Search results for Somme.


'Could the Battle of the Somme have been won?' a talk given by Professor Stephen Badsey

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Professor Stephen Badsey will give an analysis of alternative courses of action for the BEF in the Battle of the Somme 1916. Members of the WFA and non - members are equally welcome. We ask for a modest £4 donation on the door which will include a free raffle ticket.  Any new visitors will be assured of an welcoming and friendly atmosphere among …


'The Battle of the Somme' with Peter Baron

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Peter Barton is an author and broadcaster. He has written extensively on the war above and below ground in Flanders and in May 2010 he carried out excavations at Mametz on the Somme which discovered pieces of a Livens Large Gallery Flame Projector. That resulted in an associated television programme, and in 2016 he wrote and fronted the three-p…


'Gloucestershire and the Somme' a talk by Bob Brunsdon

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Bob Brunsdon's presentation commemorates the county's association with the Battle of the Somme through the stories of individual soldiers from the county who fought there, both on the First Day and in subsequent operations. Through their experiences, we will also examine the role of various battalions of the Gloucestershire Regiment in this long …


'The French Army on the Somme' a talk by Dave O'Mara

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Dave O'Mara will be giving a talk on the French Army on the Somme.    David O'Mara has been a member of the WFA on and off since 1983. He has written hundreds of pieces for the WFA website, most notably 'On This Day' as well as articles for Stand To!. Now a published author with several titles out he has become a regular speaker at branch events.…


‘Now is the Winter of our discontent’ - Somme Dec 1916 - March 1917' a talk by Sean Godfrey

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The period from when the Somme battle officially ended to operation Alberich, the German retreat to the Hindenburg Line. IMAGE. Ice broken up by shell fire on the battlefield at Beaumont Hamel, December 1916 Q 1683  


20 August 1897 : Cpl / Flt. Cdt John Arthur Wilson MM

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As a boy, after Sunday lunch, I recall sitting on my grandfather's knee and he would start off with the line ‘have I told you about the time ...' and he'd then add, ‘.... we were gassed' or '.... we took a German prisoner' or '..... I was transferred to the Royal Flying Corps'. Perhaps this started my interest in history. In his 96th year Jack r…


'Wilfreth and Hubert - Two Officers from the Somme to 1918' a talk by Michael Stedman

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Michael Stedman will be giving a talk on two officers who served on the Somme in 1916 through to 1918.   We meet at the White Horse Inn, Trowse on the first Thursday of each month at 7.30pm.  


'The other first day on the Somme. The success of the French Sixth Army 1st July 1916' by Bill McCormick

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Bill McCormick will give a talk on the success of the French Sixth Army on the First Day of the Somme.   We meet at the White Horse Inn, Trowse on the first Thursday of each month at 7.30pm.


'Comparing the Somme 1916 with Arras 1917' by Mike Coyle

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Both battles, the Somme and Arras, were equally fierce, both with heavy losses, yet 100 years on The Somme lives in our consciousness, whilst few know of the Battle of Arras. The talk discusses possible conclusions.   IMAGES: Public Domain. Wikipedia. Ruins of the Hôtel de Ville, Arras 26 May 1917. Somme 25 September 1916. British troops moving…


3 October 1916 : Pte John Henry Hargreaves

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A weaver from Bivel Street, Burnley, Lancashire. John was also a keen footballer and secretary of the Burnley and District Junior Football League. He enlisted into the 3/4th Battalion East Lancashire Regiment in early 1916 but was transferred to the North Lancs whilst at Witley in Surrey, prior to embarking on overseas service in August 1916. …


14 November 1916 Pte Bertie Adams was killed in action on this day

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A weaver at Duckworth's Mill, Kelbrook, Bertie was born at Foulridge, Lancashire in 1895. He enlisted into the East Lancashire Regiment at Nelson in 1915 and was sent to the Western Front in August 1916 where he was thrown straight into the Battle of the Somme. On the opening day of the Battle of the Ancre, Bertie took part in the successful openi…


