Welcome to the Norfolk branch of the Western Front Association.

We meet at the White Horse Inn, The Street, Trowse, Norwich NR14 8ST on the first Tuesday of each month at 7.30pm apart from in January when we often meet on the second Tuesday depending when the New Year falls. The White Horse has full pub facilities and offers excellent meals. Parking is available but if the car park is full there is ample road parking close by in the village. All members and non-members of the WFA are very welcome to attend our talks and the cost is £4 per individual and this includes sandwiches in the interval.

The Branch publishes a bi-monthly newsletter 'The Poppy'. 

2024 Meetings 

9/1/2024   David Griffiths:  'The Guards Division at War 1915-17'.

This presentation will provide an overview of some of Davids research to date for his forthcoming book and will include a detailed case study of the Guards at Loos in 1915.

06/2/2024 Steve Smith: ‘Private G/5203 Frank Smith (A jolly good chap!).

The talk looks at the service of his Great Grandfather who served with the Buffs in the Great War. He saw action at Loos and served around Plugstreet Wood before moving to the Somme in July 1916 where he was wounded on 18 August 1916. He then served with the Labour Corps until being pronounced fit to go back to the infantry where he was killed in action on 21 March 1918. The last part of the talk looks at his wife's quest ascertain what happened to him and also the impact in later years that his Grandfather’s history has had on Steve and his family.

05/3/2024 Major Phil Watson: 'Le Moncel - Lance verses Lance'.

On 7 September 1914, the 9th Lancers (2nd Cavalry Brigade) conducted the last lance verses lance charge on the Western Front. It took place at Le Moncel, just outside Paris, on what would become the end of the Retreat and the beginning of the Battle of the Marne. The commanding officer, and two troops of B Squadron charged a squadron from 1st Garde Dragoner. The story was depicted in paintings, which misrepresented the action. Likewise, the regimental history only recorded that which supported the cavalry narrative. The presentation seeks to represent an accurate portrayal from both German and British sources.

02/4/2024 Jeremy Gorden-Smith: ‘Ypres – ruin to restoration’

'A visual tour of post-war Ypres using photographs taken by Corporal Ivan Bawtree, showing the town's reconstruction and influx of battlefield tourists and pilgrims.

07/5/2024 Dr Peter Hodgkinson 'Fear and courage in the trenches'

Fear is natural in war, but the demand for courage is remorseless. What was the experience of the British soldier of fear, and were the social restrictions on its expression helpful or harmful? Similarly, did the traditional model of heroism and courage prove something that was helpful to live up to? Were those born in the late Victorian era handicapped by expectations of behaviour, or did they possess an advantage in contrast to modern methods of dealing with stress?

04/6/2024 Rob Burkett and Andrew England 'A Great War Miscellanea..... aspects, stories and encounters on the Western Front'. 

Rob and Andrew have been touring the Western Front for many years, and they will present a small number of interesting and illustrated stories that they have researched in recent years.

02/07/24 Jonathan Dutton. ‘Working for the war’. Jonathan is returning to the branch to once again touch upon the lives of those affected by the war efforts on the home front in Norfolk.

06/08/24 Jo Costin: 'Cambridgeshire Kitcheners'. A talk that covers the recruitment and deployment of the Cambridgeshire men who answered Kitchners call to arms.

03/09/24 Simon Shephard ‘Artillery conquers, infantry Occupies: British Artillery at the 3rd battle of Ypres’. A talk that will examine the impact of artillery on the last battle of Ypres that was launched on the 31st July 1917 and raged on through impossible weather conditions until 10th November 1917.

01/10/24 John Chester. ‘Eight women and a boy - Serbia in the Great War’. This talk looks at the fighting in Serbia from the start of the Great War through to the ‘great winter retreat’ and examines the brave exploits of 8 women and a boy.

05/11/24 Bryn Hammond ‘Franco-British co-operation in practice’. This talk will discuss the war time cooperation between the French and British forces. More importantly it will examine the practical results of the cooperation.

03/12/24 Peter Hart: ‘The French at Gallipoli’

Peter is the author of the magisterial ‘Gallipoli’ as well as many other books on the Great War. Regarded as a lively, well informed, and amusing speaker, Peter Hart is a regular and popular branch speaker. He is a military historian specialising in the Great War and was, until his retirement, the Oral Historian at the Imperial War Museum.

Upcoming Branch Events

See Bulletin, or the Branch Facebook Page or website for forthcoming event details.