Lancashire and Cheshire, Western Front Association

Alan Smedley

John Williams has received the sad news from Alan's daughter Alexis to say that he has passed away, thirteen months after Mavis.

The funeral will be at Stockport crematorium, Rowan chapel, 3.15pm on 3rd August.

Butte of Warlencourt

The branch's donation to the new orientation boards at the Butte has been acknowledged by WFA central and the branch's name will appear on the boards there.  (The Butte is a manmade hill on the otherwise flat Somme terrain and was thus an important vantage point during the battle.)


There is an account of the visit to Ypres by Martin and Winifrid Logan to honour the memory of those Manchester Corporation Tramways who fell in WWI - Tramways workers

Speakers 2018

I have obtained confirmation from a number of speakers for 2018.

The following is a resumé of their dates and topics. Full details of their talks will be put on the national WFA website and expanded upon on the Branch Meetings page in due course

Jan 12.  Dr Simon Peaple. ‘Lessons of the 100 days’

Feb 9.  Dave Rogers ‘Boffins in World War One’

Mar 9.  Dr Jane Orr ‘The Spanish ‘Flu’.

Apl 13.  Dr Jim Beach ‘The papers of Intelligence Officer Cpl Vince Scühoff’

May 11. Greg Baughen ‘The myth of fighter development in WW1’

Jun 8.  Dr Michael LoCicero ‘A Moonlight massacre, Ypres, December 1917’

Jul 13.  Dr Hodgkinson.  ‘Clearing the dead 1919-1929’

Aug 10. Prof John Derry ‘The German High Seas Fleet. A case of futility’.

Sept 10  Dr Michael Orr:  'Hugh Jeudwine and the 55th Division'. 

Nov 9 Malcome Sime '66 Division (2nd East Lancs)-Defence in Depth March 1918'

Dec 14 Prof John Bourne- topic TBC

Terry Jackson, Chairman 

Manchester Military History Society

The Society has the following talks coming up which may be of interest to members:

September 12th - Rob Hewett - The battles of Coronel & Falklands 1914
October 10th - Stuart Hadaway - 3rd Battle of Gaza 1917
November 14th -Ian Sanders  - Cambrai 1917 - The battle for Lateau Wood

They meet at:
East Manchester History and Gaming Centre,
Knivton Street, Godley, Hyde, SK14 2PU

More details on their website - Manchester Military History Society

Treasurer wanted!

The branch needs a treasurer in order to keep running.  That person has to be a member of the central WFA.  If we do not have one in place in the foreseeable future, then the future of the branch is in doubt!  Please contact Terry to enquire what is involved.

Book offer

to Western Front Association members only.

1917 – The Passchendaele Year –  The British Army in Flanders.

The Battle of “Third Ypres” - popularly known as “Passchendaele” - epitomized  the worst slaughter on the Western Front of the First World War

Many thousands killed, to no avail; the trenches full of mud; the total annihilation of the landscape; attempts to break through to victory which only produced minor movement forward, and at a terrible cost.

This book tells the previously untold story of daily life immediately behind the frontline during the tragic year of 1917.

The author, who kept a detailed record of events and attitudes, was a village priest, Achiel Van Walleghem. He lived in Reninghelst, just west of Ypres, and kept an extensive day-by-day account. He was very well informed by the officers lodging in his presbytery. And, urged by his innate curiosity, he witnessed and noted the arrival of the first tanks and the increasing importance of the artillery. He also visited the camps of the Chinese Labour Corps and the British West Indies Regiment. On 7 June 1917 he awoke early to see the enormous mines of the Battle of Messines exploding. And he was present when a deserter was shot at dawn. He records all this - and much more - with an unusual humanity.

As a bystander living amidst the troops, he often had a special view of the events that unfolded before his eyes. Van Walleghem notes much that mattered to the soldiers there, and to the local people. This includes the influence of bad weather on the mood and morale of both troops and civilians, as well as military events. His comments on the different attitudes of English, Irish, Australian or other Empire troops and divisions are often priceless. But Van Walleghem equally records the misery of the local Flemish population and their relationship with the British rank and file: in bad times such as when a local is accused of spying, but also in good times when a village girl gets married to a British soldier.

This diary is not just a forgotten source of the western front, it is one that will forever change our views on the conflict, and on how men and women tried to cope.

In a year when many works will be published about Passchendaele this is a unique book, edited for publication by Dominiek Dendooven, the noted scholar on the conflict in Flanders.

ISBN 9781911454403 Paperback  RRP £19.99.  SAVE £7.00
ISBN 9781911454410 Hardback   RRP £45.00.  SAVE £15.75
ISBN 9781911454427 eBook        RRP £14.99.  SAVE £4.50

296pp. 20 illustrations.

EER Edward Everett Root, Publishers, Co. Ld., 30 New Road, Brighton, Sussex, BN1 1B, England.

Special pre-publication offer.  Save 35%.  Order online at Offer ends 31 July 2017

Click 'order'  - and this takes you to our distributor's site.

Add the promotion code WFA35 to the promotion code box.

You will then be invoiced and the book will be sent on publication on 17 May.

This offer is made to individuals. It is not available to institutions, or to trade customers.

6th Cheshires' memorial service

We have been invited by the Dean of St Georges Church to attend the memorial service to commemorate the actions of the 6th Battalion at St Julien (31st July 1917) when they sufferred catastrophic losses.

As the battalion HQ are our congenial hosts, I would like as many of our members as possible to attend. I shall certainly be there. St Georges was my Primary School, Ann and I were married there and in these enlightened days of equality by a lady vicar.

The Service will be held on Sunday 6 August 2017 at St George's school in Stockport at 11.00am.  The preacher will be the Bishop of Stockport, Right Revd Libby Lane.

Terry Jackson. Chairman

Auditing of the branch accounts

The person currently doing our accounts will not be able to audit our accounts next year (2017-18), as he is no longer a WFA member. WFA regulations stipulate anyone responsible for the accounts must be a member.

I am unable to do this function as well as being Chairman and I am asking for a member to volunteer to take up the mantle. If anyone is prepared to do this can they please let me know as soon as possible.

Terry Jackson, Chairman.

A new memorial to Manchester railwaymen killed in WWI

A new memorial to Manchester railwymen has been unveiled in Manchester Piccadilly Station by Michael Portillo.  The research for the memorial was undertaken by two Virgin Trains managers - see Local History page
 The Lost Tommies
A collection of photos of Tommies billeted in the village of Vignacourt has come to light and is on the BBC "One Show" site - One Show photos Can you help identify any of them?