See under for brief biographies of past, present and future speakers(Including a complete Gallery)
Tony Bolton Niall Cherry Peter Hart
John Derry Richard Pullin Rob Thompson
Alan Atkinson Malcolm Sime Murray McVey
Charles Beresford Arthur Lacey David Tattersfield
Stephen Badsey Peter Hodgkinson Sean Godfrey
Andy Lonergan John Sneddon Bill MacCormick
Spencer Jones Jerry Murland Phylomena Badsey
Steve Warburton Simon Peaple John Beech
Tim Lynch David Humberston Jonathan Steer
Peter Dennis Bryn Hammond Grant Cullen
Stephen Barker John Beckett Jonathan D'Hooghe
Rod Arnold Chris Corker John Bourne
Graham Kemp Beth Griffiths Andrew Rawson
Nick Baker Paul Handford Peter Harris
Malcolm Sime --- Malcolm has been interested in the Great War for most of his life and grew up in Accrington, Lancashire, where the memory of the 11th (Service) Battalion of the East Lancashire Regiment, better known as the Accrington Pals, remains strong to this day. Malcolm says he is fascinated by the evolution of methods of attack and defence throughout the war, from the open warfare of 1914, through the terrible and costly experimental battles of 1915 and the great offensives of the Somme, Arras and Third Ypres, to the combined all-arms tactics of Cambrai and the Hundred Days. He says that he is also interested in the development of technologies, tactics and strategies, including the conception and construction of the Hindenburg Line and the evolution of the doctrine of defence in depth. For many years Malcolm has been a member of the Western Front Association and also of a small local group which meets monthly in Farnham, Surrey, to discuss various aspects of the Great War. Each year they visit an area of the Western Front to walk the battlefields and further their knowledge. They always identify a man from their locality; often a member of the Queen’s Royal (West Surrey) Regiment, killed in the war, and lay a wreath to his memory at his grave or memorial. Malcolm enjoys planning and researching these visits and says it has been my privilege to learn a little about some remarkable individuals. Malcolm joined the British First World War Studies MA programme at the University of Birmingham in 2012 and graduated in 2014. He says the more he learns, the more he feels he has yet to learn about this complex and fascinating conflict which shaped the world in which we live today.
Niall Cherry --- Historian, Author. Niall Cherry is an ex-RAMC soldier with a deep interest in the two major conflicts of the 20th century. He has published 8 books on these conflicts including, “Most Unfavourable Ground”, on the Battle of Loos. He has visited the Western Front on many occasions.
CWGC Kantor Volunteer Speaker
From 1994 to 2015 Steve worked at Northern College for adult residential education as a Senior
Tutor/Business Development Manager. In his former role he was able to develop and deliver a series
of courses around the Great War. He first visited the western front WW1 battlefields with his wife Jill
back in 1996 and they have been visiting them ever since. The knowledge he has gained through
numerous visits enabled him to develop a unique expertise in the field. He joined the Western Front
Association 20 years ago and his first Bulletin is dated September 2001.
As a Councillor and senior Cabinet member on Chesterfield Borough Council Steve initiated a Whistle
for the Somme ceremony and event in front of the Town Hall. The ceremony was extremely well
attended and took place on 1 st July 2016 to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the start of
the infamous battle of the Somme. Steve also delivered a series of presentations across the Borough
and beyond examining the Somme battle of 1916 in greater detail.
As Mayor of Chesterfield (2016/2017) he along with his wife Jill and Councillor John Burrows laid a
wreath at the Menin Gate in Ypres, for the people of Chesterfield in January 2017.
Steve was also instrumental in developing and chairing the WW1 Commemorations group on
Chesterfield Borough Council which initiated a number of commemorative events across the
borough for the centenary of the Great War. This was recognised locally and nationally as a huge
success and certainly did the Town of Chesterfield proud during that commemorative year.
