Pandemic - How The Flu Changed Wales [Radio Wales]

Episodes

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012018091220190103 (RW)

The Great Spanish Flu Pandemic first emerged in 1917 on the Western Front and would go on to claim more lives around the world than all the battles of the First World War. In this series John Oxford, the world's leading expert in the Great Flu Pandemic, explores the impact of the pandemic on Wales, and asks - a century on - whether it could happen again.

When men began dying on the battlefields in the early days of the outbreak no-one really understood what was happening. Families had prepared themselves for a knock on the door to tell them that their son had died in battle - but not from the 'flu.

It was a young person's illness. This strain of flu attacked the young and otherwise healthy and strong. A nurse from Lampeter was one of the first flu deaths. Ella Richards passed away while serving for the Red Cross. "She has given her life in the service of her country and for humanity as nobly as any soldier" said one of the many tributes.

As the 'flu reached Wales itself we hear the heart-rending stories which touched virtually every community North and South. As the pandemic took hold and soldiers began demobililzing, young men returning on a Monday might be dead by Thursday. Even the Prime Minister David Lloyd George nearly succumbed, spending 9 days fighting for his life. His condition didn't fully improve until after the 1919 Paris Peace Conference - but of course it was all kept secret at the time.

John asks whether a Pandemic could emerge again on the same scale, given the growing resistance to antibiotics. He reveals the research he and his team have been carrying out, exhuming bodies buried in 1919 for research as they try to understand fully the extent of what happened a century ago and what it means for us all now.

Scientist John Oxford examines the impact of the Great Spanish Flu Pandemic on Wales

Scientist John Oxford examines the impact of the Great Spanish Flu Pandemic on Wales.

01Episode 12018091220190103 (RW)

The Great Spanish Flu Pandemic first emerged in 1917 on the Western Front and would go on to claim more lives around the world than all the battles of the First World War. In this series John Oxford, the world's leading expert in the Great Flu Pandemic, explores the impact of the pandemic on Wales, and asks - a century on - whether it could happen again.

When men began dying on the battlefields in the early days of the outbreak no-one really understood what was happening. Families had prepared themselves for a knock on the door to tell them that their son had died in battle - but not from the 'flu.

It was a young person's illness. This strain of flu attacked the young and otherwise healthy and strong. A nurse from Lampeter was one of the first flu deaths. Ella Richards passed away while serving for the Red Cross. "She has given her life in the service of her country and for humanity as nobly as any soldier" said one of the many tributes.

As the 'flu reached Wales itself we hear the heart-rending stories which touched virtually every community North and South. As the pandemic took hold and soldiers began demobililzing, young men returning on a Monday might be dead by Thursday. Even the Prime Minister David Lloyd George nearly succumbed, spending 9 days fighting for his life. His condition didn't fully improve until after the 1919 Paris Peace Conference - but of course it was all kept secret at the time.

John asks whether a Pandemic could emerge again on the same scale, given the growing resistance to antibiotics. He reveals the research he and his team have been carrying out, exhuming bodies buried in 1919 for research as they try to understand fully the extent of what happened a century ago and what it means for us all now.

Scientist John Oxford examines the impact of the Great Spanish Flu Pandemic on Wales

Scientist John Oxford examines the impact of the Great Spanish Flu Pandemic on Wales.

01Episode 12018091220190106 (RW)

The Great Spanish Flu Pandemic first emerged in 1917 on the Western Front and would go on to claim more lives around the world than all the battles of the First World War. In this series John Oxford, the world's leading expert in the Great Flu Pandemic, explores the impact of the pandemic on Wales, and asks - a century on - whether it could happen again.

When men began dying on the battlefields in the early days of the outbreak no-one really understood what was happening. Families had prepared themselves for a knock on the door to tell them that their son had died in battle - but not from the 'flu.

It was a young person's illness. This strain of flu attacked the young and otherwise healthy and strong. A nurse from Lampeter was one of the first flu deaths. Ella Richards passed away while serving for the Red Cross. "She has given her life in the service of her country and for humanity as nobly as any soldier" said one of the many tributes.

As the 'flu reached Wales itself we hear the heart-rending stories which touched virtually every community North and South. As the pandemic took hold and soldiers began demobililzing, young men returning on a Monday might be dead by Thursday. Even the Prime Minister David Lloyd George nearly succumbed, spending 9 days fighting for his life. His condition didn't fully improve until after the 1919 Paris Peace Conference - but of course it was all kept secret at the time.

John asks whether a Pandemic could emerge again on the same scale, given the growing resistance to antibiotics. He reveals the research he and his team have been carrying out, exhuming bodies buried in 1919 for research as they try to understand fully the extent of what happened a century ago and what it means for us all now.

Scientist John Oxford examines the impact of the Great Spanish Flu Pandemic on Wales

Scientist John Oxford examines the impact of the Great Spanish Flu Pandemic on Wales.

02Episode 22018091920190110 (RW)

More than 10,000 people died in Wales during the flu pandemic of 1918/19 - devastating in a population of around 2.5 million. It killed many more people than the First World War and it's estimated more than 50 million people may have died worldwide.

