War Memorial for Herne Hill

When did the First World Ear end? The answer is, it depends on where you were living or stationed. It was only when I started researching Herne Hill's casualties that I realised how many had died after 1918. Often it was as a result of disease, gassing or wounds sustained during 1914-18, but many were…

Freedom to travel

Watching the D-Day 75 Commemorations on TV has made me think, and not for the first time, how exceptionally fortunate I am, and how easy it is to take such good fortune for granted. It's obvious, when listening to British veterans of 6 June 1944 talking about their experiences, that they recall the events of…

Welcoming refugees

What have you done in the last 10 days? I shall summarise my activities - more for my benefit than yours. On Sunday 28 April I spent the entire day driving home to London from France. The following day was dedicated to unloading the car and washing clothes, sheets and pillowcases. On Tuesday I carried…

The Cockleshell Heroes II

Last week I briefly mentioned the events that followed Operation Frankton, promising to set them in the context of rural Charente. Put briefly, Operation Frankton was a commando raid on the port of Bordeaux in early December 1942, carried out by a small unit of Royal Marines. Six folding kayaks were transported to the Gironde…

Armistice Centenary

There will never be another Armistice Centenary. On Sunday 11 November 2018 at 11am - exactly 100 years after the guns fell silent and the slaughter stopped - local people and visitors gathered for a brief commemoration at our Sunday market. For more than 12 months I've been leading a Heritage Lottery-funded project to identify all…