The Secret WW2 Learning Network is an educational charity registered in the UK - a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) No. 1156796
Louisa was elected Chair of the Trustees in March 2017. Her interest in WW2 military history began as a member of the Dunsfold Society which was formed in 1998. This has involved many visits to the battlefields of France and Belgium and the unveiling of the Memorial to SAS Operation Bulbasket in France in 2010. She has attended the annual Valençay F Section Memorial in May on four occasions and her interest has more recently been enhanced via her association with The Secret WW2 Learning Network.
Louisa joined the Charity in June 2015 as a volunteer researcher and event manager, while also acting as its official photographer, and has attended and been involved with most of its activities ever since. These have included events in Tempsford, Baker Street, Whaddon, Tangmere, Brookwood and Wanborough Manor, and also its extensive Brighton’s Secret Agents programme during November 2016.
Louisa was born in Hitchin, Herts and has lived in Wandsworth for thirty years. She attended Rosemead School, Bedford College of Physical Education and North London Polytechnic.
Career: Teaching/lecturing in Physical Education, Leisure, Tourism and Business Studies and the Management of Recreation/Leisure Centres in several local governments.
Other voluntary work: Member of Wandsworth Common Management Advisory Committee (10 years), Wandsworth Society, Visiting Wards at Springfield Hospital, Team Leader at Olympic and Paralympic Games, London 2012, Commonwealth Games, Glasgow 2014 and member of VIP/Protocol team for World Athletic Championships, London, 2017.
Prof Rod Kedward
Founding Trustee and Honorary Life President of The Secret WW2 Learning Network.
Rod Kedward has been an academic at the University of Sussex from its earliest days in the 1960s. He specialised in the history of Resistance in Occupied France during the Second World War, and between 1968 and the end of the century Rod personally recorded more than 100 interviews in French with ex-resisters.
As the author of several books in this area Professor Kedward was honoured in 1989 by the French government by being appointed "Officier de l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques" for services to French culture; and in 1995 his book In Search of the Maquis was awarded a French prize, the ‘Prix Philippe Viannay - Défense de la France’, conferred at the Senate building in Paris.
In 2002, after 40 years of teaching and research, Rod retired as Emeritus Professor of History at the University of Sussex, but has since interviewed people in London and Cornwall who were involved in resistance and intelligence while working for the Special Operations Executive (SOE) or the Free French.
The emphasis in all this oral evidence is on the contribution of ordinary men and women, from all parts of society, to clandestine resistance; and in 2011 Prof Kedward was given the highest honour in l’Ordre des Palmes Académique by being promoted to Commandeur in recognition of - "... a remarkable career consecrated to the history of contemporary France ... and tireless contribution to the scholarly and university cooperation between France and the United Kingdom"
Prof Kedward has been a driving force behind the Resistance Studies initiative at the University of Sussex. He was made a Doctor of Letters at a ceremony in January 2013, and is leaving his significant oral history collection to the university's Archive of Resistance Testimony. This will be stored alongside the university's internationally renowned Mass Observation Archive at The Keep, Brighton & Hove's £19m historical resource centre opened by HM The Queen in 2013.
Rod and his wife Carol live in Brighton.
Paul McCue has been a military historian and author for over 25 years. He has authored five books to date (including Brighton's Secret Agents, published especially to coincide with the Charity’s November 2016 commemorative blue plaque initiative in memory of four Brighton-born SOE agents) and regularly gives talks and presentations in England and France. He currently specialises in the Special Operations Executive (SOE) and is working on a three-volume roll of honour for the French Section of this Second World War secret service.
Paul was born in Wombwell, near Barnsley, Yorkshire and educated at Wath Grammar School, Yorkshire; The County Grammar School, Godalming, Surrey; and the University of Birmingham, where he graduated in International Studies. He retired as Managing Director of the London-based leisure and culture company Enable, in 2018 and now devotes his time to his research, presentations and writing from his home in Surrey.
Brian was welcomed to the Charity's Board of Trustees in March 2017 as its Treasurer. He was born in Croydon in January 1947 but emigrated by troop ship to South Africa with his mother when aged a mere three months, his father having flown ahead prior to his birth. They lived in Johannesburg until July 1953 and then moved to what was then Southern Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, which was a three day road journey in those days.
Brian was educated in Southern Rhodesia at a public school based on Gordonstoun. He left school in 1964 and started working for Barclays Bank DCO. He did his National Service in the Royal Rhodesian Air Force - during which period, Ian Smith made his Unilateral Declaration of Independence. On completing his National Service Brian continued working for Barclays and then in commercial finance, while also serving in R.R.A.F. 107 Squadron (V.R.) in the Lowveld.
In late 1969 Brian came to the U.K. where he would meet his future wife in 1970. He worked for Reuters in finance until 1971 and then tried a career change working for Marks and Spencer before branching out on his own in 1977 to run a newsagent in Twickenham, and then the village store in Alfriston. In 1987 he joined the London Borough of Wandsworth, initially for two years, to advise small business start-ups and also existing businesses, and later moved into the Leisure and Amenities Department of the council as its Finance Manager. Brian took on additional roles culminating in him becoming Assistant Director (Support Services) until he retired in 2008.
Brian has long had an interest in political and military history, and has enjoyed hearing about the research into SOE undertaken by his former colleague and good friend Paul McCue. This meant he was delighted when asked to bring his long experience to the Charity as a Trustee and its Treasurer.