Heritage Open Day Free Talk: Battlefield Success

11th Sep 2021
Location: York Army Museum
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“Battlefield Success” – How the British Army became a war winning weapon.

Join our special talk for Heritage Open Days, with author and historian Fraser Skirrow.

Admission is free but there are limited places - pre-booking required.

The British Army was a highly effective fighting machine by the end of WW1 but it did not start that way, it learned by trial and very costly error. This talk traces the story of a battalion of the West Yorkshire Regiment, based in Colliergate, York, which went to France In January 1917. It was a territorial unit, it had no experience of the realities of the Western Front and its first engagements were disastrous. By 1918 this battalion, and the whole Division in which it fought, were acknowledged to be among the most reliable and aggressive units in the army. This talk looks into the realities of how those men changed their approach to fighting. It looks at tactics, weapons, battlefield management, and the skills of its officers and men. It uses documents written at the time; detailed orders, war diaries, letters, aerial photos, contemporary panoramas and modern day battlefield photos, to get the audience as close as possible to how these battles were fought from the perspective of the men doing the fighting.

Fraser is a former Territorial officer and the author of “Massacre on the Marne” the history of the 2/5th West Yorkshire Regiment. He is a speaker on the development of tactics, and on the West Yorkshire Regiment in particular as this was the regiment in which his family served in both wars. When he is not studying the Great War and visiting battlefields, he runs a specialist consulting company in the development of new medicines.

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