Bridgwater’s Czech-Slovak Links put into Historical Context at Public Event

In 1992 Bridgwater became the first British town to twin with a Czechoslovakian town after the Velvet Revolution in that country brought about the end of Communism. On Monday October 30th, as part of the ‘Bridgwater Together’ week of internationalist events at the Engine Room, High street home of Somerset Film & Video, 2 speakers will talk about the historic events that connect Britain and Bridgwater to the Czech and Slovak Republics.

John Martin

On June 18th 1942, British trained Czech and Slovak Parachutists , dropped into Nazi occupied Czechoslovakia to assassinate Reinhard Heydrich, the butcher of Prague and architect of the ‘Final Solution’, fought to the death in a Bohemian Crypt in a defiant act of anti-Fascist resistance. John Martin, author of the book The Mirror Caught the Sun’ and a historical advisor to the 2016 film ‘Anthropoid’ both of which tell the story of these events, will be speaking at the Engine Room and showing archive material which he has collected along the way.

John Martin is a popular stand-up comedian and after dinner speaker and recently was the driving force behind raising a monument to the Anthropoid soldiers in the Shropshire town of Ightfield near where they trained.

Bridgwater-Czech Slovak Friendship

Brian Smedley at the recent Ightfield event

On June 18th 1992, 50 years after the events in the Prague crypt, Bridgwater twinned with the Czech town of Uherske Hradiste. The founder of that link was current Town Council Leader Brian Smedley. Cllr Smedley will also be talking about Bridgwater’s Czech/Slovak link, the 1938 Vernon Bartlett election which saw Bridgwater as the first Parliamentary constituency to elect an MP on an anti-Fascist platform and the 1989 Velvet Revolution which was the catalyst for the next 25 years of openness and co-operation between our 2 (now 3) countries in modern times.

Brian Smedley has been a Councillor for 25 years. A musician and writer, he has also organised International exchange projects throughout most of this time, principally with the Czech and Slovak Republics.

The Engine Room event on Monday 30th October starts at 7.30pm and is free.

For more information about ‘Bridgwater Together’ click here.