Lancashire and Cheshire, Western Front Association

WFA Calendar 2018

There are a number of the WFA calendars available to purchase. These will be available at the December meeting.

This website

To date, we have had more than 7,000 hits on the front page of this site in the 18 months that it has been live, plus numerous others that will have gone direct to a particular page.

Hayden Stevens

The branch has been sent a generous donation by Shirley McKenna who is the sister of the late Hayden Stevens. She emphasised how much Hayden enjoyed the Branch meetings. Hayden often went to Mory Abbey where his great uncle was killed in August 1918.

Hayden asked Shirley to send us a donation and it has been my pleasure to thank her on behalf of the Branch and invite her and her family to attend any of our meetings as our guests.

Terry Jackson, Chairman

Tom Willis at Tyne Cot Commemoration

From Ralph:  

Tom Willis had an official invite to Tyne Cot on 31 July.  As some of you know, his father and five uncles all served in Flanders at one time or another.  Obviously he couldn't get there under his own steam, so I agreed to go with him as I was going with the WFA exhibition at Zonnebeke anyway.
We got him a wheelchair at registration at Ypres Station for the big event.
He was very graciously looked after by the army FANYs and was given a good viewing position next to all the Generals/VIPs etc
 Wills 1

St Julien Memorial Service

On Sunday 6th August, Ann and I represented the WFA to commemorate the Battle of St Julien (31st July 1917). The forefathers of our hosts at the TA who were 6 Battalion Cheshire Regiment attacked on the opening day of Third Ypres. It became known as Stockport’s worst day.

The well attended service was led by Canon Elaine Chegwin Hall and the Sermon was given by Rt. Revd. Libby Lane, Bishop of Stockport. Afterwards we joined the dignitaries and guests at the Armoury for light refreshments.

Terry Jackson, Chairman Lancs & Ches WFA

Otto Dix at Tate Liverpool

Ann and I made a visit to Tate Liverpool to see the ‘Portraying a Nation’ exhibition. It comprises a joint collection of paintings by the German Artist Otto Dix and his contemporary August Sander, a pioneer photographer. Dix served in the German army during the Great War. Those of you who came on Ann’s guided tour of the Sensory War at Manchester Art Gallery would have seen examples of Dix’s work.

Portraying a Nation: Germany 1919–1933, presents the real faces of Weimar Germany told through the eyes of painter Otto Dix (1891–1969) and photographer August Sander (1876–1964). From the flourishing cabaret culture to intense poverty and civilian rebellions, both artists reflect on the radical extremes experienced in Germany during this time.

Featuring more than 300 paintings, drawings, prints and photographs, Portraying a Nation shows Dix’s harshly realist depictions of German society and brutality of war, alongside Sander’s best-known series, People of the Twentieth Century, his attempt to document the German people. Through painting and photography, these works form a pivotal point in the country’s history, as it introduced democratic rule for first time.

The current exhibition (until 15 October) is based on both artists’ work in Germany during the early post Great War years. I have long been an admirer of Dix’s work and Sander’s photographs also represent the work of a master of his craft.

I can recommend a visit to this exhibition. The Gallery is in part of Albert Dock, within the Mercantile Marine complex containing many tourist features.


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.

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'. 

Oct 12  Luci Gosling: 'Winning the war with laughter: cartoonists at war'

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.

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?