What’s On

The Bradford WW1 Group meets on the 4th Wednesday morning of each month, from 10.00am to 12 noon.. We are a convivial group and you will be made very welcome indeed.  Our programme of speakers covers a wide variety of topics and, twice a year, we hold ‘Bring and Tell’ sessions where a range of interesting and often unexpected artefacts are discussed!

2017 Programme

25 January    Anne Buckley: Raikeswood Camp, Skipton 

Anne has been translating a book found in the dusty archives of Skipton Library which was compiled by German officers imprisoned at Raikeswood.  This hutted camp was originally built as the first training ground of the Bradford Pals and recent archaeological work has turned up some artefacts relevant to both the British Army and the later PoWs.

22 February    Ingrid Sharp: Women in Germany  

Last year we heard a gruesome account of conditions in Germany following the blockade of German shipping.  Ingrid is a German scholar who has uncovered evidence of resistance to war, especially amongst German women, and the hardships they endured  during the conflict.

22 March   Fraser Skirrow:  Battlefield Success                                                  

Much has been written about the development of the skills of the BEF after the Somme but this is often at a high (Corps or Divisional) level. This talk looks at the development of tactics, weapons, and organisation at the level of a single battalion of the West Yorks Regiment. It focuses on how new weapons and techniques were applied by the infantry on the battlefield. The story illustrates the growth of all-arms co-operation, the use of tanks, aircraft and artillery to support battalions, as well as how these were used in 4 very different battles

26 April   Tricia Platts:  Farnley Camp and Otley in the Great War                

Beautiful Wharfedale was a hive of activity throughout the war.  The town of Otley had no ‘Pals’ battalion but had a Territorial  artillery battery made up of local men.   The work force of the large engineering, textile and tanning companies also generated hundreds of other volunteers.  Across the river, Farnley Hall became an important training ground for the British Army and a rich treasure of photographs survives.

24 May   Michael Meadowcroft:   1917 Leeds Peace Convention                                  

Mike Meadowcroft, former Liberal MP for Leeds and member of several government missions to troubled areas of the world, will present the story of one of the largest anti-war gatherings of the war.  Was Lloyd George right to think that there was less to lose by allowing it than by imposing a ban?

28 June:   Rob Thompson:  Retreat to the Hindenburg Line                               

Rob Thompson is one of the most popular speakers on the Western Front Association circuit.  His talk about the German retreat to the Hindenburg Line, will be seen with the benefit 100 years of hindsight.

26 July   Oliver Wilkinson:   Prisoners of War                                                                      

Oliver’s interest was stimulated by tales of his grandfather being captured by the Germans.  His PhD work has led Oliver to a much deeper and broader understanding of the lives of PoWs.

23 August   Members’ Morning:  Bring and Tell                                                                                

27 September   Fraser Blagg:   The French Army in the Great War   

Fraser is one of our members and also a member of the Linguists’ Circle, hence his particular interest in the French Army.

25 October          TBC    

22 November   Cyril Pearce:  Communities of Resistance – patterns of dissent in Britain during the First World War                                                                                     

Cyril Pearce has spent many years compiling a register of over 16,000 conscientious objectors and tells particularly vivid accounts of links with the independent Labour Party in Huddersfield and Bradford.

13 December     Members’ Morning:  Festive ‘Bring and Tell’                                                         


The fourth Wednesday morning of each month is the time for meetings of the World War 1 Group. We begin with coffee and biscuits at 10.00 and the convivial, welcoming atmosphere continues into the business agenda at 10.30 and lively discussion following a visiting speaker. The meeting ends at 12 noon.

Whilst members have particular enthusiasm for the role which Bradford and its citizens played, they also share an interest in all aspects of the Great War. This is reflected in the extremely wide range of topics covered by our programme of speakers. Our Heritage Lottery award provided us with a digital projector, speakers, screen and several laptops for research.

In December 2016 the WW1 Group received the papers, photograph albums and research notes of local researcher PD Lodge. This valuable archive can be made available for study. We also have a display cabinet of donated artefacts.

The Exhibition

The exhibition display panels researched and written by members of the WW1 group were produced by Inchpunch Design and form part of our Heritage Lottery Project.

They have been exhibited twice in the banqueting suite of Bradford City Hall at the invitation of the Lord Mayor’s office; at Bradford Central Library during the presentation about the war poet Humbert Wolfe; at events held in the meeting rooms of the Mechanics Institute and as a back-drop to presentations given by group members in other locations, including the Ilkley Literature Festival in October 2014, at the Bradford Club on 25 February 2015 and on Sam Meekosha Day at the Local Studies Library on 19 November 2015.


Threads of War Exhibition

Throughout July 2016 the WW1 Group staged an exhibition in the Mechanics’ Institute Library entitled ‘Threads of War’. Opened by the Lord Mayor on Saturday 2 July, the display comprised creative textiles in a range of styles reflecting aspects of the Great War. The exhibition was curated by Annie Parkinson of the East Riding Commemorative Quilts Group.


At the invitation of Bradford Cathedral the exhibition will be on display in the Cathedral for the whole of July 2016 and will form the backdrop for the Civic Commemoration of the Battle of the Somme to be held at the Cathedral on Saturday 9th July 2016 at 3pm.