Meetings 2024

Yet again we have another year of wide-ranging topics to tempt you to a meeting!

20th January               Scott Galloway                                  63rd (Royal Naval) Division and the Royal

                                                                                              Marines at Gavrelle April 1917

At the commencement of the war the RND was formed immediately of Naval and Marine personnel who would not be able to be placed on board ship.  Sent immediately to Ostend and then to Antwerp, they served at Gallipoli and on the Western Front.

In April 1917 during the Battle of Arras the RND and particularly the Royal Marines, found themselves in a vicious battle for Gavrelle and its environs.

Scott will tell the heroic story of that battle and the Marines part in it.

Scott is Events Officer for the Tayside Branch of the WFA and leads tours to the Western Front and elsewhere.

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2nd March                                     Louise Heren                      The Battle of George Square

'In 1919 Glasgow was gripped by strikes – would revolution come to Scotland?  To keep the peace would the police be able to control the demonstrations and the violence that accompanied it, or would the civil authorities need the assistance of the military?  Tanks were sent north, troops were deployed in the city, but were they actually used to control the demonstrators, and was there a “Battle of George Square”?

Louise Heren, a PhD graduate from St Andrews, together with Gordon Barclay has written a book examining what became known as 'The Battle of George Square'. This book is the first attempt to summarise these events in close detail, and piece all available sources into a coherent narrative referring to thousands of pages of papers, memoirs, eyewitness accounts and news reports.

Louise' talk will follow the Branch's AGM.

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20th April                                   Derek Patrick             The Black Watch and Kitchener's Army

As part of Kitchener’s New Army, the Black Watch formed several battalions.  They served with distinction and their sacrifice is acknowledged throughout Tayside, Angus and Perthshire.  Derek will describe how they fared and the impact on those back home.

Derek is well known to the branch and is an historian working at the University of St Andrews.  He has ancestors who served in the Black Watch, some buried in France.

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1st June                                                 Alastair Fraser                               We Dusted Them Off Good

'We dusted them off good' - The German Army on the Somme 1914-16 - an examination of the German Army in the Beaumont Hamel sector, in particular the regiments of 26 Reserve Division. It also looks at how the Germans were able to defeat the British so comprehensively on 1st July 1916.

Alistair Fraser is a well known speaker and researcher who has published  work – notably the excellent “Ghosts on the Somme” which he co-authored.

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13h July                                           Anne-Marie Einhaus                    Heroism in Great war Writing

Prior to 1914, professional soldiers in the ranks had a somewhat mixed reputation in Britain – one only has to look at Kipling's 'Ballad of Tommy Atkins', who complains that he is treated with disdain and suspicion except when somebody is needed to fight Britain's enemies and make sacrifices. The First World War and its citizen soldiers, however, witnessed widespread changes to how soldiers were perceived by the British public. This talk explores some of the reasons for this change, and looks to literature of the time to illustrate these changes.

Ann-Marie Einhaus is Associate Professor of Modern and Contemporary Literature at Northumbria University Newcastle. She is the author of The Short Story and the First World War and editor of The Cambridge Companion to the English Short Story among others. Her research interests and publications cover the early twentieth-century short story, writing about the Great War from 1914 to the present day, the reception of foreign literature in Britain during the inter-war period, and British wartime and inter-war magazines.

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14th September                                          Stuart Crawford                                           Tanks in WW1

Introduced on the Western Front during the Battle of the Somme in 1916, tanks were soon seen not to be the wonder weapon to win the war.  However, their effectiveness grew as army commanders and tank crews alike learned how to use them profitably.  The Battle of Cambrai proved that massed tanks were a powerful weapon when used in numbers.

Stuart’s talk will examine the circumstances of the introduction of the tank by the British army in the First World War and how it has developed since then, with up to date comments on the use of tanks in the Ukraine-Russian war and in Gaza by the IDF.

Stuart Crawford is an author, writer and broadcaster specialising in defence analysis. He was commissioned in to the 4th Royal Tank Regiment.  During his twenty-year military career he served with his Regiment around the world, including operational tours with the UN in Cyprus and as a staff officer in the Headquarters British Forces Middle East during the 1990-91 Gulf War.

Stuart has written numerous articles and journalistic pieces.  His latest book “Tank Commander: From the Cold War to the Gulf and Beyond” was published by Pen & Sword Books in January 2023.

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16th November                                      David Carter                                The Quintinshill Rail Disaster

The Quintinshill Rail Disaster happened on 22nd May 1915.  This talk examines the events surrounding the multi-train rail crash near Gretna just over the Scotland/England border from Carlisle.  With over 220 dead, it remains the worst crash in British rail history.  We look at the sequence of events and the response of local people in supporting the casualties as well as the response of the rail company and authorities.

David is a retired teacher, author of two books. Volunteer researcher for the Royal Fusiliers Museum, Tower of London, lives in Cumbria.

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14th December                                       Members Medley & Mince Pies

Our usual end-of-year round up and presentations from members, alongside Xmas nibbles and mince pies!

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