What’s On

The Bradford WW1 Group meets on the 4th Wednesday morning of each month, from 10.00am to 12 noon on the 2nd floor of the Mechanics Institute, 76 Kirkgate, We are a convivial and friendly group and you will be made very welcome indeed.  Membership is not required, all we ask is for a small admission fee to cover our meeting expenses. Our wide and varied programme of speakers cover a wide range of topics related to WW1.

2023 Programme

25 Jan –   Rob Voakes:  Remember Belgium   

After graduating in International History, Rob Voakes of Shipley worked in the Probation Service. Since his retirement in 2012 he has taught courses privately and for the WEA on such diverse subjects as Travel and Travel Writing, Italian history, ‘Ten Cities of Europe’ and the history of Eastern Europe. Today he will examine the atrocities committed in Belgium in Aug 1914: Who was responsible? Why did it happen? What propaganda was made of them?. Rob will assess how history and accepted truths about what took place, have changed over the last 100 years

22 Feb –  Fraser Skirrow: Bradford Men at Cambrai- the 2nd/6th West Yorks assault at Havrincourt 

Fraser is an old friend of the group continuing his one man labour to demonstrate his contention that the 62nd (2nd West Riding) Division ‘won the war’. In a previous talk he analysed the 2/5th West Yorks (Harrogate battalion) attack on Havrincourt – today he turns his attention to the part played by the Bradford Territorials in the same assault on 20 Nov 1917. A close examinations of German casualties will form part of the talk: how rarely do we hear about ‘the other side’? 

22 Mar –  Jennie Kiff: Patriots and Pacifists – The Bradford Suffragettes in World War One 

Jennie  formerly worked for West Yorkshire Archive Service and has used her expertise to assist in local history projects. She is currently engaged in doctoral work on Bradford Suffragettes and will share some of her findings with us today.

26 Apr –   Damon Sugden: The work of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission

The construction of war memorials and cemeteries to commemorate the was dead of the First World War was only completed in 1938 with the unveiling of the Australian Memorial at Villers-Bretonneaux. The CWGC expanded after the Second World War and today cares for the was graves and memorials at 23,000 locations in more than 150 countries and territories. Many cemeteries and memorials were designed by world renowned architects, sculptors and artists and, in a number of countries, our cemeteries and memorials are under consideration for World Heitage Site status.

24 May –   Anne Buckley: The Great Escape; From Tsingtao to Skipton (via Knockaloe)

This talk will trace the journey of two German naval officers, Fritz Sachsee and Herbert Straehler, who escaped from the Fukuoka POW camp in Japan 1915 with the aim of making their way back to Germany to rejoin the war effort. Sachsse kept a detailed diary of the journey, which he used to write a series of articles for the Stralsunder Tageblatt in 1938. Straehler’s family have recently found the typed up diary and manuscripts with numerous additional handwritten annotations. Anne’s talk will explain how the two officers ended up circumnavigating the globe before ending up in Skipton in the summer of 1918,        

28 Jun –  McDaid & McAuley: Much ADRIC about nothing – The Auxiliary Division Royal Irish Constabulary and its legacy

This talk will explore one of the legacies of WW1 in Ireland, through an anlysis of the Auxiliary Division of the Royal Irish Constabulary (ADRIC), founded during the Irish War of Independence (1919-1921) ADRIC composed largely of British ex servicemen, played a particularly controversial role during that conflict, most notoriously burning of Cork City in 1920. This presentation explores the origins and impact of ADRIC during the was of Independence, explaining the differences between ADRIC and the better known “Black and Tans” and also its bitter legacy, which has impacted on contemporary forms of commemoration in Ireland 

26 Jul      TBC 

23 Aug    Members’ Morning:  Bring and Tell

This is an opportunity for Group members and friends to bring badges, artifacts, documents, books, family photos and stories to show the group, to be discussed and ‘chewed-over’ and even for identification. An informal and often fun session

27 Sept –  David Glover: Nurse Edith Cavel

The execution by a German firing squad of this British nurse was widely portrayed as a notorious act of barbarism and moral depravity. The German counter argument asked us to consider what would happen to a State, particularly in war, if it left crimes aimed at the safety of its armies to go unpunished because they were women. David Glover makes a welcome return as speaker and will cast fresh light on Nurse Cavell’s life and her own judgment; ” Standing as i do in view of God and Eternity, I realise that patriotism is not enough, I must have no hatred or bitterness towards anyone”

25 Oct –  Damon Sugden: Pudsey St Lawrence: a century in the Bradford Cricket League

Pudsey St Lawrence CC was formed in 1845 and has played in the Bradford Cricket League since 1912. It took until 1956 for them to win the league title but the club and league more widely, has produced numerous County and England players, many of whom enlisted on the outbreak of WW1. 2nd Lt Major Booth from Pudsey met with Yorkshire team mates Pte Arthur Dolphin and Pte Roy Kilner at Bus-les-Artois the night before the ‘Big Push’ but became a casualty of the first day of the Somme offensive

22 Nov: –  Mike Thompson: Strange Meeting- Pte Laurie Dennison, 1st/6th West Yorks and John Clifford Thompson, RE and RAF

Mike Thompson will tell us about the friendship between two Manningham lads, their meeting near Ypres in summer 1915, and John’s subsequent army career. Mike’s talk will be illustrated with photo’s taken by his grandfather during the war.

21 Dec    Festive ‘Bring and Tell’

  This is an opportunity for Group members and friends to bring badges, artifacts, documents, books, family photos and stories to show the group, to be discussed and ‘chewed-over’ and even for identification. An informal and often fun session plus a mince pie with your drink