Gallipoli Association Annual Conference & Dinner 2024

Gallipoli Association Annual Conference & Dinner 2024

Event Details

  • 02 Nov 24 10:00 - 02 Nov 24 17:00
  • Conference
  • RAF Club, 128 Piccadilly, London W1J 7PY

Saturday 2 November 2024

The Gallipoli Association 2024 Annual Conference will again take place at the prestigious RAF Club, 128 Piccadilly, London, W1J 7PY.

The keynote speakers (in alphabetical order) and their topics are:

  • Vice Admiral Paul Bennett (Ret’d) : The Royal Navy today and the enduring lessons of Gallipoli
  • Professor Peter Doyle : Gallipoli 1915: the impact of terrain from ‘forcing the Dardanelles’ to ‘evacuating the beaches’
  • Lieutenant Colonel (Ret’d) Dr Richard Farrimond : Birdie: More than ‘Soul of Anzac’ Field Marshal Lord Birdwood of Anzac & Totnes
  • Major General David Shouesmith (Ret’d) : Logistics and Expeditionary Operations – a Personal Perspective

The day is followed by the optional Post-Conference Dinner.

This is a great opportunity to hear notable speakers, network with fellow members and other attendees, purchase books and items from the QM store.

Rising costs require us to charge £60 for the Conference, but this includes a working lunch, with teas and coffee during the breaks. Registration will be from 9.15 in the Foyer. The Conference will run from 10.00 - 17.00. (Please check our website, monthly newsletter and social media for an update on speakers.)

The three-course Post-Conference Dinner will also be held at the RAF Club at 19.00, with cost increases forcing us to charge £60 per head, excluding wine and drinks, which can be ordered prior to sitting down. There will be a cash bar from 17.30.

Both the Conference and Dinner are open to non-members and their guests.

Booking Form (Word)

Booking Form (PDF)

Enquiries to Hester Huttenbach at [email protected]

Speakers (in alphabetical order) and topics

Vice Admiral (Ret’d) Paul Bennett CB OBE:
“The Royal Navy today and the enduring lessons of Gallipoli.”

Carl von Clausewitz's treatise ‘On War’ states ‘The nature of war, its essence and purpose, is unchanging within the human condition. By contrast, its character, the conduct of warfare, is in constant flux’. In studying its nature, we learn that war is deeply unsatisfying and, wherever possible, should be avoided. But in studying its character, we learn the lessons of the past through the varying lenses of individual failures and successes, strategy, tactics, and military capability. The talk will explore those enduring lessons for the Royal Navy from Gallipoli and consider whether we have learnt from them.

Paul Bennett retired from the Royal Navy in January 2022 after a career of some 36 years. He commanded at every rank, including as the Commander of the UK’s Amphibious Task Group 2009-2011. It was during this period that a general interest in Gallipoli morphed into a more professional study. Since leaving the military, he is pursuing a portfolio career, based around being a Senior Mentor for NATO, but, amongst other things, also providing advice to a number of companies and supporting professional military education at the Defence Academy.

Professor Peter Doyle:
“Gallipoli 1915: the impact of terrain from 'forcing the Dardanelles' to 'evacuating the beaches'”

The Gallipoli Campaign as fought by the Entente Powers in 1915 was ultimately controlled by two factors: the complexity of the terrain, and the skill of its Ottoman defenders. Drawing upon three decades of work, this paper looks at the impact of terrain on the campaign as a whole: the failure of the British and French navies to ‘force the Dardanelles’ by ships alone in March 1915; the initial assaults and the inevitability of trench warfare (with its associated problems of resource supply), through to the evacuation from the beaches in January 1916, the campaign in tatters.

Professor Peter Doyle specialises in the understanding of military terrain, with special reference to the two world wars. He is an author who focusses on the British experience of war, and the material culture of war. A member of the British Commission of Military History, and Secretary of the Parliamentary All Party War Heritage Group, he is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. Author of many works of military history and the material culture of warfare, he is Emeritus Professor of history at London South Bank University, and lectures on First World War trench warfare at Goldsmiths, University of London.

Lieutenant Colonel (Ret’d) Dr Richard Farrimond:
“Birdie: More than “Soul of Anzac” – Field Marshal Lord Birdwood of Anzac & Totnes”

Birdwood is renowned for his command of the Anzacs at Gallipoli, earning him the title from General Hamilton of ‘Soul of Anzac’. Before this, he had a very successful career in the Indian Army, which provided him with experiences that influenced his command at Gallipoli. Subsequently he led with distinction the Australian Imperial Force for the remainder of the War. He has received little attention from either British or Antipodean historians. Farrimond fills this void with a whole life approach, highlighting both Birdwood’s aggression when at the helm of his troops, and his contributions to harmony between Allied governments. His subsequent prestigious service after the war is covered in detail.

Richard Farrimond had two working careers. He served with the Royal Signals in Germany, England, Northern Ireland and Canada. Between commanding an independent signal squadron in Londonderry and a regiment in Germany, he trained as a back-up NASA Payload Specialist to launch a Skynet 4 military communications satellite from the Space Shuttle – cancelled following the 1986 Challenger disaster. This led him into the British space industry where he spent much time in Australia. Following final retirement, he undertook firstly a Master’s degree in World History and Cultures and then a history PhD, both completed part-time at King’s College London. He translated the PhD into his recent book and this was awarded the Chapple Prize for 2023.

Major General (Ret’d) David Shouesmith:
‘Logistics and Expeditionary Operations - a Personal Perspective’

Very often the unsung hero of military victories, logistics are the backbone of the armed forces. It ensures the provision of personnel, equipment, and supplies to the right place at the right time. Without efficient logistics (“No ballistics without logistics”), military operations can grind to a halt. It is a vital aspect of defence strategy, contributing to the success of military missions and the overall effectiveness of the armed forces. David will talk about military logistics and support in the contemporary operating environment, drawing on personal experiences and illuminating some enduring themes through historical references to Gallipoli and other campaigns.

David Shouesmith has extensive experience in operational military logistics and support acquisition in both the MoD and commercial sector. His 28-year military career included service as ACDS (Logistic Operations) in the UK MoD and logistics command on operations from squadron to brigade level, from Bosnia to Afghanistan. He was also pivotal to many support transformation initiatives across defence, in the land and joint domains, involving greater industry roles in delivering defence support. Since leaving the Army he has worked for large and small consultancies, advising commercial clients in a variety of sectors in strategy, critical programme management and strategic supply chain. He is currently chairman of the Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum Trust and a director with Universal Defence and Security Solutions.

Voices of Gallipoli: Spreading the Words

Following his moving performance at last year’s GA conference, Arthur Meek, will once again give voice to another Kiwi veteran’s experience of Gallipoli. Arthur is a NZ-bred, Norfolk based playwright and screenwriter.

Bursary trip report

Students from Kingsbury Green school in Calne will voice impressions of their GA funded visit to Gallipoli to take place in July 2024.

Highlights from previous years

2023 conference report

2022 conference report and video playlist

2021 conference report and video playlist