Allied Air Force Research - Virtual Webinar Series
During 2023 we will be hosting a FREE Air Force themed Virtual Webinar Series.
Check out the speaker list below.
Speakers will include Museum Curators, Authors, Project Co-Ordinators, Squadron Associations & much more.
Dont miss out & Sign up below to attend these FREE Events.
Once you have registered via the form below you will receive an email by return that will provide a link to a page where you can register for each event.
If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us.
Dont worry if you are unable to attend the live event as these will be recorded, the link for the recording will be send via the newsletter & will be placed on the webinar link page.
Speaker Program 2023
Wednesday 25th January 2023 at 7pm
Ritchie Conaghan of The Girvan and District Great War Project ‘Remembering The Fallen of South Carrick’
Lorna and Ritchie Conaghan are a couple who have researched over 600 local men from the Girvan and South Carrick area who served during both World Wars for the last 10 years.
During his talk Ritchie, will share how they started they started the project, how it expanded, the areas they have researched, other projects they have worked on and what is to come.
During his presentation he will also detail some interesting individual stories that have been uncovered. He will also share with us Girvans involvement with Turnberry Airfield during both Wars.
Wednesday 22nd February 2023 at 7pm
Chris Goss – The challenges and enjoyment of being an Aviation Historian and Author
Wing Commander Chris Goss MA RAF Retired is an Aviation Historian, Author, Consultant & Charity Trustee. After a 32 year career in the RAF and three years working for a civilian company as its Head of Operations is now a full time aviation author and military historian.
Regular, recognised and sought after contributor to major aviation and historical journals in the UK, France and Germany since 1983. Author of over 50 critically acclaimed books covering aspects of the air war over North West Europe 1939-45. He has also Edited, revised and co-authored a further four books. His Books have been reprinted and translated/published in France, Hungary, Czech Republic, Spain, Sweden, Canada and the USA.
Historical consultant for a number of major projects, such as the recovery of the Dornier 17 by the RAF Museum and Commonwealth War Graves Commission, and for TV programmes such as The History Channel and Channel 5’s The Battle of Britain: 3 Days that Saved a Nation.
Master of Arts with Merit in War Studies (Kings College London). He also undertakes regular public speaking engagements.
He was born in South Wales in 1961 and is married to Sally and they have three daughters. He is also a senior county rugby union referee/assessor/mentor and National 2 Assistant Referee for the Rugby Football Union.
During his presentation Chris will share with us the Challenges & Enjoyment of being an aviation historian & Author.
Dilip Sarkar MBE - on the Battle of Britain, the People's Project
This webinar features a short interview with Dilip Sarkar MBE on the Battle of Britain, The People's Project. There are many stories told about the RAF Pilots from across the world who defended Britain against the Nazis during 1940. Dilip wants to dig further into the untold stories of the Battle of Britain by delving into the stories of the Observer Corps, munition/factory workers, groundcrew, emergency services etc.
Dilips mission is to tell these stories as part of a comprehensive 7 volume history of the most important battle fought by Britain during the 20th Century.
Wednesday 29th March 2023 at 7pm
Dr Dan Ellin – Navigating the IBCC Archive
Dr Dan Ellin is the Archivist for the International Bomber Command Centre Digital Archive. Since 2015, the IBCC Digital Archive has recorded over 1,200 oral histories with veterans and survivors of the bombing war and digitised over 2,000 individual collections of veterans’ letters, diaries, logbooks and photographs. Many of these collections tell stories previously unheard by anyone outside their families.
In his talk, Dan explains how and why the IBCC Digital Archive was created and how it works. He highlights a few of the gems it includes, and shows how the archive can be searched to get the most from it. Check out the IBCC Archive for yourself
John Starkey – The RAF's Cross Channel Offensive
This webinar features a short interview with John Starkey about his book The RAF's Cross Channel Offensive - Circuses, Ramrods, Rhubarbs and Rodeos 1941-1942. An often untold period in WW2 History his book explores how the RAF went on the offensive following the Battle of Britain.
