A latecomer to the subject of the First World War, Nigel’s only connection had previously come from school projects as a boy.
In May 2008, he made his first visit to the Somme, undertaking the Souvenir Walk between the Somme and Ypres where he was the sole British representative alongside forty French and Belgians. Here he met local Beaumont Hamel/Pozieres residents, Francis Lavaquerie and Christian Louchart.
At this time he first visited the Hawthorn Crater. He was so taken with the site and its history, he put forward the idea of a project to help rescue and maintain the site to the local landowners and the then Mayor of Albert (a Souvenir walk member and President of the local Community de Commune).
Over a period of 2-3 years negotiations proceeded well, so Nigel put together a team of historians and enthusiasts, pitching the idea of forming an Association. The first being renowned Great War historian, Andy Robertshaw and Western Front Association branch chairman, Derek Bird.
After additional meetings, the rest of the founding team was assembled.
Nigel lives and works in Southern France and is fluent in the language.