14 November 1916 : Pte Arthur Henry Sharples was killed on this day

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A cotton weaver from Burnley, Lancashire, Arthur was born in the town in 1898. Resident on Berry Street, Burnley, he enlisted into the Army in September 1914 but, due to his age, saw his active service deferred until 1916 when he travelled to France to join the 7th Bn East Lancs on the Somme. Arthur served throughout much of the Battle of the Som…


22 November 1917 : Pte Alexander McNab was killed in action on this day

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Before the war Alexander worked at West's Mill, Harle Syke but had enlisted into the 3rd East Lancs at Blackburn in 1911 and was in camp at Workington when news of the outbreak of war came through. Immediately mobilised into service, he arrived in France on 26 August 1914 and joined the 1st Bn East Lancs during the retreat from Mons. After serving…


27 November 1916 Joshua J Mitchell died of his wounds on this day

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Joshua was born in Ossett 24 December 1895, the youngest son of four surviving children. He enlisted in Dewsbury, joining the Corps of Royal Engineers, Service No. 145053. He embarked for France in June 1916. It is most likely that he was wounded during the final stages of the Battle of the Somme, the local paper reporting that he received his wou…


28 November 1917 James Metcalfe died of his wounds on this day

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Born at Cray, Yorkshire, on 5 November 1883, James emigrated to Masterston, New Zealand at the turn of the century and was employed as a labourer in Whahataki at the time of the outbreak of war. He enlisted into the New Zealand Rifle Brigade on 12 October 1915 and embarked for Egypt on 5 February 1916. After several weeks in Egypt, he was transfer…


032: Summer 1991

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033: Winter 1991

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036: Winter 1992

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'Filming and Photography of the Somme Battle June-July 1916' by Andy Robertshaw

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Andy Robertshaw will give a talk on the filming and photography during the Somme Battle June-July 1916.  Andy Robertshaw is a well known historian, broadcaster and educator.   We meet at the White Horse Inn, The Street, Trowse, Norwich NR14 8ST on the first Tuesday of each month at 7.30pm  


Zero Hour Z Day 1st July 1916: XIII Corps Operations between Maricourt and Mametz

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By Jonathan Porter Self–published, £30.00 hardback, £25.00 soft back, 500pp, ills, photographs and maps in monochrome and colour throughout, 1 Appendix, index. ISBN: 978–099–569–110–0 Review by David Filsell   Starting a book review with superlatives is bad practice. It either indicates the work of an over impressed reviewer or, perhaps, one …


The Somme: The Epic Battle in the Soldiers’ own Words and Photographs

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By Richard van Emden Pen and Sword, 2016, £20.00 hb, £11.99 pb and £15.00 e–book, 355pp, fully illustrated throughout, index. ISBN: 9–781– 473–855–21 2 Review by Barbara Taylor   Richard van Emden is an ‘everyman’ author. He has published many titles that need no repetition here. His work is very popular and it seems that this book is an almo…


Miners at War 1914-18: South Wales Miners in the Tunnelling Companies on the Western Front

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By Ritchie Wood Helion, £35.00, 320pp Hardback, 107 illustrations within text., 29 tables, index, notes and refs. ISBN: 978-1-991096-49-8 Book review by Niall Ferguson Although the large mines at Messines and the Somme are well-known, it is only recently that researchers have realised the extent of mining on the Western Front. It was only reall…


053: September 1998

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The Imperial War Museum Book of the Somme

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Book Review by Bob Butcher. It was with a certain feeling of 'We've been here before' that I opened this book, afterall, had not so many already explored the Somme from every angle? Moreover I am not too keen on books consisting largely of personal accounts, valuable though these may be. Nonetheless I had not turned many pages before I became engr…


064: April 2002

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066: January 2003

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The OBLI on the Somme

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  IMPORTANT UPDATE - following the snow in March casuing the meeting to be cancelled, Stephen Barker will now visit the branch on Sunday, 13th May to talk on the 'OBLI on the Somme'. Phil Tomaselli's talk on MI5 officers will move to our 2018/19 programme. Stephen previously visited the branch to talk about a battalion of the East Lancs but this …


