Time to look back, reflect and look forward. Here you can see info on speakers past, present and future  who have appeared  (or are appearing) at the branch, (and info on their talks)  


4 March  ---Peter Hart --- Falling Aces. War above the trenches. Peter Hart

8 April --- Malcolm Johnson ---Surely we are winning?. Pte W Parsonage 1/5 KOYLI. 

4 May No Meeting

1 June --- Chris Page ---Death in the Air The Cockburn-Lange aerial photographs. 

6 July    Peter Simkins --- The Vice Presidents XV. Some divisional and brigade commanders of the BEF, 1915-16. Peter Simkins

3 August ---Charles Beresford --- A walk around Matlock. 

7 September --- Andy Lonergan --- Lt-General Sir Thomas D’Oyly Snow. 

7 October --- Dr Bryn Hammond ---Cambrai 1917 (the myth of the first great tank battle) 

2 November ---Peter Hodgkinson --- Coping with Death in the Trenches.

7 December --- Trevor Harvey --- Imitation or Innovation?  The emergence of the Canadian Corps 1914-1918. Trevor Harvey


January --- No Meeting

1 February --- Branch AGM followed with talk by  Mike Credland 46Nth --- Midland Div new memorial at Loos.

1 March --- Mike Steadman ---battle of Flers-Coucelette --- 

5 April --- Peter Hart

May --- No Meeting

7 June --- Dr Bourne

5 July --- Niall Cherry --- Battle of Loos

2 August --- Charles Beresford ---The Unknown Soldier

6 September --- Neil Hanson --- The Unknown Soldier Neil’s book of the same title explores the horrific reality of warfare through the story of three soldiers-a Briton, a German and an American. He has also written other titles including Priestley’s Wars and The First Blitz

4 October  --- Andy Lonergan --- The 21st Division 1914-1918 The Division included many New Army units that were raised in the North Midlands/South Yorkshire areas. They fought in all the major Western Front battles from Loos in 1915 to the 1918 Hindenburg Line campaign

1 November ---Dr Mike Briggs --- The Chesterfield Sherwoods Mike has researched the men of the town who served with the Sherwood Foresters, particularly during the Battle of the Somme

6 December ---Christopher John --- St Eloi-Village of the Craters Chris is a member of the Birmingham WFA and a badged battlefield guide. His talk looks at the development of tunnelling in the St Eloi sector of the Ypres Salient


3 January --- Branch AGM and Quiz Night

7 Feb --- Malcolm Johnson --- Lord Kitchener and the Territorial Force Malcolm is the author of several books on the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry. His talk will focus on the pre-war development of the TF and explore the implications of Kitchener’s distrust of them in August 1914

3 March --- (Saturday) --- Great War Archaeology Conference (Arkwright Centre) --- Martin Brown, Dr David Kenyon, Tony Edwards and Peter Hodgkinson The seminar will cover aspects of the Western Front, including ‘Fighting the Germans Underground’, and ‘Recovering the Dead 1919-1939’, as well as Training Areas in the UK. A buffet lunch be provided – tickets from Tim Priestley

3 April --- John Aspinall --- Guns, gunners and gunnery – the artillery of the BEF John’s talk will look at the state of the Royal Artillery which formed part of the expeditionary force in France during August and September 1914

1 May --- Rob Thompson --- Futureshock: Stories from the Devastated Zone How the BEF learned about open and mobile warfare in pursuing the German retreat to the Hindenburg Line in 1917

5 June --- Vern Littley --- The Basra CWGC Cemetery and Memorial Vern is a recently-retired soldier who visited the cemetery in 2005 whilst serving in Iraq. The presentation will show what he saw and how he felt, both as a soldier and battlefield tour guide

7 July (Saturday)--- A walk around Clipstone Camp --- Tim Priestley will lead a walk around what remains of the camp itself after 90 years, including evidence of practice trenches and buildings in the woodland

7 August --- Keith Jackson --- Take only photographs, leave only memories Keith went on a quest to trace the footsteps of his Grandfather who served in Salonika. This will be an illustrated talk of his journey

4 September --- Kate Willis --- Salonika-Theatre of War Kate is a member of the Northampton Branch. Her talk will look at the entertainments available to troops serving on the Salonika front

2 October --- Peter Hart --- Jutland, 1916 On 31 May, 1916, the great battle fleets of Britain and Germany met off Jutland in the North Sea. It was a climactic encounter, the culmination of a fantastically expensive naval race between the two countries, and expectations on both sides were high

6 November --- Michael Stedman --- The Manchester Pals The contribution of the Pals Battalions will be discussed by Mike who is the author of several books on the Great War

4 December --- Grant Cullen --- Some Planes and People from the Great War Using some unique photographs from his own collection, Grant will discuss the human as well as more technical elements of Great war aerial combat


 8th January --- AGM --- AGM --- Brian Ainsworth, --- Aspects of the British Secret Service during WW1

5th February --- Tim Lynch --- Unknown Soldiers, The BEF of 1918

5th March --- Neil Hanson --- First Blitz

9th April --- Chris John --- German Tanks at Villers-Brettoneux

14th May --- Bill MacCormick --- A Lack of Offensive Spirit - the 46th Division at Gommecourt.

