Mary Evans Collection of the week: Holt’s Battlefield Collection


In a week focused on remembrance it seems appropriate to highlight a collection that offers a good and varied selection of photographs of battlefields, memorials, museums, cemeteries and other sites around Europe relating to the two world wars.

Tonie and Valmai Holt are recognised authorities on military history. Tonie Holt’s twenty-year military career and Valmai’s background as a history teacher saw them embark on a number of pioneering ventures relating to their shared interest in the subject. In the 1970s they founded Major and Mrs Holt’s Battlefield Tours, the first organisation to offer such tours to the general public and later ran the Royal British Legion’s Pilgrimage to the Western Front. Building on the knowledge and expertise they had acquired from conducting thousands of people around battlefields, they have also published a number of books, including a hugely successful series of battlefield guidebooks and maps.

This collection is the result of many years spent travelling, leading tours and lending their support to many causes connected to the First and Second World Wars. In addition to contemporary views of places of note around France, Belgium and beyond, we are also able to offer a number of topical postcards, a nod to their 1977 book, ‘Till the Boys Come Home’ which told the story of the First World War through contemporary postcards.

Click here to browse the Holt’s Battlefield Tours collection.

We hope our weekly newsletters continue to inform and engage. If you would like a quote, help with picture research or have any questions about using the library, please get in touch by emailing, or calling 020 8318 0034 and we’ll be delighted to help.

Picture credit: © Holt’s Battlefield Collection/ Mary Evans