Newsletter November 2009, Issue No.95, Website www.sokemilitarysociety.co.uk
Society Founded 22nd May 1969
A Note from the Editor
Yet another year has passed all too quickly and the start of another will soon be upon
us. My thanks to everyone that has supported the society during the year and I hope
that you have found sufficient of interest to tempt you to continue your membership
again next year. This month’s newsletter therefore includes the first opportunity to
renew your membership of the Society for next year. An application form for
membership 2010 is therefore included. This year’s programme of speakers has again
seen a wide variety of topics covered and next years programme aims to deliver more
of the same. Membership renewals can be carried out by returning your form and
payment at the regular monthly meeting, the exhibition, or post to the address on the
form. Although attendance has been down at the last few meetings you will be
pleased to know that the society accounts are sufficiently healthy to require no
increase in the annual fee, which with the low attendance cost for talks, monthly
newsletter, web site and new forum all provide excellent value.
Also a word of warning that action by the postal service may disrupt newsletters and
membership renewals by post so get your renewals in early. I will also endeavour to
ensure that there are sufficient newsletters at the meetings for collection if people are
not getting their post.
Next Monthly Meeting
The next meeting is on Wednesday, 11th November 2009 when Nigel Marshall will
present “The Charge of the Armoured Brigades in Operation Goodwood 1944”.
Last Months Meeting
The meeting was held on 14th October and attended by 21 persons who listened to
fellow member Graham Gilmore talk on his experiences with the “Pathfinder
Company of 44 Para Brigade and their early operations in Angola”. Unfortunately the
evening was far too short to see all Graham’s photograph’s so hopefully we will be
able to persuade a further talk to complete the story after Graham’s book is published.
Words of Wisdom
This month’s quotations are all on the subject of “The Profession of Arms”.
a) Suvorov, b) Jean Charles Foland, c) Basil Liddell Hart, d) John A. Lejeune
1) War is a trade for the ignorant and a science for the expert.
2) A sense of vocation is the greatest virtue of the military man.
3) There is no more exacting profession or one that requires more painstaking
attention to detail than the profession of arms in time of war.
4) War is the professional soldier’s time of opportunity.
Answers: As always can be found at the end of the Newsletter
SOKE MILITARY FAIR 2008, Saturday 28th/Sunday 29th November
The Society Annual Exhibition will soon be here. This is an opportunity each year for
the society to present its members military interests, collections and hobbies to a
wider audience. Not forgetting the chance to show off, it is also important to use the
weekend to remind people that Peterborough has a military society and that we are
active all year. We therefore need to make visitors aware of the monthly meetings and
encourage new members as without a steady infusion of new members there is the
danger that societies such as ours either fade away or the costs become prohibitive.
Exhibitors confirmed at present are as follows: Carlo Antonelli, Keith Boucher,
George Church, Terry Edge, Bob Huggett, Andrew Lingard, Nigel Marshall,
Peter Steels, John Thornthwaite, (Confirmed) David Gray, Graham Gillmore,
Roger Negus, Richard Ward, Darren Williamson. (Attendance Not Yet Confirmed)
I apologise if I have missed anyone from the above list, please give me a call. As you
can see this is smaller turn out than in previous years so if you have something to
present to a wider audience then its still not to late to get involved. My thanks to
everyone that has volunteered to represent the society this year.
Exhibitors may set up their displays as follows:
The Front Gallery from Friday lunchtime, (Collections & historical displays
The Lecture Room from 3.30pm to 5pm, (modellers, refreshments, bargain stall).
In addition the museum will be open to exhibitors on the Saturday from 8am for final
set up. All displays should have completed setting up by 9.50am ready for the
museum opening at 10am. There will also be a display’s within the Art Gallery, and
museum is also hoping to put on some of their living history displays, during the
weekend. A number of cadet groups have also been invited to participate in the
weekend with their own displays.
The Mayor, Councillor Irene Walsh and the Deputy Mayor, Councillor Pam Winslade
have accepted an invitation to attend and will arrive at noon on the Saturday. Group
Captain Paul Higgins (Stn Cdr RAF Wittering) and family will once again be visiting
as guests on the Sunday.
The times that the event will be open to the public are as follows:
Saturday open to the public 10am – 5pm
Sunday open to the public 12 – 4pm
Tom Brazier, will not be putting on a display this year but has volunteered to assist
with the tea and cake stall on the Saturday. A volunteer for the Sunday is still needed.
