Antrim and Down Branch Western Front Association
Antrim and Down BranchWestern Front Association   

Dates for talks Antrim and Down WFA branch. All dates are Wednesday unless indicated.

Talks are free and begin at 19.00. They are online unless stated.


29.2.2024 (Thursday), 19.00 -  Dr Jane Flynn, ‘Soldiers and their Horses – Horses and their Soldiers” Sympathetic Consideration and the Soldier-Horse Relationship, 1914-1918’

The War Office may only have seen a homogenous mass of men and horses, of numbers killed and the cost of their replacement, but to their ‘owners’ the horses were as much a part of the life of their units as their fellow men. Many soldiers fervently believed it was their horses to whom they owed their mental and physical survival.


About Dr Flynn

Dr Jane Flynn is a teacher, historian, and writer with research interests in myth, memory, national identity, and the visual representation of work and war. She is the author of, Soldiers and their Horses: Sense, Sentimentality and the Soldier-Horse Relationship in The Great War (Routledge:2020). Jane blogs on and hosts the Facebook group ‘Horses and History’. She brings a lifelong passion for horses to her work.


7.3.24, 19.00 (Thursday) – Dr Adam Prime, ‘The Indian Army Officer Corps and the Challenge of the Great War’

Join us for a captivating presentation by Dr. Adam Prime as he explores the intriguing dynamics of the Indian Army during the Great War. The Indian Army, comprising men from across the Indian sub-continent, including modern-day Pakistan in the west, India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, and Nepal, played a significant role during this global conflict. While the enlisted ranks were drawn from diverse religious, ethnic, social, and geographic backgrounds, the leadership was predominantly composed of white British Officers.


Dr. Adam Prime will delve into the intricacies of leadership within the Indian Army, shedding light on how it evolved and adapted during the course of the Great War, where Indian troops were engaged in combat across the globe. His research encompasses traditional military history elements such as leadership, morale, and discipline, as well as the officers' social and sporting experiences in the subcontinent during this critical period.


About Dr. Adam Prime:

Dr. Adam Prime hails from the Staffordshire Moorlands and boasts an impressive academic background. He graduated from the University of Salford in 2011 with a BA(Hons) in Contemporary Military and International History. His thirst for knowledge led him to pursue an MA in Military History at the University of Chester. In 2013, he was granted a prestigious PhD studentship from the University of Leicester, where he conducted groundbreaking research on 'The Indian Army’s British Officer Corps, 1861-1921.'


Beyond his academic achievements, Dr. Prime has actively contributed to the field of military history. He was a founding member of the North Staffordshire South Cheshire Branch of the WFA in 2012, serving as the speaker coordinator until 2016. His dedication to teaching and sharing his expertise is evident, having undertaken teaching responsibilities at the University of Leicester during his doctoral studies. From September 2016 onwards, he has been a dedicated educator at the University of Salford, where he covered a wide range of subjects, including military history, international history, and security studies. Notably, he designed and delivered a third-year module specifically focused on the First World War.


Dr. Adam Prime's contributions extend to the realm of publications, with notable book chapters on topics such as the Indian Army's defense of the Suez Canal during the early stages of the Great War and the composition of the Indian Officer Corps in the late Victorian era. He has also been a sought-after commentator on BBC News and made guest appearances on various podcasts and blogs, sharing his insights with a broader audience.


Don't miss this opportunity to gain profound insights into the Indian Army's officer corps and their experiences during the Great War through the expertise of Dr. Adam Prime. It promises to be an enlightening and thought-provoking event.


21.3.24, 19.00 (Thursday) – Dr. Tom Thorpe, ‘Campbell College Belfast and the Great War: Remembering the Men Behind the Glass’

Dr. Tom Thorpe takes us on a journey back in time to explore the remarkable project he managed, 'The Men Behind the Glass.' This project, named for the photographs of 127 pupils and one staff member killed in the Great War, captured the hearts and stories of those who made the ultimate sacrifice. These hauntingly beautiful images are preserved in glass-fronted frames within the grand Central Hall at Campbell College Belfast (CCB), nestled amidst the Edwardian wood panelling.


Supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, this project spanned from June 2017 to November 2018 and consisted of two pivotal elements. First, it collaborated with the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) to meticulously preserve and digitally restore the poignant photographs. Second, it embarked on a profound journey of research and community engagement, delving into the real-life stories of these men. The focus extended beyond their military service to encompass their personal, family, and community roles.


This project aimed to make the college archives accessible to a wider audience, including academics and historians, fostering discussions and research on Ireland's shared and often contested histories during the Decade of Centenaries (2012-2022). Dr. Thorpe worked closely with various stakeholders, including PRONI, the East Belfast in the Great War project, the Western Front Association, and local historical societies.


Intriguing statistics emerge from Dr. Thorpe's research: the average age of these heroes at the time of their death was 26, and they served in various roles, with 81% as commissioned officers and the rest as enlisted men. They fought and fell on battlefields scattered across the globe, from the Western Front to Africa, Egypt/Palestine, Gallipoli, India, Mesopotamia, and even within the UK.


About Dr. Tom Thorpe

Dr. Tom Thorpe is a passionate public historian, podcaster, Belfast City tour guide, and aspiring academic. His research interests revolve around combatant morale in 20th-century conflicts, exploring the complex interplay of society, context, organizational culture, and personal experiences in motivating individuals to engage in armed conflicts.


Dr. Thorpe holds a Ph.D. in Defence Studies from King's College London, with a focus on small group cohesion in the 56th Division during the Great War. He is deeply involved in the Western Front Association (WFA) and serves as the Secretary of the Antrim and Down WFA branch.


In addition to his academic pursuits, Dr. Thorpe is a prolific podcaster, hosting the WFA's 'Mentioned in Dispatches' podcast and the 'Combat Morale Podcast,' both dedicated to exploring various aspects of warfare and combatants' motivations.


25.5.24 (Friday, 13.00-17.00) – Conference at PRONI


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© Ian Montgomery