festival
speakers
2022

Al Murray
host

james holland

host

Max Hastings

Katrin Himmler

Peter caddick-adams

maurice blik

john mcmanus

katja hoyer

alex richie

Phillips Payson O’Brien

Jack Mann

Saul David

waitman beorn

gajendra singh

Ingram Murray 'The colonel'

Paul Beaver

Rob Lyman

andy aitcheson

Andy Chatterton

Joe Coles

Christoph bergs

Jonathan fennell

Stephen Fisher

Will Iredale

bernhard kast

Iain macgregor

Marc Milner

Rana Mitter

Rex Factor

Sean Scullion

John Tregoning

jens wehner

Bastiaan willems

Daniel Todman

John Lilley

Giles Milton

David Willey

Kate Vigurs

London Django Collective

Ned Holland

fighting on film

The Homeguardsman

friday main stage

Al Murray

Al Murray is the co-host of We Have Ways Of Making You Talk. Al, with his alter-ego The Pub Landlord, is one of the most recognisable and successful comics in the UK. He is a regular on many popular British television programmes. Al is also a keen historian and aficionado of the Second World War.

friday main stage

James Holland

James Holland is the co-host of the podcast We Have Ways Of Making You Talk. He is the best selling Second World War historian in the UK. He has published more than 20 books about the conflict and is the BBC’s regular expert on all Second World War matters. As well as hosting We Have Ways Fest, James runs Chalke Valley History Festival – the largest history festival in Europe.

Saturday main stage

Sir Max Hastings

CHURCHILL: THE FINEST YEARS

Max Hastings

We are very thrilled to welcome Max Hastings to the festival to talk about one of the titans of the Second World War.  In this talk, Sir Max will be viewing Churchill from the outside in: through the eyes of British soldiers, civilians and newspapers, and also those of Russians and Americans, and so offering fresh perspectives on arguably the greatest war leader Britain has ever had.  An intimate and affectionate portrait, for sure, but, as one would expect from such an eminent historian, journalist and commentator, also an unsparing examination of the wartime nation.

 

Sunday main stage

Katrin Himmler

Katrin Himmler is a German author and political scientist. Her great-uncle was Heinrich Himmler, head of Hitler’s SS. She has confronted her family legacy with the book The Himmler Brothers: A German Family History. She has edited, together with the historian Dr. Michael Wildt, Letters of a Mass Murderer: The private Heinrich Himmler. She also took part in the documentary ‘Hitler’s Children‘ by Chanoch Ze’evi – a film that gives an insight into how the descendants of Nazi perpetrators deal with their Nazi legacy.

Sunday Main Stage

peter
Caddick-Adams

Peter Caddick-Adams is a writer and broadcaster who specialises in military history, defence and security issues. He previously lectured in Military and Security Studies at the UK Defence Academy for twenty years, and in Air Power for the Royal Air Force. A Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and the Royal Geographical Society, he also spent thirty-five years as an officer in the UK Regular and Reserve Forces, and has extensive experience of various war zones, including the Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan. He was educated at Shrewsbury School, Sandhurst and Wolverhampton University, where he gained first class honours in War Studies; he received his PhD from Cranfield University. His previous works include Monty and Rommel: Parallel Lives, Monte Cassino: Ten Armies in Hell, and Snow and Steel: Battle of the Bulge 1944–45.

1945: VICTORY IN THE WEST
In the final talk of this year’s festival, Peter Caddick-Adams considers the final, bitter and bloody battles in the west, fought across a 300-mile front, through cities, towns, villages and forests, across mighty rivers and amidst the shattered ruins of the Reich.  It is a period with familiar names, such as VARSITY, Remagen, the Rhine and the Elbe, but which come with only the vaguest details for most of us.  Peter will bring many of those events back into sharp focus with an expert’s eye, borne of 40 years of study, walking the ground and talking to veterans, and offering fresh and revelatory perspectives on what were to prove some of the hardest battles of the entire war in the west.

Sunday main stage

Maurice Blik

Maurice Blik is a British Sculptor and former President of The British Society of Sculptors. In 1943 Maurice and his family were sent to the concentration camp Bergen Belsen.

Maurice Blik works in the UK and USA where he was awarded residency by the US Government as ‘a person of extraordinary artistic ability’.

