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First World War Lectures/Presentations/Discussions on YouTube


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David Tattersfield

In this presentation, Brigadier Alexander Turner discusses - using the Battle of Cambrai as a backdrop - how modern ‘combined arms manoeuvre’ came into being in autumn 1917.

 

At a time when some defence and security commentators are questioning the value of tanks on a modern battlefield, Alexander returns to the era of their birth in search of the fundamental reasoning behind this extraordinary and predominant innovation. The tank was created to address deeply practical problems that mud and metal still impose. For all the promise of subsequent military innovations, the chimera of invulnerability is as elusive as ever.

 

The presentation highlights the challenges presented at the inception of the tank, and signposts the footprints from this ground-breaking Great War period that are still visible on the battlefields and training grounds of today.

 

Brigadier Alexander Turner has published three Great War titles with Osprey, a variety of articles / lectures, and contributed to a 2012 TV documentary about the battle of Messines Ridge.

 

 

 

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David Tattersfield

In this presentation, Dr Viv Newman talks about the subject of female spies who operated in the Great War.

 

Moving beyond the stereotypes of Edith Cavell and Mata Hari this presentation explores the lives and actions of two Belgian and one French woman whose espionage made a significant contribution to the Allied Cause. One is believed to be the only woman, probably the only person, to have been decorated by France, Belgium, Britain AND Germany.

 

The talk also introduces the elusive 'Fraulein Doktor' – the most important spymaster working for the German Army as well as Régina Diana, her most effective agent working in Paris and Marseille. The presentation is based on Viv's recently published 'Régina Diana: Seductress, Singer, Spy'.

 

 

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David Tattersfield

To mark the Chinese New Year, we have today published on YouTube the webinar by Wenlan Peng entitled 'The Chinese Labour Corps on the Western Front'.

 

 

When Britain realised that the war would last longer than expected and was taking its toll on their soldiers at the Western Front, they looked east to China to recruit a labour force of men to work behind the lines. Nearly 100,000 men were shipped over from the province of Shandong to northern France and Flanders. This was the Chinese Labour Corps and, together with a further 40,000 employed by the French, they would become the largest foreign labour corps to serve the Allies during World War I.

 

 

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David Tattersfield

This documentary may be of interest to GWF members 

 

The Live Bait Squadron: the sinking of the HMS Aboukir, Hogue and Cressy 22 September 1914

 

 

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David Tattersfield

This talk by Clive Harris was delivered 'live' to an online audience. In this, Clive studies a single month of the Great War through the eyes and actions of Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig. The period in question, September 1917, was not only a period of intense pressure on the frontline but also in the corridors of Westminster. Through the use of contemporary sources, modern academic interpretations and Haig’s personal diary entries, we are afforded a fascinating perspective on how the battlefield commander was, equally importantly, a competent battlefield manager during this critical stage of the war.

 

 

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David Tattersfield

In this presentation, which was delivered 'live' to an online audience, Dr Spencer Jones looks at the Battle for the Hohenzollern Redoubt which took place in October 1915. 

 

The 28th (Regular) Division's fight for control of the Hohenzollern Redoubt was bloody. This presentation shows how the desperate fighting gave way to bitter recriminations between the commanding officers, and how the battle marked the end of the Regular army as a distinct component of the British Expeditionary Force.

 

 

 

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David Tattersfield

 

When the First World War drew to a close, Rev Tubby Clayton returned home from Poperinge to run an ordination school. Before his departure, he envisioned a Talbot House back home for veterans to cater to their mental, physical and spiritual needs. In a few years, he founded the worldwide TocH charity, organised pilgrimages to the battlefields and brought together thousands of veterans. It was during this period that Lord Wakefield of Hyth was persuaded to purchase the Pool of Peace and the Old House in Poperinge.

 

 

 

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David Tattersfield

In this presentation "Just Another Day on the Somme" @David_Blanchard  looks at an attack on Delville Wood.

 

Why did this attack by an otherwise successful formation go so badly wrong? The 53rd Brigade was part of the 18th Division, widely seen as one of the best divisions on the Western Front, and yet when placed under the command of the 9th (Scottish) Division - another highly rated New Army division - on the 19 July 1916 for a counter-attack on Longueval and Delville Wood, it failed to take any of its objectives. Moreover, as Captain Nichols, historian of the 18th Division remarked: ‘Delville Wood was the grave of the 53rd Brigade as it was constituted when it landed in France.’ To put this into some kind of operational and strategic context it may, therefore, be instructive to look closely at the counter-attack by 53 Brigade at Longueval and Delville Wood- which was emblematic of many of these ‘penny packet’ attacks, highlighting why this operation was launched, what was achieved, the lessons that were learned.

 

 

 

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David Tattersfield

In this presentation, Geoffrey Vesey Holt talks about the Battle of Amiens was the decisive start of the Allied advance to victory in 1918. In this battle, 462 Mark V and 96 Medium A Whippet tanks and 15 Austin cars played a key role in the victory supported by 142 supply tanks and gun carriers. The role of faster (4.6 mph) and more manoeuvrable Mark V tanks will be illustrated by looking at key actions and personalities along the battle front. This analysis will include, in the north, the 10th Tank Battalion’s difficult battle in support of the tired III British Corps. It will look at the 2nd Tank Battalion’s hard fought but successful actions in support of the Australians in the centre led by their brave CO who would earn his third DSO. The presentation will also highlight 5th Tank Battalion’s initial dash across the River Luce in support of the Canadians to the role of the much faster Whippets (8.2 mph) and armoured cars We will also look at the advance of the Mark V Star tanks to the final objective which included a rare tank versus rail gun engagement.

