Search results for Somme.

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…


3 October 1916 : Pte John Hargreaves

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The son of John (a coal miner) and Mary.  John became a weaver and the family lived on Bivel Street, Burnley, Lancashire. At the 1911 John was also a keen footballer and secretary of the Burnley and District Junior Football League. He married Ada and they had a daughter Anne born in September 1916.  He enlisted into the 3/4th Battalion East La…


6 October 1917 : Pte Harold Rowley

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Parents John and Sarah (née Owen).  At the 1901 Census, age 6, Harold lived with his two older siblings Louie and Owen, parents and his 76 year old Aunt Jane. His sister Louie died in 1905.  At the 1911 Census, age 16, Harold was working as a clerk. His father John and older brother Owen were blast furnace men. They lived in the 3 room 945 Old …


17 October 1916 : L/Cpl Frank Sagar

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Franks parents were George and Emma - both were cotton weavers. They had married in 1881 and between 1884 and 1901 they had nine children, two of whom died has infants. Like two of sisters and three younger brothers, Frank worked in a nearby cotton mill.  At the time of his death the family lived at 7 Ribblesdale Terrace, Barnoldswick.  Frank en…


14 November 1916 : Pte Arthur Henry Sharples

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His parents were William John Sharples (an assistant newspaper printer) and Lucy Jane (née Pomroy).  Age 4 at the 1901 Census Arthur lived at home (4 Simpston Street, Burnely) with his parents and older siblings William, Maud, May, Frances and Mary.  Age 14 at the 1911 Census, Arthur (working as a weaver) lived at home with his widowed father, hi…


22 November 1917 : Pte Alexander McNab

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Parents Alexander (a blacksmith from Argylshire) and Janet (née Wardrop and from Stirlingshire) McNab. At the 1891 Census the family lived at 20 Buck St, Burnley. This included older brother William (age 2) and Alexander (six months). At the 1901 Census there were five more children (including twins) and 12 year old William was working as a cotto…


27 November 1916 : Pte Joshua J Mitchell

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Joshua was the youngest son of four surviving children. His father Arthur Mitchell was a rag trader, his mother was Susannah. He had two older brothers George (by 10 years) and Bernard.  Joshua 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 …


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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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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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…


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…


6 December 1917: Pte Walter Catlow

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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…


19 April 1916: Pte Dennis Cyril Byrne

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The son of John and Elizabeth Fell. At the 1901 Census the family lived on Vicarage Place, Burnley. Dennis had an older brother John and younger siblings Douglas and Florence. At the 1911 Census the Byrne family were still living in Burnely, now on Napier Street. Dennis had another sister by then, Annie. Cousins Vincent and Reginald (adopted) w…


8 May 1917: Pte Arthur Chatterton

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Son of Jabez, an agricultural labourer and Maria (née Brant) Chatteron, born into a family of boys: Arthur had four older brothers at the time of his birth. By the 1891 Census, although only 10 years and 9 months old, Arthur, like three of his older brothers, was working as a worsted spinner.  The family lived at 62 Brunsgill Houses, Glusburn. B…


15 May 1918: L.Sgt John Gregson

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At the 1901 Census John, age 21 was living with his 21 year old wife Gertrude at 1 Hughes Street, Wrexham A decade later he has two children and is living at 1 Mount Street, Wrexham with his wife, son, daughter and father in law. John into his local territorial battalion in the early months of the war, but didn't see overseas service until mid 1…


1 July 1916 : Charles Stonehouse

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His father was Francis Stonehouse, a draper and his mother Mary Ann Stonehouse. One of seven children, Charles went on to train as an architect.   At the 1891 England Census that family lived at 32 Adelaide Terrace (all seven children and two live in domestic servants). By the time of the 1901 England Census the family lived at 42 Adelaide Terrace…


30 June 1917 : Cpl Alex Robert Colman

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Son of Robert (a coffee shop proprietor) and Annie. Alex moved to Montgomery County, Indiana, USA in 1912  Alex then moved to Canada, where he gained employment as a stenographer. He enlisted into the Canadian Army at Port Arthur, Ontario on 13 September 1915. He trained at Port Arthur and Gresley Park and was then sent to the UK on 23 Novem…


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

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Parents General Sir John William Collman Williams and mothers Georgina Isabella (née Ingouville) He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the East Kent Regiment from the militia in April 1881. He served in the Sudan Expedition (1884-5) and the Nile Expedition (1898-9) in Egypt and Khartoum and then served during the Second Boer War 1899 to 19…


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 1/5t…


31 July 1917 : Inf. Sebastian Scheugenpflug

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He was a grocer. 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 of Ypres. Sebastian was …


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 annivers…


Jonathan Vernon BA, MA (Oxon) MA ODE (OU) , MA (WLV).