MAURICE BLIK: THE ART OF SURVIVAL – A BELSEN SURVIVOR

Journalist and historian York Membery in conversation with Holocaust survivor Maurice Blik

Maurice Blik was a young boy from an Anglo-Dutch family living in Amsterdam, when, in August 1943, they were rounded up as Jews and sent to Westerbork concentration camp.  A few months later, in the winter of 1943, Maurice, his sister, Clara, and mother, were moved again.  This time to Bergen-Belsen.  His father’s fate and whereabouts were unknown to them.  In this very special event, Maurice Blik will be discussing his childhood, his time at Belsen, encounters with Irma Grese, and his survival.  He’ll also be revealing how his childhood experiences of the Holocaust shaped the internationally renowned sculptor he was to become.

 

Sunday main stage

John c. McManus

John C. McManus is Curators’ Distinguished Professor of U.S. military history at the Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T). This professorship is bestowed by the University of Missouri Board of Curators on the most outstanding scholars in the University of Missouri system. McManus is the first ever Missouri S&T faculty member in the humanities to be named Curators’ Distinguished Professor. As one of the nation’s leading military historians, and the author of 13 well received books on the topic, he is in frequent demand as a speaker and expert commentator.

THE PACIFIC WAR

John McManus & Saul David

While the British and Indians were left to tackle the Japanese in South East Asia, it was the Americans, supported by the Australians, who bore the brunt of the geographically vast War in the Pacific.  In this discussion, acclaimed historians John McManus and Saul David tackle the course of the Pacific War, how it changed and fluctuated, inter-services rivalries and some of the biggest characters of the war and the impact they had on events.  They will also be examining how the Pacific War is remembered in history, challenging some well-worn myths with fresh perspectives and analysis.

THE BEST GERMAN GENERALS

Bernhard Kast, Alex Richie, John McManus

Most people can name a handful of German wartime generals: Rommel, Guderian, von Manstein, perhaps. But what of the many others?  Kesselring, Balck, Bayerlein, von Bock? And why do German generals still have such good reputations as battlefield commanders if they lost battles and the war? In this discussion, Bernhard Kast, Alex Richie and John McManus debate who they believe were the finest German field commanders – taking into consideration different theatres, differing moments of the war, the length and breadth of individual careers, and – hopefully – drawing some conclusions.

Saturday HQ Tent

Katja Hoyer

Katja Hoyer is an Anglo-German historian and journalist. She is a Visiting Research Fellow at King’s College London and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.
 
She writes about German politics as a Washington Post columnist as well as for several British newspapers like The Spectator and The Telegraph. Katja’s debut book Blood and Iron – The Rise and Fall of the German Empire 1971-1918 became a bestseller in the UK.
 
She is currently working on a new history of East Germany from 1949 to the fall of the Berlin Wall. 
 

THE ROAD TO WAR

How was it allowed to happen?  After the slaughter of the First World War, how was it that just a generation later Europe, and then the world, descended into an even more terrible global conflict?  In this talk, Katja Hoyer looks at Germany, from the end of the First World War, through the Treaty of Versailles and the years of Weimar, to the rise of Hitler and the Nazis, and the gradual, irreversible slide into war.  Bringing fresh perspectives and scholarship to a profoundly important and relevant subject, Katja will chart those two decades of German history that led to the invasion of Poland on 1st September 1939.

Saturday Briefing Tent

Alex Richie

Alex Richie is a historian of Germany and Central and Eastern Europe, with a specialism, in defence and security issues. She is also the author of Faust’s Metropolis: A History of Berlin, which was named one of the top ten books of the year by American Publisher’s Weekly, and Warsaw 1944, which won the Newsweek Teresa Torańska Prize for best non-fiction book of 2014 and the Kazimierz Moczarski Prize for Best History Book 2015.

She has contributed to many articles, documentaries, radio, and television programs, and is the Convener of the Presidential Counselors at The National WWII Museum. She is also a member of the Senate at the Collegium Civitas University in Warsaw, Poland, and the Władysław Bartoszewski co-chair of History and International Studies at the Collegium Civitas.

BERLIN 45: THE END

Waitman Beorn, Alex Richie & Baastian Willems 

At the war’s end, the capital of the Reich lay in ruins.  Hitler had always vowed there would be a 1,000 Reich or there would be Armageddon.  In this event, Waitman Beorn, Alex Richie and Baastian Willems discuss the final battle for Berlin; the continued bombing of the city, the massive Red Army offensive, the desperate street battles, the final days of Hitler himself, and the total, complete collapse of the Nazi State.

