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World War One Poster

What did you do in the War, Daddy?

Stories of Lancastrians (including members of my own family) who served in conflicts from the Boer War to Afghanistan.  NEW

The road to the Armistice

The talk reviews the First World War as well as the final days and what brought about the guns falling silent on the 11th November 1918.  NEW

 A Mother’s tears

A few lines spotted in the ‘In Memoriam’ column of my local paper in June 1918 gave me the idea for this talk. I have put together some very poignant stories from my own research into WW1 over the years. As the title implies, they view the War through different eyes.

First World War battlefields – then & now

The talk shows many of the battlefields on The Western Front and Gallipoli as they were during the War, and how they look one hundred years on; many photographs from my own collection.

Rails to The Front

Railways (both at home and abroad) played an important part in the First World War, taking men and materiel to and from The Western Front; numerous maps and photographs.

Footballers in the trenches

Combining research into WW1 with my interest in football. Numerous stories of amateur and professional footballers who fought in the trenches during the War.

“For you the War is over”

Stories of Lancashire men who became Prisoners of War – from where they were captured to the camps and conditions they were held in, to what happened to them in hands of the Germans, Turks and Japanese in two World Wars.

Preston in World War Two

A snap shot of life in Preston during the Second World War – from rationing to air raids and V.E. Day in the town on the 8th May 1945.

Battlefields & Poppyfields

Looks at the many of the WW1 & WW2 battlefields in Northern Europe – from Ypres, Verdun and the Somme to Dunkirk, Normandy, Bastogne and Arnhem.


Lancashire footballing greats

Features many of the greatest footballers the county of Lancashire has produced, including Dixie Dean, Tom Finney, Nat Lofthouse, Bryan Douglas, Alan Ball and Howard Kendall.

Blackburn Rovers in the Bryan Douglas era

A look at the Rovers during the era of one of its most famous players, England International Bryan Douglas. He played for his hometown club from 1950 to 1969.

Blackburn Rovers in black & white

Looks at the Rovers from their formation in 1875 through to the advent of the Premeir League in 1992.

Preston North End in the Tom Finney era

Sir Tom Finney was one of England’s greatest players, playing for his hometown club from 1938 to 1960, as well as making 76 appearances for his country; he died in 2014.

 Travel, Railways and Social History

Travel, Military and Social

“Nowt but a Lad”

A very personal talk of my life in Lancashire since the 1950s – from schooldays through to my business career, plus 30 years as a football Referee and my interest in the First World War.

The railway from Blackburn to Chorley

In steam days the train from Blackburn to Chorley took around 25 minutes, going through some rustic villages and rugged Lancashire countryside; it closed in 1968. Numerous ‘then and now’ photographs.

Lakeland Lines

Looks at the railways in the Lake District, then and now – the closed lines to Coniston and Keswick, the preserved line to Lakeside, the narrow gauge Ravenglass & Eskdale and the line to Windermere.

Along the line from Preston to Blackburn

The railway between the Lancashire towns of Preston and Blackburn goes through numerous villages. The talk looks at the stretch of line through the villages of Brindle and Hoghton over the years.

Rails to the Lancashire Coast

A look back at journeys to resorts of Blackpool, Fleetwood, Morecambe as well as Heysham, Knott End and Glasson Dock during the steam era, the hey-day of rail travel.

Railways around Chorley

The history of the railways around the Lancashire market town of Chorley.  NEW

Railways Walks

Features walks along existing and disused railways in the Lake District, Lancashire, France, Belgium and Italy, outlining the history along the lines; many ‘then & now’ pictures.


There is more to the Normandy than just the D-Day beaches. Whilst the talk covers the events of the June 1944, it takes a wider look at the historic region of northern France.

Malta GC

The talk looks at some of the history of the Mediterranean island of Malta – from the Knights of St. John and ‘Great Siege’ in the 16th century, through to World War Two when the island was awarded the George Cross by King George VI in 1942.

Italian reflections

I first visited Italy in 1994 visiting Milan and Bergamo. Since then I have visited Venice, Sardinia, Sicily, the Italian Lakes, the Dolomites, Naples and “The eternal City”, Rome.

The history of ROF Chorley

The Royal Ordnance Factory at Euxton near Chorley was one of the largest munitions factories in the U.K. Opened in 1938, at its height in wartime it employed over 35,000 workers. The factory closed in 2007 with the 925 acre site becoming Buckshaw Village.

Who do you think I am?

Based on the format of the BBC TV programme ‘Who do you think you are’? Although from Lancashire, my own family history goes back to 16th century London, the Home Counties and Yorkshire, with connections to America and the penal colonies in Australia.

Two Lancashire villages – then & now

The villages of Brindle and Hoghton near Chorley go back before the Domesday Book and have seen many changes over the centuries, especially since Victorian time.   NEW

Other talks available

The Chorley Pals (WW1), Kitchener’s Pals (WW1), the Battle of the Somme (WW1, 1916), Gallipoli (WW1, 1915), Ypres and the mud of Passchendaele (WW1, 1917), All over by Christmas (WW1), On the battlefields with the BBC (WW1, Somme and Ypres battlefields) and Death of a village (WW2, Oradour-sur-Glane in France).


Groups and Clubs – £50
Historical Societies, Libraries & Schools – £60

Travel expenses

I look for a contribution towards petrol / travel costs when travelling more than 15 miles from my home.

Terms & Conditions

Payment is to be made at the end of a talk / event. If a confirmed booking is cancelled, for whatever reason, by the organiser I will charge half-fee accordingly. I do not accept any liability for withdrawing from a booking or non-attendance at short notice due to reasons beyond my control (i.e.: illness, traffic accident / delays or similar). Copyright of all talks / presentations and supporting material rests with me as the author / presenter.

Copyright © 2018 Steve Williams