Likewise additional members willing to help out during the day by watching stands
whilst the owner takes a break are also appreciated. If unable to assist by donating
your time, then the donation of either cakes for the above stall or general items for the
Bargain Stall are still needed as both are valuable fund raisers for the society and
assist in keeping membership costs down.
Finally remember that considerable effort has been taken by those involved in
organizing and preparing displays for the exhibition, so all support is appreciated and
it is worth a visit. Posters for the event can be collected at the November meeting.
Leadership and Command by N Marshall
As a follow up to series of articles responses on Generalship in WWI initiated by
Tony Stubbs for the last couple of month’s I have been asking members to provide
their suggestions of the top ten qualities or character traits required by a military
leader or commander. My thanks to all those that took the time to participate and
submitted their lists. Some of the suggestions were similar to my own list which I
constructed prior to any research or reading on the topic. Some also provided ideas
and viewpoints that I had never even considered. All were appreciated and had merit.
Before offering my selection I feel that perhaps first we should examine the difference
between a leader and commander.
In my opinion a leader is the person on the ground that makes on the spot decisions
that have an immediate influence on what is going on. This is the person that
motivates and leads the way either by force of personality or by example (“follow
me”). The choices made might often be in order to accomplish another persons plan
or higher aim, but the leader is the person on the ground that gets the job done. A
good none military equivalent might be the captain of a football team.
A commander however is frequently further removed from the scene of the action, as
a result he can offer a more detached and balanced judgment on the situation without
being caught up in the excitement of the moment. The commander has far greater
responsibility than the leader, where the leader thinks in terms of short term objectives
and immediate concerns the commander thinks in terms of objectives and
requirements for the next week, month or even year ahead. He ensures that the
training and resources needed to carry out the assigned tasks are also in place. The
commander could be likened to the manager of your football team.
Now the above is perhaps a simplification of the two roles and many of the qualities
and character traits are common to both roles, but the leader deals very much with the
now and is close to the action, while the commander is more remote from the action,
concerned with plans and preparation aiming to keep one step ahead. Not all leaders
make good commanders and vice versa as the skill sets required do have differences.
Below my humble selection:
Qualities or Character traits required in a Commander:
1. Courage. (Moral/Physical)
3. Willpower (Determination).
4. Intuitive. (Insight, Imaginative)
5. Attention to detail. (Preparation, planning, logistics & morale)
7. Concentration (Focus)
8. Fitness (Mental Alertness)
9. Decisive (Decision Maker)
10. Presence (Character)
These selections will be expanded on in greater detail next month and in future
months we will also look at some other members top tens. Please feel free to join the
discussion and air your views.
The Last Post Association
The above association is an independent, voluntary, non-profit making organisation
that first founded the Last Post Ceremony back in 1928. The association is still
responsible for the day to day organisation of this unique act of homage. It is a
tradition that the Buglers of the association should be members of the local volunteer
The Last Post was a bugle call played in the British Army to mark the end of the day’s
labours and the onset of the night’s rest. In the Last Post ceremony it has come to
represent a final farewell to the fallen at the end of their earthly labours and at the
onset of their eternal rest. From 11th November 1929 the Last Post has been sounded
at the Menin Gate memorial every night and in all weathers. The only exception to
this was during the four years of the German occupation of Ypres from 20 May 1940
to 6 September 1944. The daily ceremony was instead continued in England at
Brookwood Military Cemetery, Surrey. On the very evening that Polish forces
liberated Ypres the ceremony was resumed at the Menin Gate, in spite of the heavy
fighting still going on in other parts of the town.
Every night for 8pm all traffic under the Menin Gate Memorial is stopped, to allow
the Buglers of the Last Post Association to sound their simple but moving salute to
those who fought and died so many years ago.
The Menin Gate is engraved with the names of men who fell without known graves
during the fighting on the Ypres salient. Its large Hall of Memory contains the names
of 54,896 Commonwealth soldiers who died without graves, cut into vast panels. On
completion of the memorial, it was discovered to be too small to contain all the names
as originally planned. An arbitrary cut-off point of 15 August 1917 was chosen and
the names of 34,984 UK missing after this date were inscribed on the Tyne Cot
Memorial to the Missing instead. The Menin Gate Memorial does not list the names
of the missing of New Zealand and Newfoundland soldiers, who are instead honoured
on separate memorials.