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


CANCELLED 'I Shall hope to try an officer and at least one corporal for cowardice' with Michael Lo Cicero

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1916 was a pivotal year for the British Army. It was a year of intense combat that was defined by the Battle of the Somme and the appalling casualties of the 1st July 1916. Yet it was also the year in which the British Army began to master industrial warfare and the tide of the war began to turn in favour of the Allies. This talk consider Britain’…


ONLINE : Branch Zoom Meeting 19/09/20

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Email jd@wfa-birmingham.org.uk WFA Branch ZOOM Saturday 19th September   Location : Zoom Online : https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85713865706?pwd=SHFsWHFLSElyR1VNSld3Sy84bHdjZz09 Meeting ID: 857 1386 5706 : Passcode: 968771   Welcome and Introduction to Zoom meetings                         JD “remembrance” . A local Soldier remembered.         …


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…


13 January 1917: Cpl Francis Howard Bell

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The son of Thomas (a commercial traveller, rice and spice) and Elizabeth. In 1911, one of five, Francis was working as an apprentice in a greengrocer. He was living with his family at 19 Norma Rd, Waterloo. Before the war he emigrated to Canada, first to farm but then moving to Vancouver.   Francis initially enlisted into the 15th Bn CEF (Duke…


Tolkien’s War: J.R.R. Tolkien and the Lancashire Fusiliers by Professor John Bourne

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Tolkien is, to the consternation of many in the literary establishment, possibly the most widely read of twentieth-century British authors, whose sales show no sign of slacking.  Tolkien volunteered for military service in June 1915 and was commissioned in the Lancashire Fusiliers.  He served on the Somme with the 11th Battalion (74 Brigade, 25th D…


'Somme to Arras' by Andrew Lock

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Andrew Lock will be giving a talk he calls 'The Somme to Arras'.    IMAGE: image: Two sets of British soldiers on horseback pull field guns and limbers along a track from left to right through a bomb damaged wood on the Somme. (C) IWM ART 5883 


Lost in France. The Remarkable Life and Death of Leigh Roose Football's First Superstar

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Not that familiar or even keen on football I was nonetheless drawn into the intricacies of the game and the intimate life of the man and goalkeeper Leigh Roose. We are then thrown into the First World War, Gallipoli and the Somme. Finally we get the detective story that seeks to uncover what happened to the man during the fighting. Missing in Galli…


18 February 1917 : Pte. John Jackson, 9th Bn. Suffolk Regt.

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Employed as a cotton weaver prior to the war, he was conscripted into service in 1916 and initially joined the East Lancashire Regiment (as 28410) in Preston before being transferred to the 11th Bn. Suffolk Regiment for active service. Serving on the Western front from mid-1916, John saw action in the latter stages of the Battle of the Somme befor…


Ep. 41 – The Canadians on the Somme – Dr William Stewart

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Dr William Stewart talks about his latest book, published by Helion and Co, that examines the Canadian forces contribution, experience and performance during the Battle of the Somme.


21 April 1918 : Pte Joseph Underwood

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Parents, Mathew and Elizabeth Underwood (née Gordon), Belford House, Blackrath, Co. Kildare.  In 1911, living with his parents and seven siblings (5 brothers, 2 sisters)  A bricklayer.  Enlisted in the Royal Munster Fusiliers, 23 November 1915 Transferred to the Machine Gun Corps 16 July 1916 Served in France and took part in fighting on the S…


24 May 1918 : Lieut. Charles Edward Reynolds, Royal Air Force

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2nd son of the late James (solicitor) and Annie (née Lowe) Age 5 at the 1901 Census, Charles was living at home with his parents, older brother James and younger sister Florence, a cook and nurse.  Educated at Dulwich College. Articled to his father.  Volunteered soon after the outbreak of war, joined the First Surrey Rifles as a 2nd Lieut bei…


Fostering  Remembrance, Peace and Reconciliation with the Lochnagar Crater Foundation 1 July

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Special Commemorative Activities, July 1st, 2020 This is an invitation from the Lochnagar Crater Foundation to join them on July 1st for a unique international commemoration to foster Remembrance, Peace and Reconciliation For over four decades, at 07.28 on July 1st each year, the Lochnagar Crater Foundation have gathered at the Lochnagar Crater…


News of a unique project - a forensic investigation into the archaeology and history of Hawthorn Crater

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A podcast from the team at the Hawthorn Ridge Crater Association  The Hawthorn Redoubt was an formidable defensive position for the Germans which was blown up on the morning of 1 July 1916 by a mine that had been placed beneath the German stronghold on the ridge. The explosion, ten minutes before the whistles blew at 7:30am, destroyed the positi…


