The talk looks at the experiences of a Saxon infantry division of the Third Army in the Marne campaign of August and September 1914. In particular, it uses the memoirs of the army commander, Generaloberst Max Freiherr von Hausen for the view from the top as well as the letters of Kurt Becker, a Gefreiter (Corporal) in 103 Infanterie Regiment from Bautzen in eastern Saxony. Becker’s eye level was somewhat lower than von Hausen’s. Data from German casualty lists, service records, and campaign and regimental histories provide new insights into the events of the climactic Battle of Lenharree on 8th September 1914, seemingly a crushing victory but actually the start of the retreat that ended with the stalemate of trench warfare.
Alistair is very well-known in this branch for his regular and always popular lectures, perhaps it is less known that he has recently retired from Durham University library. A rare book specialist by profession, he has a degree in history from Newcastle University. He has worked for the Public Record Office and the British Library. He has run a major retrospective cataloging project for the Literary and Philosophical Society of Newcastle upon Tyne and is on the library committee of the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne.
Image: 103 Infanterie Regiment on the march in late August or early September 1914. Leutnant d. Reserve Gerhard Weiland, in the foreground, was to be killed in action at Lenharree a few days later aged 31.
Admission is £4.00, which includes the usual buffet and there is also a book raffle.