In 2020 during the lockdown he undertook a series of interviews and training events (on zoom)
organised by the CWGC to enable him to become a CWGC volunteer speaker for the organisation
John Derry --- Professor Derry , was an Emeritus Professor of Modern British History at the University of Newcastle and author of numerous books and biographies. John is a widely admired speaker to The Western Front Association and local history groups. Murray McVey --- Now retired, Murray enjoyed a long and successful teaching career and has been a sought-after guide for NST since 1999. He has a lifelong interest in the WWI battlefields, lecturing on the subject in the UK. Murray regularly leads both WWI and WWII focused tours in France and Belgium. Charles Beresford --- Charles’s realisation at an early age that his Uncle, Private Jack Marlow of 6 the Northamptonshire Regiment had been killed at the Battle of Loos a few days short of his seventeenth birthday led to a lifelong interest in the Great War. He is an authority on British and Imperial combatant clergymen and ministers of all denominations in the Great War. His extensive and original researches have shed new light on this neglected aspect of the conflict and he has given talks on the subject across the country. His first book, The Bath at War - A Derbyshire Community and the Great War set new standards for local studies of the conflict and resulted in television and radio appearances. The local territorial battalion was the 6th Sherwood Foresters and it was Bernard Vann’s leadership of this unit in the latter stages of the war that prompted the writing of this book. He lives in Derbyshire with his wife Margaret. Charles is a stalwart Member of the Chesterfield Branch of the WFA Rob Thompson,--- an “accidental” military historian who prior to becoming an independent military historian taught at the “War Studies Group” (Birmingham University). Finding himself in a Twentieth Century Military History class as part of his undergraduate degree, he elected to present a paper on “Lions Led by Donkeys”, only to be surprised by what he discovered. This was the first step on his road to card-carrying revolution. He now writes about the role of logistics and engineering in the development of BEF’s operational method on the Western Front and sits on the Anglo-French ‘GHQ Project’ Committee as a historical advisor. He is co-organiser of ‘Not So Quiet on the Western Front: The New Military History of World war one’. He is currently writing a book on the development of the British Army’s logistical system during the Great War, as well as a historical advisor to Bolton Wanderers Football Club Great War Centenary Project. He recently appeared on BBC Television’s “Great War Railways” programme alongside Michael Portillo. Rob is a regular speaker on the “Western Front” circuit, His beautiful Italian partner of 27 years patiently waits for the return of the man she once knew whilst his two delightful children continue to develop their capacity to sneer at their fathers failings. His self-deprecation clearly hides a towering ego and an unshakable belief that he, and he alone, is destined to rule the world, He is also very tall. David Tattersfield --- David can date his interest in the First World War to a specific event – the year was 1990 and he was persuaded to read “First Day on the Somme” by Martin Middlebrook. So impressed was he that upon finishing the book, he immediately read it again. The following year, accompanied by his brother, he holidayed in France. This was the 75th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme, and although it was late July, the area around Albert was still awash with visitors. Returning home, little realising the significance of his action, he looked at the war memorial in his local church in Ravensthorpe, near Dewsbury. This small action started a process of research into this memorial which culminated in 2000 in the publication of his book (A Village Goes to War). David undertook a Masters Degree at the University of Birmingham (2004-2006) which resulted in his dissertation “Divisional Usage in the British Expeditionary Force on the Western Front 1916-1918” which analysed the elitism (or otherwise) of British Divisions via a statistical approach to various factors. David joined the Western Front Association in 1992, has been Treasurer and Deputy Chairman of the Yorkshire branch of the WFA since 2002 and became a trustee of the WFA in 2009. His wish is to strengthen the association to ensure it can continue its objectives for decades to come. Stephen Badsey --- Prof Stephen Badsey is Professor of Conflict Studies in the Department of History, Politics and War Studies, and Co-Director of the First World War Research Group, at the University of Wolverhampton. An International recognised specialist on the history and present practice of wartime propaganda and militarymedia relationships, he was educated at Cambridge University, receiving a MA and PhD, he was elected fellow of the Royal Historic Society in 1995. He has held research positions at the Imperial War Museum and for the BBC, and for several years was a member of the academic staff at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, as well as holding various posta at Universities in the UK and overseas. He has written more than 100 books and articles, and his writings have been translated into five languages. His next book will be The German Corpse Factory: A study in First World War propaganda (2015). In the last five years Stephen has been invited to address audiences in Denmark, Japan, South Africa, Estonia and the United States Peter Hodgkinson --- Dr Peter Hodgkinson is a Chartered Clinical Psychologist who obtained his PhD in the Department of War Studies, University of Birmingham. He is the author of British Infantry Commanders in the First World War, 'Glum Heroes' - Hardship, Fear and Death - Resilience and Coping in the British Army on the Western Front, and The Battle of The Selle - Fourth Army Operations on the Western Front in the Hundred Days. John Chester --- John served 26 years in the RAF as an Air Traffic Controller, before leaving the RAF to become a professional gardener and then a mental nurse. He has a lifelong interest in military history and started the WFA Spalding & South Lincolnshire Branch in 1994. John was chairman for 10 years then stood down to serve on the National Executive Committee.