 

 

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David Tattersfield

Just a few days before what would have been John Terraine's 100th birthday, it seems appropriate to review Terraine's major work 'Great Generals' in which he compared the careers of Field Marshal Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington and Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig.

 

In this presentation Prof Gary Sheffield will asses the changes in warfare 1792-1918, how the two men dealt with resources and improvisation, look at other so called 'Sepoy Generals'. Gary will also talk about their experiences of coalition warfare, and attrition and also speak about 'The British Tradition of Generalship'.

 

 

 

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David Tattersfield

This presentation by Paul Harris will discuss one of the 'forgotten' Generals of the First World War.

 

As Chief of Staff to Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig in 1918, General Sir Herbert Lawrence played a key role in the defeat of Germany in the First World War. Described as 'a man of outstanding ability both as a soldier and in business', it is surprising that this towering individual has received such little attention. He remains one of the forgotten figures of the war. This video will trace his remarkable career and Paul will argue that Lawrence has a strong claim to be recognised as one of the principal architects of Allied victory. It will be based upon Paul's recently published book 'General Sir Herbert Lawrence, Haig's Chief of Staff'.

 

 

 

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David Tattersfield

 

John Terraine entered the fourteen year old John Bourne's life in 1963 when he somewhat unexpectedly picked up and read his Douglas Haig, the Educated Soldier. This set John off on a journey of discovery, not only about Haig and the Great War but also about himself and the study of history. This lecture traces John Bourne's odyssey from provincial public library to the bridge at Riqueval.

 

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David Tattersfield

The Royal Artillery War Memorial at Hyde Park Corner, London, is arguably one of the most arresting and powerful memorials anywhere in the world. Designed and executed by Charles Sargeant Jagger, the memorial was an expression of his own war service and deep-felt admiration for the qualities shown by the British army throughout the conflict.

 

This talk by Professor Mark Connelly explores Sargeant Jagger's work as well as other sculptors who served on the Western Front showing how their direct knowledge of the battlefield ensured a series of distinctive memorials.

 

 

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David Tattersfield

In this talk Julian Whippy considers both the early success and the subsequent failures at the Battle of Loos, 1915. Looking closely at the 47th (London) Division on the right flank and their early success is contrasted with the fortunes of the follow on units including freshly arrived untested New Army men and the experienced soldiers of the Guards Division. It will show how the new “accessory” Gas weapon worked well in the Londoner's sector but the defending Germans were far from beaten by it.

 

 

 

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David Tattersfield

 

In this talk, entitled 'Lemons, Chewing Gum, Whale Oil and Rivets: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About the Army Service Corps on the Western Front but Were Too Afraid to Ask' Rob Thompson gives a presentation about the Army Service Corps in the First World War. This was delivered 'live' to an online audience.

 

The Army Service Corps tended to be the butt of the Western Front joke but without them there was no fighting or surviving. By mid-1917 the ASC had mushroomed into a gigantic supply and movement organisation supporting every aspect of the BEF. Guns and shells, rations and RE materials, bullets and boots, gum, thigh and even lemons and chewing gum, the ASC moved and supplied them all.

 

Behind the front-line ASC units was the strange world of those staff officers whose work is never celebrated. Exotic figures such as the SMTO, AA&QMG, DT, and DDS&T were the men who organised this tremendous undertaking. But who were they? What did they do? How did they do it?

 

This talk by Rob Thompson aims to shed some light on this ignored and truly forgotten world, without which military failure was guaranteed.

 

 

 

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lostinspace

Really enjoyed the Loos presentation. as it's a battle I know very little about. These videos are truly a great resource.

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David Tattersfield

In this presentation, Graham McKechnie talks about Edgar Mobbs and recount the life of this extraordinary sportsman and many of his team-mates who also went to war.

 

Edgar Mobbs was a superstar of rugby – a huge celebrity in his home town of Northampton and beyond. He was a charismatic leader - captaining both Northampton Saints and England – as well as being one of the most exciting wingers the game had known. And he went on to become one of the First World War’s best known soldiers. Having been turned down for a commission on account of his age, he raised a company of men, joined as private and went on to rise through the ranks to command the 7th Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment. On 31 July 1917 he was killed while attacking a machine gun post in Shrewsbury Forest and the legend began.

 

Graham McKechnie is sports editor at BBC Radio Northampton and long-time collaborator with the late Jon Cooksey. Together they were working on a soon-to-be-published biography of Mobbs.

 

 

 

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David Tattersfield

In this presentation Andrew Tatham shows how personal, family and war history connect through to today. Andrew talks about the story of the 8th Battalion, Royal Berkshire Regiment, and their involvement in the Battles of Loos and the Somme. He also tells a story full of family history investigations and human interest. The presentation is based on his two books based on one group photograph from 1915.

 

The stories of all 46 men in the photograph show the impact of the war on their families. In particular, one of the men left 341 letters from 18 months on the Western Front which present a portrait of a man and a marriage during a time of traumatic uncertainty. But this is not just his war, it’s society’s war as his letters show its effects on both the Home Front and the Western Front and examine the minutiae of life during the war.

 

Andrew's books are ‘A Group Photograph – Before, Now and In-Between’ and ‘I Shall Not Be Away Long’

 

 

 

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