087: December 2009/January 2010

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106: July 2016 Special Edition

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Nobody of any importance: a Foot Soldier’s Memoir of World War I

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Reviewed by Michael Lucas. Nobody of any Importance is a lengthy and detailed account, written from memory, in the 1970s, from early childhood to age 21, with 50 pages of editorial notes. Sam Sutcliffe enlisted at 16 in September 1914, trained as a signaller, went to Gallipoli and fought at Suvla, with 2/1st Londons (Royal Fusiliers -29th Division…


Lieutenant Martin’s Letters:  F.W.S. Martin, M.M., an Anzac in the Great War

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Reviewed by R. Buckley, B.A., Ph. D. Cantab. Lieutenant Fred Martin, M.M., the author’s uncle, was born in Queensland in 1895. He died at Polygon Wood, September 20th, 1917. Training as a teacher when war broke out, Martin was a fine writer whose wartime letters to his family bring images and characters vividly to life and throw light on contempor…



The Somme and Beyond: The BEF on the Western Front 1916-1918

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The British Army’s Experience on the Western Front 1916-1918 Written by Peter Simkins ISBN 978 1 78159 312 7 254pp. Maps. Praetorian Press, Barnsley, 2014 WFA members will welcome this book of essays from our President. They are, in effect, a synthesis of a lifetime of deep study of the British Army’s performance on the Western Front. In Everym…


Major & Mrs Holt's Definitive Battlefield Guide: Somme 100th Anniversary

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Major and Mrs Holt’s Definitive Battlefield Guide Tonie and Valmai Holt Seventh GPS Edition Somme 100th Anniversary Pen and Sword £16.99 (Discounted to £13.50 on Pen & Sword website, and also available in eBook version for Kindle £8.02) First published 1996. This Revised, much-expanded Edition 2016 274pp +Pull out map Foreword by Francois Be…


Slaughter on the Somme 1st July 1916

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Slaughter on the Somme 1st July 1916 The Complete War Diaries of the British Army's Worst Day  Martin Mace & John Grehan (South Yorkshire: Pen & Sword Military, 2016; first published 2013) Softback £16.99 514 pp, including middle section of b/w photos, and six maps. Contents also include List of Battalions; List of Abbreviations; plus…


A Sergeant Major’s War. From Hill 60 to the Somme

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Ernest Shephard. Edited by Bruce Rossor Published by The Crowood Press ISBN 1 85223 200 5 PB 157 pages £10 to £20 When Ernest Shephard was killed on 11th January 1917, at the “Chalk Pit” so ended this professional soldier’s life and diary. From the moment Ernest a loyal member of the Dorsetshire Regiment entered the war, he wrote his diary. He …


Battle Lines: Ypres - Nieupoort to Ploegsteert

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Authors: Jon Cooksey and Jerry Murland ISBN 978 1 84884 783 4 Publisher: Pen and Sword 31 March 2013 240 pages including maps and illustrations When I signed up to provide a book review for the Western Front Association I was curious as to what book I would receive, given the information I had provided on my area of interest. However, when I rec…


Inf. Sebastian Scheugenpflug, Kgl.Bayr.Res.Inf.Regt.17

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Sebastian was a grocer from Lengthal, Bavaria. A recalled reservist in August 1914, he first saw action during the First Battle of Ypres in October 1914. He was a veteran of the Battles of Fromelles, the Somme and Arras through 1915 to 1917. He was killed in action by shrapnel to the head on 31st July 1917 – the opening day of the Third Battle o…


After Amiens – 38th (Welsh) Division

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It happened in the barber’s where my mother had taken me when I was a young child. ‘Mummy, why is that man making funny noises?’ The wheezing, rattling and muted bubbling sound stopped briefly as he turned to look at me, expressionless, then nodded towards my mother and turned away. My mother gave a very, very sharp tug on my coat sleeve. ‘Shhh!…


