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1940s Society Shop >  Activities >  The 1940's Society

The 1940's Society

Regular meetings and a newsletter make the society a must for 40's enthusiasts.


The Society

The 1940's Society hold regular meetings with lectures and discussions on different aspects of the 1940's. Despite the Home Front being of particular interest to subscribers, subjects vary widely and have included lectures on French escape lines and the Russian Front. Regular film evenings are also popular with classic wartime films and propaganda shorts being shown.

Meetings are informal and friendly with refreshments and cakes always proving to be popular.

The Society also produces a regular magazine which includes up to date information and news & views for those interested in 1940's issues. This magazine is no longer produced in printed form but but is distributed electronically by email and is free to anyone who suscribes. Please fill in the form at the bottom of this page to subscribe.


I am always interested to hear from individuals or groups who have specialist knowledge and would be able to give an informal talk or lecture to our members. Please Contact me if you can help.

Meetings take place at Otford Village Memorial Hall, Otford, Near Sevenoaks, Kent and start at 8pm.
26 January 2018

The history and restoration of the paddle steamer ‘Medway Queen’ by Pat and Mark Bathurst of the Medway Queen Preservation Society.

Paddle Steamer Medway Queen was built by the Ailsa Shipbuilding Company of Troon Scotland in 1924, for the New Medway Steam Packet Company of Rochester and is the last of the estuary paddle steamers that were built to take passengers on day trips on the Thames and Medway Estuaries, calling at locations such as Southend, Clacton-on-Sea, Herne Bay and Margate. At the outbreak of the Second World War she was commissioned into the Royal Navy and became a minesweeper As HMS Medway Queen she was now armed with a twelve pound gun and two Lewis guns. On the 27th of May 1940 she was ordered to the beaches of Dunkirk “to embark some troops that would be waiting there”. During the following days the Medway Queen rescued in excess of 7,000 men, completing seven trips – a record for a ship below the size of a destroyer. At the start of her final return to England, with almost 500 French troops on board, she sustained significant damage in a collision. After the war she was refitted and then returned for several years to her peacetime role. With lottery and European funding the vessel is currently being restored. The talk this evening will explore the history of this unique vessel.

Come along to what will be an informative and thought provoking evening.
8pm at Otford Memorial Hall near Sevenoaks, Kent.
Further details on 07927 748773 Admission £3
30 March 2018

Kent at War 1939-1941 by Bob Ogley

During the Second World War Kent was the county closest to occupied Europe with many of the population living closer to France than to London. Well-known local Kent historian Bob Ogley will explore some of the major events and effects of the war on Kent, a county that was on the ‘front line’ of the war and experienced many of its effects at first hand.

Meetings are held in Otford Village Memorial Hall, High Street, Otford, TN14 5PQ. Parking in the adjacent car park is free from 18:00. Meetings start at 20:00. Refreshments are available. Admission £3. All are welcome to our informative, entertaining and often thought-provoking evenings.
25 May 2018

Mary Ellis: Spitfire Girl by Melody Foreman

'Mary Wilkins Ellis' was one of the 166 brave women ferry pilots who flew with the wartime Air Transport Auxiliary. In this illustrated talk Mary's biographer Melody Foreman examines the life and times of this determined aviatrix who flew and delivered 400 Spitfires and 76 different types of aircraft to RAF and USAF airfields throughout Britain. Prepare to be amazed by her fascinating story.

Meetings are held in Otford Village Memorial Hall, High Street, Otford, TN14 5PQ. Parking in the adjacent car park is free from 18:00. Meetings start at 20:00. Refreshments are available. Admission £3. All are welcome to our informative, entertaining and often thought-provoking evenings.
27 July 2018

'If War Should Come' by Alan Williams.

Alan will explore examples of British film production and show a selection of British documentary and feature-film extracts from British cinema between 1936 and the early 1940s. From the mid 1930s British commercial film producers, the documentary film movement and the government sought to predict and explain to the British cinema-going public what impact war would make to life in Britain. Films and film extracts to be shown this evening include, amongst others, 'Things to Come' (1936), 'If War Should Come' (1939), 'The Front Line' (1940) and 'Miss Grant Goes to the Door' (1940).

