An MHM selection of some of the best events coming up over the next few months.



This is the year to celebrate with the Battle Proms! The UK’s most popular picnic concert series celebrates a number of important historical milestones in 2015.

As the Battle Proms takes much of its inspiration from the Napoleonic wars, which came to a conclusion 200 years ago at the Battle of Waterloo, there will be a special battle re-enactment by the Napoleonic Association at Blenheim Palace. Also scheduled is the Battle of Britain Evening Gun Salute, honouring this pivotal air campaign and end of the war itself, as gunners herald the arrival of the Grace Spitfire with a volley of shots from a vintage 13-pdr field gun.

Widely regarded as the most exciting summer proms concert in the country, this is an event that fans return to year after year to enjoy a memorable night out with friends or for a significant celebration.

The Battle Proms is proud to support Combat Stress: the Veterans’ Mental Health Charity.

Tickets can be purchased securely online at

Burghley House, Lincolnshire – Saturday 4 July
Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire – Saturday 11 July
Hatfield House, Hertfordshire – Saturday 18 July
Highclere Castle, Berkshire – Saturday 1 August
Ragley Hall, Warwickshire – Saturday 15 August
PHONE: 01432 355 416 / 0790 449 4099
HOW MUCH: Adults: £33 if booked before 30 April 2015, £36 if booked from 1 May 2015 until the day before the concert, £40 on the day of concert (subject to availability) Children aged 5 to 15: £17 (children aged 4 and under go for free, and do not require a ticket) Groups: Advance group bookings of 10 or more qualify for a £2 reduction per ticket



Experience the pomp and pageantry of the Birmingham International Tattoo. Britain’s biggest indoor military tattoo, with over 1,000 performers, returns to the Barclaycard Arena (formerly The NIA) in Birmingham at the end of November, bringing together marching bands and exciting displays, culminating in the spectacular Grand Finale featuring all the performers. This year’s special event will commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain.

Whether you prefer the spectacle of the international marching bands or the thrills of the exciting displays, this annual military spectacular is sure to prove popular with both young and old, with something for all the family at the three-hour event.

The Birmingham International Tattoo will take place at the Barclaycard Arena on Saturday 28 November at 6pm and Sunday 29 November at 2pm.

DATES: Saturday 28 November at 6pm and Sunday 29 November at 2pm.
WHERE: Barclaycard Arena (formerly The NIA)
PHONE: 0844 338 8000
HOW MUCH: Adult tickets £17.20 to £28.20 Includes admin fee & £0.70 facilities fee plus £2.55 fulfilment fee may be payable



Conference on Internment during the First World War: A Mass Global Phenomenon 

Although civilian internment has become associated with the Second World War in popular memory, it has a longer history. The turning point in this history occurred during the First World War when, in the interests of ‘security’ in a situation of total war, the internment of ‘enemy aliens’ became part of state policy for the belligerent states, resulting in the incarceration, displacement, and even murder of hundreds of thousands of people throughout the world. This pioneering international Conference on internment during the First World War brings together experts from throughout the world to investigate the importance of the conflict for the history of civilian incarceration. The speakers will tackle both government policy and, just as importantly, its impact upon the lives of those individuals who spent time behind barbed wire. The conference is open to all those interested in this neglected aspect of the history of the Great War on a global scale.

DATES: 13-14 May 2015
WHERE: The Imperial War Museum North
PHONE: 0116 207 8681
HOW MUCH: £40 per day



The next in George Kidner Auctioneer and Valuers’ regular series of specialist Arms, Medals, and Militaria auctions will be held on Thursday 5 March.

Among the many interesting lots are the medals to Brigadier General E J F Vaughan CMG, DSO, Devon Regiment, which represent an impressive military career spanning the Boer War and the Great War, and including a term in the Egyptian army. During WWI he commanded a battalion of the Royal West Kent Regiment at Gallipoli. Research has not produced any direct evidence of the reason for the DSO award but there exists the tantalizing possibility that it was for his service there. In any event, this is a highly desirable group.

The medals will be followed by a broad and interesting selection of swords, firearms, and militaria. For example, military firearms enthusiasts will have the opportunity to acquire a de-activated Mk I BREN gun. All enquiries welcomed. Online bidding available.

