My trip to Flanders last weekend was unexpectedly cancelled, so I found myself at somewhat of a loose end and left ponding what it is that means so much to me There and also what it is that I hope to achieve this year. Over the past 18 months or so, I have been lucky enough to make some wonderful new friends who have taught me a lot, and with whom I’ve found a shared passion for many aspects of The Great War and yet, there is a deep connection with the Old Front Line that exists on such a personal level for each of us.
Continuing my journey as a Battlefield Guide is certainly something I wish to do, having thoroughly enjoyed working on the Armistice tour last year, but let’s get the elephant in the room out of the way for a moment – it is blindingly obvious to me that there is a severe lack of young, female voices involved with guiding and it is something that I feel should not be ignored.
To ensure the Great War and all that we are passionate about is remembered and understood, it must be made relatable. As a ‘millennial’ it is 4th wave feminism – the idea of female empowerment to absolute equality – that underpins much of my views on life, and that of my peers. Having discussed my love of the Great War at length with girlfriends of mine, it is an unfortunate reality that their views on guiding and indeed of learning more about the Great War in general, are severely tainted by the idea that it is an extremely male dominated area – and this is something I am very keen to break down.
Whilst I had some moral dilemma over writing this blog, as I do not want to be seen to use my gender as a some kind of USP, I want to share my passion for the Great War, of remembrance and of how it impacts us even now, with as big an audience as possible and I feel sadly that there is a widening gap among my generation who will not engage unless a more proactive approach is taken. As people, we relate best to those we feel are similar to us and although I perhaps don’t have the experience of some, or the knowledge of others, I hope that I can work towards bridging this gap. I have learnt that those of us who feel the pull of the Old Front Line, those battlefield wanderers who are not just interested but feel the Great War course through our veins, all have a unique perspective. A unique view on what it is that it means, and what it is we wish to convey by doing what we do – whether that be family research, guiding or just rambling incoherently online like me presently! Whilst 2019 looks to be shaping up to be a quiet year in terms of my guiding prospects, I am grateful for the chance to connect more with like minded people and work to develop my skills to put me in a place to share my passion with people of my generation, who perhaps would not otherwise even consider visiting the battlefields.