Spencer Jones --- Is a a modern era (1792 - 1945) historian with extensive experience of university-level teaching at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. He is currently based at the University of Wolverhampton as Senior Lecturer in Armed Forces and War Studies. In addition, he currently serves as the Regimental Historian for the Royal Regiment of Artillery. he also acts as a supervisor on the MA in Military History at the University of Buckingham. He has written numerous articles and books, and is an enthusiastic public speaker with experience of presenting papers in the U.K., U.S.A. and South Africa. Simon Peaple --- As a teacher, local politician and author, Simon has a variety of interests. Academic study refreshes the mindwhilst teaching is enormously rewarding and politics is about making a difference in another way. Jerry Murland --- Jerry was born in 1946 and after leaving school served for a period in the Parachute Regiment before training to become a teacher. He retired from a successful teaching career in 2006, a career that spanned 32 years in both secondary and primary schools and culminated with appointments to the headship of two schools in Coventry. Since retirement he has devoted more time to writing and pursuing his interest in the Great War of 1914-18. He is married and has two children. He lives in Coventry and Rhayader. Bill MacCormick --- Bill MacCormick is a Londoner born and bred. On leaving Dulwich College, he spent the next twelve years trying, and failing, to be a rock star. A stint in politics, during which he helped run several successful by-election campaigns, ended when he left to run a market research company. He was also elected as a Bromley Borough Councillor, resigning in 2002 after twelve years warming the back benches. Early retirement allowed him to pursue his main interest: The Battle of the Somme. After three tombstone-sized books he is now finishing a twovolume account of the planning of the opening of the Battle of the Somme. Further volumes to complete the series will appear as and when time and enthusiasm allows. Andy Lonergan --- Andy is a member of the Northamptonshire Branch of the Western Front Association and a friend of the Centre for First World War studies at Birmingham University. He is also a member of the Salonika Campaign Society. Originally gaining an interest of the Great War in his teens via the comic strip ‘Charlie's War'! further reading has altered his view of the Great War from this simplistic ‘Lions led by Donkey's' concept. Andy came to the subject in more depth in 2003 when his interest was sparked in Lt-General Snow and Major-General Forestier-Walker. He has also been compiling information about 21st Division since 2005 and has a website dedicated to this research at www.21stdivision1914-18.org. Andy often speaks on these three subjects at WFA branches. Steve Warburton --- Steve is Principal at Greater Peterborough UTC, Areas of expertise: School Leadership, Information Communications Technology in Education, Innovation, UTCs, Academy & new school development, school improvement and International Education. His historical interests are focused on WW1 and lectures regularly to audiences across the UK via the Western Front Association and the Gallipoli Association. Richard Pullen --- Richard is a lecturer, military historian and author, of ‘The Landships of Lincoln’ and ‘Behond the Green Fields’ whose grandfather worked on the first tanks at William Foster and Co in Lincoln during World War I, was recently commended by Bovington Tank Museum for his 'Birth of the Tanks' DVD (with filmmaker Andrew Blow) Richard is also Chairman of “Friends of Lincoln Tank”, Richard is also a regular speaker at local WFA Branches.