Haig’s Tower of Strength. General Sir Edward Bulfin – Forgotten General by John Powell

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£25, Pen & Sword, 294pp,  37 photographs, 10 maps.  ISBN 1526722607. What a pleasure it is to say that this is a well written biography of a First World War general who had a good war! Edward Bulfin was not well known, save to specialists, until a seminal article by Michael LoCicero in Stemming the Tide (edited by Spencer Jones, Helion: 2013…


Virtual Tours - 'A Lousy Wood on the Somme' is now available to view

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The third of the Virtual Tours that we are running as a substitute for 'real life' visits the battlefields is now available to view. As detailed previously, these tours are being provided through a partnership with our friends at Battle Guide Virtual Tours. All six of the 'live events' have been are fully subscribed but if you were unable to reser…


Tony Bradman's Stories of WW1

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At first sight, a review of an anthology of short stories written for children about the Great War is not what you might expect to find on The Western Front Association website. However, education and the inculcation of an interest in the First World War must be an essential part of the mission of the WFA. What better way, I suggest, than to introd…


ONLINE: 'Never Mind the Quality – Feel the Width' with Rob Thompson

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The presentation will be live and online.  The Role of the Somme Campaign in the Development of BEF Logistics The 1916 Battle of the Somme was a watershed moment for the British Expeditionary Force, both in terms of the course of the Great War on the Western Front and in public memory and perception. Recent scholarship has attempted to move focus…


ONLINE: 'Wings Over the Somme' with Clive Harris

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The presentation will be live and online. The Battle Of the Somme, seen through the eyes of those British Airman flying above it, offers a fascinating glimpse of the potential, and relevance, of air power over the Western Front. Whilst many accounts focus on the fighter squadrons, described by Lloyd George as ‘the cavalry of the clouds’, it was th…


"The Somme, 1916" by Dr Rodney Attwood

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Dr Rodney Atwood is a graduate of the McMaster University, Canada and Churchill College, Cambridge. He served in the Royal Tank Regiment before pursuing an academic career. He has written extensively on the military history of the British Empire and his most recent book was a biography of General Rawlinson.


ONLINE: A fine feat of War: The taking of Mont St Quentin 1918 by Julian Whippy

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The presentation will be live and online. After the Allied successes of 8 August 1918 there was a series of hammer blows against the retreating Germans. However, by the end of that month the assaulting forces  were weakened themselves and decidedly footsore. Ahead lay the brooding hill of Mont St Quentin which commanded views of Peronne town and t…


The Camera Returns No.7 by Bob Grundy and Steve Wall

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[This edition of The Camera Return was originally published in Stand To! No.29 in the Spring of 1989. Bob and Steve had taken their photographs to match the view in December 1988.] Then >  Nine British soldiers resting in the main street of Aveluy, 2 km north of Albert.25 March 1918 © IWM  Q8640. To make a match for present day comparisons us…


With a Machine Gun to Cambrai by George Coppard

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188pp., paperback. £3.95.  Macmillan/Papermac. [This 'review' first appeared in Stand To! No.17 Summer 1986] Originally published in 1969, this is a reprint of the revised edition of 1980. An excellent first- hand account of the life of a machine-gunner on the Western Front. George Coppard 25 January 1898 to 17 February 1985  George Coppard …


ONLINE: Lawrence and the Arab Revolt with Jim Tanner

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The presentation will be live and online.  While the reasons are many and complex the decision made by the Ottoman Turks in October 1914 to enter the war against the Entente led directly to the turmoil that continues to affect the Middle East today. Back then, seeking to take advantage of the Turks being distracted elsewhere, the Arabs of the …


Guillemont, 3 September 1916 Tactics and Insights by Sebastian Laudan.

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‘Not a Single Blade of Grass...’ by Sebastian Laudan [This article first appeared in Stand To! No.106 July 2016 Special Edition]. In 1926 Oberstleutnant aD (Lieutenant Colonel, retired) Wilhelm Nau published the last volume of a series of books covering the participation of the infantry regiment he had been serving with in Belgium and France thro…


Out Now! Bulletin August 2021 No.120

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Bulletin - the internal magazine of The Western Front Association is published three times a year and includes national and branch notices, as well as articles. It is available to members in either print or digital form.  August 2021 Contents  The Experience of Mass Bereavement by Professor Mark Connelly : pages 3-6 12/13th June Virtu…


'The Summer of Madness : 1916' with Peter Hart

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Author and Historian Peter Hart will give a talk on 'The Summer of Madness on the Somme 1916'. All welcome. Peter Hart is a British military historian and an oral historian at the IWM Sound Archive  since 1981. He has written extensively on the British role in the First World War. His books include; The Somme, Jutland 1916, Bloody April (on the ai…