Debbie Lucas, Maryland, USA
We are still talking with others about the really spectacular day we spent with you in Normandy and all the places you took us to which are not on the normal tour. This was one of the most memorable days of my life; I only wish that I could remember all you spoke about.
Roy Lewis Ebbw Vale, South Wales
What you told us and what we saw brought Operation Market Garden to life, from the fields where the 1st Airborne Division dropped, to the house where General Urquhart hid to Joe’s Bridge and the bridges en route; all came to life. You gave all sides of the operation equal treatment, the Generals, the soldiers, British, American, Polish and German and the Dutch Resistance; all were encapsulated in a masterly presentation. A complete presentation of a battle that covered a very large area, great detail, lots of humour and brilliantly presented.
Tom Bonas, London
May I express our deep gratitude and appreciation for the superb way you guided us through Operation Market Garden and for bringing it so alive. Aside from placing the whole operation in context it was the human stories related to the ground that meant so much and had such impact on us all. Our understanding of a pretty complex operation is now much enriched from your lucid briefings to us and frankly it made the tour the success it was.
Verne Harnish Barcelona, Spain
Through the recommendation of a friend, we engaged Brigadier General Rickett to show my two sons (11 and 13) and me around the Normandy Beaches. I had warned the General that we might only need two half days, in that young boys can lose interest fast and go back to the swimming pool! Anyway after the first morning I pulled my sons aside and asked if they wanted to call it a day and the answer was an emphatic “no”. We went on to have two fabulously entertaining days with the General, learning the inside story of what really happened and experiencing things that only an insider like him can know about. As an important side benefit, my sons commented on what a gentleman the General was, still influencing how we speak to each other today. He truly modelled for my sons what it means to be a leader.
Judy Boscawen, West Sussex
What a special few days it was for me in Normandy with you. Coming from a non military family I was very keen to learn something about the D Day Landings and the battle for Normandy. It brought home to me the huge sacrifices that were made to give us the life we grew up with. How lucky we were to have you as our lecturer and thanks to you I feel I have taken on board a little.