Over 70 people from around the globe with a mutual interest in the First World War united at Weetwood Hall in Leeds between the 28th July and the 1st of August, for an imaginative World War One Conference held to mark the outbreak of the conflict 100 years ago.
The five day event, that attracted delegates from as far as Australia, New Jersey and Texas as well as Europe, saw 20 eminent academics, authors and military officers come together to deliver a series of workshops, lectures and historical excursions that enabled people to reflect and consider the impact that The Great War had on the nation’s people.
The Conference, that was planned by Dr Peter Liddle and Military Consultant, Colonel Alan Roberts, also had a very special Patron play an important role in bringing people together to reflect on the past, The Dowager Countess, Lady Haig.
Conference delegates were also able to explore history through a series of performances that saw appearances from the Yorkshire Volunteer Corps of Drums, Piper Thomas Mulholland of the Leeds Caledonian Society, Noel Whittall, a motorcycling enthusiast who rides a 1918 Model H motorbike, honorary farrier Jarvis Browning of the Wagoner’s Special Reserve and Darryl Foxwell and Roy Hirst, miniature model railway enthusiasts depicting scenes of WW1.
Events included a reception by Charles Dent, MD of Timothy Taylor explaining its links to the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment (West Riding) now the Yorkshire Regiment, a visit to the Liddle Collection and Royal Armouries, a walking tour of Lawnswood Cemetery with Andrea Hetherington highlighting its 1914-1918 links, a visit to Heugh Battery on the headland of Hartlepool and Yorkshire Film Archive presenting “Filmed and not Forgotten”.
The event was rounded off with a three-course dinner that saw guests sing-along to songs of the era with singer Fiona Harrison and the conference concluded with a two minute silence and The Yorkshire Volunteers Corps of Drums playing The Last Post.
Dr Peter Liddle, commented: “As the Conference Director of the Weetwood Hall First World War in Retrospect Centenary Conference, I am happy to report that the Speakers and Delegates and, in every respect, Weetwood Hall, lived up to my high expectations. An informative, stimulating, friendly, conference was the experience we all shared. Well done Weetwood Hall.”
Co-organiser and Military Consultant, Colonel Alan Roberts said: “The delegates remarked that the programme exceeded all their expectations. The diversity of the lectures and presentations engendered participation and discussion. The conference had something for everyone.
“The aim of the organisers was not to make it purely academic but to engage with people who had an interest in that world changing war. Included in the programme was the opportunity to see a professional demonstration of the actual weapons used in the Great War by both sides, and in the uniforms worn. Other practical presentations gave the conference further dimension as to the reality of life at that time.”
Peter Chubb, Development Director at Weetwood Hall, said: “I am delighted at the success of our first World War One Conference that saw people travel from all around the world. The feedback from delegates has been fantastic.”