Wednesday 26th April 2023 at 7pm
Dave Nelson – An Example of a USAAF Heavy Bomber Airfield in WWII Suffolk
Dave Nelson has been researching B-17s, the 390th Bomb Group of the Eighth Air Force, and their base at RAF Framlingham on and off since the 1980s. He renewed his interest after returning to college and attaining a degree in History. Since then, he has conducted extensive archival research on the operational and logistical aspects of the group. Tapping archival resources in both the US and the UK, and multiple secondary sources, Mr. Nelson accumulated the available records of the functioning of the organization and the young men who made it work.
He will be presenting the story of the base. A city in and of itself yet integral to its surroundings. Home to 3000 young men, some facing the jarring horrors of combat while others the routine slog of daily routine. How did they train, work, and live? What were their days like? How did it all work? An amalgamation of a cross-section of America’s youth, unfamiliar with their often very specialized tasks, managed to make it all function – from cutting-edge combat and aviation technology to utilities and meal services.
Mr. Nelson recently completed a diorama of RAF Framlingham which is on display at the Parham Airfield Museum in Suffolk. Built from extensive building and site plans coupled with photographs, it depicts the field as it was in June of 1944 in 1:2400 scale. This webinar will explore that field and the way it was.
Dr John Sweetman – The Dambusters, Was it Worthwhile?
This webinar features a short interview with John Sweetman about his forthcoming book The Dambusters, was it worthwhile? With the 80th Anniversary of the Dambuster Raids just weeks away, I was delighted to interview John Sweetman about his new book!
In 1990, the renowned historian and author Dr John Sweetman published his seminal work on the events before, during and after Operation Chastise. His book was the result of decades of research into the famous attack, in the course of which Dr Sweetman corresponded with or interviewed many of the individuals involved – from the scientists to senior officers, and from groundcrew to the very airmen who delivered Barnes Wallis’ bouncing bombs to the dams.
Such was the relationships that developed over the years, Dr Sweetman became a close friend to many of these individuals and their families. Some of the information contained in the interview transcripts and letters he received was included in his original book; much more, however, was never used. This is particularly the case with the many letters and conversations which Dr Sweetman received or had after his book was first published – much of which adds to, or elaborates on, the narrative of the events in May 1943.
Wednesday 31st May 2023 at 7pm
Andy Bird – Operation Black Buck 1982 The Vulcans' extraordinary Falklands War raids
Andrew D. Bird is a historian and a writer. The author of several histories on RAF maritime operations including most recently Heroes of Coastal Command, he has also presented and researched for television programmes on BBC, ITV, Channel 4, NRK1, Forces News and Sky History Channel. Andrew served in the RAF Reserves whilst working as an accomplished graphic designer, and as an exhibition designer at RAF Museum London. For more information check out Andrews Website or follow him on Twitter
Andrews Talk will include:
The airfield at Port Stanley
Sea Harriers or Vulcans?
Final countdown to Black Buck 1
At Port Stanley airfield
Sea Harrier follow up
Black Buck 2
First anti-radar attempts
Black Buck 5; Black Buck 6
Black Buck 7
Air operations beyond the Falklands
Wednesday 28th June 2023 at 7pm
James Jefferies - Bomber Command’s Battle of Britain
James completed his MA in History at Essex and his dissertation was entitled "Bomber Command in the Battle of Britain: How Britain revered and then reviled the few who flew bombers". He is fascinated by historical memory and public history and is a regular contributor to the History Indoors project. James has worked as a historical consultant for The Logistics of the Battle of Britain by Real Engineering and Junto Media. He has appeared on Smithsonian TV’s Air Warriors series as a guest historian. James has also appeared on Paul Woodadges WW2 TV as a guest historian talking about various aspects of aerial warfare and has spoken at various museums including the RAF Museum at Hendon, International Bomber Command Centre and Combined Military Services Museum in Maldon. He has contributed to the Journal of Twentieth Century British History and is a battlefield guide at Battle guide Virtual Tours. James has presented at numerous conferences including the Royal Air Force Museum at Hendon, Aviation Cultures and the University of Pittsburgh. He is an Assistant Lecturer at the University of Essex, University of Wolverhampton, and North-eastern University London.
