Over the first weekend in August, at Maperton, (a tiny village near Wincanton in Somerset) Dr. Patrick Mileham gave the third Nicholson Lecture on “The Spirit of 1914 – The Regiments that won the War”.In his address, Dr. Mileham – a former regular soldier – developed the arguments that the regimental reforms initiated in 1905 to 1908 provided a framework that enabled the huge and rapid expansion of the Army in 1914, able to assimilate into a system imbued in tradition the vast number that volunteered in 1914, and that a sufficient number of those volunteers survived until 1918 to ensure that their idealism and fighting spirit gave the British Army greater morale than that of the troops of the Triple Alliance. It was a thought-provoking and well-illustrated talk, which provoked some searching questions on both evenings.The talks were introduced by Brigadier Nick Knudsen (Somerset County Chairman, ABF) on the Saturday and Colonel Robert Jordan, O.B.E. (ABF Regional Director, South West) on the Sunday: each explained the role and relevance of ABF – The Soldiers’ Charity to enthusiastic audiences drawn from as far afield as Essex and Exeter.The Lecture, generously sponsored by The King’s Arms at Charlton Horethorne and Setfords, Solicitors, and supported by The Cuneo Trust, raised a total of just over £2,400 net of overheads, to be divided equally between Maperton Church and ABF – The Soldiers’ Charity.
THE NICHOLSON LECTUREThe Nicholson Lecture is delivered annually in memory of Brigadier Claude Nicholson, C.B. by a serving or retired member of our armed forces: the proceeds are divided equally between St. Peter & St. Paul’s Church, Maperton and the speaker’s regimental, corps or Service charity.Claude Nicholson, late 16/5th The Queen’s Royal Lancers, was one of the brightest soldiering prospects of his generation and a keen horseman, who spent many happy days at Maperton House before he was despatched to command the garrison at Calais in 1940: after an heroic battle against overwhelming odds, the port fell and Nicholson was captured. He died in a prisoner-of-war camp in Germany in 1943: the memorial to him in the church was erected before the back-dated award of a C.B. had been gazetted. The audience at the Lecture included people whose relations had been taken prisoner at Calais. [There is a montage on the Siege of Calais in the church.]The British Expeditionary Force sent to France in August 1914 included elements of Brigadier Nicholson’s regiment, the 16th (The Queen’s) Lancers.
The 2015 Nicholson Lecture will be given on 1st August at Maperton: for details contact James Scott on 0196333826 or 07966171723, or visit www.maperton.com