4th June --- Prof Brian Bond --- Survivors of a kind

2nd July --- Alan Wakefield --- Carry on up the Tigris

6th August --- Derek Clayton --- Battle of the Sambre - 1918

3rd September --- Andy Robertshaw ---24 Hour Trench

1st October --- Peter Hart --- V Beach - 25th April 1915

12th November --- Jerry Murland --- The Aisne - 1914

3rd December --- Christmas Social - Quiz - Book Swap, Peter Hodgkinson "The Photo Album of Lt Col Sir Arthur                                    Mordaunt Mills"




 7th January Branch AGM ---Peter Hodgkinson --- "The Infantry Battalion Commanders of August 1914"
The pre-war British Army officer has been the subject of much criticism. But who were the men who took the battalions of the BEF to war in 1914? What was their experience? How able were they? What happened to them? Are the criticisms fair?

4th February ---Dr Simon Peaple --- "The Origins of World War One"
Author of "European Diplomacy 1870-1939" (2002), Simon examines the controversy surrounding the outbreak of the First World War.

4th March --- Andy Lonergan --- "Major-General Sir George Townshend Forestier-Walker" A rising star prior to the war, after 1914 he drops from the radar - we will look at why.

1st April --- Jerry Murland --- "The Aristocrats go to War - The Story of the Zillebeke Churchyard Cemetery"
Based on his book "Aristocrats Go to War: Uncovering the Zillebeke Cemetery", Jerry considers the exploits and backgrounds of 27 fallen soldiers of 1914, the majority being officers of the Guards and Cavalry.

May No meeting

3rd June ---Terry Dean --- "The Lancashire Contemptibles" The 1914 experiences of Lancashire's infantry and cavalry regiments.

1st July ---Spencer Jones --- "The British Army in 1914"
Author of "From Boer War to World War - Tactical Reform of the British Army 1902-1914", Spencer debunks some of the myths concerning the inadequacies of the British Army in 1914.

5th August --- Tony Bolton --- "Mobilization 1914" Tony considers how the British mobilized in August 1914.

2nd September ---Steve Warburton --- "Ready or not – how prepared for war in 1914 was a Captain with 15 years' service?" The talk draws on the diaries, letters and photographs of C.H.T. Lucas who in 1914 was sent from Staff College to be a disembarkation officer in France but within nine months was commanding 87 Brigade at Gallipoli.

7th October --- John Chester -- "Poor Little Belgium"  John will discuss the pre-war Belgian army, the initial assault on Liege, the retreat to Antwerp and the sorties carried out by the Belgians, the involvement of the RND and the fighting on the River Lys. He also considers the 'atrocities' issue.

4th November --- Tim Lynch --- "VAD"  The story of one of the thousands of well-to-do young women who joined the Voluntary Aid detachment and a look at the patients who passed through her ward.

2nd December --- Alan Wakefield ---  "Christmas in the Trenches"  As well as the famous Christmas of 1914, Alan will cover all theatres of war (both in the front line and behind the lines), in Imperial garrisons, prisoner of war camps, and hospitals.


January 6th ---AGM --- Charles Beresford - "Great War Clergymen with Crown and Star". Charles presents his research into ordained men who rose to battalion command.

February 3rd ---Dr Simon Peaple --- "Hohenzollern Redoubt - 1915". Simon presents a view of the struggle for the Hohenzollern Redoubt, Loos, in which 46th Division suffered so badly.

March 3rd ---Peter Hart --- "The French at Gallipoli". Peter looks at that little known aspect of the Gallipoli campaign – our allies.

April 14th --- Rob Thompson --- "Everything Bar the Shouting". Rob is the expert on BEF logistics and engineering on the Western Front, and gives an overview on these essential tasks.

May 12th --- Edwin Astill --- "Lieutenant to Brigadier General: Alexander Johnston". Johnston rose from Signal Officer, through Brigade-Major to CO 10th Cheshire, and briefly GOC 126 Brigade before wounding. Edwin presents this interesting officer’s life through his diaries.