The memory of the Battle of Britain is usually one of a ‘Spitfire summer’. Of mass aerial dogfights over London and the Home Counties of England. Yet in 1940 the aircrew who flew Britain’s bombers were also touted as ‘the few’ by Prime Minister Winston Churchill. In 1943 a Roll of Honour was written that listed the aircrew lost in the Battle which included those in RAF Bomber and Costal Command and still resides in Westminster Abbey. Yet from 1945 onwards the Battle has predominantly been shown from the memory of the ‘fighter boys. Subsequent Rolls of Honour omit the aircrews from Bomber and Costal Commands. In this talk James Jefferies will examine what the RAF’s bomber crews did in the battle and ask whey the memory of the Battle was changed over the years. The wider story of RAF Bomber Command and the memory of its part in the Second World War will also be examined as well as the commemoration and remembrance of men and women in RAF Bomber Command.
Thursday 27th July 2023 at 7pm
Brian Fare - The Balloons Going up
Brian Fare is a military veteran originating from Lancashire, settled in Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire following a career of 27 years in the Royal Air Force.
His interest in military history stems from researching his own family history which he started as a hobby back in 1990 at RAF Marham. During the COVID pandemic lockdown, Brian started his own website producing blogs on local & military history subjects.
In his spare time Brian volunteers for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission as a public speaker and tour guide. His other passion is volunteering for the War Memorials Trust photographing and recording the condition of war memorial visited on his travels.
Now having over 30+ years’ experience in genealogy researching his own family tree and that of his wife and friends, the majority of his time now is spent researching military casualties buried in CWGC graves or listed on war memorials.
Brian founded the Melton Mowbray Military History Group back in 2021 and since Jan 22 the group has held monthly meetings and hosted speakers about military subjects, the majority of which have a local connection to Melton Mowbray.
Brians presentation ‘The Balloon’s Going Up’ looks at the life of 2nd Lt Elfric Ashby Twidale, the grandson of the long standing (of over 40 years) vicar of Meltons Baptist Church Reverend Joseph Twidale. Elfrics father, Ashby, emigrated from Melton to Canada where he set up home, married and raised his family. Elfric joined the local Militia when he turned 18 and enlisted into the Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Force at the outbreak of WW1. He served with the No2 Eaton Machine Gun Battery before taking his Commission with the Royal Field Artillery. Shortly after being commissioned, he was promoted to Temporary Captain commanding a Trench Mortar Battalion. After this command, he was assigned to the Royal Flying Corps and became an Observer known as a ‘Balloonatic’. Whilst up in the air over the Arras battlefield in 1917, he was killed.
Wednesday 30th August 2023 at 7pm
Martin Barratt - 'The Fickle Hand of Fate' Survival over the Ruhr (and on the ground) for RAF Bomber Aircrew in WW2
A branding and marketing specialist by profession Martin, has co-founded and run several companies and is now Managing Director of the family business, a creative 3D/CGI studio specialising in architectural visualisation. He has written and contributed to features and articles across a range of subjects including music, shooting, classic cars and literature. His new book 'The Greatest Escape' about his father's time as a Navigator with 102 Squadron during the Second World War and his time as a POW, will be published by Pen & Sword in April 2023.
Martin is married with two grown up daughters and two teenage stepsons and lives near Godalming in Surrey. When not working or writing he enjoys tinkering with classic cars and is a keen game shot.
Martins Presentation 'The Fickle Hand of Fate' draws on the story of his own father, Sgt Joseph Harold Barratt, Martin looks at the narrow margins that often determined who lived and who died amongst the crews of Bomber Command.