THE BEST GERMAN GENERALS

Bernhard Kast, Alex Richie, John McManus

Most people can name a handful of German wartime generals: Rommel, Guderian, von Manstein, perhaps. But what of the many others?  Kesselring, Balck, Bayerlein, von Bock? And why do German generals still have such good reputations as battlefield commanders if they lost battles and the war? In this discussion, Bernhard Kast, Alex Richie and John McManus debate who they believe were the finest German field commanders – taking into consideration different theatres, differing moments of the war, the length and breadth of individual careers, and – hopefully – drawing some conclusions.

friday main stage

Philips payson o'brien

Professor Phillips O’Brien is the Chair of Strategic Studies at the University of St Andrews. He has written widely on the history of the two World Wars. Amongst his most well known works are: How the War was Won: Air-Sea Power and Allied Victory in World War II and, The Second Most Powerful Man in the World: The Life of William Leahy, Franklin Roosevelt’s Chief of Staff. He is now working on a study of Churchill, Roosevelt, Mussolini, Stalin and Hitler as grand strategists.


Jack Mann

Jack Mann is one of the last surviving members of the wartime Long Range Desert Group, SAS and SBS.  Having joined at just seventeen years old, he became a wireless operator for the LRDG in the North African Desert War, then transferred to the SAS before later becoming part of George Jellicoe’s SBS operating in the Greek Islands.  His is a truly extraordinary story and he is one of the very last veterans able to tell us about the incredible exploits of those legendary warriors.  Jack Mann has rarely spoken in public but at We Have Ways Fest will be in conversation with former soldier and friend of the podcast, Paul Beaver, discussing a remarkable wartime career.

Sunday main stage

Saul David

Professor Saul David is a military historian and broadcaster. He has written and published an extensive collection of military books, presented BBC documentaries on the armed forces and lectures regularly at the University of Buckingham.

THE PACIFIC WAR

John McManus & Saul David

While the British and Indians were left to tackle the Japanese in South East Asia, it was the Americans, supported by the Australians, who bore the brunt of the geographically vast War in the Pacific.  In this discussion, acclaimed historians John McManus and Saul David tackle the course of the Pacific War, how it changed and fluctuated, inter-services rivalries and some of the biggest characters of the war and the impact they had on events.  They will also be examine how the Pacific War is remembered by history, challenging some well-worn myths with fresh perspectives and analysis.

EAT LEAD, FRITZ! THE BEST, WORST & MOST MAD MISSIONS OF WORLD WAR II

Al, Jim, Saul David & John McManus

The war consisted of huge campaigns, monstrous battles and plenty of small-unit actions too.  But it was also a magnet for special missions: missions by air, missions by boat and canoe, missions by glider, and missions by parachute deep behind enemy lines.  In this event our panel discuss some of the most successful and daring missions of the war, but also the most hare-brained and, frankly, woefully bad and ill-conceived.

saturday breifing tent

Waitman Beorn

Dr. Waitman Wade Beorn is a Senior Lecturer in History at Northumbria University in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK.  He was previously the Director of the Virginia Holocaust Museum in Richmond, VA and the inaugural Blumkin Professor of Holocaust and Genocide Studies at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. He received his PhD in History from the University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill in 2011 where he worked under the direction of Christopher Browning.

BERLIN 45: THE END

Waitman Beorn, Alex Richie & Bastiaan Willems

At the war’s end, the capital of the Reich lay in ruins.  Hitler had always vowed there would be a thousand-year Reich or there would be Armageddon.  In this event, Waitman Beorn, Alex Richie and Bas Willem discuss the final battle for Berlin: the continued bombing of the city, the massive Red Army offensive, the desperate street battles, the final days of Hitler himself, and the total, complete collapse of the Nazi State. 

Saturday briefing tent

gajendra singh

Gajendra Singh is senior lecturer at the University of Exeter. His work has explored the war testimonies of Indian soldiers during both World Wars.

THE INDIAN ARMY

Gajendra Singh & Robert Lyman

We are fortunate to have two historians who have done an extraordinary amount of work on the Indian Army in the Second World War and who have produced work that significantly furthers our understanding of the part Indians played in the conflict.  In this event, Gajendra Singh and Rob Lyman will be discussing the transformation of the Indian Army during the war, from the defeat of the old colonial police force to the creation of a new, bigger, more inclusive army that defeating the Japanese in both north-east India and Burma.

friday Briefing Tent

Ingram Murray

Commissioned into the Royal Engineers in January 1956, Ingram spent his National Service with a Field Squadron in the Middle East pursuing the Queen’s enemies and in his spare time building things, before going up to Oxford.   

