Expert talk on the Battle of Verdun by Tim Cockitt on Friday 8th October at 6.00pm via Zoom

This was the longest battle of WW1, from February 1916 through to December 1916.  The British were not directly involved, and the battle is not so well understood in UK, compared to the Somme. 

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Happy Lunar New Year!

I wish you all the very best for the Year of the Rat. You can find out more about the Rat and the Lunar New Year in Vietnam here. If, like me, you were born in a ‘Rat Year’ you are likely to be approachable and optimistic, at ease and not argumentative. You want to be liked and are happy to be helped by others. Apparently we ‘Rats’ have the power of prediction, observation, and acute vision. I’m very short-sighted so clearly something wrong!

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Faces of Salonika : John Staple and friends

My thanks go to Simon and Christine Briggs for sharing a fascinating set of photos belonging to Christine’s grandfather, John Staple. John served with the Army Service Corps Remount Service in Salonika for two-and-a-half years.

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Happy Lunar New Year!

This is a little late, but I wish you all the very best for the Year of the Pig. This year it’s an Earth Pig in the Vietnamese zodiac, so special for you if you were born in 1959. Are you ‘communicative, popular among their friends, with a strong sense of timekeeping’? Here are some appropriate photos from the IWM’s excellent online collection…

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French film about the Salonika Campaign

I hope you have already taken a look at the film about the campaign, commissioned by Away from the Western Front, to add to that here is a French film – by France 24 English – that I have come across on YouTube which gives an outline of the campaign, with much interesting footage, from the French and Serbian perspective (so don’t expect much on the BSF). It’s a pity British broadcasters couldn’t come up with something similar for the centenary!

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‘The Brigade was on its own…’

Before continuing the story of the Brigade-Jouinot-Gambetta, I should mention that Serbian and British cavalry were also doing their bit, although the latter was in short supply (but that could be said about much of the BSF). Serbian cavalry entered Gradsko – a vital communications hub – on the 25th and the Derbyshire Yeomanry were following the retreating Bulgarians along the road to Strumica.

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The cavalry, whose hour is come …

I first read Alan Palmer’s The Gardeners of Salonika about 30 years ago, to try to understand what my late grandfather had been doing in Salonika. I have to confess that what really stood out for me in the book, was not the descriptions of the tedious patrolling carried out by the BSF’s XVI Corps in the Struma Valley (which included Fred on his bike), but the dramatic advance of the French colonial cavalry to capture Skopje.

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