To this day, the remains of missing soldiers are still found in the countryside around
the town of Ypres. Typically, such finds are made during building work or road-
mending activities. Any human remains discovered receive a proper burial in one of
the war cemeteries in the region. If the remains can be identified, the relevant name is
removed from the Menin Gate.
On Armistice Day each year a special larger ceremony is held attended by dignitaries
from around the world. Prior to the ceremony at the Menin Gate Church services are
held in St Martins Cathedral and St Georges Memorial Church Ypres. It was Field
Marshal Sir John French, Earl of Ypres, who appealed for a British memorial church
to be built in Ypres and on Saturday 24th July 1927, Field Marshal Lord Plummer laid
the foundation stone of the church that was dedicated on 24th March 1929. Following
the services a ‘Poppy Parade’ takes place through the streets of Ypres to the Menin
Gate. Lieutenant Colonel Graham Parker conceived the idea for the ‘Poppy Parade in
the early 1990s; taking its inspiration from the poem by John McCrae “In Flanders
Fields”, which was written close to Ypres in the spring of 1915. Everyone
participating in the Poppy Parade is given poppy petals to carry to the Menin Gate
Memorial were they are collected as the parade passes through the Gate.
Later as the Last Post is played at the eleventh hour the gathered poppies are released
from the openings in the roof of the Memorial. To hear the bugles sound the Last Post
as the poppy petals slowly cascade past the lists of names on the memorial is an
experience not to be forgotten. It is not considered appropriate to applaud afterwards
the ceremony is a solemn occasion, and therefore not intended as entertainment or a
tourist attraction, though it has certainly become one. The buglers usually remain at
the scene for a short while after the ceremony, at which point appreciation can be
expressed in person.
Afghanistan Roll of Honour
This month’s roll of honour adds five names to list of those that have given their lives.
This brings the number of UK troops killed on operations in Afghanistan since 2001
01 October 2009 SAC Marcin Wojtak, aged 24, 34 Squadron RAF Regiment, killed
by explosion while on patrol near Camp Bastion.
05 October 2009 Guardsman Jamie Janes, aged 20, 1st Battalion The Grenadier
Guards, died en route to hospital after being caught in an explosion while on foot
08 October 2009 L/Cpl James Hill, aged 23, 1st Battalion, The Coldstream Guards,
killed by explosion.
22 October 2009 Cpl James Oakland, aged 26, Royal Military Police, killed by an
explosion while on foot patrol
25 October 2009 Cpl Thomas Mason, aged 27, The Black Watch, 3rd Battalion, The
Royal Regiment of Scotland, died in hospital in the UK from injuries sustained in an
explosion on 15 September.
Fromelles Excavations Finished
The four month operation to recover the bodies of the First World War soldiers buried
in the mass burial pits was concluded on 14 September 09. It is reported that a total of
250 sets of remains and 1,200 artefacts have been excavated from the six mass graves.
All the evidence obtained through archaeological, anthropological, historical and
DNA analysis will be presented to a identification board due to meet in March 2010.
Lord Haw-Haws Microphone sold at auction
A broadcasting microphone believed to have been used by Lord Haw-Haw (real name
William Joyce) to broadcast his infamous “Germany Calling” propaganda during the
Second World War has been auctioned along with a pile of scripts that Joyce had
written. The mementos had been liberated by Cyril Millwood a gunner with 258
Battery, 65th Anti-Tank Regiment Royal Artillery who entered an abandoned radio
station in Hamburg. Mr Millwood kept the metal microphone, still in its case and the
accompanying documents in the loft of his home. They were bequeathed to his
daughter and came to light after she decided to put them up for sale. Originally valued
at £4,000, they sold for double that amount.
Only recipient of the Victoria Cross to have held every rank from private to major
general (Lieutenant and Adjutant, later Major General, William McBean, Lucknow,
India. Indian Mutiny. Thursday 11 March 1858)
Forty-year-old Scotsman McBean was serving with the 93rd Regiment, British Army
(later Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders – Princess Louise’s) during the Indian
Mutiny. At the relief of Lucknow he killed eleven Indians using only a rusty knife and
his bare fists, and there are reports that he fought five Indian’s at once, one of them
reputedly six feet eleven inches tall and 265 pounds. As McBean walked away from
the carnage, he was attacked by a twelfth Indian and several men came to his
assistance. Telling them not to interfere, he and the havildar fought with swords,
McBean eventually killing the enemy with a blade to his heart. When presented with
the Victoria Cross and congratulated on a good day’s work, he replied: ‘Tutts, it didna
tak’ me twenty minutes.