Whilst at university he joined the Airborne Engineer Regiment of the Territorial Army as a Troop Commander, later commanding the Parachute Engineer Squadron. He subsequently served as an Intelligence Officer in his Parachute Brigade and with 1st British Corps. His service took him to Aden, Libya, Egypt, Cyprus, and of course, Germany. 

On retiring, as his father-in-law had been an officer in the Buckinghamshire Battalion of the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, he joined the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry Museum as a volunteer. This later became the Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum at Woodstock. He designed the ‘Secret War’ display for the new museum which opened in 2014 and assisted with the ‘Spy Oxfordshire’ exhibition in 2020. Ingram is father to the comedian, Al Murray.

THE SAPPERS AT PEGASUS BRIDGE

Lieutenant-Colonel Ingram Murray is making a welcome return to the festival, and this year will be discussing the vital role played by the airborne sappers at both Pegasus and Horsa Bridges, in ensuring they were not blown by enemy charges.  There were four sappers in each of the six Horsa gliders earmarked for these crossing points over the Caen Canal and River Orne, and in this talk the Colonel will be detailing forensically their roles and how they performed on D-Day.

Saturday The Arsenal

Paul Beaver

Paul Beaver is an aviation historian, broadcaster and writer who specialises in the 1930s and 1940s. He is very much a hands-on historian with historic aircraft display experience. Other aeroplane types in his logbook include the Spitfire, Lancaster, Harvard and Mustang. He is now the Founding Ace of the National Spitfire Project and a Vice-Patron of the Spitfire Society.

THE PATHFINDERS

Will Iredale & Paul Beaver

The Pathfinders were ordinary men and women from a range of nations who revolutionised the efficiency of the Allies’ air campaign over mainland Europe. They elevated RAF’s Bomber Command from an impotent force on the cusp of disintegration in 1942, to one capable of razing whole German cities to the ground in a single night. Will Iredale, author of the award-winning book The Pathfinders, will be in conversation with acclaimed aviation historian Paul Beaver.

Saturday main stage

Rob Lyman

Dr Robert Lyman is a writer and historian. He is a Research Fellow at the Changing Character of War Centre, Pembroke College, University of Oxford.

After finishing a 20 year career in the British Army in 2001 he has published books focused on the Second World War in Europe, North Africa and Asia.

He is Field Marshal Bill Slim’s military biographer. His presentation of the case for Slim won a National Army Museum debate in 2011 for Britain’s Greatest General and his case for Kohima/Imphal won a National Army Museum debate in 2013 for Britain’s Greatest Battle.

THE INDIAN ARMY

Gajendra Singh & Robert Lyman

We are fortunate to have two historians who have done an extraordinary amount of work on the Indian Army in the Second World War and who have produced work that significantly furthers our understanding of the part Indians played in the conflict.  In this event, Gajendra Singh and Rob Lyman will be discussing the transformation of the Indian Army during the war, from the defeat of the old colonial police force to the creation of a new, bigger, more inclusive army that defeating the Japanese in both north-east India and Burma.

Sunday The Arsenal

Andy Aitcheson

Former soldier Andy Aitcheson champions the exploits of the 52nd (Lowland) Division – the territorial Division with a memorable reputation for training as mountain troops. He has a keen interest in following the footstep of White’s 4th Battalion Kings Own Scottish Borderers across northern Europe, visiting many of the locations at which they played their part during 1944 and 1945.

FOOTSTEPS OF THE 52nd

Andy Aitcheson will talk about: The 52nd Lowland Division. Britain’s only fully trained mountain warfare division of the Second World War. Many will know the exploits of the 52nd through the book “With the Jocks”, by Peter White, about his journey across north-west Europe. In “Footsteps of the 52nd” he will delve into the lives and stories of men they call “the Lowlanders.” 

friday the arsenal

Andy Chatterton

Andrew Chatterton is a Second World War historian and Public Relations professional. His role as volunteer Press Officer for the Coleshill Auxiliary Research Team (CART) led to his fascination about the secret layers of defence put in place in case of a German invasion during the Second World War. His first book on the subject “Britain’s Secret Defences” highlights the role these remarkable men, women and teenagers would have played had the Nazis come.

