This Day In History

1918 Battle of the Selle. In a carefully-planned attack, rehearsed over 5 days, 5th East Lancashires mount a remarkably successful night assault near Briastre. They move off at 2 a.m., in a heavy downpour which lasted throughout the engagement, to the sound of the Regimental March being played by the battalion band. Met by heavy machine-gun fire and an artillery barrage which causes 50 casualties, they charge through with a yell and are on their final objective well before the 7 a.m. deadline set, taking 300 prisoners in the process. Casualties are 2 officers and 13 men dead, and 6 officers and 109 men wounded. Some 22 German dead were counted on the battalion front. Study of the ground the next day shows that the battalion had gone through no fewer than 6 defensive belts, including a very strongly-held railway embankment, before reaching its final objective. The 300 prisoners were ‘of far better physique and appearance’ than any of the enemy previously encountered, and turn out to be picked troops. They said that they were members of Kaiser Wilhelm’ bodyguard; that they had never before known defeat; and that they had been sent to hold the line at all costs.
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Chairman’s Annual Report 2012

Report to the Annual General Meeting Thursday 13 December 2012

Once again I am very pleased to report another successful year of progress and development of the Friends both as an organisation and in its activities. Everyday matters concerning the Museum continue to be dealt with by the Curator and the Museum Management Committee whilst the Friends organisation concentrates on its primary role of supporting the Museum and its activities in addition to its own.

Friends were made aware last year of the intention to change the name of the Museum and the logical decision for the Friends organisation to change its name accordingly; this became effective from 1 April this year the new name has been formally notified to the Charity Commission.

The Friends membership has reached something of a plateau with the number of new members balancing the outflow due to the natural process of anno domini; the current membership is now steady at 250 and the Committee has just agreed to appoint a membership secretary to oversee this aspect of our operation.

The year 2012 has seen once again a very active year of Friends events, all well supported and providing an enjoyable mix of reunions, study evenings, film evenings and visits; in particular the presentation in May by Ron Challen on Bletchley Park, the study on 31 August on the military history of Preston as part of Preston Guild and the recent study on the Falklands campaign were all well attended and received. In addition, the Friends hosted in September a joint event with the National Waterloo Committee. The annual battlefield tour to Scotland in June was successful despite the disappointingly low attendance.

The Management Committee has again devoted much time and effort in compiling what we hope will be an attractive programme of events and activities for 2013, a copy of which will shortly be issued. We will be continuing the mix of activities to include study evenings and a visit to the National Cold War Museum at Cosford on 23 March. Our Battlefield Tour next year will be a return visit to Spain and southern France in September following Wellington in the Pyrenees in 1813-14; I am pleased to say that the 32 places on this tour are already fully booked and a reserve list is in operation.

As a result of the survey last year, we have published all proposed future Battlefield Tours up to 2015; this early notification will, we hope, allow Friends to plan well ahead and book accordingly.

In regard to our financial situation, I am pleased to report that our financial position remains healthy and that the accounts for the year ending 31 December 2012 will be presented at the Special General Meeting to be held on 22 February. Our major sources of income continue to be annual subscriptions on which GiftAid is reclaimed and surpluses from events, enabling us to make regular grant to the Museum and in fact a grant of £2000 has just been made. A new accounting system will come into operation on 1 January which will make the Friends account more independent of the RHQ accounts.

We are conscious that the last edition of our newsletter, the Lancashire Lad, was in September 2009 and further publication has proved impossible due to pressure of other commitments. Its news function has now been taken on by the Museum’s excellent digital monthly newsletter so when it is republished, the intention is that it should concentrate on feature articles.

In regard to governance of the Friends, I am pleased to say that from your agenda for today, you will see that David Rogan has been nominated to take over from me today as Chairman of the Friends Management Committee. I am delighted to be handing over in my role as Acting Chairman to such an experienced and enthusiastic new Chairman and may I thank on your behalf all the members of the Friends Management Committee for their considerable help in supporting the Museum during the past year. Finally may I also thank you, the Friends for your continued enthusiastic support to all our activities. We wish everyone the compliments of the coming festive season and hope that you enjoy your lunch here today.


Col G B Stam

Acting Chairman

13 December 2012