Gatling Gun, invented US Patent No 36,836 granted on Tuesday 4 November 1862
The Gatling Gun – the first commercially and practically successful machine gun was
invented during the American Civil War but saw little action in that conflict, partly
because Gatling guns were too heavy to be set up quickly; the US government did not
officially adopt the Gatling Gun for use by the army until 24 August 1866. It was
designed in 1861 (patent granted in 1862) by a manufacturer of agricultural
machinery named Richard Jordan Gatling, whose previous inventions included a rice
planter, a hemp-breaking machine and a steam plough. Gatling was also a doctor –
after enduring smallpox for two weeks without medical treatment aboard an ice-
bound river steamer he studied for and passed his medical degree in order to be able
to look after his family, although there is no record of him ever practising. His
original machine gun had six revolving barrels which were rotated by a hand crank
while six cam-operated bolts alternately dropped, wedged and fired the bullets, which
were fed by gravity through a hopper mounted on the top of the gun. The reason the
gun had six barrels was to allow each one to partially cool during firing – necessary
because the original Gatling Gun fired up to 250 rounds per minute, with later,
improved versions reaching 1,200 rounds per minute.
Lockheed F80C v MiG-15. Korean War. Wednesday 8 November 1950
The first jet-to-jet aerial victory occurred when Lieutenant Russell John Brown Jr of
the USAF 51st Fighter-Interceptor Wing, flying a Lockheed F-80C, shot down a
Mikoyan Mig-15 of the People’s Republic of China Air Force over Sinuiju on the
Yalu River, which forms the border between North Korea and China.
Be careful what you say (Friday 16 November 1632 Battle of Lützen)
The Thirty Years War was an intermittent power struggle between Protestants and the
Habsburg rulers of the Holy Roman Empire. The Battle of Lützen which was fought
near Leipzig in Saxony, was a hard-won Swedish victory against an Imperial army
commanded by Albrecht von Wallenstein. The battle however cost the Swedish king
Gustavus Adolphus his life. Gustavus was a military genius who had made Sweden
the strongest power in Europe. But he refused to put on his armour, and then lead a
cavalry charge while shouting his last words: “The Lord God is my armour”. He was
then separated from his men and killed.
British Admiralty Order Friday 22 November 1844
For centuries sailors used the terms ‘starboard’ for right and ‘larboard’ for left.
Starboard’ appears to have originated with the Vikings who shipped with their ‘star’,
or ‘steering oar’ on the right hand side and because the side of a ship is its ‘board’,
hence ‘starboard’. ‘Larboard’ meant ‘loading side’, since ships would steer with the
right side away from the dock to avoid damaging the oar. Confusion between the two
names was rife, especially in bad weather or strong winds. Since boats unloaded cargo
from the side nearest the dock, or port ‘larboard’ gradually became known as the
‘port’ side. In 1844 the British Admiralty finally declared: ‘As the distinction between
starboard and port is so much more marked than between starboard and larboard it is
their Lordships’ direction that the word larboard shall no longer be used’.
70 Years Ago, November 1939
A selection of events from the 3rd month of the Second World War
Monday 6th First big air battle on the Western Front
Wednesday 8th Hitler escapes bomb blast in Munich beer cellar.
Sunday 12th Negotiations between Russia and Finland over territorial dispute reach
Monday 13th Two German supply ships scuttled when cornered by Royal Navy.
Friday 17th Supreme War Council agrees on co-ordination of British and French war
Saturday 18th Dutch ship Simόn Bolivar hits ‘un-notified’ mine in North Sea, 80
killed; several other neutral ships also sunk by mines.
Tuesday 21st Chamberlain imposes embargo on all German trade in retaliation for
sinking neutral ships.
Wednesday 22nd German aircraft drop parachute mines into Thames Estuary.
Thursday 23rd RAF shoots down seven German aircraft over France.
