The Second World War – online talks series

Enjoy all five online talks in the Second World War Series for the price of four, by booking this series ticket.

The Talks Series comprises of:

Thursday 6th August 2-3pm: Reading in the Second World War: with Stuart Hylton

Based upon his book Reading at War, Stuart will explore how the war affected Reading and its citizens. From the victims of war, both military and civilian, the privations and shortages; examples of heroism and self-sacrifice; to in contrast, the black market and war-related crime. Hear about the relationship between the townspeople and the 25,000 or so evacuees visited on them in September 1939. And see how wartime advertising expounded ‘make do and mend’, to combat the lack of things to buy. 

Thursday 13th August 2-3pm: Reading’s Home Guard: with Mike Cooper

Formed in 1940, the Home Guard was one of  a number of voluntary and part-time formations raised for local defence. Despite the bumbling image created by the BBC classic “Dad’s Army”, the force emerged as a well-trained, well equipped and highly motivated part of Britain’s defences. Find out about Reading’s Home Guard in this fascinating talk.

Saturday 22nd August 12 noon-1pm: The Battle of Britain: with Richard Marks

In 1940, Britain stood alone following the fall of France. With the German army poised across the channel, only the RAF could prevent the Luftwaffe from gaining the air supremacy needed to successfully mount the expected invasion. Historian Richard Marks, will look at how the RAF’s systems and equipment allowed them to retain air supremacy over southern England and prevent the invasion.

Thursday 3rd September 2-3pm: Women in World War Two: with Bill King

Discover how the talents of women were integrated into the British war effort on the Home Front, in industry and in the Armed Services at every level during World War Two. Bill is a popular speaker and his talks are meticulously researched.

Thursday 24th September 2-3pm: The Changing Army: The British Army 1939-45: with Mike Cooper

The Second World War mobilised British society in a way no other had, and this was reflected in the changing composition of the Army. The Army also adapted to different conditions, environments and technology.  Discover how the Army was structured, recruited and supported and how this changed during the War. What “being in the Army” meant could vary enormously from being a pay clerk in Manchester, to a tank crewman in Rangoon. A must for anyone with ancestors who fought in the war.

For individual talk tickets – see the relevant individual event listing. 

You will need to pre-book, because full joining instructions will be emailed in advance. Bookings close one day before the first talk. 

To join this talk, you will need a computer (or laptop/tablet) which has speakers and a microphone. Ideally, also a webcam. You need to be able to access emails from this device. First-time users will be asked to download a small piece of software. This will be sent to you in advance. 

To book scroll down.

Image: wikimedia

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  • Bill King
    Bill King

    Bills’ main historical specialism is the Second World War, with particular reference to the role of Airborne and Special forces and in clandestine warfare. He has conducted extensive research on the role of the British Resistance Organisation (Auxiliary Units) and has contributed to the books ‘With Britain in Mortal Danger’ (2002) and ‘Churchill’s Underground Army’ (2008).

    Bills interests and research has led him to contributing articles to ‘After the Battle’ magazine and to elements of the books ‘D-Day – Then and Now’, ‘Operation Market – Garden – then and now’ and ‘Glenn Miller in Britain – Then and Now’. He is a former Chairman of the Ridgeway Military and Aviation Research Group (RMARG) and is a member of The Western Front Association and of the Military Vehicle Trust.

    Bill has appeared on radio and TV on many occasions, including Countryfile’ on BBC1, ‘History Mysteries’ on BBC2, the Channel 4 series ‘Dads Secret Army’, the Channel 5 Select series ‘Secrets of the National Trust’, and ‘The Thames, Britain’s Great River’ with Tony Robinson. In addition, Bill is a regular speaker throughout Wiltshire, Berkshire, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire and Dorset.

  • Mike Cooper
    Mike Cooper

    Mike has had a lifelong interest in history, especially military and local history. Following a history degree at the University of Reading he worked as a librarian, with both the University and Reading Library. In addition to work on librarianship, he has had three books on the history of Reading published. Mike works for Reading Borough Council, and lives in Tilehurst with his wife and Moggy the Cat.

  • Richard Marks
    Richard Marks

    Richard Marks is a published historian based in Berkshire who specialises in military, industrial and railway history. His current areas of research are the aircraft and systems of the RAF, industrial development in the Victorian period, and the development of the railway and canal systems in Britain in the mid to late 19th Century. Richard is also currently researching a PhD in industrial history.

  • Stuart Hylton
    Stuart Hylton

    Stuart Hylton has had a total of 28 books published, on historic subjects both local and national. He was born and grew up in Windsor, went to Manchester University and has lived in Reading since 1980, where he worked as a town planner. He is now retired and, when not writing, spends his time as part of the Didcot Railway Centre’s Education Team, and doing volunteer work for Reading Museum. He is married, with two grown up children.

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