Past Meetings

Oct. 17, 2017

May 27, 2017

Gary Blakeley

East of Lancashire: My Seven World War One soldiers

Some background on the Web for you!
The Great War affected millions of people. This is the story of seven of them. These were my relatives, working-class men from Burnley, a small industrial town in northern England. All served with the East Lancashire Regiment.

Four were veterans, two became Old Contemptibles and three were eager young volunteers in Kitchener’s New Army. Two were seriously wounded and five never came home. They fell at Ypres, Gallipoli, the Somme, and Passchendaele.
Their exploits were not particularly noteworthy – none of them rose above the rank of sergeant – and they were never awarded any gallantry medals. Yet together, their stories touch on many of the major battles and illustrate the tremendous price paid by an ordinary family in what we now know as the First World War.

Arrive at your leisure between 9:30and 10:30am for a casual meet and greet.

March 25, 2017

We welcomed Tim Cook

Tim Cook (Bio here)

First World War Historian at The Canadian War Museum 

Nov. 19,  2016

We welcomed guest presenter, Brigadier General (ret’d) Greg Young of the 15th Battalion Memorial Project.

General Young gave two presentations covering the unique story of the Vimy Cross that will soon return to Vimy for the 100th anniversary of the battle and the work done by his group to identify unknown soldiers of the 15th Battalion who have spent the last century under headstones marked by the words, “Known Unto God” and who now have or will soon have a name over their final resting place.

A great speaker and unique topics of the Great War.

Oct. 23, 2016

We welcomed Andy Robertshaw speaking on the Strategic background of the Battle of the Somme and an Introduction to Battlefield Archeology. All members felt the show was fantastic.


April 30, 2016

Another great show at the Newcastle Memorial Community Hall.  A new memorial is in the planning stages for the blood soaked soil of Hill 70 in the shadow of Vimy Ridge. Arthur Jordan is a member of the Hill 70 Memorial Committee and kindly agreed to join us for an informative look into this ambitious project to honour this great event in history.

A few points on the Battle for Hill 70: It was the 1st major action fought by Canadians under command of a Canadian commander in General Arthur Currie. There would be 21 German Counter attacks. Canadian soldiers endured mustard gas and flame throwers. First day casualties were 1,056 Canadians dead, 2,432 wounded and 39 taken prisoner. In the end, 9000 casualties would be the price of victory and six Victoria Crosses would be won. Wikipedia has a good summary story at this link.

“It was altogether the hardest battle in which the Corps has participated,” wrote Currie. “It was a great and wonderful victory. GHQ [General Headquarters] regard it as one of the finest performances of the war.”

March 19, 2016

The Chinese Labour Corps during the Great War

What was the Chinese Labour Corps? Find out here

Our presenter was Clifford J Pereira FRGS, a researcher, curator and museum consultant. Inspired by his own family history, Cliff’s research in London over the last 15 years has been focused on the employment of seamen of African and Asian origin in the Royal Navy from the 18th century onwards.

This has led to some interesting work on Africans, Arabs in the Royal Navy during the Abolition of Slavery in the Indian Ocean with Chatham Royal Dockyards (2007) and UNESCO. He was curator for the Bombay African exhibition at the Royal Geographical Society (RGS) in 2007, which toured the UK and Kenya, making him the world expert on this group of people. He went on to be co-curator for six other RGS exhibitions over the years. For the past four years Cliff has been involved in research for the Dalian Maritime University, China and various projects in the Persian-Arab Gulf. He is now based in Vancouver, Canada.

Cliff’s recent published works include: “East African Goans in World War One”, “Black Liberators: The role of Black and Arab sailors within the Indian Ocean 1841-1941”, “Naturalists, ‘Explorers’ and Imperialists: German involvement in the East African Anti-slavery Movement”, (forthcoming).

As you can see we had a very celebrated expert in his field. Pereira focused his presentation on the interesting use of the Chinese Labour Corps etc during the Great War.

Dec. 5 , 2015

Norm Christie went over the top in our final lecture of 2015. Turnout was packed as he reviewed the project to definitively locate 44 soldiers from WW1 buried after Vimy Ridge on 9 April 1917… and then forgotten.

He is leading the push on recovery of a gravesite in France believed to contain these Canadian soldiers – click this link.

More news as we have it. Watch the media for developments.

norm_christie 5 DecNorm spent six years with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission in England (1990-1993) and in France (1993-1996), including three years as Chief Records Officer.

Oct. 25, 2015

Andy Robertshaw presented 2 talks

‘The Somme 1916 revisited: Why was the battle fought, was it triumph or tragedy?”


Finding the fallen and battlefield archaeology”

Background on Andy and his contribution to the Movie WAR HORSE

Andy at Beaumont HamelOP

Oct. 10, 2015


Bonfire – The Chestnut Gentleman by Susan Raby Dunne, Great War Author and Explorer, who presented “The Real John McCrae”.