Thursday 30th Russia invades Finland without declaring war; Stalin alleges
provocation Helsinki bombed. Admiralty announces completion of 300 sq mile
minefield from Thames Estuary to the Netherlands
Up Coming Events
08 November Remembrance Sunday
On Remembrance Sunday IWM Duxford will be holding a special service of
remembrance at 12.30pm. Admission to the museum is free for all this day (at a
normal adult entry fee of £17.00 this makes it a good day to visit). It is hoped that as
many as possible will take this opportunity to explore Duxford, on the day when
members of the Armed Forces who have lost their lives are remembered worldwide.
11 November Armistice Day
This year’s Armistice Day marks the 91st anniversary of the end of the First World
War. At the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month the war that was
meant to end all wars ended. As we know it didn’t, but spare a moment on Armistice
Day and Remembrance Sunday (8th November) to think of all who have either served,
are serving and remember those that have died for the freedom’s that we enjoy today.
As long as we take time to remember their sacrifices they will not have fallen in vain.
22 November Peterborough Book Fair
Sunday 10am – 4pm at Highgate Hall, Elton Admission £1.00, Refreshments
26 November Spalding & South Lincs Western Front Association
The Speaker will be John Chester and the topic “Railways and War”. Meetings are
held at St Paul’s Church Hall, Fulney, Spalding, commencing at 7.30pm none
members are always welcome.
New Member 2009
Last month saw our 10th new member of the year join the society. I would therefore
like to welcome our newest member Robert Davies to our ranks. Robert lists his main
military interest as WW2 and brings our membership to 56 for the year
Members 2010 `
John Walker is the first member of the Society subscribed for 2010. I hope that he
will be joined by many more renewals during the month in addition to any further
new recruits to our ranks as a result of the coming exhibition.
Cards for Christmas
SWA Fine Art has announced the release of their 2009 Christmas catalogue. As well
as featuring the latest limited edition prints by the renowned aviation artists Philip
West and Stephen Brown the catalogue also contains one of the largest ranges of
aviation themed Christmas cards in the world. For more information, or to obtain your
own copy, telephone 01225 444929 or visit www.swafineart.com
Answers to this months quotes
1. = b) Chevalier Jean Charles Foland, (1669-1752)
2. = a) Field Marshal Prince Aleksandr V. Suvorov, (1729-1800)
3. = d) Major-General John A. Lejeune, 1929
4. = c) Captain Sir Basil Liddell Hart, 1956
Monthly Meeting attendance fee is 50p for members. Non Members/Guests £1.50
Tea and coffee is also on sale at the meeting each month at a cost of 25p a cup.
Please send all articles/notices as soon as possible especially if they are for the next
month’s newsletter. Contributions are always needed and welcomed.
They can be sent to either email: firstname.lastname@example.org or
Address to 23 Holcroft, Orton Malborne, Peterborough, PE2 5SL
Secretary/Newsletter Nigel Marshall 07944 157695
Treasurer David Gray 01733 769434
Thank you for your membership of the society during 2009. We hope that we met
your expectations for the year and that the variety and quality of the talks in addition
to the monthly newsletter has provided value for the money paid for annual
membership and attendance fees at meetings. We hope that you will remain with the
society for next year. If you have been unsatisfied with your membership for whatever
reason then please let us know.
The newsletter has been sustained at eight pages for every month this year. As the
editor, I hope this provides value for our supporters that pay their annual subscriptions
but for whatever reason unable or get too or attend very few of the monthly meetings.
Your continued support is greatly valued and any feedback, suggestions or comment
on the newsletter content is always welcomed.
For 2010 Meetings and Talks will continue on the second Wednesday of every month
in the Peterborough Museum Lecture Hall. Meetings remain from 7.30pm until
9.15pm approx. Each meeting hosted by the society continues with a guest speaker
presentation on a military related subject. Tea and coffees are available at the meeting
each month at a cost of 25p a cup.
Annual Membership remains at £6.00 which allows members to attend all talks at a
reduced cost of 50p per meeting. In addition a monthly newsletter will continue to be
sent to each member.
Meetings may be attended by Non Members at a fee of £2.00
Guests of members will only be charged £1.00
The Society operates a non profit making policy and subscriptions are needed and
used to cover costs of speakers, advertising and newsletters. Subscriptions can be paid
to the club treasurer David Gray at the monthly meeting or sent by post to him at 59
Francis Gardens, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, PE1 3XT payable to The Soke
For additional Information the Society Secretary Nigel Marshall can be contacted at
email@example.com or telephone 07944 157695
Membership Renewal: Please send your subscription with the details below: