Cheltenham Western Front Association


Meetings are normally held at The National Star College, Ullenwood Manor, Ullenwood, Cheltenham, GL53 9QU

Jan 9 2018 A Prisoner at Holzminden
As a young boy Ian grew up with the stories of the daring deeds and escapes by the soldiers, sailors and airmen of the Second World War. The stories about Colditz and films like The Great Escape, with that memorable scene of Steve McQueen trying to jump the wire on a motorbike, readily spring to mind. What appears to be relatively unknown, however, are the stories relating to those captured during the First World War. Many of the Officers and men captured in the First World War, just like their counterparts some 20 or so years later, did not meekly enter captivity after they became a Prisoner of War. Many attempted to escape, some managed to make it back to their own country to rejoin the battle once again, whilst others were recaptured and returned to be unwilling guests of His Imperial Majesty Kaiser Wilhelm II. Ian’s talk is about one such escape made by 29 British officers from the Holzminden Officer Prisoner of War Camp in Hanover, Germany.
Ian Gumm
Feb 13 2018 Monty and Rommel in the First World War
The names of Field Marshals Montgomery and Rommel are familiar to us all. But what did they do in the First World War? How did they learn the trades of command and leadership? Based on his book, Monty and Rommel: Parallel Lives, Peter Caddick-Adams will bring these two enigmatic characters to life in terms of their 1914-18 service.
Dr Peter Caddick-Adams
Mar 13 2018 Commemorative Art Medals of the First World War
This light-hearted talk looks at the fascinating history of rare cast-metal Great War commemorative medals, privately produced in Germany, Austria, Hungary and France. These are very different to military medals and some, such as the Lusitania Medal, became famous in their own right.
Mike Cerrino
Apr 10 2018 British Official Film and Photography on the Western Front
A slideshow of the work of the official cameramen and some of their famous images.
Prof Stephen Badsey
May 8 2018 Malta in the Great War
Malta is usually associated with the Second World War (as 'The George Cross Island') but there are many strands to her role in the Great War, ranging from the Gallipoli and Salonika campaigns through naval, aeronautical and civilian aspects to present day memorials. Bill's fully illustrated talk will shed light on some fascinating stories from that period.
Bill Fulton
Jun 12 2018 War is the only school of the surgeon - Medical developments during the Great War
The First World War was a great learning curve for medical care of the wounded soldier. This talk will examine the various improvements that took place as the war progressed.
Pete Starling
Jul 10 2018 The Destruction of the 13th Gloucesters, 1918
The 13th Gloucesters were a Pioneer battalion that had been serving on the Western Front since early 1916. On 21 March 1918 they were preparing fortifications behind the lines near Templeux-la-Fosse when the long-expected German 'Kaiserschlacht' attack broke. They were right in its path. Over the course of ten days, as the British Fifth Army pulled back, the Battalion dug scratch fortifications, fought desperate rear guard actions and withdrew over thirty miles, suffering over 300 killed, wounded and missing. After the remnants, stragglers and lightly wounded were collected together for 'Rest', they were sent as part of a ‘Composite’ battalion to Ypres. On 26 April, they were cut off by an early morning German attack in the mist. Just 67 men returned to Battalion HQ. Sam Eedle tells their story.
Sam Eedle
Aug 14 2018 Treading the Duckboards - Military Concert Parties
An established part of military and civilian life, concert parties thrived on active service, creating mirth and music amidst the horrors of war.
Kate Wills
Sep 11 2018 Prime Ministers at the Front
The story of Winston Churchill's Great War service in the trenches is well known: less so is that of three others who went on to become Britain's Prime Minister. In his talk Graham takes a look at their individual war service.
Graham Adams
Oct 9 2018 The Repatriation of the Unknown Warrior
An alternative title for Nicolas’ talk is The Unknown Warrior's Final Journey and its links to Nurse Edith Cavell, Captain Charles Fryatt and Sir Winston Churchill. One obvious link between the first three named people is that they died during the Great War. The talk will explain the link to Churchill, but the key link is the railway vehicle known as the 'Cavell Van'. This vehicle was used to repatriate the remains of all three people in 1919 and 1920, and that forms the core of Nicolas’ talk.
Nicolas Wheatley
Nov 13 2018 Are We There Yet? Some thoughts on the Centenary of 1918
In this talk, our President, Professor Peter Simkins, will discuss how far our collective views and interpretations of the Great War have changed during his fifty-six years as a military historian. He will also look at the varied experiences of a small number of middle-ranking commanders in 1918.
Prof. Peter Simkins MBE
Dec 11 2018 Members’ Evening
For our December meeting we draw on the side and varied expertise and knowledge of our Branch members. We will have ten minute presentations on a Great War related subject of their choice.


To The National Star College:

By car:
Via the M4, M5 or other roads shown below (click on map to download a bigger version).
The site entrance is on Ullenwood Manor Road, off Leckhampton Hill. Once on site, follow signs for visitors and disabled parking. Park and follow signs at the rear of the car park for reception.

Star College

By rail:
Cheltenham and Gloucester stations are both about 15 minutes away from Ullenwood, and there are generally taxis available.