Welcome to the Cheltenham and Gloucester Branch
The branch meet at 7:30pm on the second Tuesday of each month at The Ed Shed, The Folk of Gloucester Centre, Westgate Street, Gloucester, GL1 2PG.
Entrance is via the rear on Quay Street opposite the Council Carpark barrier.
There is ample free parking here after 7:00 pm when the barrier is raised.
Location via "What3Words" is "hooked.stage.mass"
All are welcome
The Cheltenham and Gloucester Branch is very active with regular attendance of over 40 people at our monthly meeting meetings.
As well as regular speakers we have film and documentary showings and organised trips both in this country and to the Western Front.
A donation of £3.50 (£1.50 for students) would be greatly appreciated
Tuesday 14th November 2023
Retribution to Redemption: The 35th (Bantam) Division, 1914-1918
Professor Peter Simkins MBE FRHistS
Few episodes in the massive expansion of the British Army in 1914-1915 more graphically illustrate the haphazard, improvised and often reactive nature of that process than the story of the ‘Bantam’ experiment and, in particular, the experience of the 35th (Bantam) Division. What began as a well-intentioned attempt to harness the patriotic spirit of men who, due to their diminutive stature, would otherwise have been denied the chance to serve their country, led, in reality, to disappointment and tragedy, principally because no one, at the outset, appears to have carefully considered the full implications of the scheme they had initiated.
Tuesday 12th December 2023
For our December meeting, we draw on the wide and varied expertise and knowledge of our branch members. We will have a small selection of ten-minute length presentations on a Great War related subject of their choice.
Tuesday 9th January 2024
Starting from Rock Bottom: the Staff of the New Army Divisions
Dr Paul Harris
Despite their inauspicious beginnings, by the war's end many New Army divisions had proved their worth and demonstrated that an Allied victory would not have been achieved without them. It was a remarkable transformation but how was it achieved?
Tuesday 13th February 2024
British Conscientious Objectors during the Great War
Dr Lois Bibbings
This talk is based on over thirty years research, and Lois has published and spoken extensively on the subject. It will be tailored to include material relevant to our branch.
Tuesday 12th March 2024
A Tale of Two Hats
Helen & David Earle
Helen and Dave will take you on a trip around the area of Minchinhampton and tell you a true story which shows that not all casualties of the Great War were found on the battlefield.
Tuesday 9th April 2024
The 21st Division on the Somme 1916
Dr Derek Clayton
The story of three ultimately successful assaults during the Battle of the Somme. On 1 July, the Division captured and held its first objectives, resulting in the fall of the village of Fricourt the following day. On 14 July, the 110th Brigade stormed the Bazentin Ridge, capturing the woods and the village. In September, they played their part in the latter stages of the Battle of Flers-Courcelette, culminating in the capture of the village of Gueudecourt.
Tuesday 14th May 2024
The Invisible Corps
A brief look at the Army Service Corps 1914-18 revealing a story of evolution, passing the buck and meddling civilians.
Tuesday 11th June 2024
This talk is the stories of officers and men who escaped from German captivity 1914-18. Richard will cover the preparation and planning of escapes ,the consequences of failure, the escaping 'experience' and those who completed 'home runs’.
Tuesday 9th July 2024
The Last Naval Hero
Lieutenant Commander Roy Smart
The extraordinary story of David, 1st Earl Beatty. Blessed with the Nelson touch, a matinee-idol image, and a ruthless and charismatic personality, Beatty rose with meteoric speed from Cadet to First Sea Lord and to Statesman. This talk discusses his rapidly increasing fame and fortune, his marriage to an opulent, hedonistic American socialite, Ethel, and his role as a national hero. It examines his central and controversial part in the greatest naval battle (Jutland) and, later, the greatest naval surrender (Der Tag) as well as his 'Downton Abbey' life-style of marital strife and scandal.
Tuesday 13th August 2024
Branch Summer Meeting
A special evening to allow some greater social interaction than normal. There will a couple of short talks by member along with a barbeque, raffle and an opportunity for members to bring along items for the interest of other members. Enjoy an evening with others sharing your interest in the Great War.
Tuesday 10th September 2024
Morris Meredith Williams, an Artist on the Western Front
Born in Glamorgan, Morris Meredith Williams was trained in London at the Slade School of Art but working in Edinburgh, as an illustrator and teacher at Fettes College, when he joined up in April 1915. Commissioned into 17th (Service) Battalion (1st Glamorgan), the Welsh Regiment's first Bantam battalion, he later transferred to the Royal Engineers. In France from June 1916, he filled pocket-sized sketchbooks with vivid images of army life, in and behind the Front Line. These, combined with his correspondence with his wife, create a rare insight into a junior officer's days. This talk concludes with a brief look at the memorials on which they worked together after the war, including the famous frieze in the Scottish National War Memorial at Edinburgh Castle.
Tuesday 8th October 2024
The Half-Shilling Curate
The only Great War padre awarded the Military Cross for gallantry, the Rev Herbert Butler Cowl served with the BEF in France and Flanders. He was severely wounded and returned home on the ill-fated HMHS Anglia when she sank in the Channel (the first hospital ship mined during the war). The talk draws on Cowl's letters and journals, communications to/from the War Office, letters from comrades in his battalion and newspaper accounts, to tell the story of this fascinating man. It is based on Sarah’s book, The Half-Shilling Curate.
Tuesday 12th November 2024
Haig and his Army Commanders
Professor Peter Simkins MBE FRHistS
Haig's principal subordinates on the Western Front were the commanders of the five Armies which formed the BEF in the field. from 1916 to 1918. Some were controversial figures. In this talk Peter discusses Haig's relationships with these officers and examines their respective contributions to the BEF's operations.
Tuesday 10th December 2024
For our December meeting, we draw on the wide and varied expertise and knowledge of our branch members. We will have a small selection of ten-minute presentations on a Great War related subject of their choice.
Find out more from our website: The Western Front Association Cheltenham & Gloucestershire Branch
Upcoming Branch Events
See Bulletin, or the Branch Facebook Page or website for forthcoming event details.