Past Speakers and Subjects
The Theme was The Political and Military background to recent British interventions in the Middle East. The talks were by a resident of Goodworth Clatford, Sir Hillary Synnott a career diplomat with postings in Paris, Amman and India, prior to is appointment as High Commissioner to Pakistan from 2000 to 2003, which coincided with 9/11. Subsequently he was Coalition Provincial Coordinator in Southern Iraq in the Second Gulf War. The second speaker was Major General Patrick Cordingley, who commanded the 7th Armoured Brigade the “Desert Rats” in the first Gulf War and spoke on this chapter of British History.
The theme was "The Role of Charities in War Zones". Three Charities came and described their work; Help for Heroes with Bryn Parry (Co-Founder and CEO), Afghan Connection with Dr Sarah Fane and St John Eye Hospital - Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza with Dr Denise Magauran the former Chief Surgeon. Fifty percent of the funds raised were distributed to these charities.
The theme was “Artists in War Zones”. The first speaker was an Upper Clatford resident, Air Commodore Phil Wilkinson, who had been the UK Defence and Air Attaché in Moscow during perestroika and spoke on “Lev Kerbel – the Sculptor of Lenin”. The second talk, delivered by Dennis Silk CBE was on Siegried Sassoon's war and his poetry. Dennis had got to know him personally and the talk was entitled “Sassoon’s War Poems”.
The first speaker was Colin Thurberon who described his experiences in researching his book “Shadow of the Silk Road”. The second talk by Lt Col Tony Coutts-Britton was on “The Christmas Truce”, to commemorate the Centenary of the event in the First World War.
The theme was "Strategic Social, Political and Environmental Risks". The first speakers was General Sir Richard Shirreff, former Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe who spoke on Russian UK/EU strategic defence issues. Rt. Hon Lord Mark Malloch-Brown, former Deputy Secretary General on the United Nations and a British Cabinet Minister gave the second lecture on social and environmental issues linked to global security.
The theme continued with "Political and Health Risks".James Landale, BBC Diplomatic Correspondent gave the first lecture on the geopolitical issues around Brexit. Dr Matthew Dryden, the Director of Infections at Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Public Health England Rare and Imported Pathogens laboratory at Porton Down spoke on the challenges and threats associated with antibiotic resistance, pandemics and plague.
The first speakers was Juliet Lyon, former Director of the Prison Reform Trust and current Chair of the Commission of Enquiry on Death in Custody who questioned whether British prisons are a reflection civilisation, whether they are fit for purpose and how they could be improved. David Lough, an expert in the field of personal finance management and the author of “No More Champagne”, gave an entertaining and highly unusual and revealing review of Churchill’s finances.
Alan Watson, a retired Merchant Seaman, gave a fascinating talk on the history of Enigma codes and ciphers to a capacity audience. He had brought 5 Enigma Machines which were on display so the audience could get hands on experience. The second talk, by Ed Conway, the Chief Financial Editor of Sky News and a regular columnist in the Times, introduced another capacity audience to the history of the Bretton Woods Conference at the end of World War II, and posed the question whether we can learn anything from Bretton Woods in the present period of geopolitical and financial uncertainty.
Phil Wlikinson gave an online Zoom lecture "REMEMBRANCE – MISSION AND WORK OF THE COMMONWEALTH WAR GRAVES COMMISSION". In 2018 Britain was marking the centenary of the end of the ‘War to End All Wars’ and 2019 was the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, with similar commemorations. The Upper Clatford War Memorial marked its own centenary on 20 February this year, with this community’s own losses confirming the real human cost of man’s inhumanity. The graves of those young people who died remain as a symbol of some much higher human aspiration. This talk looked at a number of those graves, at those cemeteries and memorials across Europe and Asia, starting with a review of the single-minded and irrepressible dedication of just one man, whose vision would be translated into the current world-wide activities of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.