We are delighted to offer a number of talks for adults, whether you are a WI, U3A, Probus, or another group or just a group of like-minded friends, our talks are aimed at you. We are based in Oxfordshire but we can travel to parts of Wiltshire, Buckinghamshire and Berkshire.
We are different from other speakers, our talks are narrated using a PowerPoint slideshow with hundreds of original photos, short videos and music, there is something happening on the screen constantly to keep the audience interested. Both of us narrate the talks with interesting facts, first hand memories and include a sprinkling of humour. We would advise that the hall you use is as dark as possible so that you get the full effects of the presentation. We also bring a small display of relevant original memorabilia to all of our talks to add interest.
Please see a brief description of the talks below then click on the link or scroll down to see our Frequently Asked Questions before contacting us to book a talk.
Upper Thames Patrol
The Upper Thames Patrol (the Home Guard Navy of WW2), a water born unit, was formed in 1939 to protect the river Thames (a natural stop line) in case of invasion in WW2.
Learn about the men and women who formed the UTP. Uncover the myth of the Dunkirk postage stamp. Listen to personal recollections and many amusing true stories. This presentation has approximately 180 original photos and 2 short films, all very rare,. Unfortunately very little information exists about the UTP in general and no books have been written about them, our talk is one of the most comprehensive collections to exist.
An interesting and entertaining talk. Probably more suited to a more male or mixed audience.
Please click here for more details about the UTP.
Perhaps you were a child in WW2 and want to go down memory lane, or your parents were, or you may have an interest in history. This talk covers many aspects of life on the Home Front from a child’s point of view. Find out about air-raids, gas masks, life at home, schooltime, clothes, toys and games, evacuation, food rationing, national service and how children could help with the war effort. It is presented in an interesting way using PowerPoint with hundreds of original photographs, and music along with narration from us. It contains many surprising facts and surprises, very thought provoking talk.
Women’s Voluntary Service (WVS) from 1938-1945
Over 1 million women volunteered with the WVS during the Second World War, it was the largest women’s voluntary force ever. Why did the WVS start? Who were the women who joined? The WVS were not just tea and sympathy, they often threw themselves into some surprising jobs, sometimes putting themselves into danger, keeping the country going in times of great hardship. The WVS became known as ‘The Army Hitler Forgot’.
They encompassed The Housewives Service, women who could not leave their homes for long periods of time or who were elderly.
This presentation includes over 350 original photographs music and an entertaining short film, we also include many references to the WI that worked closely along side the WVS.
WW2 Rationing & Cooking for Victory, A Fair Share for All
During this entertaining talk (using music, recordings, video and hundreds of original photographs) we talk about why rationing was necessary in WW2, how the rationing system worked, what was on ration and more importantly what foods were off ration. Some surprising things the Ministry of Food tried to get the British public to eat, some definitely didn’t take off, others became firm favourites. Discover what it was like to eat out and find out how the British public kept the country going with the Dig for Victory campaign, keeping chickens, rabbits and pigs in their back gardens.
Would you like to taste 1940s recipes? We can provide samples of wartime food (Bread Pudding, Vinegar Cake, The National Loaf and mock banana, for your audience to taste for an extra fee of £30 to cover costs.
This is a popular talk for WI groups.
How the Brownies Helped Win the War
We take a brief look at how the war affected children in WW2.
What girls had to do to join Brownies. Could you pass the Golden Hand award aimed at girls aged 10-11 years old (we have only met 1 adult that could!)? Find out what they did to help towards the war effort, some very surprising things and what the Brownies did to help raise money. How Brownies secretly helped MI9, a secret Government department.
A interesting and popular talk particularity with history societies, something very different and unfortunately an almost forgotten part of history.
1940s Girl Guides
Why was Guiding so popular in the WW2? What was the Tenderfoot Test and how did it start to prepare girls for war work? Learn about the Second Class test, badges and uniform. We look at special training the Guides had and the part they played in evacuation, emergency cooking, hospital work, and undercover work for MI9, the secret government department responsible for helping British POWs, French resistance and uncovering German spies.
You will be amazed at the responsibility and resourcefulness of wartime Guides.