June 2nd --- Professor Stephen Badsey --- "British Cavalry on the Western Front". An account of the cavalry's organisation, development and value.

July 7th --- Dr John Sneddon --- "Bombay Sappers and Miners at Neuve Chapelle 1914". An overview of the Battle of La Bassee and the Indian attempt to recapture Neuve Chapelle.

August 4th --- Aimée Fox-Godden --- "'Hopeless inefficiency?' - Brigade staff in operations, 1916-1918". Aimee examines how brigade staff training and performance evolved, using battle studies to explode the myth that staff sat behind the lines.

September 8th --- Bill Fulton --- "The Machine Gun Corps 1915-1922". Bill gives an account of the formation and function of the MGC.

October 6th --- David Thompson --- "Gas, Gas, Gas! - The Legacy of 22 April 1915". Davis considers the consequences for the war of the first use of gas.

November 3rd --- Dr Scott Lindgren --- "A Series of Unfortunate Events - Coronel 1914". 101 years ago the German East Asia Squadron met a small squadron of RN cruisers. The British lost heavily. Scott looks at why.

December 1st --- Sean Godfrey --- "Disaster at Hooge - July 1915". Sean examines the life and death of a group of British soldiers in the flamethrower attack at Hooge and the British counter-attac


January 5th --- AGM Tony Bolton--- "1916 – an Overview of the Year”.

February 2nd --- David Tattersfield --- "The Courts Martial of Willie Stone and the DLI Six" – this needs about a dozen 'volunteers' to deliver the lines from a script provided. No acting is required or wanted: this is verbatim transcript of two original courts martial. The first is the famous case of Willie Stones (who claimed he blocked the trench with his rifle to stop pursuing Germans) and the second is a "mass" court martial of six men from the DLI.

March 1st --- Paul Cobb.--- "The Easter Rising – a Distraction from the Western Front" – a talk looking at the events in Dublin at Easter 1916 when rebels challenged British rule in Ireland. Events which still affect the politics of Ireland, North and South today

April 5th Richard Pullen. 'The First Tanks - A Wasted Opportunity or a Prelude to Victory?' This talk centres on how the first use of the tanks were basically unsuccessful but ultimately served as part of the greater learning curve

May 3rd --- Peter Hart --- "Somme Success: the RFC and the Battle of the Somme, 1916" Peter will discuss the contribution of the Royal Flying Corps to the Battle of the Somme

June 7th --- Sean Godfrey. --- "Serre 1916" - This presentation looks at the battles for the village of Serre during the Great War, in particular the actions of the 31st (Pals) Division on July 1st 1916

July 7th --- Dr. Nigel Hunt --- “The Forgotten: Shellshock after the First World War” After considering the symptoms experienced and the treatments on offer during the war the talk will focus on those people who remained shellshocked (in the terminology of the day) long after the war ended.

August 2nd --- Stephen Erskine --- "Their glory shall not be blotted out”: The 7th Battalion The Green Howards in front of Fricourt, 1 July 1916"

September 6th --- John Beech --- “Zeppelins over Nottinghamshire” John has (and continues to do) conducted meticulous research into these raids. He will present some of his work.

October 4th --- Prof. Stephen Badsey. --- "Could the Battle of the Somme Have Been Won?" - An analysis of alternative courses of action for the BEF in the Battle of the Somme 1916.

November 1st --- John Chester. --- “The Unknown Warrior” The story of the Unknown Warrior, buried in Westminster Abbey on Armistice Day 1920.

December 6th ---Nick Paul ---. “Barbed Wire Disease” Nick will present some of his researches into the experiences of British soldiers who became captives of the enemy


January 3rd --- Branch AGM --- Tony Bolton--- "1917 – an Overview of the Year”. Book Sale – all at a pound !

February 7th --- Niall Cherry – Cambrai 1917.  Church bells rang out in Britain to celebrate the success of the British attack, but the Germans countered and soon all was back to square one. Why ? – and what lessons were learned

March 7th --- Peter Hart "Guns of Passchendaele 1917”. On his talk Peter will cover guns and the Royal Artillery during the Third Battle of Ypres.

April 4th --- Richard Pullen – “Munitionettes” By June 1917, roughly 80% of the weaponry and ammunition used by the British army during World War I was being made by women who became known as munitionettes.  Richard explains their story

May 2nd --- Malcolm Sime  --- “Kaiserschlact”  this presentation will examine the performance of the 66th (2nd East Lancs) Division and the British system of defence in depth on 21 and 22 March 1918, covering the political and military background, the quality and training of the troops involved, both British and German, the planning and implementation of the defences in that sector and the events of the first two days of the Kaiserschlacht. 