SECTION VII – THE BRITISH RESISTANCE

This is the previously untold story of Britain’s pre-prepared, highly secret, post-occupation resistance force. Section VII were civilian groups set up by the Secret Intelligence Service. These cells were only to become active after Britain had been defeated and at this point were to undertake acts of sabotage, assassination and report on the occupying forces. SIS recruited and trained men, women and young teenagers, almost all of whom went to the grave with their secrets.

friday main stage

Joe Coles

Joe Coles is the creator of The Hush-Kit aviation site, the popular online magazine specialising in military aviation. He is also an author, journalist and has been writing about aviation subjects for 20 years. Hush-Kit contains hundreds of articles of analysis, satire, pilot interviews and historical pieces diving deep into the subject of military aviation. 

THE TOP 10 FIGHTER AIRCRAFT OF THE SECOND WORLD WAR

For this Friday evening event, charge your glasses and come ready for a bit of old-fashioned fun.  Al and James will be welcoming festival goers before being joined by friend of the pod, Joe Coles, the man behind the Hush Kit online aviation magazine, for a countdown of the top 10 fighter aircraft of the war.   Expect lively debate, snarls of derision and a host of odd and unexpected criteria to see which icon of the air lifts the ultimate crown: the Spitfire? The Mustang?  Or something entirely left of field?

Saturday Briefing tent

Christoph bergs

Christoph Bergs is a German military historian and current PhD candidate at King’s College London. In 2017, he founded Military Aviation History, a YouTube channel focusing on military aviation. With detailed walkarounds and cockpit tours, analysis on current events, and through case studies on important aerial operations. Christoph has worked and partnered with many prestigious organisations such as the United States Naval Institute Press, the Royal Air Force, the RAF Museum and the Militärhistorische Museum Berlin-Gatow.

THE RISE & FALL OF THE LUFTWAFFE

Jens Wehner, Christoph Bergs, Chair: Peter Caddick-Adams

The Luftwaffe was the spearhead of the sweeping victories of the early days of the war: modern, ruthless, and its aircrew made up from some of the cream of a new, young generation of ambitious Germans.

Yet it was also poorly led at the very top, misused and overused. By the middle of the war, the Luftwaffe was in terminal decline despite a dramatic rise in aircraft production and the development of the first combat-ready jet.  In this discussion, our experts consider the Luftwaffe’s journey throughout the war.

Sunday Briefing Tent

Jonathan Fennell

Dr Jonathan Fennell is a Reader in Modern History at King’s College London. After completing a Doctorate in Modern History at the University of Oxford, Jonathan worked in management consultancy in the City before joining King’s in 2009. Prior to this he was awarded a joint honours History and Politics Degree at University College Dublin. He also studied History as an Erasmus Scholar at Université Lumière Lyon II.

CITIZEN ARMY

Jonathan Fennell, John McManus & Daniel Todman

Some 75% of the US and DUKE armies that fought in the war were drawn from civilian conscripts, most of whom did not want to be there and would never have worn an army uniform had it not been for the war.  In this event, Jonathan Fennell, Dan Todman and John McManus discuss the raising and training of the Allies’ civilian armies, how they developed and evolved, their fighting prowess and how those at the top managed to keep these men fighting right up to the bitter end.  

sunday the arsenal

Stephen Fisher

SWORD BEACH: D-DAY’S FORGOTTEN VICTORY

The narrative of D-Day is so often dominated by the story of Omaha Beach – in films, video games, documentaries and even in literature. An unfortunate side effect is that the other invasion beaches have become less recognised and, in some cases, unfairly maligned. Such is the case with Sword Beach – described as a failure in post-war years, criticism of the events inland of Hermanville-sur-Mer on D-Day dominates our thinking even today. But this masks an incredibly important achievement on the amphibious landings’ left flank that deserves to be recognised, and amazing stories of valour that have not yet been told.

Saturday The Arsenal

Will Iredale

Will Iredale is a bestselling author, journalist and media consultant. After a decade working at the Sunday Times, first on the foreign news desk and subsequently the home news desk specialising in domestic news and investigations, he wrote the bestselling book The Kamikaze Hunters. His new book is about The Pathfinders during the Second World War.