The talk/presentation includes hundreds of rare original photos, Wartime Girl Guides are know remembered as the forgotten Army, 750,000 in all.
1940s Boy Scouts
Why did the number of Scouts decline during the war? Take a look at how the Scout training programme helped the Scouts with war work. Who were the Scout Messengers and hear some true life stories.
Learn about the very many jobs that were entrusted to Scouts. What part did Scouts plan in Churchill’s Secret Army? With over 200 original photographs and heroic tales, this is a very educational and interesting talk.
Isn’t it Cold in the Winter?
This talk is away from our usual subject of the Home Front in World War II, but we are often asked about our alternative way of life.
As live-aboard boaters the question we are most asked “Isn’t it Cold in the Winter?” In 2003 we bought an inflatable dinghy. It would be a purchase that would completely change our lives. Six years on we bought Edith, a Dutch Barge and moved on, lock, stock and cat. Follow our journey from making that monumental decision to what it is actually like to live on a Barge and travel the waterways.
New talks for 2024
These talks will be available for booking for 2024 and 2025.
The Women’s Institute
Not just Jam and Jerusalem
Find out about the surprising start of the WI. Most people just thing about the WI as making cups of tea, singing Jerusalem and making jam, but learn about the incredible part they played during WWII, unfortunately mostly forgotten.
Including some very interesting and surprising facts.
Life on the Home Front
What happened on the Home Front during WW2 and how did men, women and children keep the country going? Some very surprising facts, first hand memories, music and hundreds of photos.
Frequently Asked Questions
Please read these before making an enquiry or booking, most of the answers are below, however please ask if you cannot find the answer you are looking for:
What is the cost of the talk?
We request a donation from £60 for a talk, plus 35p per mile for travel expenses. Please note we offer a lot more than most speakers, which we hope will be reflected in the donation. We are not a business and rely on donations to cover our expenses, including public liability insurance, which is a requirement for some groups.
How long is the talk?
A minimum of 30 minutes is needed to set up for the talk, which can be reduced considerably with help transporting from/to the car. All talks lasts for 1 hour, but please allow additional time at the end for questions. If your group usually starts with group business could you keep this short please or consider doing it after the talk.
What we provide.
Projector, stand, screen.
A small display of 1940s memorabilia.
We bring all of our own equipment, but if your hall has a projector, HDMI connection or screen please let us know. Please note that we are both experienced speakers and can project our voices to the back of large halls, therefore we only agree to use microphones in exceptional circumstances.
What do you need to provide?
Address, Post Code and clear directions to the hall.
Contact details including phone number.
Approximate number of the audience.
1 x 6ft tables.
Help transporting to and from the car is much appreciated.
A glass of water or better still a cup of tea is also much appreciated (as are directions to the toilets)!
How do I make a payment/donation?
Donations may be made using any of the following:
1. Bank Transfer: HSBC
Mr B N Wiles
Sort Code 40-47-07
Account Number 31559990
Please note, if payment is made by BACS please can you pay within 24 hours of the talk.
2. By cheque to Mr B Wiles, 85 Church Road, Long Hanborough, Witney, Oxfordshire OX29 8JF
3. Cash on the night.
How do I book a talk?
Please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with your request. We aim to answer e-mails within 1 day. We do not accept bookings by phone. We will send you a booking form and on receipt of the completed form we will confirm the talk.
Cheddington WI (Women’s Voluntary Service)
Thank you so much for the fabulous presentation on Thursday evening. It was so interesting, we had no idea the WVS did so much during the Second World War. We have learnt so much and the presentation was truly first class. I am still receiving emails and text messages from my members saying how much they enjoyed the evening. They also loved the war memorabilia. Please share our feedback, because it was so much more than we were expecting, just great.
Aston Clinton U3A (Women’s Voluntary Service)
Thank you both for such an interesting and informative talk today, we had lots of positive feedback from our members. We wish you well in your further endeavours.
Riverside Trefoil Guild (Adult Brownies)
Thank very much for coming at such short notice. it was very enjoyable in deed, I have had lots of good feed back from our members.