Flying on Ops in the Battle of The Ruhr from March to May of 1943 was arguably one the most dangerous times to be in the air as a member of one of the most vulnerable Squadrons (102 suffered the second heaviest casualty rate in the whole of Bomber Command). From bailing out to escaping a lynching on the ground, two escape attempts, participation in the infamous 'Heydekrug Run' and finally forced onto the Death March in the winter of 1944/1945 each event represented a sliding door moment - any one of which could easily have meant an abrupt end to his father's life.
Giving an insight into his father's personal story - indicative of so many aircrew - and sharing some of the techniques he used to track down the members of his father's crew over 24 years, Martin aims to give a personal picture of what the men of bomber command went through. For many bailing out was only the start of a long and arduous journey where survival was far from assured.
Wednesday 27th September 2023 at 7pm
Karl Kjarsgaard - Duisburg, October 14-15 (1944) - the Greatest 48 Hours in Bomber Command and the RCAF History or 'Blame the Canadians'
Captain Karl Kjarsgaard was a commercial airline pilot for over 35 years and is now a serious restorer, historian and researcher of WW2 aircraft, air combat, and Canada’s RCAF history.
Karl was trained postwar by former WW2 combat pilots at a young age, becoming fascinated by their war stories, continuing his life-long study of their excellence and sacrifice, gathering all information to honour these Allied airmen’s heritage and their combat aircraft.
Now Curator at the BOMBER COMMAND MUSEUM OF CANADA in Nanton, Alberta, he is recovering Halifax bombers from around the world while rebuilding a Halifax for this internationally ranked memorial museum.
Wednesday 25th October 2023 at 7pm
102 (Ceylon) Squadron Association - A personal perspective on the formation, development and continuation of a World War 2 Bomber Command Squadron Association.
This presentation will be provided by 3 members of the 102 Squadron Association Management Group
Did the Associations formed after the war act as a catharsis, or an early form of 'counselling', for those who survived the air-war and forged a bond that would continue? A group of men and women, coming together to keep alive the memory of those who were lost and those who suffered the physical and psychological injuries during that intensely frightening and exciting time
As we lose many of our Veterans and in some cases some of their children the Squadron Association is now seeing an upsurge in enquiries from the next generation who in trying to piece together their relatives lives want to know more about their experience and service with the Squadron. In some ways this has meant that the Association has had to evolve and think to the future. An important way in preserving the Squadron History was the development of a Digital Archive where documents and photographs relating to Veterans could be received, collated and shared in the years to come.
One example is a look at the social side of life, on and off base; That includes ENSA visits and some "homegrown" amateur dramatics" which led to one squadron member becoming a TV star.
Wednesday 29th November 2023 at 7pm
Daryl Moran - Empire's Noble Son
Dr Daryl Moran (PhD), is former teacher, headmaster and academic who worked in schools in Melbourne and India and who is also a Rotary International Past District Governor for Eastern Melbourne. With a lifelong interest in military history, 'Empire's Noble Son' is Daryl's first publication, but he is currently working with a colleague on researching the lives and active service of members of the RAAF in the Burma Campaign during WW2, mainly as members of RAF Squadrons. Dr Moran is a Committee Member of Military History and Heritage Victoria and has been involved with the convening of numerous Conferences, including Australia's Role in Air Warfare in both World Wars.
‘Empire's Noble Son' - It is known that at least 600 Australians served with the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) during the Great War and numbered among them was 2nd Lt Walter Horace Carlyle (Lyle) Buntine from Melbourne. A medical student, he first joined the Australian Army Medical Corps in 1915, before receiving a commission in the British Army and subsequently transferring to the RFC. He became a fighter pilot with 11 Squadron and saw active service during the Battle of the Somme. For gallant service in action he was personally awarded a Military Cross by KIng George V. Tragically killed in a flying accident in Scotland in 1917, Lyle was a prodigious letter writer and chronicler of his wartime experience and his personal archive is regarded as one of the largest in the world ever compiled by an Australian RFC member. His story also highlights the influences that society and his schooling had upon his military service and the manner in which his family recognised and mourned his passing, also reflected the echoes of deep grief manifest in the wider Australian community at the time.