The virus entered through the ports as young men returning from the trenches passed on the lethal strain to people on the home front. The good railway infrastructure in Wales at the time helped to spread it to every corner of the country with nowhere left unaffected.

In Episode 2, John looks at how the second wave of the outbreak, in October and November 1918 seems to have had a particularly devastating impact on Wales. People were dying every week, most of them young adults in their 20s and 30s. Undertakers struggled to cope and in some cases children were left to bury their parents.

Throughout the series, John hears testimony from the people who experienced it at first hand, about soldiers on the front line and from those who remembered whole families being wiped out within days of loved ones returning from the fighting. Meanwhile people from different parts of Wales delve into their own history to try and understand what their ancestors went through.

The series also looks at how the authorities in Wales tried desperately to stem the spread of the flu and how a shortage of doctors due to the First World War meant inadequate nursing support limited the care that was available.

Meanwhile John tries to work out why the events of 1918/19 are largely forgotten and asks whether a pandemic on such a scale could ever happen again.

Produced by Ashley Byrne and Iain Mackness.

An MIM Production for BBC Radio Wales

Scientist John Oxford examines the impact the 1918/19 flu pandemic had on Wales

Scientist John Oxford examines the impact of the Great Spanish Flu Pandemic on Wales.

02Episode 22018091920190113 (RW)

More than 10,000 people died in Wales during the flu pandemic of 1918/19 - devastating in a population of around 2.5 million. It killed many more people than the First World War and it's estimated more than 50 million people may have died worldwide.

The virus entered through the ports as young men returning from the trenches passed on the lethal strain to people on the home front. The good railway infrastructure in Wales at the time helped to spread it to every corner of the country with nowhere left unaffected.

In Episode 2, John looks at how the second wave of the outbreak, in October and November 1918 seems to have had a particularly devastating impact on Wales. People were dying every week, most of them young adults in their 20s and 30s. Undertakers struggled to cope and in some cases children were left to bury their parents.

Throughout the series, John hears testimony from the people who experienced it at first hand, about soldiers on the front line and from those who remembered whole families being wiped out within days of loved ones returning from the fighting. Meanwhile people from different parts of Wales delve into their own history to try and understand what their ancestors went through.

The series also looks at how the authorities in Wales tried desperately to stem the spread of the flu and how a shortage of doctors due to the First World War meant inadequate nursing support limited the care that was available.

Meanwhile John tries to work out why the events of 1918/19 are largely forgotten and asks whether a pandemic on such a scale could ever happen again.

Produced by Ashley Byrne and Iain Mackness.

An MIM Production for BBC Radio Wales

Scientist John Oxford examines the impact the 1918/19 flu pandemic had on Wales

Scientist John Oxford examines the impact of the Great Spanish Flu Pandemic on Wales.

03Episode 32018092620190117 (RW)

Professor John Oxford concludes his three part series examining how the 1918/19 flu pandemic impacted Wales.

10,000 people died of the flu in Wales, 220,000 succumbed to the virus in the UK while more than 50 million are believed to have died worldwide.

In this series John hears how tragedy struck in every corner of the country with whole families sometimes being wiped out by the killer bug.

It's believed the flu was spread via the ports and railways and as a way of containing it, many schools and cinemas were closed for the duration of outbreak.

In this programme, John looks at the long term impact of the flu on those who caught it but survived, he explains how we still don't know the exact source of the bug and he hears how 80 Canadian soldiers (who died at an army camp in North Wales) are among the few flu victims who are remembered every year in special ceremony.

The series hears testimony from Brecon, Aberystwyth, Carmarthen, Bangor, Cardiff, Lampeter and Ebbw Vale among other places as John tells the story of how the flu changed Wales 100 years ago.

Pandemic: How the Flu Changed Wales is a MIM Production for BBC Radio Wales

Scientist John Oxford concludes his series examining how Wales coped with the 1918 flu

Scientist John Oxford examines the impact of the Great Spanish Flu Pandemic on Wales.

03Episode 32018092620190120 (RW)

Professor John Oxford concludes his three part series examining how the 1918/19 flu pandemic impacted Wales.

10,000 people died of the flu in Wales, 220,000 succumbed to the virus in the UK while more than 50 million are believed to have died worldwide.

In this series John hears how tragedy struck in every corner of the country with whole families sometimes being wiped out by the killer bug.

It's believed the flu was spread via the ports and railways and as a way of containing it, many schools and cinemas were closed for the duration of outbreak.

In this programme, John looks at the long term impact of the flu on those who caught it but survived, he explains how we still don't know the exact source of the bug and he hears how 80 Canadian soldiers (who died at an army camp in North Wales) are among the few flu victims who are remembered every year in special ceremony.

The series hears testimony from Brecon, Aberystwyth, Carmarthen, Bangor, Cardiff, Lampeter and Ebbw Vale among other places as John tells the story of how the flu changed Wales 100 years ago.

Pandemic: How the Flu Changed Wales is a MIM Production for BBC Radio Wales

Scientist John Oxford concludes his series examining how Wales coped with the 1918 flu

Scientist John Oxford examines the impact of the Great Spanish Flu Pandemic on Wales.