Future Events


DOA talk: Tunnelling for victory in WW1 – 9 October

All welcome for the third in a series of talks for the Dunsden Owen Association marking 100 years since the death of Wilfred Owen

Tunnelling for victory in WW1

Robin Sanderson and Richard Crompton – Tuesday 9 October

Dunsden Village Hall, RG4 9QG at 7.30pm – entry on door, £4 including refreshments.

Robin and Richard are descendants of WW1 tunnellers who have become active in researching the remarkable story of their relatives’ contribution to the British war effort.

Everybody damns the Tunneller; GHQ because he invariably has his job finished months before the rest of the Army are ready for the ‘Great Push’… Brass hats because they dislike his underground habits; Regimental officers because he refuses to allow them to use his deep and snug dugouts; Subalterns because of his superior knowledge; Tommy because… of his extra pay; and last and loudest, the Boche damn him because of his earnest and unceasing attempts at uplifting and converting them into surprised angels. It is also owing to his success in this noble work of the missionary that the Tunneller is highly respected by all branches of the forces’. [E Synton, 1918]

‘Hellfire Jack’ or John Norton-Griffiths, MP for Wednesbury, was an engineer who in 1913 formed the first Royal Engineers tunnelling companies by recruiting miners and Manchester sewer workers who he knew could tunnel faster and quieter than the Germans. By mid-1916 the British had around 25,000 trained tunnellers. Almost twice that number worked alongside them fetching and carrying essential elements of mining paraphernalia, pumping air and water and removing spoil. Parts of the Western Front became labyrinths of underground workings. Troops not directly involved in tunnelling knew little of the plans because leaks of information might lead not only to the wastage of colossal effort and the ruination of a plan, but the loss of many lives in the most hideous of circumstances: entombment, drowning, gassing or obliteration in cramped and claustrophobic galleries beneath no man’s land.

How did the tunnelling companies go about their epic work? This fascinating illustrated talk will also include the demonstration of a number of historic tunnelling artefacts.


Past Events


DOA talk: From Shellshock to Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

All welcome for the first in a series of talks for the Dunsden Owen Association marking 100 years since the death of Wilfred Owen

Prof. Suzanna Rose: From Shellshock to Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

Tuesday 10 July
Dunsden Village Hall, RG4 9QG at 7.30pm
Entry on door, £4 including refreshments

Battle stress has been recognised since the sixth century BC and has had many names including shell shock, war neurosis, soldier's heart, gross stress reaction, transient situation disturbance, tunnel disease, railway spine disorder, combat stress and Buffalo Creek syndrome. It was first named PTSD in the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of 1980.

In World War 1, the British army viewed shell-shock as cowardice and desertion and it was often used as a pretext for execution. In World War II it was labelled by the Royal Air Force as evidence of a ‘lack of moral fibre’. Today it is more likely to be simply labelled as ‘stress’.

Suzanna Rose will look at responses to traumatic events over the centuries, including WWI shellshock, WWII battle fatigue and leading on to the formulation of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder in the 1980s. We will look at causality and treatment options over the years. Current treatments will be discussed in some detail.

Professor Rose (nee de Wreede) JP DL PhD MA RN lives in Henley on Thames and is a Visiting Professor of Psychology at the University of Reading.

She retired from the NHS in 2014 where she set up and clinically practiced in three specialist services treating Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. She was also head of Psychological Therapies and head of Research. She became a Governor of Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust in 2015. She is President of the Berkshire Branch of the British Red Cross. In the past she has led several disaster responses both within the UK and overseas. She is also the Red Cross Representative Governor of the Royal Star and Garter Homes. She has published extensively and has spoken at conferences in many parts of the world.

In 2007 she was made a DL of the Royal County of Berkshire and 2012-13 she served as High Sheriff of the Royal County. She is married with two adult children and two grandchildren.


For further information
Please email the parish Clerk, Marilyn Sermon

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