THE PATHFINDERS

Will Iredale & Paul Beaver

The Pathfinders were ordinary men and women from a range of nations who revolutionised the efficiency of the Allies’ air campaign over mainland Europe. They elevated RAF’s Bomber Command from an impotent force on the cusp of disintegration in 1942, to one capable of razing whole German cities to the ground in a single night. Will Iredale, author of the award-winning book The Pathfinders, will be in conversation with acclaimed aviation historian Paul Beaver.

Saturday Briefing Tent

Bernhard Kast

Bernhard Kast, born 1980, better known on YouTube as Military History (not) Visualized with 700,000 subscribers and 126 million views. Bernhard has an M.A. in History and M.Sc. in Computer Science both from the University of Salzburg.

THE BEST GERMAN GENERALS

Bernhard Kast, Alex Richie, John McManus

Most people can name a handful of German wartime generals: Rommel, Guderian, von Manstein, perhaps. But what of the many others?  Kesselring, Balck, Bayerlein, von Bock? And why do German generals still have such good reputations as battlefield commanders if they lost battles and the war? In this discussion, Bernhard Kast, Alex Richie and John McManus debate who they believe were the finest German field commanders – taking into consideration different theatres, differing moments of the war, the length and breadth of individual careers, and drawing some conclusions.

Sunday Briefing tent

Iain Macgregor

Iain MacGregor has been an editor and publisher of nonfiction for over 25 years. He is the author of the acclaimed oral history of Cold War Berlin: Checkpoint Charlie. As a history student he visited the Baltic and the Soviet Union in the early 1980s, and has been captivated by Soviet history ever since. He has published books on every aspect of the Second World War on the Eastern Front 1941-45 and has visited archives in Leningrad, Moscow, and Volgograd. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and lives with his wife and two children in London.

THE LIGHTHOUSE OF STALINGRAD

The fight for the strategically important Russian city of Stalingrad during the autumn and winter of 1942/43 was the deadliest battle of the Second World War. It left a combined casualty list of over 2 million, the destruction of the Wehrmacht’s premier formation and Hitler’s plans to capture southern Russia lying in ruins. Through extensive research in Russian and German archives, Iain MacGregor discusses this titanic fight of vast armies through the prism of two opposing divisional units. Bringing to life for the first time key personalities and voices from both sides to tell a quite unique story.

friday main stage

Marc Milner

Marc Milner is a professor of military history (Ph.D., University of New Brunswick) and the director or the Milton F. Gregg Centre for the Study of War and Society at the University of New Brunswick, Canada.

He is the author and editor of numerous books, including Battle of the Atlantic, which won the C.P. Stacey Prize for the best book in military history in Canada, and D-Day to Carpiquet: the North Shore Regiment and the Liberation of Europe. His “Stopping the Panzers: the Untold Story of DDay”, won the Brigadier James Collins Book Prize awarded by the US Commission on Military History for the best book of 2014.

THE ATLANTIC WAR

Stephen Prince & Marc Milner

At We Have Ways HQ, it’s a firmly held view that the battle that raged in the Atlantic was the single most important of the entire Second World War.  After all, almost every soldier, every tank, every precious mineral, that reached Britain and subsequently Europe, had to pass through its waters.  What’s more, the conflict across its vast expanse lasted the length of the war in Europe and witnessed breathtaking heroism, astonishing developments in weapons technology and immense human sacrifice.  In this discussion, leading Canadian historian, Marc Milner, and Head of the Naval Historical Branch, Steve Prince, talk about the course of the battle, the ebbs and flows, and why it was so pivotal to the course of the war.

friday briefing tent

Rana Mitter

Rana Mitter studies the emergence of nationalism in modern China, both in the early 20th century and in the contemporary era. He is particularly interested in the impact of China’s war with Japan in the 1930s and 1940s on the development of Chinese politics, society, and culture.

THE WAR IN CHINA

Rana Mitter with Alex Richie

In 1937, China was plunged into a terrible, brutal war with Japan that resulted in tens of millions of deaths and totally reshaped East Asia.  In this conversation, Rana Mitter will be discussing with Alex Richie many of the key features of this still little-known part of the Second World War. They’ll speak about the horrific massacres carried out by the Japanese, the systemic corruption at the heart of Chiang Kai-shek’s Kuomintang, the rise of Mao’s communists, the misplaced ambition of the Allies, and the battles and campaigns that raged right until the very end.

Saturday The Arsenal

Rex Factor podcast

Rex Factor is a fabulous podcast reviewing the kings & queens of England & Scotland. It is one of the leading podcasts about the history of the royals, with significant followers on both sides of the Atlantic. 

