Who's behind greatwar.co.uk?

This website was created in 1998 by Joanna Legg (neé Parker), Graham Parker and David Legg. We develop and maintain it in our own time and at our own expense.

Our Family in the Great War

Corporal Thomas H Parker, 2nd Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers, killed in action on the Somme battlefield on 6th November 1916.
Corporal Thomas Parker, 2nd Royal Welsh Fusiliers, killed in action on the Somme battlefield 6 November 1916.

20 members of our immediate and extended family — Parker-Degg, Hackett-Hodson, and Pipe-Legg — served in the armed forces during the Great War of 1914-1918. Eleven young men in the Hackett family served in the British Army, four of whom are buried in France.

Our deep interest in the Great War began in July 1962 with a visit to an uncle's grave on the Somme battlefield, that of Corporal Thomas Parker, 2nd Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers.

Originally Thomas' family had received notification that Tom was missing in action in November 1916. Tom's name was inscribed on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing. However, his body was found during the 1930s and he is now buried in London Cemetery and Extension, Longueval.

A need to find out what had happened to Tom led to a deeper interest in the study of the battles of the Great War. Living in Belgium and Germany in the 1980s and 1990s enabled us to make frequent visits to the Western Front battlefields. By popular request we began to take groups on study visits to the Western Front. In 1988 we founded Flanders Tours, which we ran from 1988-2000.

We dedicate this website especially to the members of our family who served in the Great War:

Remembering Our WW1 Ancestors

Joanna Legg

Joanna Legg
Joanna Legg

Joanna (née Parker) began visiting the Western Front when her family was posted to NATO HQ at Mons in 1978. She graduated with a B.A. Honours degree in German from the University of Warwick and worked at the Imperial War Museum in the mid 1980s.

In 1988 Joanna and her parents founded the battlefield tour company called Flanders Tours, which the family ran for 12 years until 2000. From 1995 Joanna began research into the German Army to portray the battles from “the other side of the wire”. She has presented the German side of the story at numerous branch meetings and seminars for The Western Front Association and on the battlefields of the Somme, Ypres, Loos, Vimy and the Vosges.

Joanna is responsible for compiling the content on this website, the photography, drawing the maps and compiling the Battle Study on the build up and first few hours of the Second Battle of Ypres.

Second Battle of Ypres

Joanna has been a member of The Western Front Association since 1988 and joined the Thames Valley Branch when she moved to Berkshire. Since 1995 she has been a regular speaker at WFA branches and seminars. The subjects of her talks include:

The Western Front Association

Joanna is a member of the Last Post Association and has attended many of the Last Post ceremonies at the Menin Gate since her first visit there in 1979:

The Last Post Association

Helen Shariatmadari, Director of episode 3 My Family at War, Eamonn Holmes and Joanna.
Joanna and Eamonn with Helen Shariatmadari, director of episode 3, My Family at War

In July 2008 Joanna took part in the filming of episode 3 of the BBC production My Family at War. Eamonn Holmes was one of eight presenters who participated in the My Family at War BBC TV series, to find out the role his grandfather Jack had played in the Great War of 1914-1918. Joanna and Eamonn spent a fascinating few hours in the exact location on the Somme battlefield where Jack had spent the night before going into action with the Irish Guards on 15th September 1916.

Lieutenant Colonel Graham Parker, OBE, (Retired)

Lieutenant Colonel Graham Parker, OBE (Retired)
Lt Col Graham Parker OBE

Graham's keen interest in the Great War began in the 1970s, whilst serving as a Lieutenant Colonel on the Staff at NATO Headquarters, Mons, Belgium.

Following on from his research into his uncle killed on the 1916 Somme battlefield, Graham was asked to organise and guide tours for the military history society at the NATO base. Initially his tours were organised for Service personnel and their families serving in Belgium and Germany. The demand for places on his tours grew by word of mouth and since that time he has guided several hundred tours to the 1914-1918 battlefields of Flanders and France for the general public, school groups, Veterans' Associations, the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, the National Defence College, TA units and the regular British Army.

Between 1988-2000 Graham and his family ran Flanders Tours, which earned a well-deserved reputation for thorough research and its innovative Battlefield Walks on the Western Front. Now retired, Graham guides occasionally for privately organised tours.

Armistice Day Ceremonies in Ieper / Ypres

Last Post at the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing, Ypres

Talbot House (Toc H) Poperinge

The Western Front Association

Monuments and Memorials on the Somme Battlefields

Graham served continuously with the British Army and Civil Service for 45 years, 17 of which were spent in Belgium. He was appointed OBE in 1979. He is an honorary badged member of The Guild of Battlefield Guides. Graham is a member of the Salisbury Rotary Club and a Paul Harris Fellow.

For information about the Guild of Battlefield Guides see the website at:

Website: www.gbg-international.com

David Legg

David Legg
David Legg

David has over 25 years' professional experience as a software engineer. He is responsible for the development of the greatwar.co.uk and rembrella.co.uk websites.

Rembrella Ltd.

Rembrella Limited logo

Rembrella Ltd. was founded by our family in 1998 with the launch of The Poppy Umbrella. The company is managed by Graham and Rona Parker and their daughter Joanna Legg. Rembrella's umbrella designs are eye-catching and help to raise funds for good causes.

The Poppy Umbrella

The Poppy Umbrella

Graham launched The Poppy Umbrella on the Royal Hospital Stand at the 1998 Chelsea Flower Show. During that show the Royal Hospital Chelsea sold almost 2,000 Poppy Umbrellas, raising a significant amount for the Royal Hospital from these sales.

For more information about this unique umbrella and how the idea came to Graham on a wet Armistice Day in Ypres visit our Rembrella website at:

Website: www.rembrella.co.uk The Poppy Umbrella & Fundraising

Contact Details

Contact: Joanna Legg, Graham Parker or David Legg at