Category Archives: personal

To the Front, with Sassoon

Marion and I are off to London today, and tomorrow will be heading to Ebbsfleet, to join a tour organised by Battle Honours, in conjunction with the Siegfried Sassoon Fellowship: Siegfried Sassoon on the Western Front. We’ll be following the poet’s wartime career, beginning in Festubert, where he met Robert Graves (‘a young poet, captain […]

Aberdeen

I’m looking forward to heading north to Aberdeen tomorrow. Mostly because of the Fictional First World War conference, but also because it is where my father’s family comes from. My grandfather (also George Simmers) was born there in 1868, at 191, Gallowgate. This picture, of another house in the street, probably gives an idea of […]

The York National Book Fair

I hadn’t been to an event like this for a couple of years, so enjoyed my visit to York Racecourse on Friday, to what is billed as Britain’s largest Antiquarian book fair. I didn’t buy much, though. The fair is aimed at book collectors, and I’m more of a book amasser, whose books pile up […]

Aircraft Repair Depot

Above is a painting of an Aircraft Repair Depot towards the end of the war. Not No. 3 Western depot in Gloucestershire where my grandfather was stationed, but No.1 Southern Aircraft Repair Depot, South Farnborough. The painting is by Graham Glen, and shows  ‘Women’s Royal Air Force at Work on Aeroplane Salvage’. Click it to […]

My grandfather

Thanks to those who helped clear up the ‘ T.F.’ mystery. I’m more used to reading novels than Army records. Maybe readers could help me a bit more… I’ll start by telling the story of my grandfather’s Army service, so far as I know it, which isn’t very far, in the hope that someone might […]

T.F.?

At the National Archives last weekend, I did a little more research on my grandfather, and will post about it soon. Meanwhile, I am puzzled by an abbreviation in the London Gazette : What does T.F. mean? I bet there’s someone out there who knows.

A decade of blogging

I woke this morning to an email congratulating me to the fact that this blog is ten years old today. I really hadn’t realised. Occasionally I get fed up with commemorations and anniversaries, but here is one that I suppose I ought to mark. Ten Years. Quite a while.

Debits and Credits

Yesterday I bought a new copy of Debits and Credits. My previous copy has been read to bits. It is an American (Doubleday, page & Co.) first edition of 1926, picked up somewhere by my father during his seafaring years. Its cover is stamped with a rather attractive picture of an ancient ship, which I […]

National Libraries Day

Regular readers of this blog may have twigged that a fair bit of the reading I mention here is actually re-reading. ‘Sapper’, Ian Hay, A.E.W. Mason, P.G. Wodehouse, H.G. Wells, Agatha Christie, Leslie Charteris, George Bernard Shaw, G.K. Chesterton: these and others are writers whom I first read as a young teenager. Mostly I found […]

‘Sapper’ in Amiens

Tomorrow I shall be going to Amiens, to deliver a paper on “‘Sapper’ : from realism to melodrama” to a conference organised by Les Amis du Roman Populaire. This is an association devoted to all kinds of popular fiction – but especially to the French fiction of the last century, and this conference is considering […]