Trench Chat: Old Contemptibles with Andrew Thornton

In the latest Trench Chat we talk to historian and battlefield guide Andrew Thornton about his research on the men of the British Expeditionary Force in 1914, the ‘Old Contemptibles’. Who were they, and what is the history behind the Old Contemptibles Association. We also discuss the death of John Parr at Mons in 1914, the soldier believed to be the first killed on the Western Front in 1914.

Andrew Thornton at Ypres in 2018

You can follow Andrew Thornton on Twitter and also join his Old Contemptibles Facebook group.

Below are some books relating to the Old Contemtpibles and some of Andrew Thornton’s books. Click on an image to be taken to the Amazon Page for that book. Buying books this way helps support the Old Front Line. Thank you!

Pte John Parr: The First to Die?

Andrew Thornton has written a long and detailed account of this for his blog – which you can read here:

10 Comments on “Trench Chat: Old Contemptibles with Andrew Thornton

  1. Hi Andrew
    Dave cole said you may be able to help me. I am trying to find out about a private in ww1 by the name of Frank E Squirrell he was part on the Suffolk regiment and served on the western front. I believe he went to the front, was injured and then went back to the front. If you do have anything it would be awesome to hear it. I am a good friend of his grandson and am trying to put the information together as a gift for him.
    Thank you in advance

    Liked by 1 person

  2. 3/8550 Frank Edward Squirrel was a member of the 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion, The Suffolk Regiment and was drafted to France on 15 September 1914 to join the 2nd Battalion. His entry on the British War Medal/Victory Medal Roll states that he was at some point attached to the 2nd Battalion, The Royal Irish Regiment.


  3. Don’t know how I missed it but glad I found this this morning. Most interesting and informative. Have spent this afternoon reading the Blog on Private John Henry Parr, interested in this since 2013 when the first cemetery I visited was St Symphorien.
    All good stuff, well done.and Andrew

    Liked by 1 person

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