Welcome to the British Modern Military History Society

Welcome to the British Modern Military History Society. Formed in early 2019, we organise monthly talks for anyone interested in military history over the last 200 years from Napoleonic times to the present day.   

Our talks will be given by writers, academics, former military personnel, and experts and will cover a wide variety of topics and events – hopefully an interesting cocktail to encourage you to join us.  Based in Woodcote Village Hall RG8 0QY (near Wallingford) in South Oxfordshire. We have a full schedule of events arranged for the coming months including talks on Taranto, the Cold War, the Falklands and the Battle of the Atlantic.

The next BMMHS meeting is on Wednesday 11th December

Colditz: Beyond and Behind the Myths

A presentation given by David Ray, Chairman of the Colditz Society.

Colditz: Beyond and Behind the Myths
Colditz: Beyond and Behind the Myths

David will give a factual account of life in this famous prisoner of war camp between 1940 and 1945. It includes new material that has yet to appear in print or on the screen. 

Situated on a cliff overlooking a small East German town in the state of Saxony is Colditz Castle. It has stood on this site since the Middle Ages.

However, its place in history became assured during the Second World War, when it was Oflag IV-C, a prisoner-of-war camp for high-profile Allied officers who had repeatedly escaped from other camps. 

The first prisoners arrived in November 1939; they were 40 Polish officers who had been branded ‘escape risks’.

A year later captured British RAF officers were transported there, all who had escaped from previous Oflags. A famous group was the Laufen Six, named after the camp from which they made their first escape. By Christmas 1940 there were 60 Polish officers, 12 Belgians, 50 French, and 30 British, a total of no more than 200 with their orderlies.

Not only did the Nazis have to deal with a prison population entirely made up of proven escape artists, Colditz itself was a very large prison and so it was quite a difficult task keeping the castle running in a secure and efficient manner.

Not only did the Nazis have to deal with a prison population entirely made up of proven escape artists, Colditz itself was a very large prison and so it was quite a difficult task keeping the castle running in a secure and efficient manner.

David intends to bring a number of items from Colditz including letters home and artefacts believed to have been used in escape attempts.

Letter from Colditz sent home to Scotland by POW Captain Julius Morris Green. A dentist before the war, Green was captured fighting the Nazis at Dunkirk in 1940. Green sent more than 40 coded letters home. Source Hallee Bridgeman
This length of rope is made from blankets and is thought to have been intended for use in the escape of Allied prisoners of war from Oflag IV-C, better known as Colditz Castle © NAM. 1992-06-52-1

Colditz has since appeared frequently in fiction, including books, films and TV, but what is the truth behind this notorious Nazi POW camp?

Ticket Pricing, Reservations and Venue Directions

Entry cost is just £8, payable on the door,  and will include the talk and a Q & A, drinks, light snacks (sandwiches etc.) and a contribution to a military charity. Car parking is available on site. Everyone is welcome.
 
Our previous talks have been sold out but as we are now moving into the Larger Main Hall, in Woodcote Village Hall, some spaces are currently available.
 
Due to high demand and in order to secure a seat for this event, please contact us on info@bmmhs.org and we will confirm availability.  There will only be a limited number of unreserved seats available at the door.
 
Contact us on info@bmmhs.org  or through our website www.bmmhs.org about future talks and activities, any articles you wish to be included and if you know of any speakers who could help us.
P-38 Lightning crews of the 55th Fighter Group are briefed at Nuthampstead air base. 12th November 1943.  © IWM FRE 161
Click on the photo above for further details on Ticket pricing, Reservations and Venue Directions

The next three BMMHS talks....

A pair of 1435 Flight Phantom FGR.2 aircraft practice air-to-air refuelling from a Hercules C.1 over Bleaker Island, East Falkland.

Air-to-Air refuelling during the Falklands

Weds 15th January 2020

Agent Celery

Our Man in Hamburg; A true spy story of World War 2

Weds 5th February 2020

Sir John Slessor – An unsung Cold War Strategist

Sir John Slessor – An unsung Cold War Strategist

Weds 11th March 2020

New Speakers Confirmed

ATA Pilot Joan Hughes

Weds 14th October 2020

Bill King

The Air Transport Auxiliary

Monty

Alamein

10th February 2021

Underground Warfare Simon Jones

Weds 9th December 2020

Nicci Pugh - White Ship Red Crosses

White Ship Red Crosses

12th January 2021

Clare Mulley the women who flew for Hitler

Weds 10th March 2021

Col T E Lawrence

Lawrence of Arabia

12th May 2021

Our Last Talk and New Article

November's Talk

The Story of a Remarkable Murder Court-Martial

Major-General Gordon Risius CB

 

Memories from the Home Front by Martyn Cooper

A Memoir From The Home Front
Click on image for the article

Click BMMHS Calendar for full event listing.

Contact us at info@bmmhs.org

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Images © IWM & NAM