Meetings are held in Otford Village Memorial Hall, High Street, Otford, TN14 5PQ. Parking in the adjacent car park is free from 18:00. Meetings start at 20:00. Refreshments are available. Admission £3. All are welcome to our informative, entertaining and often thought-provoking evenings
28 September 2018

'It ain't half dusty and don't tread on that'. A talk presented by members of the 'Desert Rats' Living History Group.

It ain't half dusty is an insight into the living conditions, hardships and challenges overcome by the British and Commonwealth troops and supporting services in the Western Desert War 1940 to 1943. Don't tread on that! is an introduction to one of the new battlefield weapons of the second world war, the mass-produced land mine. Shedding light on what it was, how it was used and the methods used to disarm it.

Meetings are held in Otford Village Memorial Hall, High Street, Otford, TN14 5PQ. Parking in the adjacent car park is free from 18:00. Meetings start at 20:00. Refreshments are available. Admission £3. All are welcome to our informative, entertaining and often thought-provoking evenings.
30 November 2018

Christmas on the Home Front. by Mike Brown.

In this seasonal talk well-known historian Mike Brown will explore how Christmas was celebrated in Britain during the war years.

Meetings are held in Otford Village Memorial Hall, High Street, Otford, TN14 5PQ. Parking in the adjacent car park is free from 18:00. Meetings start at 20:00. Refreshments are available. Admission £3. All are welcome to our informative, entertaining and often thought-provoking evenings.
25 January 2019 25 January 2019
Maidstone Grammar School for Girls at War by Mary Smith.

As war was declared in 1939, a Kent art teacher set out to document in paint and pencil the lives of schoolgirls and their teachers at the school at which she worked. Her paintings and drawings provide a fascinating and unique insight into secondary school life during wartime. This talk features example of her work, and the story is enhanced by contemporary photographs and by the reminiscences of pupils who recall the lessons in underground shelters, sharing the school with evacuees, and dodging the doodlebugs under their desks.

Meetings are held in Otford Village Memorial Hall, High Street, Otford, TN14 5PQ. Parking in the adjacent car park is free from 18:00. Meetings start at 20:00. Refreshments are available. Admission £3. All are welcome to our informative, entertaining and often thought-provoking ev
29 March 2019 29 March 2019
Speaker to be confirmed.


Meetings are held in Otford Village Memorial Hall, High Street, Otford, TN14 5PQ. Parking in the adjacent car park is free from 18:00. Meetings start at 20:00. Refreshments are available. Admission £3. All are welcome to our informative, entertaining and often thought-provoking ev
31 May 2019 31 May 2019
The Bethnal Green Tube Shelter Incident, 3rd March 1943 by Peter Nixon.

Peter will explore one of the most tragic domestic disasters of the war in which 173 people died. The tragedy was ''hushed up' at the time.

Meetings are held in Otford Village Memorial Hall, High Street, Otford, TN14 5PQ. Parking in the adjacent car park is free from 18:00. Meetings start at 20:00. Refreshments are available. Admission £3. All are welcome to our informative, entertaining and often thought-provoking ev
26 July 2019 26 July 2019
Speaker to be confirmed.


Meetings are held in Otford Village Memorial Hall, High Street, Otford, TN14 5PQ. Parking in the adjacent car park is free from 18:00. Meetings start at 20:00. Refreshments are available. Admission £3. All are welcome to our informative, entertaining and often thought-provoking ev
27 September 2019 27 September 2019
Speaker to be confirmed.


Meetings are held in Otford Village Memorial Hall, High Street, Otford, TN14 5PQ. Parking in the adjacent car park is free from 18:00. Meetings start at 20:00. Refreshments are available. Admission £3. All are welcome to our informative, entertaining and often thought-provoking ev
29 November 2019 29 November 2019
Speaker to be confirmed.


Meetings are held in Otford Village Memorial Hall, High Street, Otford, TN14 5PQ. Parking in the adjacent car park is free from 18:00. Meetings start at 20:00. Refreshments are available. Admission £3. All are welcome to our informative, entertaining and often thought-provoking ev

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