David Humberston -- A keen student of history since boyhood, David enjoyed a 30 year career in banking whilst indulging his passion for the Great War. David is current Chairman of the Leicestershire & Rutland Branch of the W.F.A. and, with his partner Valerie, runs a popular tour to the battlefields of the Ypres Salient each November. In “Agents in Petticoats – Female Spies of the Great War”, David tells the story of some of the heroines who operated as foreign agents, gathering intelligence behind the enemy lines. Many of these gallant ladies, whose names are now long forgotten, would paid a heavy price for their service to their country.
Peter Dennis --- Peter was born in 1950. Inspired by contemporary journals like `Look and Learn`, he studied illustration at Liverpool Art College. He has since contributed to hundreds of books, predominantly on historical subjects. He is also a keen wargamer and modelmaker.
Jonathon Steer --- Jonathon, who lives in Romford, is a self employed Information Communications Technology Technician, Music Teacher, Musician & WW1 Researcher. He holds a Masters Degree in British First World War Studies from University of Birmingham
Bryn Hammond.--- Head of Collections at Imperial War Museum Graduated PhD Military History of the First World War, from Birmingham University in 2006 his thesis being 'The Theory and Practice of Tank - Other Arms Co-operation on the Western Front, 1916-1918' Author of Cambrai 1917: The Myth of the First Great Tank Battle (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2008) and Alamein 1942: The Battle that Turned the Tide of World War II (Osprey, June 2012).
John Beckett --- In John's professional capacity at the University of Nottingham he is Principal Investigator on the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s [funded] Engagement Centre for Hidden Histories of the First World War. You can see more of their work at http://hiddenhistorieswwi.ac.uk/
John Bourne --- Dr John M Bourne taught History at Birmingham University for 30 years before his retirement in September 2009. He founded the Centre for First world War Studies of which he was Director from 2002-2009, as well as the MA in First World War Studies. He has written widely on the british experience of the great War, including Britain and the Great War (1989 & 2002); Who`s Who in the First World War (2001), and (with Gary Sheffield), Douglas Haig: War Diaries and letters 1914-1918 (2005). John is currently editing the diaries and letters of General Sir Henry Rawlinson, again with Gary Sheffield. He is Ho. Professor of First World War Studies at the University of Wolverhampton. Away from academia John is a keen supporter of Port Vale Football Club.
Carol Henderson --- Carol Henderson is in her second year of a full-time PhD and using the Middlesex Appeal Tribunal records: looking at men who lived in Acton
Jonathan D’Hooghe --- Jonathan D’Hooghe lives in Welbourn, Lincolnshire the birth village of Sir William Robertson, he is Chairman of the Lincoln and North Lincolnshire Western Front Association branch. In 2014 he was awarded an MA in British First World War Studies from the University of Birmingham. In 2017 and 2018 he acted as WW1 adviser to two community Heritage Lottery Funded centenary organisations in Leicestershire and Derbyshire, both of which have led to the publication of books. Jonathan is primarily a social historian who loves researching the stories of individual soldiers and the stories behind the erection of post war memorials. Militarily, the 46th (North Midland) Division and in particular the 7th Sherwood Foresters (Robin Hood Rifles) are his BEF areas of greatest interest.
Stephen Barker --- Stephen is an independent Heritage Advisor who works with a number of museums, universities, charities and other heritage organisations to design exhibitions and make funding applications on their behalf. He is currently working with the History Faculty, University of Oxford and the Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum. Stephen specialises in military history, particularly the First World War and British Civil Wars. He is a Trustee of the Bucks Military Museum Trust, a Museum Mentor and has worked at The Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum, Banbury Museum and for Oxfordshire Museum Services. He is the author of 'Lancashire's Forgotten Heroes' - a history of the 8th East Lancs in the Great War.’
