Remembering Fromelles - Event Programme

Saturday, 7th August 2010 - Eastbourne College Theatre


Download a detailed location map (PDF) here.

12.30pm Doors Open

Foyer & Casson Gallery - Exhibits & bookshop. Displays from University of Bristol Archaeology Department. Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC), Oxford Archaeology, War Memorials Trust and Western Front Association (Sussex Branch).
Further information on Combat Stress and Soldiers, Sailors and Airforce Families Association (SSAFA) our chosen charitable causes will be available.
Refreshment area.

College Lecture Theatre - The Talks
1.00-1.10pm Introduction and Chair by Dr Nicholas Saunders
1.10-2.00pm Session 1 – The Battle of Fromelles, Paul Cobb

At Fromelles in July 1916 two divisions – one British and one Australian – both newly arrived in France – went into action for the first time. Their task was to prevent the Germans from moving troops to the Somme where a major British offensive was in progress, but the attack on 19/20 July was a disaster with nearly 7,000 casualties in a matter of hours. This talk explores this battle, which for many epitomises the futility of the Great War. In those few hours many heroic deeds were done but the battle caused a souring of Anglo-Australian relations and truly was a baptism of fire for these British and Australian troops. We conclude with the recent discovery of the mass graves at Pheasant Wood and how the project came into being.

Paul Cobb is a keen historian, who has spent ten years researching the battle and the men who fought in it, through the archives of the Imperial War Museum, the National Archives and the Australian War Memorial, Canberra. He published a revised edition of Fromelles 1916 in 2010. Paul lives in Lechlade, Gloucestershire.

2.00-2.50pm Session 2 - Remembering Fromelles, Julie Summers

A fascinating overview of the project to rebury 250 Australian and British servicemen first buried by the Germans after the Battle of Fromelles in 1916. This session discusses the story of the discovery of the mass graves, the archaeology behind the excavations, the question of identification and the process of reburial and cemetery construction undertaken during the course of 2009 and 2010. The purpose of the whole undertaking has been to give these men the dignity in death they were denied for nearly a century but which, in keeping with the Commission’s own founding beliefs, they so richly deserve. The talk covers the establishment of the Commission in 1917 and explains how burials were carried out during and in the immediate aftermath of the Great War, looking at the differences and similarities between 1920 and 2010.

Julie Summers was born near Liverpool and grew up first on the Wirral and then in Cheshire. She is an established author and historian whose previous works include Remembered, A History of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and British and Commonwealth War Cemeteries.

2.50-3.20pm Tea & Refreshments in the Casson Gallery
3.20-3.30pm Introduction, Re-cap and Chair by Julie Summers
3.30-4.20pm Session 3 – The Archaeology & Finds, Kate Brady

In this presentation we will learn from Kate Brady, the Team’s Finds Specialist about the set up of the archaeological and forensic labs on the dig, the background of the other team members who made up this unique project, the methods of excavation, facts about the graves and how the individuals were arranged within them. We will also hear about the artefacts that were found with the soldiers buried at Pheasant Wood, how they provide a unique insight not only into the era of the Great War but also into the lives of the individual soldiers who died at Fromelles.

Oxford Archaeology was founded in 1973 and is the one of the largest independent archaeology and heritage practices in Europe, with nearly 400 specialist staff and permanent offices in Oxford, Lancaster, Cambridge, Caen and Montpellier.

Kate has worked for OA since 2002 on a vast range of projects and is now a Project Officer and Research Specialist in the Post-excavation department specialising in Medieval and Post-medieval archaeology Kate Brady gained her BA in 2000 from UCL and immediately began work for the Museum of London Archaeological Service (MoLAS), where she spent two years working on Roman and Medieval urban sites in central London. This included working on the huge medieval cemetery site of Spitalfields and excavating just outside the Roman Fort near the Guildhall. Outside of work Kate is a photographer and has had work included in an exhibition at the Tate Gallery in London.

4.20-5.10pm Session 4 – 20th Century Conflict Archaeology, Dr Nicholas Saunders

First World War trenches on the Western Front, the shrapnel collecting habits of Second World War children, prisoner-of-war and internment camps, 3-D artworks produced by Vietnam veterans, the wearing of war medals, the heritage of the Cold War, the material effects of ethnic cleansing in the Balkans, the 2003 devastation of Iraq’s peerless archaeology, and the 9/11 destruction of New York’s World Trade Centre and the subsequent ‘war on terror’ are all manifestations of 20th century conflict. We are presented with a new view on archaeology and why this branch of the subject is important and how it has grown in popularity over the last decade especially on the Western Front.

Dr Nicholas Saunders is the course organiser for MA Historical Archaeology, MA 20th-Century Conflict Archaeology, and MA Archaeology for Screen Media at Bristol University. Previous publications include; Killing Time: Archaeology & the First World War, Images of Conflict: Military Aerial Photography & Archaeology and Trench Art: Materialities & Memories of War.

5.10-5.40pm Q&A’s - all participants - Chair by Dr Nicholas Saunders


5.40pm Close