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WFA East London Branch First Meeting

WFA East London Branch First Meeting

We held our first meeting on Thursday, 17 April at the Waltham Forest Sports & Social Club in Forest Road, Walthamstow and it really was a great success. Thanks must go to our first speaker Peter Doyle, whose subject “The First World War in 100 Objects” was both interesting and informative. There were really interesting facts to keep both the avid Great War fan and the newcomer enthralled and it was just a shame that we did not have time to hear about all of the 100 objects. Perhaps we may visit the subject again with some more snippets from Peter at a later date?

The evening was attended by about 15 members of the WFA, and it was lovely to see a further 26 people who had heard about it through the Social Club, friends etc. I would like to say a big thank you to Chris Daughters for his help and support in getting this up and running and also for his donations of raffle prizes. A very special thank you to Colin Wagstaff from the Kent Branch, who has helped us all along the way.

Our meetings will usually be held on the third Thursday of every month at the Social Club, with the exception of June, due to the England Match in the World Cup being played on that Thursday, 19 June. Football gets in the way every time .... or so my wife says! Our meeting for June will be on Wednesday, 18 June at 7.30pm and the speaker will be Mark Smith, who is the curator of the Fire Power Museum in Greenwich. His subject is VCs of the Great War, so I look forward to seeing you there. If you would like any further information on the EastLondon Branch of the WFA please give me a call on 07956 541897 or drop me an e mail at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Thank you to those of you who attended and supported this new venture.

Regards

Neil Pearce

 

Can you contribute to the Russian photographic archive?

Can you contribute to the Russian photographic archive?

David Easton has had an urgent and rather unusual appeal from Russia. As David says, knowledge of the WFA is obviously truly global:

Below is a summary of the ambitious state-backed project: a project which is likely to have no British content unless our readers can come to the rescue. They simply have no photographs of the British role in the War that they can use. I won't go into the reasons here, but it would be great if you could ride to the rescue! Do you have any original WW1 photographs they can use- to quote my contact Dmitry:

We need images illustrating the British and Commonwealth armies' participation in the war and featuring all episodes of war from battles to everyday life in trenches. We shall need some 50 images to fill the gap..
Please ask people to add captions to the images they offer and, of course, the owner's name. It is also important that all the images are legally impeccable, otherwise the publisher may have serious problems with the rightful owners. I would suggest sending pics as thumbnails or "light" versions of the images. As we select the images for the publication we shall be sending you requests for higher definition files."

In fact, any photos would be useful from this time- landgirls, lady 'coalmen', street scenes with soldiers/nurses... all is potentially suitable. There could be some payment for original images if this is required- quite how this payment will be made still needs to be addressed since I know some of you will wish simply to donate images to 'fill the gap' and fly the flag.

If you wish to be a part of this great project, speed is of the essence. Please email your images as Dmitry suggests to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it You could copy me in if you liked:
branchcoordinator@westernfrontassociation.com

Extract:


The Russian State Archive of Film and Photo Documents (RSAFPD), the largest national depositary of audio and visual archives, is finishing its work on a photo album entitled The Great War 1914-1918 Newsreels and Photo Chronicle.

The edition will be published with the support of the Russian Culture Ministry, German Historical Institute in Moscow and the French-Russian Centre for Social and Humanity Sciences.

The RSAFPD project is basically intended to show combat operations on all fronts with an emphasis on the Eastern Front and cover the widest range possible of everyday human activities in the trenches, in battle, in the rear, the army headquarters and suchlike without dividing the warring sides into allies and adversaries.

The album will be based on war photos and newsreels from the collections of Russian and foreign archives, such as the Russian State Naval Archive, the State Archive of the Russian Federation, the Russian State Archive of Social and Political History, the State Historical Museum, the German Federal Archive, the Austrian War Archive, US National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), the Library of US Congress, Military Archives of Serbia etc.

The edition will be published by Liki Rossii / Faces of Russia Publishers (St Petersburg) in July 2014.

The photo album is expected to come out in 2 volumes, 600 pages each, in the Russian and, English languages. The estimated number of photographs is 1200.

Under the existing Russian book publishing laws, on the reverse side of the title page there will be a list of all project participants in alphabetic order and the copyright sign with the accepted abbreviation of the image contributor’s name.

The edition will also include information about each project participant.

In view of the above, we are offering you the opportunity to take part in our project by providing scanned photos from your collections.

 

David Easton

WFA Branch Co-ordinator

Image courtesy Wikipedia

 

 

 

Last Updated ( Saturday, 31 May 2014 11:36 )

New WFA Branch for the Isle of Man

New WFA Branch for the Isle of Man

A formation meeting is set for the 29 May 2014 at 7pm in the Manx Aviation and Military Museum at Ronaldsway.