The Generals. John Terraine's 1982 Address to The Western Front Association

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 [This piece, a transcript of John Terraine's 1982 address, first appeared in Stand To! No. 7 Spring 1983 pp.4- 7] IMAGE (Photo: IWM Q9689) Haig and his Army Commanders at Cambrai, 11 November 1918. First and second rows, left to right: Plumer (Second Army), Byng (Third Army), Haig, Birdwood (Fifth Army), Rawlinson (Fourth Army), Horne (First A…


Britain in the First World War : Lecture given by John Terraine in 1988

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(Lecture given by John Terraine in 1988) The 1914-1918 War was, for Britain, a traumatic experience - hence the emotional reactions to it which continue this day. It was, I am certain, far more traumatic for Britain than for Europeans, and far, far more so than it was for America. It was also far more traumatic for Britain than the Second World Wa…


'Operation Michael' a talk by Rob Thompson

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The German Spring offensive which commenced on 21 March 1918 has long been regarded as a master-stroke by General Ludendorff - and one that nearly won the war for the Germans. In this talk the very popular Rob Thompson will take a highly critical look at this famous battle and discuss its planning, preparation and execution. Rob will explain why it…


6 December 1917: 12177 Pte Walter Catlow, 7th Bn East Lancashire Regt

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An employee of Messrs Eastwood Ltd, Carriage Proprietors in Burnley, Lancashire, Walter Catlow  He enlisted into the 8th Bn East Lancs, in September 1914 and he travelled with them to France on 1 August 1915. Walter saw his first frontline service in the Foncquevillers sector, and he was a participant in the Battles of the Somme (1916) and Arras (1…


11 December 1917: Sgt Charles Peachey MM, 1/6th Bn Duke of Wellingtons (W Riding) Regt.

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From Settle, Yorkshire, a veteran of the Battle of Aubers Ridge in 1915 and the Somme in 1916, Charles Peachey (by now mentioned in dispatches and promoted to Sergeant and, on occasion, appointed acting Warrant Officer 2nd Class) was awarded the Military Medal for actions during the Battle of Poelcapelle (3rd Ypres) in 1917. He was killed in actio…


14 December 1917: Pte James Ormerod Tattersall

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A weaver from Stacksteads, Lancashire. His father was a coalminer.  After enlisting into the West Riding territorials in Barnoldswick, James was sent to France in September 1916 and served on the Somme and in Belgium before being wounded in July 1917, whilst serving as part of a Lewis Gun team.  Sent back to the UK in October 1917 for recuperatio…



5179 Pte.Dennis Cyril Byrne, 6th Bn. East Lancashire Regiment

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A labourer in a pipe-works in his civilian life, Dennis was born in Burnley, Lancashire in 1894. He enlisted into the 3rd Battalion, East Lancashire Regiment in Burnley in October 1914 and, after training was allocated to the 1st Battalion. Arriving on the Western Front on 25 October 1915, he joined his battalion at Hedauville, Somme and was soon…


19 April 1916: 5179 Pte.Dennis Cyril Byrne, 6th Bn. East Lancashire Regiment

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A labourer in a pipe-works in his civilian life, Dennis was born in Burnley, Lancashire in 1894. He enlisted into the 3rd Battalion, East Lancashire Regiment in Burnley in October 1914 and, after training was allocated to the 1st Battalion. Arriving on the Western Front on 25 October 1915, he joined his battalion at Hedauville, Somme and was soon…


8 May 1917: 27209 Pte Arthur Chatterton, 8th Bn East Yorkshire Regt

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Born at Theddlethorpe, Lincolnshire in 1881, Arthur was working as a wool sorter in the USA at the time of the outbreak of war. Upon the declaration of war, he returned to the UK and worked as a munitions worker near Glusburn, Yorkshire before enlisting into the East Yorkshire Regiment at Cross Hills, Yorkshire in early 1916. He was sent on active…


