8 Feb 12:50
Spring Series of Speakers is cancelled due to COVID-19 Emergency
Gary Blakeley’s day job is as graphic designer and photographer, but he has also spent several decades honing his knowledge of the First World War and building a collection of militaria from the period. Like many serious collectors his interest was sparked as a boy. In the mid-1960s, his grandmother gave him his great-grandfather’s 1914 star trio of medals. James McCarthy had been killed in Belgium in 1915. That gift led Gary gradually into deeper investigation, first of the war, then of the Western Front, and ultimately of Talana Farm, the little cemetery where James McCarthy lies with 530 others of the fallen. Recognizing that each of those deaths had affected many more lives, Gary established and now curates a Facebook community page for the cemetery. Perhaps unique among Commonwealth war graves, Talana Farm thus has its own repository of personal and professional history. Almost a thousand followers – war historians and relatives alike – use the resource to find and share invaluable information.
Facebook link TALANA FARM CEMETERY
Gary previously visited COBWFA on May 27, 2017 talking about his book “East of Lancashire: My Seven World War One Soldiers”