The 11 presentations can all be tailored to suit the time available for audiences; from 10 mins for a school assembly to a 40 minute presentation. Jeremy is very happy to answer questions at the end of each presentation and to help anyone with their own research.
Sacrifice & Remembrance
This presentation covers the scale of the sacrifice in WW1 and WW2, how the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) commemorate the fallen in both wars, their founding principles and the initial adverse public reaction to their plans, personalities involved in the CWGC, layout of the cemeteries, stories behind some of the headstones, the creation of a new cemetery at Fromelles Pheasant Wood after the discovery of a mass grave and how we now commemorate the fallen in recent conflicts.
The Miracle Flower – from Flanders to the Tower
The story of the Poppy and how it has become the symbol of remembrance for those killed in conflict. From John McCrae’s poem “In Flanders Fields” to Moina Michael and Anna Guerin’s involvement in promoting the poppy in America and France and Major George Howson’s establishment of the Poppy Factory in Richmond, the way in which the opium poppy influenced the conduct of the recent war in Afghanistan, and the iconic poppy display “Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red“ in 2014 at the Tower of London.
Iconic Memorials for the Fallen
This presentation covers the story of a selection of iconic war memorials ranging from the Theipval memorial to the missing on the Somme, Tomb of the Unknown Warrior at Westminster Abbey and Arlington Cemetery in Washington, the Cenotaph, Iwo Jima and Vietnam memorials, Bomber Command, Armed Forces Memorial at the National Arboretum and the Ring of Remembrance in France.
For Valour – The Victoria Cross Story
The involvement of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in the introduction of this the highest award for gallantry, criteria for its award, other tiers of gallantry medals, the role of Hancocks jeweller in the making of the medal, stories behind awards to some of the recipients from WW1 to the war in Afghanistan, and Lord Ashcroft’s collection of VCs in the Imperial War Museum.
The Tragedy of War – Vietnam
A non-judgemental view from both sides of the conflict in a war that defined a generation of French, American and Vietnamese, the political leadership that guided the conflict, the way the war was fought, war crimes, the role of the media, the public protests in America, POWs, the human costs of the war, Vietnamisation, the end of the war and Vietnam today.
The Forgotten Heroes of My Lai
Arising from the horrors of the My Lai massacre in Vietnam in 1968, this presentation tells the uplifting story of an American helicopter crew who tried to intervene to stop the killing, the cover up of the massacre by some senior military commanders, the eventual exposure of what happened by the media, the recognition some 30 years later of the bravery of the helicopter crew with the award of the highest gallantry medal to them at the Vietnam War Memorial, and their emotional return to My Lai.
The Sinking of the Laconia
The sinking of a British troop ship in 1942 700 miles off the West Coast of Africa, by a German U Boat, the rescue of some of the survivors, which included many families and children by the same U boat, the bombing of that U boat by an American bomber based in the Ascension Islands, the reaction of the U Boat crew, the remarkable 27 day journey made by some of the survivors in lifeboats now cast off by the U boat to the West coast of Africa.
90 Minutes at Entebbe- The story behind Operation Thunderbolt
The story of the hijacking of an Israeli civilian aircraft in 1976 en route to Paris from Tel Aviv diverted firstly to Benghazi and then to Entebbe in Uganda. The reaction of the Israeli government and the options for ending the hostage crisis, the eventual plan and the implementation of the hostage rescue operation, the death of the Israeli Special Forces Commander, Lt Col Yoni Netanyahu, during the assault and the success of the operation in combatting future aircraft hijacking.
Violette Szabo GC
The inspirational story of the bravery of a Special Operations Executive (SOE) in WW2, her brief marriage to Etienne Szabo, a French Legionnaire, before he was killed in El Alamein, her motivation to be selected by the SOE, the training involved, her 2 missions into France, her capture by the Germans, her imprisonment and execution in Ravensbruck concentration camp in 1945, the award of the George Cross gallantry medal to her 5 year old daughter Tania and how her memory is now commemorated.
The Wall – The Vietnam Veterans Memorial
The moving story of how Cpl Jan Scruggs a Vietnam Veteran turned his vision of creating a memorial for over 58,000 service personnel killed in the war into reality overcoming numerous bureaucratic hurdles along the way; the competition to select the design for the memorial won by Maya Lin a 21 year old Yale university undergraduate, and the initial opposition to her design by veterans. Other memorials alongside the Wall are covered ; the 3 soldiers and the 3 nurses to commemorate the women killed in the war. Memorabilia left at the Wall commemorating the fallen is highlighted adding a moving tribute by loved ones to the fallen.
Bomber Command tells the story how Bomber Command took the fight to the Germans after the evacuation from Dunkirk. The evolution of the Lancaster Bomber, the life of the Bomber Command Crew, Op Chastise (Dambusters), the Bouncing and Tallboy bombs, the bombing of German cities, Op Manna (Food drops to Holland), Op Exodus (repatriation of POWs), the Sacrifice made by Bomber Command and how they are commemorated today (Bomber Command Memorial and International Bomber Command Centre).
The Steve Biko Story
The Steve Biko Story tells the pivotal role Steve played in the emergence of South Africa from apartheid to its current status as The Rainbow Nation. Due to Mandela’s imprisonment Biko became a central focus for change until his imprisonment, torture and death at the age of 30. His friendship with the journalist Donald Woods is covered, leading to the film “Cry Freedom”, the release of Mandela from prison, the first free election, the Peace and Reconciliation Commission, and the iconic symbol of Mandela wearing a Springbok jersey presenting the Rugby World Cup to Francois Pienaar. The presentation concludes with S Africa once again winning the Rugby World Cup in 2019 with the trophy being handed to their Captain Siya Kolisi.
Captain Noel Chavasse VC and Bar, MC
The Victoria Cross has only been awarded twice to 3 recipients. One of these was Captain Noel Chavasse who received both awards in WW1 serving in the Royal Army Medical Corps. This inspiring story looks at his formative days at school and university both in Liverpool and Oxford with his twin Chris, and his enlistment into the Army as a doctor. His compassion for his soldiers is shown not just in treating their wounds but in ensuring their welfare in the trenches. His courageous actions which led to both awards are described as well as his death and the lasting legacy which he left behind.
(Presentation available mid March 2021)