On 5th October 2023, The Cork Branch of the WFA in conjunction with Cork Public Museum will present ‘A Night at the Museum’. During this event, Tony Bolton, the Chair of the WFA along with Dr. Tom Thorpe and Gerry White, both of whom sit on The WFA Executive Committee, will give talks. Members of the Cork branch will also provide a research facility, there will also be a display of artifacts from the Great War and reenactors will be available to answer questions about the soldiers’ kit.
This event will form part of the International WFA Conference that will take place in Cork City between 6th and 8th October 2023.
Admission is free, but bookings must be made in advance by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Speakers and Topics
Tony Bolton MA: Invasion Scares from Napoleon to the Kaiser.
Tony Bolton is the chair of the WFA. He is also the chair of its Chesterfield Branch and has been a member of the association almost from its inception in 1980. Tony completed his Masters Degree in British First World War History at Birmingham University in 2014. His dissertation on the Resignation of Austen Chamberlain and the Mesopotamia Commission also received a Distinction. He has also contributed to BBC Radio Sheffield’s Centenary programme, and has given talks to many historical organisations on various aspects of the Great War.
‘Invasion Scares from Napoleon to the Kaiser’, which Tony describes as a bit ‘quirky’, looks at the scares that periodically swept through the UK during the Victoria and Edwardian eras and were mentioned in contemporary literature and newspapers and served a prelude to the Great War. Of particular interest to an Irish audience will his description of what happened in Ireland after a successful invasion as depicted in the pages of the book ‘The Germans in Cork’ by Ladt Carbery of Castle Freke, Clonakilty, which was published in 1917.
Dr. Tom Thorpe: The impact of officer attrition and its impact on inter-rank relationships in the 2nd Battalion, Royal Irish Regiment, during the Great War
Dr. Tom Thorpe is an independent scholar, tour guide, and podcaster. He holds a PhD from King’s College London that explored the extent, nature, and impact of small group cohesion in British infantry units during the First World War. He is also a Trustee of WFA and secretary of its Antrim and Down Branch. Added to this, Tom is an avid podcaster, hosting and producing three history podcasts. These are the Western Front Association’s weekly Mentioned in Dispatches Podcast, the Epidemic Belfast podcast, and Combat Morale podcast.
During the Great War, 325 officers served in the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Irish Regiment. This attrition rate meant there was a massive change in the background, experience and social class of officers who served with the unit. Tom’s talk explores this change in officer background, as well as the impact of attrition on inter-rank relations, and how these factors shaped junior leadership, trust in officers and operational effectiveness in the trenches.
Gerry White: Cork and the Great War
Gerry White is a former member of the Irish Defence Forces who served for forty-three years in Collins Barracks in Cork. He is the Island of Ireland Trustee of the WFA and chair of the Cork Branch. He has a keen interest in Irish military history from the period 1913 to 1923, has published a number of books and articles on the military aspects of what proved to be a defining decade in Irish history and has also appeared on a number of radio and television documentaries.
‘Cork and the Great War’ is an illustrated talk that looks at the impact the conflict had on the city and county of Cork. Among the topics it will cover will be the outbreak of the war, how it split the Irish Volunteer movement, the war at sea, Cork VC winners and how those who fell were and are remembered.