Professor Mark Connelly to give talk as part of the Western Front Association webinar series

Head of School, Professor Mark Connelly, will be giving a further talk titled, ”From this point the tourist should go on foot’: experiencing the Somme, 1919-1939′ as part of the Western Front Association (WFA) live webinar series. The WFA aims to remember and share the history of the Great War. Professor Connelly’s talk will take place on Monday 31 May at 20.00 BST via Zoom.

Professor Connelly’s presentation will explore Battlefield Tourism to the Somme in the inter-war years. Professor Connelly shares, “For the many thousands of British people who crossed the channel to see the battlefields in the 1920s and 1930s, the experience was very much shaped by the specific section of the front they visited. Ypres was by far the easiest place to site to visit: close to the channel ports, quickly re-connected to road and rail communications, it presented no great logistical problem.

Things were very different on the Somme front. The battlefield was huge in terms of width and length, which at certain points meant a vast wasteland almost impossible to traverse. Those attempting to visit it had to be ready to face difficulties and challenges from first to last lest they find themselves seemingly marooned in this sea of devastation. As the years passed and reconstruction commenced, many places on the Somme appeared to be ghostly remnants of the past incapable of full rehabilitation.

The talk draws upon my latest research on tourism to the battlefields of the First World War in the aftermath of the conflict. It is great to engage wide audiences with research and explore aspects of global events from different angles such as this one.

Its always a great pleasure and privilege to talk to groups like the Western Front Association. The knowledge and enthusiasm of the membership always ensures a great experience.”

You can find out more about the event and register for free here.