Wednesday 13th December 2023 at 7pm
Martin Bowman - Chasing History
Renowned Author & Historian Martin Bowman will chat to us about his writing career.
Martin published his first book (Fields of Little America) in 1977 & has gone on to publish a furhter 250 book, 105 of those with Pen & Sword. This Includes 20 photographic books (aviation, English counties & my worldwide assignments which include Kenya (safari animals), USA, Australia, USA & 37 other countries
His First flights were in open cockpit ATC gliders as a teenager when he discovered he didn’t like heights! Over the years Martin has learned to concentrate on looking through the camera viewfinder to take his mind off the high. He has flown in 1 airship, 2 hot air balloons, 54 warbirds & Several helicopters.
Over the years Martin has Corresponded with countless aviation notables in many countries including Paul Tibbets of Hiroshima fame & General Charles Sweeney of Nagasaki fame.
At school Martin was always in trouble with his English teacher. She didn’t like him writing about the war which got his interest after seeing 633 Squadron & The Great Escape amongst others on the cinemas in Norwich. Once she set an O Level test paper title called ‘Circus’. She went mad when he wrote about Von Richthofen’s Circus!
Martin told me that :-
My first ‘reporting’ jobs were on school trips. It was during a visit to a coal mine in North Yorkshire that Ireported on the events deep underground after being the only pupil out of about 25 kids to have brought a pen & paper with him. The teacher later ordered me to make my notes available to all the other pupils! Needless to say, one of them won the North Yorkshire prize in my stead!
I’ve been flown into two war zones – Bosnia & Somalia (Mogadishu – or ‘Mogue’ as my American hosts on the C-130 Hercules called it). In all, I’ve visited 41 countries and 16 US states in pursuit of stories and to carry out research. I have even flown on the flight deck of the USAF B-52 StratoFortress in the States, and a Luftwaffe Transall into Somalia from Kenya.
In essence my writing evolves from solving mysteries and/or interviewing aviation veterans world-wide. I am not interested in nuts n’ bolts, I concentrate 99% on interviewing the actual combatants, veterans of wars from WW1 to the Falklands and the Gulf.
Some stories evolved after solving the clues & carrying out copious research. It’s the detective work I like the best of all (& photography).
I have, through luck, dogged determination & thrusting perseverance, obtained unique interviews others have missed out on. [I must mention ‘Mac’ MacLeod & Jimmie Peck (two American Spitfire pilots on Malta in WW2, who, thanks to prolonged detective work and by translating their almost
indecipherable unique accounts typed faintly on a beat-up typewriter during the wartime voyage
to Malta I managed to reproduce their previously unsolicited accounts which had lain dormant for
These techniques have stood me in good stead throughout my career and my scoops include a D-Day
veteran’s story [Sergeant Johnny Walker] who had never had his concealed & unique account of his
part in the raid on the Merville Battery by the Parachute Regiment published by anyone. To my utter
disappointment all he would say was that ‘we advanced & took the position’ but I chanced my arm &
insisted that I did not want ‘army speak’ but wanted to hear soldier speak’. At that he could, I
suppose, have thrown me out of his house but he didn’t & I guided him through the questioning,
punctuated throughout by asking, ‘what did you do next Johnnie?’ Then what’.....? What a
technique; literally conceived on the spur of the moment!
I have never knowingly caused any problems, though in 1997 I was arrested! I must quickly tell you that I landed on board the aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy in the Mediterranean when the aircraft was dramatically arrested on the deck as planned, by using the arrester hook. Take-off was even more incredible - 0-150 mph in 2 seconds!!
Check out some of Martins Books on the Pen & Sword Website now
Sadly this event has been postponed-
Andrews Book will not now be published until August & understandably his publishers have asked that he does not promote the book until then.
We will let you know when this presentation will run.
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