18 January 2017 15:10
Subject: The Somme - From both sides of the wire
Peter Barton is an historian and writer on First World War matters, and a film-maker and broadcaster producing and presenting historical documentaries for television and festivals. From 2002 to 2013, he was secretary of the All Party Parliamentary War Heritage Group. He works as a consultant with the French and Belgian institutes of Archaeology advising on First World War excavations planned and in progress, and has himself instigated several unique archaeological excavations on the Western Front, including the Vampir Dugout project in 2007, the quest for the Livens Large Gallery Flame Projector in 2010, and a four-year project at La Boisselle, Somme.
In the past he has organised reunions for First World War veterans, both in the UK and in France and Belgium. He instigated and designed the DCLI memorial unveiled by Harry Patch near Langemarck, Belgium in 2008, and also the Tunnellers’ Memorial in Givenchy, France (2010). He was historian for the Fromelles mass-grave project, where the remains of over 250 allied soldiers were recovered and reburied in a new cemetery.
Peter's most recent publication, The Lost Legions of Fromelles, reflects his passion for unbiased history. It was the first book to look at a First World War action in a detailed, balanced manner using primary sources from the archives of all the belligerents with the object of seeking a better truth. It was awarded the Australian History Prize. To press and public acclaim, his latest television project, the BBC’s Somme centenary series, followed this same approach.