The Club’s Quarterly Auction evening was held at Charvil Village Hall on 13th November when more than 30 members came to bid for the many lots of good cigarette cards submitted by two members of the public, unfortunately the postcard side of the auction was sparse. The successful members were delighted with their purchases, likewise the public vendors. The next Club Auction will not be held until January 22nd ,so if any member of the public has any old cigarette cards or old postcards pre-1950 vintage to sell off, then please ring 0118-9695155 for advice and details of the auctions.
The Changing Army in WW 1
At Jubilee Hall, Charvil, on the 27th November, we saw the return of guest speaker Mike Cooper, who gave a talk and power point presentation on “The Changing Army in WW 1”. Mike began by describing how the British Army was the smallest army with 80-90,000 soldiers in the British Expeditionary Force in France and Belgium in August 1914, compared to Germany and France, whose armies were mainly conscript soldiers numbering millions, but the B.E.F. was the only professional army, whose riflemen were highly trained and proficient.
The British Army’s numbers were quickly boosted by the important arrival of the Indian Army. Warfare soon settled down into massive trench networks stretching from the Belgium border to the Swiss border, and huge, intense artillery bombardments. Mike described the artillery pieces available from the highly mobile field gun to large howitzers with a range of several miles, and later huge railway mounted artillery pieces capable of sending 1,500 pound shells for 15 miles.
Smaller arms were also introduced with the soldier’s hand grenade and smaller automatic more portable machine guns. Gas was used on the battlefield, with the need for anti gas protection.
Aeroplanes were used for the first time in warfare, initially for ‘spotting’ the enemy’s movements and providing intelligence reports, and by the end of the war the Allied plane numbered more than 20,000, vastly exceeded the German Air Force.
Perhaps, the turning point of the war was the introduction of the British tanks in 1916, Britain produced vast numbers of them, whereas the Germans had only a few dozen of their own although they used captured and repaired British tanks to supplement their own shortage of tanks. Horses were the main means of transporting vital supplies to the front line throughout the war, and their feed and care was a huge logistical problem in parallel with the soldier’s needs.
As Mike explained each topic he touched on was worth a talk in it’s own right, perhaps we can take him up on that in the future!!! The evening concluded with the traditional one card competition on the topic of “Uniform”, followed by the popular raffle.
The next meeting at Charvil Village Hall on December 11th will be the AGM, followed by the Xmas Party and picture quiz.
Roy Sheppard (Publicity Officer)