How will you be commemorating the anniversary of the First World War? We are kicking off our Centenary Season – MHM’s WWI events and activities coverage over the next four years – with a selection of tours, conferences, and projects not to be missed during the coming months.

MUSEUM – Thackray Medical Museum

The award winning Thackray Medical Museum in Leeds is a unique visitor attraction. With nine interactive galleries, the fascinating exhibitions and collections tell a story of medicine that affects us all.

To mark the centenary of the First World War, a brand new exhibition opens in July 2014 funded by Arts Council England. Focussing on the medical advances that emerged from the war, the exhibition will look at soldiers’ experiences of hearing loss, limb loss and shell shock. Using the museum collections, the exhibition will highlight the long-term developments which followed the conflict, such as improvements in technology and rehabilitation, as well as looking at approaches to the treatment of shell shock.

Created with the help of veterans and servicemen and women, the exhibition will allow the visitor to reflect on how far military medicine has come in 100 years, and the difficulties in healing the body and the mind.

TEL: 0113 244 4343
OPENING TIMES: Monday-Sunday, 10am-5pm. Closed 24, 25, 26, 31 December and 1 January.

CONFERENCE – Weetwood Hall

The First World War was a key turning point in world history that claimed the lives of over 16 million people across the globe and impacted on the lives of everyone.

As we approach this important centenary, people of all ages will be reflecting on the events that took place, the experiences of men and women both here and overseas, and how the war has shaped the last 100 years.

In order to remember such a significant part of history, Weetwood Hall Conference Centre in Leeds will be hosting the ‘First World War in retrospect Conference’ between 28 July and 1 August 2014, where 19 eminent speakers share their views, expertise and thoughts on the conflict.

Discussions will include the state of the warring nations’ armies and navies, conflict in the air, the role that animals and sportsmen played, and even the music of the era. Filmed and Not Forgotten from the Yorkshire Film Archive will be shown as well as information on tracing family history.

This conference has been planned by Dr Peter Liddle, Conference Director and Colonel Alan Roberts, Military Consultant, for everyone to explore the stories and experiences of all those affected by war.

TEL: 0113 230 6000
DATES: 28 July – 1 August 2014

TOUR – Mercat International Ltd

3 August 2014 marks the beginning of the centenary of WWI. From the early days of that great European tragedy, Ypres centred in the plans of the belligerent nations. It is only fitting that acknowledgement of this fact should be central to any memorial ceremonies that may be planned. Mercat Tours International Ltd is organising a commemoration of the Christmas Truce of December 1914 to take place between 23 and 27 December 2014. This event is specifically designed to allow Scots to recall the events of the Christmas truce with dignity and respect.

A lecture for all participants will be provided by Edinburgh University on the background to the unofficial ceasefire of December 1914. Everyone will receive a commemorative scarf knitted by volunteers from across Scotland – a symbol of the contributions by the soldiers’ families who did likewise for their sons, brothers, and fathers throughout the war years.

This unique commemorative event in December 2014 is a fitting and respectful way of saying loudly and with pride, ‘We do remember them’.

TEL: +44 (0) 131 225 5445
TOUR DETAILS: WWI Christmas Truce Centenary 23-27 December 2014

TOUR – Holts Battlefields and History Tours

Our WWI tours capture the historical essence of this time and the horrors endured by both sides of the conflict, with visits to battlefields, museums, war cemeteries, and memorials.

Included in our programme will be ‘Mons and the Retreat’, which follows the dramatic opening British battles of the war in 1914. Another tour focusing upon 1914 is ‘First Ypres and the Christmas Truce’, which studies the pitiless month-long First Battle of Ypres which led to almost a quarter of a million casualties and the extraordinary truce that followed. The WWI programme in 2014 also includes tours focusing upon Gallipoli, Ypres, Vimy, and The Somme, Women on the Western Front, Liege Forts, Survivors of a Kind, Tactics of Trench Warfare Walks, and Somme Walks, which enables you to get a feel for the ground and gain a level of understanding which one cannot get from simply looking at a map.

TEL: 01293 865000

First Ypres and the Christmas Truce
Gallipoli 1915
It’s A Long Way To Tipperary: Ypres, Vimy and The Somme
Liege Forts 1914 and 1940
Mons and the Retreat
Somme Walks
Survivors of a Kind
Tactics of Trench Warfare Walks
Women on the Western Front

PROJECT – The Wylye Valley 1914 Project

This project aims to commemorate the outbreak of the Great War, to portray the arrival in our valley in late August 1914 of thousands of Kitchener’s Volunteers eager to be trained, and the effects this had on the local community. Funding support has come from the Western Front Association, the Armed Forces Community Covenant, the Heritage Lottery Fund, Wiltshire Council, and the Cranborne Area of Outstanding National Beauty.

The project comes to fruition next July, in particular over the weekend 26-27 in Codford, near Warminster. Its provisional programme can be found on the website But here is a taster:

An 8m x 3m interpretative display map of our camps
Order of battle of our first two divisions, the 25th and 26th infantry divisions
Explanation and map of the Casualty Evacuation system
Visual presentation on the BEF’s operations, August-November 1914, and its subsequent development
A proper 30m trench
Living Historians including the Great War Society and the Yeomanry
Finishing with a Drumhead Service.


TOUR – ACE Cultural Tours

ACE Cultural Tours Established in 1958, ACE Cultural Tours is the UK’s most experienced cultural travel tour operator, offering over 200 fascinating expert-led small group tours annually.

In 2014, we mark the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War in the company of former soldier-turned-academic Dr John Greenacre, who leads our ‘Journey Through The Great War’.

Beginning in Ypres with the Flanders Fields Museum and moving Last Post Ceremony at the Menin Gate, we visit the battlefields and memorials of the Ypres Salient, the Somme, and Arras,

before finally coming to the Glade of the Armistice in the Forest of Compiègne. Along the way, we seek to understand the First World War not only in terms of its great battles, but as an evolving

conflict in which the very nature of warfare was constantly changing.

TEL: 01223 841055
TOUR DETAILS: A Journey Through The Great War
DATES: June 2-7 2014, £985

To see this feature as it appeared in issue 40 of Military History Monthly, click here.