Lancashire & Cheshire WFA

AGM 8 April 2016


Apologies for absence

Chairman’s Report- See below


Election of Officers



Another year has come and gone very quickly. We have had a good variety of speakers and fortunately I was able to obtain a replacement for one speaker who had to withdraw. 2015 was a relatively quiet year for the 100th anniversary. Naturally, Gallipoli has figured prominently in commemorations, along with the gas attack at Ypres and the Battle of Loos.

This year will be dominated by the events of 1st July. It is up to the WFA to ensure the full effect of thís battle is understood by the public and not left to the doom and disaster merchants. The battle was awful and there were heavy casualties on day one. However, it was to mark the final high mark of the Germany Army. The British learnt the hard way and due to France’s involvement with Verdun, we were destined to become THE army on the Western Front.

I would like to thank all those who have helped me over the year. John Richardson has taken on the accounts and Phil Hamer has always been ready to help. Chris and Joan are stalwarts with the raffle and Ralph Lomas produces “Up the Line”.  It goes without saying that Ann has, as always, been supportive.

Sadly we lost Life Member Mike Platt. I was grateful to those members who attended his funeral. It was obvious by the numbers present that he was well liked.

Our speakers provided us with great insight and I am already chasing people to talk to us in 2017. Attendances have been steady, but I would like to see them improve. Please mention us to anyone who shows an interest. We have excellent facilities and Captain Lesley Oldham has provided us with even more equipment. We now have our own website excellently managed by Trevor Adams. Please use I shall be putting more things onto it. I am asking those of you with web access to read it for information. I have been emailing all our local members with information, but I intend to use it more for official announcements. For example, I shall try to submit my annual report to the web allowing sufficient time for you to download and print it individually. This will reduce the cost.

On a local and contemporary note, there will be commemorations on 1st July at Heaton Park and the main WFA will be present. I shall be on the Somme and I am looking for members to get involved with this event. Thank you for your support. I look forward to seeing you throughout the year.

Terry Jackson, Chairman

Chairman’s Notes

Good evening and welcome to the April meeting. The annual AGM will precede the speaker.  We are close approaching the day that most people regard as the main date of the Great War.

It was tumultuous, but with our keen interest in the conflict, we must ensure the whole war is understood by the public.  I am pleased to welcome Ross Beadle to the Branch. He will be talking about the first real turning point of the war. How did the Germans manage to let certain victory slip way?  Sounds like the history of the football team based just across the road!  Remember to visit our website and promote it to those you meet.

Terry Jackson.



Tickets Released for UK National Somme Commemoration in Manchester

The public are invited to participate in a National Commemoration of the Centenary of the battle of the Somme in Manchester on Friday 1 July, Culture Secretary John Whittingdale announced today.  He also announced the release of tickets for a free public commemorative concert at Heaton Park to mark the centenary of the Battle of the Somme.  Manchester will host a parade of military and home front organisations, a Somme Remembrance service at Manchester Cathedral, and a heritage experience and evening concert at Heaton Park.  

Culture Secretary John Whittingdale said:  “The Battle of the Somme resulted in one million casualties on the Western Front and touched the lives of millions of families at home. It is important that we provide as many ways as we can for the public to commemorate the bravery and sacrifices of our ancestors 100 years ago.  We must never forget what happened at the Somme.  I hope that people across the country take part in the range of events in Manchester to honour the memories of those who gave so much.”  

The public are invited to participate and attend the followìng in Manchester:  

  1. A Somme 100 parade of military and home front organisations will march through the centre of the city after lunch.
  2. A Somme Remembrance service will be held at Manchester Cathedral at 3pm and will be shown live on big screens in the public areas nearby.  
  3. A free concert at Heaton Park at 7.30pm featuring a national children’s choir, film, dance and Manchester’s acclaimed Hallé Orchestra.  Heaton Park is one of the largest municipal parks in Europe and in 1916 was a military training ground for many recruits before they went to the Somme. The evening event will also feature a range of letters, poems and diary entries depicting the lives of those affected by the Somme - including a specially commissioned poem read by author and broadcaster Lemm Sissay.  

The public ¡s invited to sign up for free tickets to the evening concert, which is suitable for all age groups.  Tickets can be booked at meheatonpark  

There will also be an Experience Field at Heaton Park for those interested in learning more about life in 1916.  Thanks to funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, announced today more than 30 original bell tents will house First World War experts, activities and artefacts bringing to life hundreds of stories of nurses, soldiers and factory workers from the Home and Western Fronts.  

Councillor Sue Murphy, Deputy Leader Manchester City Council, said:

“Manchester is honoured to be hosting this important commemoration event on behalf of the nation. Like the rest of the country we fully acknowledge the debt we owe to those who fought for us at the Somme and are humbled still by their actions.   Northern England was the heartland of the Pals’ battalions throughout the First World War and was also at the centre of the huge industrial effort for the Somme.  It’s therefore fitting that the focal point of remembrance and opportunities for people to learn about and reflect further on the enormity of the events at the Somme should be in our city.   We’re ready to welcome people from around the  country to Manchester and want to give as many people  as possible - young and old - the opportunity to observe,  think, reflect, and participate in the commemorative  events planned to mark this hugely important  centenary.”

Note:  The Experience Field at Heaton Park will be open from 4pm to 7pm on July 1st  and again on Saturday 2nd July from 11am to 4pm.  

£4 million in National Lottery funding is available  for communities to explore, conserve and share  the local heritage of the First World War, including  the stories of the Battle of  the Somme, through the  Heritage Lottery Fund’s First World War: then and  now programme.   The UK and French governments will also be hosting  a Battle of the Somme centenary commemorative  event in Thiepval, in France on 1 July 2016.  The event will include representatives from the Battle’s combatant nations, organisations such as the Royal British Legion, and members of the public. Plans are being made to broadcast the ceremony live to large screens in towns across the Somme region and the UK so that as many people as possible can be involved. Events will also take place in France to mark the 141 days of the battle.  

Public Enquiries: 020 721 1 6000  

Any material for the next newsletter should be sent to Terry by 6th May, please.