DATES: Thursday, 5 March at 10.30am (On view: Wednesday, 4 March 9.30am-7pm and Thursday 5 March 9am-10.30am)
WHERE: The Lymington Saleroom, Emsworth Road, Lymington, Hampshire, SO41 9BL
PHONE: 01590 670070



In the First World War music was heard on the battlefield, in concert halls, in the camps, and in churches. Music reflected and affected all the emotions of war with everything from requiems to rousing choruses. Marking the First World War centenary, this exhibition takes a broad look at the relationship between music and war against the background of radical musical change.

Objects on display include a wind-up trench gramophone, atenor horncamouflaged with black paint to stop it glinting at the enemy, a burnt-out harmonica, and soldiers’ song-books. You can also view original film footage of musical episodes amid the conflict, featuring British, German, French and Chinese musicians.

‘War Music’ also explores the Academy’s own story during the War: discover how students and alumni fared once they’d enlisted and left London far behind.

DATES: Open now until 31 October 2015 Open weekdays 11.30am-5.30pm and Saturdays 12pm-4pm
WHERE: Royal Academy of Music Museum, Marylebone Road, London, NW1 5HT
PHONE: 020 7873 7443



Come to this 1940s Victory Ball, where, on the Saturday, 300 people will be entertained by the Ashby Big Band and supported by Paul & Melissa Harper with Heather Marie in attendance, all backed by DJ Woody’s War Dept. This is a ticket only dance. The marquee will also be used for various demonstrations such as fashion shows, hair demonstrations (have your hair done 1940s-style for the evening dance), and dancing lessons with ‘Air Raid Jive’ etc. Living history displays, re-enactors (people promenading in all sorts of different uniforms), and a large selection of military vehicles and classic cars with various stall holders, military and civilian, selling their wares. NAFFI will be selling homemade wartime type sandwiches and cakes. There is also a bar selling real ales. There will be battles each day in the arena as well as classic cars and, military vehicle parades. Children are welcome to interact by doing rifle drill and grenade throwing. Marquee entertainment from 10am-midnight.

DATES: 29-31 August 2015
WHERE: In an open Field South Rauceby, Sleaford, Lincs. NG34 8PT
PHONE: 01529 488354 or 07713074418
HOW MUCH: £6/day on the gate. £5 if prebooked. Children under 12 are FREE. Camping £5/night or £15 Max (3 or 4 nights). Saturday night dance tickets £15. Re-enactors £12 pre-booked



This is a free ‘Gateways to the First World War’ study day at the University of Kent.

The talks and workshops will focus on research into the military services in the First World War. Talk with academic and heritage experts about resources and techniques for researching military ancestors and develop ideas for your own centenary projects.

There will be an introduction to the Imperial War Museum’s Lives of the First World War project, advice on applying for support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, and talks on researching the Great War.

For more information and to book your place visit:

Gateways to the First World War is a centre for public engagement with the First World War centenary funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

DATES: Wednesday 25 February 2015, 9.30am-4pm
WHERE: Darwin Conference Suite, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NY
HOW MUCH: Places are free but must be booked in advance via the Gateways website.



Following on from their very successful 2014 ‘First World War in retrospect’ conference, Weetwood Hall are proud to be hosting the ‘Widening of the War: problems without answers’ 2015 conference.

Dr Peter Liddle as Conference Director and Colonel Alan Roberts have again come together to compile the range of topics and source the expert speakers to present.

Like-minded historical and World War One enthusiasts wishing to attend the conference will be treated to hour-long sessions from some of the UK’s top historians to present their findings, knowledge, and views on subject as diverse as: strategy and tactics on the Western Front; the War within the War- Politicians and Generals; Propaganda – target and ammunition; Women’s support for the men at the front; the birth of plastic surgery; the case of Arthur Pollard VC; the UK’s heritage of Great War locations; the Indian Army; Bereavement; the lasting impact of the Great War on Adolf Hitler.

