Jump to content
Great War Forum

Remembered Today:

Skipman

Butte de Warlencourt sold?

Recommended Posts

Skipman

Apologies if posted elsewhere but noticed this on Taff Gilingham's page on Facebook, and he's not very happy about it.

 

The Executive Committee of The Western Front Association is pleased to announce the sale of the Butte de Warlencourt to former WFA Chairman, Bob Paterson."

 

Mike

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
paulgranger

There's a whole uproar on Twitter. Taff's posted quite a long thread about it, and others have joined in. There is a great deal of upset about it. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
mandy hall

I was surprised to see this when I received the latest WFA email yesterday and have followed this on Twitter on today.  The WFA seemed to have stayed silent, unless I have missed something.  

 

Mandy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Neil Mackenzie

I actually have no real problem with the decision to pass the ownership on to someone else who can focus more energy on the site. But, given the obvious potential for a conflict of interest (whether real or perceived), I am surprised that the transaction was not at least discussed with the membership before it went through.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Skipman

A statement (attached) from the Western Front Association’s National Executive Committee Legal Trustee, Rich Hughes. If members would like further details, they can contact Rich Hughes on -rich.hughes@nortonrosefulbright.com

 

Mike

temp WFA Butte de Warlencourt.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Terry_Reeves

I refused to contribute to the purchase fund when it was bought in the 1980's because I felt it was always likely to be something of a millstone around the WFA's neck. I was quite suprised though that the sale had gone through  in the way it has done.

 

TR

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
egbert

While I take a neutral stance on the sale to this individual:

does anybody understand what is the implication when Mr. Paterson passes away at some day in the (hopefully far) future? Anything in the sales contract as to who will be the legal heir or owner? Will the ownership fall back to the WFA or a family/distant family member?

Edited by egbert

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Heid the Ba

That would depend entirely on how the title is held.  If the property was simply sold then the new owner can do as he wishes with it, either sell it on, put it in trust or leave it to his beneficiaries.  If there are any conditions attached then they should show up on the title, which I understand is public record in France so anyone with an interest, French language skills and the required number of Euros to spare can check.  WFA members, if suitably aggrieved, might check the conditions of the original purchase which I understand used funds raised from members.

 

I have no interest in this affair other than as a legal curiosity.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
David Filsell

I was a committe member of the WFA committe at the time of its purchase when it's future was said to be in doubt. I was strongl opposed to the proposal to purchase the butte and made the point that it would be a financial albatross, around our necks. Equally my view was then and remains that ownership of any land, monument or similar is without the WFA remit and cannot be properly managed in a foreign country - any country - from  the U.K. It seems to me that this is a positive decision. I am delighted

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Skipman
14 minutes ago, David Filsell said:

It seems to me that this is a positive decision. I am delighted

 

That's fair enough. Are you delighted at the way it has been done?

 

Mike

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
mva

bonjour from the Somme,

is this discussion about the monument (see picture) ?

If so, has the 'Souvenir Français' something to say in the matter ? (on the picture, it is mentionned and the picture comes from their website : http://www.souvenirfrancaisarras.com/node/19

Just enquiring, I have no opinion, as I knew nothing about that Butte until to day.

kund regards, martine

SF_Arras.JPG.959c10b7f15668c3e27775dd22cd2bb6.JPG

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
David Filsell

The decision to by the butte was taken by the then committe who felt such a decision was within their remit, the decision to sell it was taken in the same way. I really have no quarrel with that. My view is that the WFA has an extremely good and committed set of trustees (It is of course now a charity - which it was not when I was at the purchase was agreed .) Had I been on the committee/or a trustee now I think I would have suggested that the decision be put to the membership and discussed at the AGM and then, depending on the 'views' of the meeting put it out to a vote. 

However, that said, I am happy with the decision to sell he Butte and the overall direction and management of the Association by a very committed committee team .

I should also make clear that while I am book Reviews Editor of the WFA magazine Stand To! , I am not a trustee or in any other way involved in the assiciation's work. Nor should I be. I was simply expressing my opinion on the original purchase - in which none of the present trustees were involved- and the views I expressed earlier are purely personal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Skipman

Thanks David. I'm not a member. I have to say it seems to have been handled very poorly. To have well-known and equally, well-respected members understandably reacting so badly in public, after having been kept in the dark, seems very unnecessary, and quite amateur.

 

Mike

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Grovetown
14 hours ago, Skipman said:

I have to say it seems to have been handled very poorly. To have well-known and equally, well-respected members understandably reacting so badly in public, after having been kept in the dark, seems very unnecessary, and quite amateur.

 

This.

 

I've wondered what the WFA is for for some time. The publications used to keep me paying, yet the content now is generally either incredibly niche (NCOs of C Bty, CLXXV Brigade RFA in Italy, November 22nd to 30th 1917) or glorified genealogy (or both): there's only so many 'My Great-Uncle on The Somme' articles you can take*.

 

I've needed a definite reason - less the sale itself per se, but absolutely the handling of it - not to renew and shan't.

 

Cheers,

 

GT.

 

*That's not a swipe at the editor: he can only work with what's submitted.

 

 

Edited by Grovetown

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Steven Broomfield
11 minutes ago, Grovetown said:

 

This.

 

I've wondered what the WFA is for for some time. The publications used to keep me paying, yet the content now is generally either incredibly niche (NCOs of C Bty, CLXXV Brigade RFA in Italy, November 22nd to 30th 1917) or glorified genealogy (or both): there's only so many 'My Great-Uncle on The Somme' articles you can take*.

