Sapper History


Illustrated talks designed for a general audience.


‘...there is some corner of a foreign field that is forever England.’ 

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission - its foundation in 1917,

its subsequent development, visiting its cemeteries and

its value to researchers and family history enthusiasts.


Captain Cecil Tuff QORWK & his brothers.

The four Tuff brothers of Rochester all served in WW1.

Two survived, one lies buried in Malta and

the resting place of the other has recently been found. 

Learn how this was discovered.  See comment below.


4 November 1918—Seven VCs in one day.

Crossing the Sambre-Oise canal referring particularly to the actions of

Sapper Archibald, Major Waters & Major Findlay and their fellow Sappers

See comment below.


The Royal Engineers Museum.

A former Sapper’s personal view of the roles of the Royal Engineers as displayed

at the Royal Engineers’ Museum, Gillingham, focussing on their World War 1 activities.

See comment below.


The General Officers of World War 1.

Short talk :  A commentary on John Singer Sargent’s painting - to view click here

Short talk :  More than you might expect: the General Officer casualties in the war.

These can be combined into one talk.


Bailey: the bridge and the man.

A talk about the eponymous bridge, from its development at the start of World War 2,

earlier military bridges, its successors and its current military and civilian use.

See review below.


Hobart’s Funnies: before, then and now

Describing the specialised tanks that came to the fore on D Day and

have remained in use since then and were on active duty in Afghanistan.


World War 1: Mons to the Somme.

Covering the retreat from Mons to the Marne, the advance to the river Aisne,

the move to Flanders and the events of 1916. Particular reference is made to

 the higher command of the BEF, various actions of the Royal West Kent Regiment

and the work of the Royal Engineers.


A Forgotten Medal for Gallantry

The story of the Albert Medal now superseded by the George Cross.


Lt Ewen MC, 23rd Bn London Regt.

Researching a World War 1 soldier from West Kingsdown killed in action 1918.


Lt Col Sir Richard Fletcher RE

Commanding Royal Engineer in the Peninsular War, his life and times.


Military Bridging in the Peninsular War.

A commentary on the work and achievements of the British military engineers.

Originally delivered at the Wellington Congress, Southampton University in 2013.


For more information email


Captain Cecil Tuff QORWK & his brothers.

Mrs Prunella Scarlett LVO, the great niece of Captain Tuff, who attended

the rededication service at Oosttaverne Wood Cemetery with

her brother Mr Geoffrey Tuff, recently said:

The Tuff family is thrilled that the grave of our great uncle Cecil has been found.

We are so grateful to all those involved in the research, particularly the researcher Martin Stoneham, whose initiative it was after reading the names on his local World War I memorial.


4 November 1918—Seven VCs in one day—comment from the host:

Thank you once again for your brilliant presentation on Monday evening.

It really proved to be a focal talking point of the evening; I heard so many staff and guests discussing the detail of your research and the clear, poignant delivery. 


The Royal Engineers Museum - Comment from the IET retired members Group organiser:

I found it fascinating and I know, from comments afterwards, that so did my members.

The Royal Engineers are clearly an outstanding part of the British army and you demonstrated their skill, achievements and bravery in an interesting and comprehensive way.


Bailey: the bridge and the man - From Sevenoaks Chronicle

The story of the Bailey Bridge  and the man responsible for a wartime design that helped the allied armies surge through Europe, was told to Probus members by Martin Stoneham

in an illustrated talk that captivated his audience. 

The Bailey Bridge was, as Mr Stoneham described, “the original flatpack”.

But it could be put together in half a day, such was the ease of its construction.

So durable was the Bailey Bridge that examples exist today, although the first bridge

 dated as far back as 1942. Altogether more than 1,500 Bailey Bridges were

built across Europe, with one spanning 4,000 feet over the Rhine.