I used to greatly enjoy the seminars organised by the Western Front Association and attended them each year from 1992 to 2001. In many ways they encouraged my interest in the subject and built my network of like-minded friends and contacts. The seminar of 1992 was not the first: the series had begun in 1988. 2001 was, if I recall, the last. Difficulties arose in booking what had been the Hill College at Abergavenny, which had been a comfortable and affordable venue for such a thing.
The seminars were organised by the late David Cohen and his wife Judith.
Programmes of these events can be seen below. It is of historical interest to see who the speakers were and who attended the seminars. They include many notable historians of the day. I was distinctly amongst the younger attendees and it is poignant to see how many of my fellow attendees are no longer with us. It is also of interest to compare the early programmes to the professor and PhD-rich mix of speakers of present-day events. How the study of the subject of the Great War has changed!
Speakers: Tony Noyes, Peter Oldham, John Terraine, Dr. Geoffrey Noon, Alastair Horne, Dr. Tony Clayton, Ray Westlake.
Interesting to see that I am listed as “Mr. Baker”!
Speakers: Ann Clayton, John Terraine, Sir John Baynes, Nigel Cave, Dale Hjort, Graham Maddocks.
Speakers: Chris Pugsley (twice), John Terraine, Adolph Buchner, John Laffin, Kevin Patience, Tim Tawney.
Speakers: Correlli Barnett, Gerald Gliddon, John Terraine, Harry Canvin, Peter Murton, Ray Westlake, Richard Holmes.
I see that had become a member of what the Association used to call its National Committee by the time of this seminar.
Speakers: Correlli Barnett, Terry Cave, John Terraine, Alan Culpin, Peter Simkins, Joanna Parker, Ray Westlake.
I was very pleased to chair Correlli Barnett’s session.
Speakers: Peter Simkins, Colin Fox, John Terraine, me (gulp), Prof. David Woodward, Joanna Parker, Ray Westlake.
Speakers: Lord Egremont, Peter Oldham, Nigel Cave, Ian Passingham, John Lee, Dr. William Philpott, Andy Brooks.
I was the Association’s chairman by the time of this seminar, having taken over from the late Tony Noyes.
Speakers: Correlli Barnett, Lt-Col. Graham Parker and Joanna Parker, John Lee, Peter Simkins, Martin Pegler, Ray Westlake.
The programme referred to this seminar being the last at The Hill, as its future was already looking uncertain. This proved not to be the case.
A change to the format.
Speakers: Prof. Andrew Lambert, Prof. Peter Simkins, Ian Passingham, me (gulp again), John Lee, Robert Pearson, Dr. Niall Barr, Dr. Gary Sheffield, Dr. Correlli Barnett, Nick Hewitt.
I had by now been superceded in the Chair by the late Paul Hanson.
Speakers: Dr. Correlli Barnett, Kathy Stevenson, Nik Cornish, Dr. Chris Pugsley, Dr. Ian Whitehead, Ian Passingham, Dr. Keith Grieves, Ken Mitchinson, Nigel Cave.
If anyone has copies of the programmes for the seminars before 1992 I would be delighted to add them into this page. Do contact me.