March 2016 meeting: Shot at Dawn : The story of nurse Edith Cavell
100 years ago, Edith, a British nurse working in Brussels, was busy saving the lives of many endangered men. She and her colleagues helped over 200 Allied soldiers escape from German-occupied Belgium. Her reward: to be arrested, tried by a
German military court, found guilty of treason, and shot by a firing squad in October 1915. The story of Edith’s life and bravery was retold by David Glover the well-known local historian at our March meeting.
February 2016 meeting: Film showing of The Battle of the Ancre and Advance of the Tanks
This film was a little known masterpiece of British non-fiction cinema that documented the later stages of the Somme campaign on the Western Front. It was the second documentary of its type produced by the film maker Geoffrey Malins. The film contained haunting images of trench warfare, notably the logistical problems created by the mud and the first views of the tank – the secret weapon which it was hoped would break the deadlock on the Western Front. The opening-night audiences, who had never seen a tank in action before, often greeted the film with “oohs” and “ahhs”. This fascination with these very early tanks was also evident at our own meeting where most of the discussion centred around their capabilities.
January 2016 Meeting: William Henry Stott Diaries 1914-15
Rob Hamilton brought us up to date with his work on the William Stott diaries, taking us through the entries for the opening phase of the war. Rob showed us some of the pages he has designed for the book version of the war time diaries to be published at a later date. William Stott was an opinionated businessman and has provided us with many interesting comments on war time Calderdale. In particular Henry Stott had clear cut views on democracy, the role of women and the mind-set of the average British worker in his factory. It was an interesting take on life and contemporary thinking during this period.
November 2015 Meeting: Voices from the Gallipoli campaign
Peter Liddle paid his third visit to our monthly HGWHS meetings and dug deep into the archives of the personal experiences he has collected over his long career of the people involved in the Gallipoli campaign of 1915. Typically this was not a narrow view but one taken of many different types of servicemen and from different nationalities. It is always a pleasure and a privilege to hear from the UK’s premier exponent of this approach to military history and as always Peter had a very appreciative audience.