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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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The launch of a new joint lecture series between the University of Wolverhampton and The Western Front Association

The launch of a new joint lecture series between the University of Wolverhampton and The Western Front Association

We are pleased to announce the launch of a new joint lecture series between the University of Wolverhampton and The Western Front Association. Supported by a grant from the WFA, the series will be held at the University of Wolverhampton, is open to the public, and will run until 2018.

The inaugural lecture, to be held at the University on 21 May 2014, will be given by Dr Adrian Gregory (Pembroke College, Oxford) on 'Writing a war of peoples'.

In this lecture Dr Adrian Gregory reflects on writing his new book. It is a brief history of a huge subject, that takes a global approach, avoiding a narrowly British view, and includes a study of the fraught and complex process of peace making. Dr Gregory's previous work includes the highly-acclaimed The Last Great War: British Society and the First World War (2008).

Admission is free. Please visit the event listing for the lecture to register your interest in attending.

 

The second lecture will be given by Professor Michael Neiberg of the US Army War College on the origins of the First World War on Wednesday 18 June 2014 at 5pm. Professor Brian Bond of King's College London has agreed to speak in the autumn about his forthcoming book comparing Britain's experience of war in 1914-18 and 1939-45. We will be announcing the date and other details in due course.

Last Updated ( Friday, 25 April 2014 07:07 )

Vacancy for WFA Honorary Treasurer

Vacancy for WFA Honorary Treasurer

We have been advised by Graham Clark that he is unable to continue with his role as WFA Honorary Treasurer for personal reasons. We are sad to lose him and our thanks go to him for his good work.

Consequently, we invite applications from suitable candidates for this position to take over as soon as possible. All matters are up to date.

Applicants should be qualified accountants ideally with a working knowledge of charities with the ability to allocate the necessary time to the work.

Applications including a CV should be sent to WFA Honorary Secretary, Steve Oram, Spindleberry,, Marlow Road, Bourne End, Bucks SL8 5NL or by email to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 15 April 2014 21:57 )


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