Who are the Merseyside Branch?
The Merseyside Branch of the Western Front Association (WFA) was formed more than twenty years ago. Over the years the branch has had its ups and downs and has held its meetings in a variety of places throughout the county from Garston in south Liverpool, to the Merseyside Police social club and the Royal Engineers TA barracks in Birkenhead.
Since 2006 the branch has met at the Williamson Art Gallery in Slatey Road, Birkenhead, on the first Thursday of the month.
One of its first chairmen was the author of the Liverpool Pals, Graham Maddocks, who is sadly no longer with us. The current chair is Peter Threlfall, who took over in 2004 with the aim of achieving three goals;
• Getting the branch out visiting places of interest
• Arranging battlefield tours
• Increasing the membership
All three of these goals have been achieved and continue to flourish with current monthly attendances of around 30.
The branch undertakes a battlefield tour even 2 years, the last being in 2018. Doing this tour we visited sites around the Somme and Ypres, with the branch laying a wreath at the Last Post ceremony at the Menin Gate. Due to the Pandemic the battlefield tour for 2020 had to be postponed, we had hoped to go in 2021 but with the Pandemic still ongoing this has put back to 2022.
While recent branch visits have included the Staffordshire Regiment Museum and the Royal Welch Fusiliers museum in Caernarfon Castle.
Another successful branch endeavour has been the yearly exhibition, which was first started in 2013. Since then and during the Great War centenary commemorations the branch has held it exhibitions in the Birkenhead Park Visitor Centre who have continued to invite us back. The last exhibition we held which was our seventh, was in November 2019, where we remembered 1919 and events relevant to Merseyside. We has intended to held Exhibitions in 2020 & 2021, but due to the Pandemic these had be to cancelled. We intend to host one in 2022.
The branch also produces a bi-monthly newsletter, Cheerio, containing articles of interest submitted by members relating to all things connected to the Great War.