This is being advertised in the local press and government websites.

If you live on the island, please pop along to support the formation.

Last Updated ( Saturday, 17 May 2014 06:27 )

WFA 2014 AGM Conference Lectures and Centenary Update

WFA 2014 AGM Conference Lectures and Centenary Update

Luci Gosling from the Mary Evans Picture Library was introduced and began delivering her talk on 'Dark Streets and Light Laughter—Amusements and Entertainment during the Great War'.

She supported her talk with a fascinating series of slides of magazine drawings and photos including ones of popular actors and actresses of the day.

She explained that the arrival of the troops in London presented a challenge for accommodation which included the YMCA and Union Jack Club with entertainments provided. The vibrant London theatre scene continued through the war years and was very important to the troops, particularly being light hearted and not dealing with serious war matters, although theatres provided an important recruitment venue. Examples were given of women impersonating male troops and the popularity of some key figures including George Robey who raised significant sums through his fund-raising efforts. Films were also important and the film play 'The Better Ole' proved very popular. Also popular were Heath Robinson's sketches and those of H M Bateman. Newspaper and magazine adverts were shown including those of an entertainment nature such as Decca portable Gramophone and dancing adverts.1911 saw the start of nightclubs and supper clubs in London which were very popular with both civilians and troops in the war years.

The lecture was a fascinating, informative and entertaining one for which Luci was warmly thanked by all present.

Following the AGM, Dr Peter Hodgkinson, Military Historian and Chartered and Clinical Psychologist was introduced by WFA President, Professor Peter Simkins.

Dr Hodgkinson's lecture was entitled 'Battalion Commanders on the Western Front in 1914'. He began by pointing out that most battalion commanders in 1914 came from sons of professional soldiers, the upper class or had previous war or staff service and he posed the question how competent were they? He referred to J E Edmonds' Official History which suggested that seniority rules prevented some good quality candidates from progressing as senior officers. Travers' 'The Killing Ground' quoted Haldane saying that 3 out of 4 Battalion Commanding Officers were not fit for command. However, Peter provided evidence that promotion to Commanding Officers showed only a 38% failure rate, almost the reverse of Haldane's criticism. Of the regular Commanding Officers, he said that nearly three quarters were highly competent and of the territorial Commanding Officers, 31% were enduring or promotable commanders.

In summary he said that in 1914, they were the most able group of regular Commanding Officers the British Army had ever fielded. Of those needing to be replaced, 38% of the replacements were chosen on ability. He concluded by saying that the quality of the whole officer corps of 1914 has been underestimated.

Peter's lecture was much appreciated and he was warmly applauded by the audience.

Following his lecture, Colin Wagstaff gave a slide show update on the Centenary plan for the Arras event in August 2014. This was most impressive and the work done by Joanna Legg and Graham Parker was commended and applauded by all present.

Steve Oram

Hon Secretary

 

Editor's note: watch out for video recordings of the two talks described above to be released soon on the WFA's YouTube channel and website.

Last Updated ( Sunday, 27 April 2014 16:50 )

The Western Front Association Commemoration of the Deployment of the British Expeditionary Force in August 1914

The Western Front Association Commemoration of  the Deployment of the British Expeditionary Force in August 1914

Official Centenary National Commemoration Events

by The Western Front Association

Sunday, 10 - Wednesday 13 August 2014

The events are open to WFA members, family and friends to attend. The public will also be welcome to join us in these Centenary commemoration events.

Updated details will be published in the July 2014 Bulletin and on the WFA websites
www.westernfrontassociation.com and www.firstworldwarcentenary.co.uk

Update 26 July 2014: download the latest programme of event (version 2).

Update 30 July 2014: slight modifications to the timings of events listed below

Update 8 August 2014: slight changes to London - Dover events on Sunday

As one of the first major national events to start the Centenary commemorations of 2014-2018 The Western Front Association will commemorate the deployment of the British Expeditionary Force to France. Our commemoration is about remembering the physical movement to France of thousands of servicemen and horses with their associated equipment and all those who made the move possible. The deployment of August 1914 was carried out in two parts: the ground force; and the first British deployment of an air force.

In a series of transport-related events using motorbikes, a horse-drawn wagon, vehicles and aircraft we shall be remembering the first units transported to France from 9 August 1914 by land, sea and air. To mark the 100 year anniversary of this movement to France, The Western Front Association is organising Commemorative Journeys on 10, 11, 12 and 13 August to represent the movement of the land force and the air force to France. The journeys will culminate on the afternoon of 13 August 2014 with a service of remembrance to be held at the Faubourg d'Amiens Cemetery, Arras Flying Services Memorial and Arras Memorial, Arras, France.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 21 August 2014 10:51 )

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