Our Military Historians have all travelled extensively to their chosen areas and they are more than happy to discuss your tour requirements to make sure your tour experience is everything you expect.
Colonel Terry Beaton IARes - Thailand/Borneo
Former Curator Hellfire Pass Museum (1998–2000)
Terry Beaton's interest stems from his posting to Thailand in 1988 when he first became smitten with the "Spirit of the Railway" and has been studying its history for 15 years. He became the first Australian Curator of Hellfire Pass Memorial Museum, and during his two years he researched and produced a detailed map of the entire railway.
Terry's extensive knowledge of the entire railway line and history are an asset to the group. He has escorted numerous groups including the recently developed and more challenging Railway Trek Tour.
Major Neil Leckie - Gallipoli/Western Front
Neil is an Army Reserve Officer in the Royal Australian Infantry Corps. He commenced his Army service in 1968 as a National Serviceman, gaining his commission at the Officer Training Unit – Scheyville, in New South Wales. Since then he has spent thirty of the past forty years in various Army Reserve units, but mainly with his current unit The 8th/7th Battalion, The Royal Victoria Regiment. He was awarded the Reserve Force Decoration for 15 years service as an officer in 1989.
It has been during his time with 8th/7th RVR, a battalion steeped in tradition which includes service in both World Wars, that he developed an interest in military history. Neil is a regular contributor to military newsletters and magazines and in 1999 he wrote his first book 'Bushmens Rifles: A History of the 22nd Battalion, The Royal Victoria Regiment'. His second book, 'Country Victoria's Own, 150 Years of 8th/7th RVR and its Predecessors', was launched on 09 August 2008, the battalion's 150th birthday.
Major Leckie is also the Museum Manager of the Ranger Military Museum in Ballarat and has toured Gallipoli and the Western Front with Belmore Travel and walked the Kokoda Track.
Clive Richardson - Western Front
Clive, our European based historian, has operated many tours for Belmore Travel over the past 10 years. He toured extensively with the late Ron Austin and absorbed a great deal of specialist knowledge on the AIF from him. He is British himself so is able to combine this knowledge of the AIF with his in-depth knowledge of the Western Front from a British perspective. He can therefore guide you to all the places where the AIF fought whilst putting their actions into the bigger picture.
His initial interest in the First World War was kindled from inheriting his grandfather’s diaries from 1915 and 1916 during which time he served as a stretcher bearer at both Gallipoli and the Somme. Clive researched the 138 men from his hometown who were killed in the conflict, and wrote a book detailing his findings and setting them into a narrative of the whole war.
For the centenary of the outbreak of war he worked with the National Memorial Arboretum in England to provide a young tree from every major battle that the British Army fought on the Western Front. He also coordinated an exhibition of stories of the men from his hometown in the local museum.
In addition to the First World War, Clive also leads battlefield tour groups to Normandy and has himself visited numerous other battlefields including all the major ones on the Second World War Eastern Front and most of the major ones the American Civil War.
Gary Traynor - Gallipoli/Thailand
Gary has been actively involved in the research, preservation and collection of militaria for over 25 years. Consequently, he has a wealth of knowledge, experience and enthusiasm for Australian military history.
He has been visiting the Turkish battlefields since 1988 and indicates the highlight of his Gallipoli experience to be his attendance at the 75th anniversary of the landings. On this significant occasion, the Australian government sponsored a contingent of the last surviving Gallipoli veterans to attend the 1990 ANZAC Day Service.
Gary also conducts tours of the Kokoda Battlefields for a number of Kokoda trekking companies and his work has been acknowledged in the 'Field Guide to the Kokoda Track' by Bill James. Gary's travels have taken him on numerous explorations of The Western Front in France and Belgium, Arnhem and the Normandy Beaches, Malaya, Singapore and North Africa.
When it comes to researching Military records and war service medals, Gary is a leader in his field. He is the Director of the not for profit organisation, Medals Gone Missing which reunites "lost" or "missing" medals with the ancestors of servicemen and women.
Gary's practical experience includes over four years service at the Australian War Memorial in both voluntary and paid positions. He has operated as a tour guide and in the role of Information Assistant at this memorial which is considered one of the foremost War Memorials in the world. His literary work has been published in 'Wartime' magazine (the official magazine of the Australian War Memorial) and he was a contributing author to 'Kokoda For Dummies' by Wiley Publishing Australia. He is currently studying Military History at the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA).
Gary is a former member of the Australian Army Reserve, having served with 4th/3rd RNSWR and UNSWR. With 23 years unblemished service within the New South Wales Police Force, Gary's experience includes 17 years as an Operational Safety & Tactics Instructor and Police Operational Support Group.