THE MONARCHY AT WAR

Following the abdication of Edward VIII, the Royal Family were thrown into turmoil. Edward’s flirtation with the Nazi leadership caused huge embarrassment to the family. It took the steadying hand of George VI to reestablish the Royals at the heart of war time society. The Rex Factor boys will delve deep into the story fo the Royals at war.

Saturday The Arsenal

Séan scullion

A bilingual Spanish-English speaker, Séan was brought up and educated in Spain during the final throes of the Franco Regime and its Transición to Democracy.  He is a Hispanic Studies graduate from the University of Nottingham and his historical interests lie in the conduct of the Spanish Civil War, other aspects of the Second World War and the Anglo-Portuguese Army in the Peninsular War. A British Army officer serving in the Royal Engineers, he regularly guides groups in Spain, Portugal and France and is Secretary of the Royal Engineers Historical Society.

CONTINUING THE FIGHT: SPANIARDS IN THE BRITISH ARMY 1939 – 46

When the Spanish Civil War ended in 1939, hundreds of thousands of Spaniards fled their country. Within months, war had broken out in Europe and tens of thousands of these Spaniards were continuing the fight against fascism. Drawn from personal accounts and other sources, this talk tells the untold story, service and contribution of Spaniards in the British Army during the Second World War.  Having a variety of experience and backgrounds, battle hardened Spaniards served across the British Army and distinguished themselves in the Middle East Commandos, Airborne Forces, SAS and SOE.

saturday the arsenal

John Tregoning

Dr John Tregoning is the author of Infectious: Pathogens and how we fight them which describes the science of infectious disease and the enormous steps forward science has made in fighting diseases. John is currently reader in respiratory infections at Imperial College London, where he has studied the immune responses to vaccination and respiratory infection for 20 years. John has written 75 scientific articles and numerous articles on scientific careers including a COVID diary in Nature. John was a territorial army Captain, where he served as Machine Gun Platoon Commander in the London Regiment.

BACTERIA BATTLEFIELD

The Second World War represented a huge shift in medical care for those injured on the battlefield: for the first time deaths from injuries outnumbered deaths from disease. John will discuss the scientific breakthroughs (particularly penicillin, but also malaria and vaccines) that led to this shift. He will also discuss the advances in logistics, command and planning that contributed to the far greater recovery of injured soldiers. By exploring the different approaches across the Axis and Allied forces, he will show that this led to dramatically different outcomes. The conflict was brutal, but the huge advances in treatment ensured a far higher percentage of injured soldiers survived

Saturday Briefing Tent

Jens Wehner

Jens Wehner is a curator of the Dresden Military History Museum.

THE RISE & FALL OF THE LUFTWAFFE

Jens Wehner, Christoph Bergs, Chair: Peter Caddick-Adams.

The Luftwaffe was the spearhead of the sweeping victories of the early days of the war: modern, ruthless, and its aircrew made up from some of the cream of a new, young generation of ambitious Germans.  Yet it was also poorly led at the very top, misused and overused.  By the middle of the war was in terminal decline despite a dramatic rise in aircraft production and the development of the first combat-ready jet.  In this discussion, our experts consider the Luftwaffe’s journey throughout the Second World War.

Sunday breifing tent

Bastiaan Willems

Bastiaan Willems examines the motivations behind the public executions of soldiers and civilians during the final stage of the Second World War. Rather than merely considering these brutalities as the final trappings of National Socialism, his research explores the causes of the violence which scarred the final months of the war. 

BERLIN 45: THE END

Waitman Beorn, Alex Richie & Bastiaan Willems

At the war’s end, the capital of the Reich lay in ruins.  Hitler had always vowed there would be a thousand-year Reich or there would be Armageddon. In this event, Waitman Beorn, Alex Richie and Bastiaan Willems discuss the final battle for Berlin: the continued bombing of the city, the massive Red Army offensive, the desperate street battles, the final days of Hitler himself, and the total, complete collapse of the Nazi State.

friday main stage

Daniel Todman

Daniel Todman is Lecturer in Modern British History at Queen Mary, University of London. He formerly taught military history at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. He specialises in the history of Britain and the British Commonwealth and Empire during the two world wars.