June 6th --- Rob Thompson –-- Messines 1917.It has been argued that the Battle of Messines was the most successful local operation of the war, certainly of the Western Front.  Carried out by Plumer`s 2nd Army it was launched on 7 June 1917. Rob will explain why this offensive was a success.

July 4th --- Charles Beresford - The Forgotten Story of Derbyshire’s Major Role in the Nation’s  Commemoration of the Great War.

Auhust 1st  --- Tony Bolton –-- “ Iraq Inquiry – 1917. The Mesopotamia Campaign was a major defeat for the Imperial Forces – Tony will explain why and the outcome of the subsequent inquiry.

September 5th  --- Alan Atkinson –--  “Propaganda – The British Way !”  Drawing on his researches for his MA, Alan will explain how the British exploited Propaganda to their advantage.

October 3rd --- Murray McVey – Battle  of Broodseinde was fought on 4 October 1917 near Ypres in Flanders, at the east end of the Gheluvelt plateau, by the British Second and Fifth armies and the German 4th Army. The battle was the most successful Allied attack of the Battle of Passchendaele.

November 7th --- Arthur Lacey --- 'Medical Anecdotes from the Great War- what did the RAMC do?. An introduction to the RAMC history and organisation, but also about casualties, heroes and diseases with reference to individual soldiers stories as illustrations.  

December 5th --- Prof John Derry --- `Haig ReconsideredSir Douglas Haig was the victorious commander of the BEF, but still divides opinion. Prof Derry will look at recent researches into his command.




January 9th --- Branch AGM --- Tony Bolton--- "1918 – an Overview of the Year”.

February 6th --- Tim Lynch --- `The Unknown Soldiers - the BEF of 1918`

March 6th --- David Humberston –-- Women Spies

April 3rd --- Peter Hart --- Not Again` - the German offensive on the Aisne, May 1918.

May 1st --- Jonathon Steer – Mons 1914 to Mons 1918 – the BEF compared.

June 5th --- Rob Thompson --- "Running Out of Road. Supplying the BEF During the 100 Days Offensives. 1918". 

July 3rd --- Graham Kemp  --- The AEF 1917 - 1918

August 7th --- Peter Dennis --- historically accurate research

September 4th --- John Beech –--  the great escape – Nottingham - September 1918

October 2nd --- Peter Hodgkinson –-- Battle of Selle October 1918

November 6th ---Bryn Hammond -  The 501 Piece Jigsaw - Tank - All arms Cooperation in The Great War.

December 4th --- Phylomena Badsey"Auxiliary Hospitals and the role of VAD Nurses during the First World War"



January 8th ---  Branch AGM --- Tony Bolton--- "1919 – an Overview of the Year”.

February 5th --- Dr Simon Peaple – Versailles Conference 1919

March 5th ---Stephen Barker --- Armistice 1918 and After

April 2nd --  Peter Hart  "Aces Falling: War over the Trenches, 1918"

May 7th ---John Beckett--- The Chilwell Explosion, 1 July 1918

June 4th --- Rob Thompson --- "Wombles of the Western Front

July 2nd --- John Bourne --- J.R.R. Tolkien and the 11th Lancashire Fusiliers on the Somme

August 6th --- Chris Corker  --- 'Making the Armaments Centre of the World: Sheffield 1860-1914'

September 3rd --- Tony Bolton and Grant Cullen - developments and strategies of 1915

October 1st ---    Rod Arnold - "The Battle of Dogger Bank: 

November 5th ---Jonathan D`Hooghe ‘The Robin Hoods – Who were they?’

December 3rd ---      Tim Lynch  “ Hundred Years of Battlefield Tourism





January 7th --- AGM, followed by Member participation.

February4th ---   Graham Kemp - `Impact of the economic blockade on Germany AFTER the armistice and how it led  to WW2

March 3rd  --- Peter Hart --- Après la Guerre`(Demobilisation) 

April 7th  --- Andrew Rawson - ‘Tea Pots to Tin Lids’

May 5th  ---  Nick Baker --- Secret Victory

June 2nd      --- Rob Thompson --- The Gun Machine 

July 7th   ---  Tony Bolton ---  From business as usual to total war 

August 4th --- Beth Griffiths "Disabled Soldiers Returning after WW1" 

September 1st --- John Taylor   A Prelude to War’ (An Archduke’s Visit),

October 6th --- Peter Harris -- Tanks in the 100 Days

November 3rd --- Paul Handford ---Women Ambulance Drivers on the Western Front 1914 – 1918.

December 1st --- John Beech --- 'Notts Battery RHA - Nottinghamshire Forgotten Gunners'