Rod Arnold ---
Rod was born in Aston, Birmingham in 1947 and attended the local King Edward VI Grammar School until age 16. He subsequently obtained various professional qualifications related to his career in the public sector, where he worked in a series of administrative, technical and senior personnel management roles until his retirement in 2007. Rod joined the Western Front Association in 1999 and was a founder member of the Wessex Branch in 2003. He is currently the Branch Vice-Chairman. Rod has contributed to a number of local multi-agency projects to commemorate the Centenary of the First World War including presenting talks to a number of local organizations. He “passed through” Solihull, Luton and Liverpool during his career and now lives in Bournemouth with Margaret, his wife of over 50 years. They have two daughters, two grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.
Chris Corker ---
Dr Chris Corker was born in Sheffield and has lived in the city ever since. He has researched the steel and armaments industry in Sheffield for over a decade and is now branching into research on the metalworking industries in the Hallamshire area from the late 13th Century to the present. He completed his PhD in business history at Sheffield Hallam University in December 2016, titled ‘The Business and Technology of the Sheffield Armaments Industry 1900-1930’. The following year he was awarded the annual Coleman Prize for excellence in new business history research by the Association of Business Historians for his doctoral work. He is also a recipient of the Emerald Literati Prize for the best article in the Journal of Management History in 2018. In the last two years Chris has also presented research on Sheffield steel and armaments companies at international business and economic history conferences in Montreal, Canada; Oklahoma City, and Detroit, USA; Jyvaskyla, Finland; and across the UK. On Remembrance Sunday 2018 Chris was curator and lead speaker at the 'Sheffield's Great War' event at the Sheffield City Hall in aid of the Royal British Legion. He currently works at the University of York where he is a Lecturer in Management.
Graham Kemp ---
Dr Kemp is an assistant manager and tour guide at Lancaster Castle. He is also an amateur naval historian who has researched the Allied blockade for the past forty years, and has given many talks on the Great War. He has amassed a large library on the War, from which he draws his research for his most popular talk on the impact of the Blockade. Dr Kemp is the chairman of the North Lancs. Western Front Association
Beth Griffith ---
Beth Griffith lives in Swansea and has a BA Politics and History and MA's in History (University of Swansea) and British First World War Studies (University of Birmingham) and is currently a PhD candidate at Swansea.
She is 60 years of age, married and retired from a career in the tinplate (steel) industry.
Interested in First World War, History and classic MG cars.
Andrew Rawson ---
Regular attender at Chesterfield Branch, Andrew Rawson is a freelance writer who has written over twenty-five military history books. He has written eight books for Pen & Sword’s ‘Battleground Europe’ series and three reference books for The History Press ‘Handbook’ series. He has edited Eyes Only: The Top Secret Correspondence between Marshall and Eisenhower and Organizing Victory: The War Conferences 1941–1945. He has also written a campaign volume of the British Army’s battles in 1914, 1915 and 1916. He has a master’s degree with Birmingham University’s history department. Andrew lived for many years in Mallorca, Spain, but now lives in Sheffield.
Paul joined the West Midlands Police 1976. He helped to establish and develop the National Neighbourhood Policing Programme and in 2006 his work was recognized in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list when he was made a Member of the British Empire, “for services to policing”. Since retiring in 2006, Paul was able to focus more on his passion, the research and medal collecting to British civilian volunteer ambulance drivers and units during WW1. Paul and his wife Su, have travelled extensively along the entire length of the Western Front in pursuit of this research.
Paul also enjoys presenting talks on the subject to various history groups and organisations up and down the country and has supported exhibitions at the ‘In Flanders' Fields Museum’ in Ypres, Belgium, and the Cadbury Research Library at the University of Birmingham, where medals and other related items from his personal collection were exhibited.
Paul is a member of the Orders of Medals Research Society and was a guest speaker at their 2014 and 2019 National Conferences; a member of the Western Front Association, Chair of the Military History Society of West Midland Police, Committee member of the Birmingham Medals Society and Committee member of the West Midlands Police Heritage Museum.