CITIZEN ARMY

Jonathan Fennell, John McManus & Daniel Todman

Some 75% of the US and DUKE armies that fought in the war were drawn from civilian conscripts, most of whom did not want to be there and would never have worn an army uniform had it not been for the war.  In this event, Jonathan Fennell, Dan Todman and John McManus discuss the raising and training of the Allies’ civilian armies, how they developed and evolved, their fighting prowess and issues of morale and how those at the top managed to keep these men fighting right up to the bitter end.  

friday main stage

John Lilley

John Lilley is the Chairman and Managing Director of The People’s Mosquito project, which aims to both restore and see airborne over British skies a De Havilland Mosquito for the first time in too long.  Although a successful businessman in his own right, John has worked on a number of warbird restoration projects for many years, including work on an Avro Lancaster B.X, Handley Page Victor, Supermarine Spitfire F.24, and a Short Sunderland MR.V.

THE MOSQUITO

Des Curtis DFC & John Lilley

The De Havilland Mosquito remains one of the most iconic aircraft ever built, and the one, above all, that sent Göring into paroxysms of rage and envy, such was its speed, stealth and lethality.  In this very special event, Des Curtis DFC will be recalling his wartime experiences as a Mosquito navigator, training with 618 Squadron for a bouncing bomb mission against the Tirpitz, then later carrying out anti-u-boat operations in the Channel and the Atlantic.  He will be joined by John Lilley, head of The People’s Mosquito project, who will explain the history of the aircraft and the plans to see one flying over British skies once again.

friday main stage

Giles Milton

Giles Milton is an internationally best-selling author and historian, including Nathaniel’s Nutmeg, D-Day and Churchill’s Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare, about which he is talking at this year’s We Have Ways Fest.  Splitting his time between the UK and France, Giles is a prolific researcher and writer, spending much of his time in dusty archives and pouring over diaries, letters and personal papers that illuminate his books.

 

friday main stage

David Willey

David Willey is the Curator of the Tank Museum at Bovington and a mine of information about armoured fighting vehicles and not least those of the Second World War.  A very familiar face – and voice – to the many thousands who visit the Tank Museum and its showcase Tank Fest and Tiger Day, he regularly appears on television – and, of course, We Have Ways.

Kate Vigurs

KATE VIGURS

S.O.E – SECRET AGENTS & SABOTAGE 

Friend of the pod, Kate Vigurs, will be on hand all weekend with a stand full of wartime secret agent ephemera to help her explain more about the skills and experiences of a Special Operations Executive agent. Discover what training an agent had to undertake from silent killing to parachuting, blowing things up to shooting things down, and learn what life was like preparing to go into Occupied France as a secret agent. As anyone who has listened to We Have Ways will know, Kate is a skilled historical interpreter and SOE expert, and alongside her performance you will be able to see a replica wireless set, explosives, covert weapons and firearms that the SOE used across occupied Europe and beyond.

The London Django Collective

Music on Saturday evening at the Festival will be provided by The London Django Collective, a brilliant gypsy jazz band influenced by the musical legacy of Django Reinhardt. Long time listeners to We Have Ways will know that our theme music is in the style of Django, who was hunted by the Nazis in Paris for being a Romani. Reinhardt tried to escape from Occupied France but was captured. Remarkable good fortune helped him escape, as a Jazz-loving Luftwaffe officer allowed him to return to Paris. The London Django Collective will play two sets either side of our main event on Saturday evening.

Ned Holland

Ned Holland is a 20-year-old singer-songwriter from the South of England. Having recently released his debut EP ‘Slow Down’ to gigging at pubs in London, such as the Half Moon in Putney and busking in Sydney, he has already acquired a unique style, mixing an acoustic tone with an alternative pop balance. At this years We Have Ways Fest, Ned will be playing a selection of wartime covers from Vera Lynn to the Kinks.

friday The Arsenal

Fighting on FIlm

Hosted by friends and Second World War historians Robbie McGuire and Matthew Moss, the Fighting on Film podcast reviews popular and forgotten war movie epics.

Following on from the success of 2021, Robbie and Matthew will be back with the Fighting on Film Quiz.

HOMEGUARDSMAN

We’re glad to say that Corporal Stephen ‘Abs’ Wisdom of the Home Guard, will be on site at the festival all weekend, ensuring our safety and offering a helping hand, whether to those lost, those in search of a tent, or those wanting to know how to strip and clean a Short Magazine Lee Enfield or Bren.  Abs will also be performing his one-man show, ‘The Road to Dunkirk’.