15 May 1918: L Sgt John Gregson, 1/6th Bn Duke of Wellington's (W Riding) Regt

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Born at Wellington, Shropshire in 1880, John was living and working in Skipton ,Yorkshire at the time of his enlistment. A married father of two, he enlisted into his local territorial battalion in the early months of the war, but didn't see overseas service until mid 1916. After taking part in the Battle of the Somme soon after his arrival in Fran…


1 July 1916 : Lieut Charles Stonehouse, W Coy 11th Bn East Lancs Regt.

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A keen sportsman, he played amateur football for Blackburn Crosshill FC and also represented his town at hockey. Charles enlisted into the East Lancashire Regiment in Accrington on 17 September 1914 as a private and was issued with the regimental number 15360. Not long after enlistment, he was promoted to Lance Corporal before being recommended for…


30 June 1917 : 439764 Cpl Alex Robert Colman, C Coy 52nd Bn CEF

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Alex then moved to Canada, where he gained employment as a stenographer and enlisted into the Canadian Army at Port Arthur, Ontario on 13 September 1915. Trained at Port Arthur and Gresley Park, he was sent to the UK on 23 November 1915, prior to service in France and Flanders from 21 February 1916. A veteran of the action at Mt Sorrel and the Som…


22 July 1916 : Major-General Ingouville-Williams, 34th Division.

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In 1914 Brigadier General Edward Ingouville-Williams went to France as a commander of 16 Infantry Brigade (6th Division). He was promoted to Major-General, in June 1915, when he took command of the newly formed 34th Division, which he took to the front in January 1916. The Division lost heavily on 1 July 1916 when it attacked at La Boiselle. The Di…


23 July 1917 : Pte George Clement Sutcliffe, 1/4th KOYLI.

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The 49th (West Riding) Division had, following the Battle of the Somme, moved to the Neuve Chapelle area; the division stayed in this sector until 13 July 1917 when it was ordered to proceed to Bethune railway station. After de-training at Dunkirk, the division moved up the coast, taking over the coastal defences at Nieuport on 18 July. The 1/5th …


The Somme 1916: Touring the French Sector

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By David O’Mara  Pen & Sword, £14.99, 240pp 32 maps & ills throughout. ISBN: 978–147–389–770–0  ‘Oh, No! Not another book on the Somme!’ Not my words but those of the author. David O'Mara makes it clear that his book is different – and without doubt he succeeds. This is an essential read for those who study the Somme. The French sector …


David Tattersfield MA

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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 o…


Jonathan Vernon BA, MA, MAODE, MA.

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Jonathan  has degrees in Geography (Oxford), Open and Distance Education (Open University) and British History and the First World War (Wolverhampton) and is a graduate of the School of Communication Arts (London).  He had a career in video production in the UK and France first and then moved to online education in 2000. He is interested in scenar…


The French on the Somme: From Serre to the River Somme – August 1914 – 30 June 1916

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Pen & Sword, £14.99, 234pp., softback, ills, maps, index, appendices, notes and refs, bibliog. ISBN: 978–152–672–240–9 This is the second of five books about the French Army on the Somme planned by David O’Mara. His first, covering the French action on the Somme in 1916, appeared in 2018 and provided an outstanding introduction to what is,…


27 December 1915 : Cpl Daniel Dover MM

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Daniel was born in 1887 to mother Anne Jane. In 1901, the family lived at 19 Oak Mount St, Burnley. In 1911, now a widower, after the death of her husband Frederick in 1905, Anne lived with her two children Daniel and Florence at 20 Brougham St, Burnley.  Daniel was employed as a weaver, Daniel enlisted into the King's Own Scottish Borderers in Se…


In a hole in the ground – Tolkien and the Trenches by John Garth

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Award-winning Tolkien biographer, John Garth tells how Tolkien fought in the Battle of the Somme as battalion signals officer for the 11th Lancashire Fusiliers, and lost some of his closest friends there. The Great War was crucial in Tolkien’s invention of Middle-earth and his experiences shaped The Lord of the Rings, and particularly its hero Frod…