 

I've needed a definite reason - less the sale itself per se, but absolutely the handling of it - not to renew and shan't.

 

Cheers,

 

GT.

 

*That's not a swipe at David: he can only work with what's submitted.

 

 

 

GT: you sum membership up perfectly. I first joined the WFA pretty much at its inception, but leftafter a little difficulty with John Giles (who threatened me with legal action ... I don't think I was alone in that so claim no special kudos). I rejoined after a few years and was, for some time, a Branch Chairman.

 

I left again when I changed jobs and found attending Branch meetings impossible, but rejoined last year when Mr Filsell enlisted me as a book reviewer (I felt it the decent thing to do), but for the life of me I have rather struggled to see what I actually get from membership, pretty much for the reasons outlined above.

 

It's a very odd organisation, if you ask me, trying to veer between too many objectives and a membership which ranges hugely from one extreme to another.

 

Personally, I feel this affair has been mis-managed to an extreme degree, whatever the reasons (which may be laudable).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
David Filsell

A few additional comments. I have already pretty made my views clear.

 

I am concerned only with book reviews not Stand ToI editorial content or WFA policy - views on that obviously vary from reader tto reader, member to member. The excellent editor Jon Cooksey, can only publish the material he recieves - none of which is paid for. Certainly only two relatively brief articles in the last edition (No 112) contain "What Grandpa did in the Great war" type stories. (And such books of this type rarely gain more than a short {very short} notices in Stand To! because there are so many and so few have anything of any great worth to those interested in the military historyor anything new or unique to tell us  - but make invaluable commemoration books for relatives of those who served.

 

My objective is simple - offer readers/members reviews of the most important books on the topic - and criticise those whose authors are not up to snuff - and there are many of those. The best the magazine the can do is to review the books which publishers kindly send. And, a great deal of efforrt has been put into  increasing the number and the quality of books recieved and to make publishers realise that books on our special area of interest have few outlets via the  mainstream press - particularly speciallist books on the Great War

 

Personally I think - I would would'nt I -  that we have a great panel  of  unpaid reviewers - including Gary Shefield, Jack Seldon, Alex Revell, John Lee and Charles Messenger - and others like Mr B and Crunchy who  have asked to review through contact on the GW Forum - and that the standard of reviews offered is high. And I am also more than happy for any capable/knowledgable ebe users of the forum who might wish to review for the magazine to contact me at any time.   

 

Like Steven I too had my problems  with John Giles  - as did many others who dissented from his (often strange view and wims at times ) whilst those who fawned at his knee became favoured with committee positions. Eventually he was displaced at an AGM and the WFA moved on to greater things. It thrives at branches throughout the country with monthly meetings. What has happened over the butte maybe a hic-up  but the organisation remains the only organisation of its kind and has achieved much. Without the distraction of land ownership I feel it will do more.. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Black Maria

After quite a few years of membership I decided not to renew this year . Like Grovetown I have found a lot of the articles are very niche , I

think the only thing I shall miss are the book reviews .

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
SiegeGunner

As the book reviews are surely a major contribution to the WFA's overall mission to promote information about the Great War beyond its own membership, perhaps they could be posted in a sub-section of the WFA website accessible to non-members.  Or even be reproduced in the Book Reviews segment of this forum, perhaps a month in arrears of publication in Stand To!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Derek Black
1 hour ago, SiegeGunner said:

As the book reviews are surely a major contribution to the WFA's overall mission to promote information about the Great War beyond its own membership, perhaps they could be posted in a sub-section of the WFA website accessible to non-members. 

 

They are: https://www.westernfrontassociation.com/world-war-i-book-reviews/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
johntaylor

This discussion seems to have moved into a general discussion of the WFA, and since we're talking about Stand To! then I have to say I enjoy the magazine a lot.  It's well produced and I always find some articles of interest, and sometimes of great interest.  The book reviews are overwhelmingly honest, which is a good thing, and I was always disappointed that my own effort (Deborah and the War of the Tanks) never made it onto the review pages, however critical the review might have been!

 

None of this distracts from the fact that the sale of the Butte seems to have been handled with notable lack of transparency, which is unfortunate.  But I shan't be cancelling my membership or anything like that.

 

John

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
charlie962

 

The decision to dispose may well be the correct one as explained above.The handling however is not good.

 

Money was no doubt spent on getting legal advice to make sure the committee was acting within its powers but why did they feel the need to spend on such advice rather than talking to the membership?  Surely no issue of 'commercial sensitivity', that cloak worn unneccesarily often? Perhaps they felt there would be a bigger legal battle if they declared their hand too early, resulting in even greater damage to the WFA. Oh, committees...

 

"..has bought the Butte at fair market value"

Do these sites come up for sale regularly? If not, then how can one establish the market value without offering it to the market?

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Steven Broomfield
2 hours ago, Derek Black said:

 

Hmmm ... having persuaded the Books Editor that my first name was 'Steven' and not 'Stephen', I see it's been corrected. On the downside, my surname has changed to 'Bloomfield'.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
egbert
On ‎29‎/‎10‎/‎2018 at 10:06, egbert said:

While I take a neutral stance on the sale to this individual:

does anybody understand what is the implication when Bob passes away at some day in the (hopefully far) future? Anything in the sales contract as to who will be the legal heir or owner? Will the ownership fall back to the WFA?

So - again, when the present owner Mr Paterson leaves this world, what is in the contract concerning the status of the landmark? Could it be that it looks like this some time in the far future?:

 

villa.jpg.5990eb5bf81a09d2eed46b5a53bcb72d.jpg

Edited by egbert

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×