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Report on the first annual WFA Irish Regional Conference held at the National Museum of Ireland, Dublin, 12 July 2014

Report on the first annual WFA Irish Regional Conference held at the National Museum of Ireland, Dublin, 12 July 2014

In Attendance
Billy Good, President, Cork Branch; Gerry White, Chairman, Cork Branch; Francis O'Connor, Treasurer, Cork Branch; Eugene Power, Education Officer, Cork Branch; Ian Chambers, Chairman, Dublin Branch; Ken Simpson, Dublin Branch and Tom Thorpe, Belfast.

Opening Address
The meeting was chaired by Gerry White, Chairman of the Cork Branch and Irish Regional Representative. He welcomed everyone to the meeting, circulated the agenda and said the main purpose was to enable members from the different branches to exchange ideas, to explore ways and means for branch co-operation and plan for forthcoming events.

Charitable Status
Both the Cork and Dublin branches reported that they were having difficulty obtaining charitable status in Ireland. The main reason for this is that both the WFA and its constitution is primarily UK based. All present acknowledged the importance of obtaining charitable status and it was decided that the chairman would write to Association Secretary, Steve Oram, and ask him to see how other UK based charities operating in Ireland deal with this issue, if the Irish branches can operate under the main WFA charitable status and, if not, to advise us accordingly.

Insurance
Both the Cork and Dublin branches stated that the cost of taking out a public liability insurance policy is proving prohibitive. Following a discussion about same it was agreed that the chairman would write to Steve Oram and inquire if an association policy exists that covers all branches and if not, would it be possible to examine the possibility of obtaining one.

Speakers
While both branches have so far managed to secure speakers for their monthly meetings all agreed that the cost of getting one from the UK that is on the speakers list would be prohibitive. Tom Thorpe out forward the idea of asking academics from universities who have expertise in this area or Phd students who are studying aspects of the Great War to give a talk. All agreed that this was a good idea.

Subscription Fees
Members of the Cork branch stated that, having spoken to prospective Irish members some said that they felt the cost of joining was too high. It was also stated that the Sterling/Euro exchange rate was another factor that may stop prospective Irish members from joining. Tom Thorpe stated that branches should remind those enquiring about joining about the lower rate. The chairman also stated that he would write to Steve Oram and inquire about the possibility of having a fixed euro rate for members and potential members living in the euro zone. Similar groups, like the Leinster Regiment Association, have adopted this practice and it seems to work satisfactory.

Cork and Dublin Branches
The chairmen of the Cork and Belfast branches gave a brief report on the membership, activities, social media projects and plans for the future. Members from both branches expressed the desire to co-operate on projects in the future.

Unveiling of CWGC Cross of Sacrifice - Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin, 31 July 2014
The chairman reported that Mr John Kennedy, a senior civil servant, in the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, who has responsibility for state commemorations. Mr Kennedy requested a WFA presence at the unveiling of the new CWGC Cross of Sacrifice at Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin, on 31 July. The chairman confirmed to Mr Kennedy that the WFA would be honoured to be present at this ceremony and it was agreed that members of both the Cork and Dublin branches would be asked to attend.

Belfast Ceremonies – 4 August 2014
Mr Kennedy also requested a WFA presence at a series of ceremonies that are being held in Belfast on 4 August. While it may be difficult for members living in the Republic to attend, Tom Thorpe said that he would attend and he also agreed to circulate this information to members in Northern Ireland and ask them to represent the association at the various ceremonies.

November Ceremonies
The chairmen of the Cork and Dublin branches reported on how they mark Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday.

Branch Tours
The Cork branch had conducted a very successful tour but the Dublin branch hadn't organised one yet. It was agreed that it would be a good idea to try and organise a tour that would be open to members from all over Ireland as this would enable those on the tour to avail of any expertise that may be available from those travelling. Tom Thorpe suggested that we should look into the possibility of having a schedule of 'themed' tours. It was agreed that the first one should be a introductory tour to cater for those who haven't travelled to the Western Front but subsequent ones should be 'themed'. Tom Thorpe and the chairmen of the Cork and Dublin branches agreed to look into the possibility of conducting a tour in 2015.

Any Other Business
Under any other business the chairman of the Dublin Branch mentioned the e-mail received from the WFA Branch Co-ordinator stating that the Executive Committee have offered to 'underwrite' an Irish conference. All present agreed that this was an exciting prospect that would enhance the profile of the association in Ireland. A brief discussion was held on the format of such a conference and it was agreed that the chairman would contact Colin Wagstaff to clarify exactly what 'underwrite' means. Once this was clarified Tom Thorpe and the chairmen of the Cork and Dublin branches agreed to organise the conference.

As there was no other business the meeting concluded and those present made their way to the War Memorial Gardens at Islandbridge to attend the Annual RBL Service of Remembrance.