DATES: Monday 2 August – Friday 7 August 2015
WHERE: Weetwood Hall, Otley Road, Leeds, LS16 5PS, UK
PHONE: 0113 230 6000
HOW MUCH: Daily prices start from £115



This is Europe’s largest event of its kind: the stock Militaria Ciney will celebrate its 60th event this April. The fair has had two meetings a year for 30 years, and each time thousands of enthusiasts and collectors from all over Europe flock to the inside of the covered market. The events take place in the great hall of CineyExpo and under the marquees which are specially put up for the occasion in the large car park. There is a total of 4.5 miles of tables with over 500 exhibitors.

There are uniforms, helmets, medals, badges, flags, and spare parts, plus prints, books, postcards, photographs, and other old documents. Arms represent only a small part of the goods on display. There is large array of demilitarised
weapons on display, ranging from the most recent to the oldest. Ammunition is strictly prohibited. The excellent reputation of the event is in strict compliance with legal obligations in the matter, and is subject to spot checks.

The event is held at Ciney, the capital of the Belgian Condroz area, which is located on both the motorway and railway line running between Brussels and Luxembourg. The airports of Charleroi and Brussels are less than an hour away.

DATES: 26 April 2015
WHERE: Ciney Expo SA 3, Rue du Marché Couvert B-5590 Ciney (Belgium)
PHONE: 0032 (0) 83 21 33 94
HOW MUCH: 15€ . Free parking.



The University of Southampton will be holding its Sixth Wellington Congress from 10 to 12 April 2015.

Keynote speakers will be Rory Muir, Roger Knight, Will Hay, and Chris Woolgar.

Papers will focus on a range of topics covering both Wellington’s military career and the battle of Waterloo as well as political, social, and literary topics. On the Friday evening there will be a concert of music from the period. Saturday will feature a BBC Battles, Waterloo 200 presentation, a private view of the Wellington and Waterloo exhibition in the Special Collections Gallery, Hartley Library, and a conference dinner.

The University’s Hartley Library is the home of the first Duke of Wellington’s archive, and the meeting will include opportunities to see the collection, as well as a programme of social activities. The event is organised in conjunction with the Southampton Centre for Nineteenth- Century Research.

DATES: 10-12 April 2015
WHERE: University of Southampton
PHONE: 02380 592721
HOW MUCH: See website for programme and registration details.



The Wellington Trust is continuing with its exhibition to help inform and educate on the role of hospital and troop ships in WWI. The war was world wide, although many people only seem aware of the horrors of the Western Front. Without these merchant ships, mostly taken up from trade by the Government, we could not have fought the war, let alone returned all those who were wounded back to their homeland, be that in Britain, India , ANZ, or elsewhere. 1/7th of the Allied troops in France came from India, and 140,000 labourers were transported from China to dig trenches, carry ammunition, and recover bodies from No-Man’s-Land, among other things.

In addition to the British troops going to France, Gallipoli, and Mesopotamia, there were millions of horses to be shipped. Nine hospital ships were sunk by mine or torpedo. This spring we especially commemorate the role of the troop and hospital ships in the Gallipoli Campaign, which was the first major joint amphibious landing undertaken by the British, French, and ANZAC Armies. There were no field hospitals and all the wounded had to be evacuated to a hospital ship.

Visit our free exhibition to learn more or help with your research.

DATES: Sundays and Mondays 1 March until 1 June. 11am-5pm
WHERE: HQS Wellington, Temple Stairs Victoria Embankment, London, WC2R 2PN
PHONE: 020 7836 8179
HOW MUCH: Free admission.



In their own words …

By 1914, man found that he had the weapons, technology and ability to kill, maim and destroy on an industrial scale. For the first time he fought in the sky, on land, on the sea, and below the waves. It was a war that touched everyone –
including civilians – and at its end there probably wasn’t a town, village, or family that hadn’t in some way been affected by this war’s cruelty.

‘In Their Own Words’ brings to life Gunners from different nations, separated 100 years ago by their country’s political ideology, the colour of their uniforms, or skin. Now 100 years on, as we look back upon their history and read their words, we realise that they are all united in the fact that they are all Gunners; this is their museum.

DATES: Tuesday-Saturday 10am-5pm (last admission 4pm) Sunday and Monday Closed
WHERE: No1 Street, Royal Arsenal, Woolwich, SE18 6ST
PHONE: 020 8855 7755


To see this article as it appears in issue 54 of Military History Monthly, click here.