Cheltenham Western Front Association

   
 

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

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.
***PLEASE NOTE - THIS WILL BE HELD AS USUAL AT THE NATIONAL STAR COLLEGE***
 
Jan 8 2019 The Work of the Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre
The Commemorations Team is responsible for undertaking work to identify and bury the remains of recently discovered Service personnel killed in historic campaigns from WW1 onwards. The JCCC co-ordinates efforts to identify remains, working with the host nation, CWGC, Service historic branches and regimental contacts employing records and any forensics recovered at site. Nicola explains the work of the JCCC supported with case evidence and some recovered artifacts to illustrate the attempts to trace surviving relatives and arranging re-dedications.
Nicola Nash
Feb 12 2019 They Shoot Spies - the untold story of the first female agents
Moving beyond the stereotypes of Edith Cavell and Mata Hari this talk 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.
Dr Viv Newman
Mar 12 2019 From the Good Soldier to the Emperor - The Austro-Hungarian Army 1914-1918
Despite a generally bad press, and grave problems, this multi-ethnic force remained in the field with its cohesion intact until the final months of the war.
Alan Wakefield
Apr 9 2019 Tiger Hunting
John's informative, thought-provoking and often amusing talk explores the evolution of commander and senior officer selection for duty on the Western Front. The process of identification, promotion and rejection is examined as the British Army sought ever more effective qualities for front line leadership.
Prof. John Bourne
May 14 2019 British Army Signals Intelligence 1914-1918
The British Army started the war with no capability to intercept and analyse enemy communications - by the armistice it was producing ‘Sigint’ on all operational fronts, at home in support of the air defence of Great Britain, and was reading the diplomatic ciphers of many enemy and neutral countries. But this has been largely overshadowed by the work of the Admiralty’s ‘Room 40’. This talk describes the who, what and where of army 'Sigint';  what value it was and suggests some reasons why it has been overlooked.
Jock Bruce
Jun 11 2019 Ypres: Holy Ground of the British Empire
Professor Connelly’s talk looks at the special place of Ypres in British commemoration 1914-39, the feelings of pilgrims, the role of the Ypres League and the rise of an Anglo-Belgian community as ex-service Imperial War Graves Commission gardeners married local women and started families.
Prof. Mark Connelly
Jul 9 2019 The Fall of the Ottomans: The Great War in the Middle East 1914-1920
Professor Rogan delivers a talk based on his latest book of the same title that covers the Ottoman perspective of this theatre of war considered  largely  a 'side show' by other powers. He examines the geo-political landscape and draws on his research using little known Turkish and Arab sources, addresses the Armenian genocide, Arab statehood and the Balfour Declaration bringing into focus those issues that still resonate today.
Prof. Eugene Rogan
Aug 13 2019 Sir William Robertson: Architect of Victory?
Haig gets all the attention but he was only half of the double act that set British war plans from December 1915 to February 1918, all the way through the Somme and Passchendaele battles. The other half of the act was Sir William Robertson, Chief of the Imperial General Staff and famously the only man ever to rise from the lowest rank all the way to Field Marshal. This talk explores his role in setting the BEF’s ultimately victorious strategy and the accusations made against him of duplicity towards the Government.
Ross Beadle
Sep 10 2019 British Army Policy on Awards and Decorations 1914-1918
For much of the war there were serious anomalies in the way that decorations were awarded and it took time to reform the system.
Charles Messenger
Oct 8 2019 More to this Case than Meets the Eye
In the early evening of 3 July 1918 at Pont Coulogne, Calais, 40 year old Detective Sergeant Harold Arthur Collison DCM MSM MFP, a mature and experienced policeman made a decision that ultimately led to his murder at the hand of a British Officer. To this day that decision has never been properly explained. Join David in taking a policeman's view of that decision and some of the other mysterious elements surrounding this case.
David Saunders
Nov 12 2019 The Learning Process in Practice: Tactics and Training in the BEF 1916-1918
Our President, Peter Simkins, examines the 'learning curve' or change in practices undertaken by the BEF as a result of the Somme experience and expressed in contemporary tactical and training documentation. He calls on his vast experience as a leading academic, testing the outcomes in battle as victory loomed in 1918, that support such influential works as his book From Somme to Victory.
Prof. Peter Simkins MBE
Dec 10 2019 Members’ Evening
For our December meeting we draw on the wide and varied expertise and knowledge of our Branch members. We have a small selection of ten-minute length presentations throughout the evening on a Great War related subjects 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.