Gerry White
Irish Regional Representative and Chairman, Cork Branch

Images:

Top photograph:

Ian Chambers, Chairman, Dublin Branch; Ken Simpson, Dublin Branch; Gerry White, Chairman, Cork Branch; Eugene Power, Education Officer, Cork Branch; Tom Thorpe, Belfast; Francis O'Connor, Treasurer, Cork Branch and Billy Good, President, Cork Branch.

Lower photograph
Representatives from Cork, Dublin and Belfast at the first Irish Regional Conference at the National Museum of Ireland, Collins Barracks, Dublin.

 

The WFA's partnership with the University of Wolverhampton extends

The WFA's partnership with the University of Wolverhampton extends

This year, 2014, has seen the launch of the University of Wolverhampton's First World War History Group, and the WFA is delighted to be forging even stronger links with the university.

In June 2014, we jointly launched the University of Wolverhampton/Western Front Association First World War Centenary Lecture Series. Held at the University, and open to all, the lectures are a chance to bring cutting edge Great War subjects to the wider public. The series runs from 2014 to 2018, and so far we have had lectures from Professor Adrian Gregory and Professor Michael Neiburg. The next is from Professor Brian Bond on 1 October 2014: 'Britain's two world wars against Germany: a new perspective'.

Please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for further details and to book your place.

In July 2014, the WFA's President, Peter Simkins MBE, was appointed as Honorary Professor of Western Front Studies, and one of our eminent Vice-Presidents, Dr John Bourne, was appointed as Professor of First World War Studies at the University. They join the team of Professor Gary Sheffield (a WFA Vice-President), Professor Stephen Badsey, Dr Spencer Jones, Professor John Buckley and Dr Laura Ugolini who, together, make up the strongest grouping of First World War specialists in any conventional UK university.

Both Peter and John will be lecturing to the university's new part-time MA in the History of Britain and the First World War, which begins this October (2014). Already a number of WFA members have signed up as students and, if you would like to join them, please see http://courses.wlv.ac.uk/course.asp?code=HS006P31UVD or email Gary Sheffield at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

We look forward to continuing the productive relationship between the University of Wolverhampton and the Western Front Association throughout the period of the Centenary and beyond.

 

WFA Isle of Man Branch summer trips

WFA Isle of Man Branch summer trips

The Isle of Man Branch is organising two trips this summer - all are welcome to join us - pick up points across the UK.

First outing departs England on 18 Aug returns 22 Aug. 'Miracle of the Marne and the Battle of Verdun'

Second tour departs England on 22 Aug. Returns 25 Aug. 'First Shots and the Battle of Mons 100 years'.

These two trips are designed back to back so if you want you can go on both without returning back to England in-between. Or just pick one.

Contact Alan on 01624 801026 for more details

New Branch in Australia

New Branch in Australia

A new branch of the Western Front Association has been established in Australia. Based on the regional town of Castlemaine in Central Victoria (80 miles north-west of Melbourne), it is the third branch in Australia, joining branches in Sydney and Canberra.

The founding Chairman is Mick Hanrahan, who was a member of the London Branch in 2011 and 2012. Mick told WFA Branch Coordinator, David Easton, "I greatly enjoyed the comradery of the London Branch members and their generosity in sharing their knowledge and perspectives when I lived in London. My aim is to replicate that spirit in central Victoria."

The new branch has already been involved in organising local celebrations – with the Royal Australian Air Force – for the Centenary of Military Aviation in Australia. "The first Australian military flight was on 1 March 1914 by LT Eric Harrison who came from Castlemaine. This first flight was with a Bristol Boxkite at the Central Flying School at Point Cook in Victoria. " Mick said. "The RAAF supported the local community with their Hot Air Balloon visiting primary school children (including the school Eric Harrison attended), an Air Combat Officer came to town and spoke about Eric Harrison to secondary school students, and there were fly-pasts over Castlemaine by a F/A-18 Classic Hornet on two days".

"We are not in an area blessed with an abundance of new authors wanting to give presentations on their latest book (as in the UK), so we'll be more of a self-help study group, and we have joined a support program for junior secondary level students studying Australian history and the First World War. The Branch has met three times so far and we are keen to observe the First World War commemorations in the coming years."

The Western Front Association Central Victoria Branch can be contacted at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or contact Mick Hanrahan at P O Box 94 Maldon Victoria, 3463.

2014: hello to all that - the WFA in conversation with Prof Gary Sheffield

2014: hello to all that - the WFA in conversation with Prof Gary Sheffield

Prof Gary Sheffield of the University of Wolverhampton, and a Vice President of the WFA, discusses aspects of the Great War centenary, and the education and commemoration of the Great War, with WFA Development Trustee, David Tattersfield.

 

Read more...

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