Voices Of The First World War

Episodes

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20181225In an omnibus edition of selected programmes from the final series, Dan Snow looks at some of the key events of 1918, from the German Spring Offensive in March, to the impact that the arrival of massed American troops had on the war. In interviews recorded by the BBC and the Imperial War Museums, those who were there recall the devastation caused by the Spanish Flu epidemic from May onwards, and the rapid advances made in the autumn as the Germans retreated. Finally Dan looks at the closing moments of the war on 11th November 1918, when the armistice took effect. When 11 o'clock came, alongside relief, disbelief, and celebrations, veterans recall that there was also an empty feeling, and a looming question that seemed to trouble many of them: what were they going to do now?

Presented by Dan Snow
Produced by Megan Jones for BBC Wales, and then

Archive interviews with those who experienced the First World War.

Dan Snow tells the story of World War I through the voices of those who were there.

11 O'clock20181109Dan Snow presents the final episode of Voices of the First World War, veterans recall what they were doing when the armistice took effect at 11 o'clock on 11th November 1918, and how they felt now the end of the war had at last arrived. Alongside relief, disbelief, and celebrations, there was also an empty feeling, and a looming question that seemed to trouble many of them: what were they going to do now?

Presented by Dan Snow
Produced by Megan Jones for BBC Wales

The closing moments of the war, recalled by those who were there

Dan Snow tells the story of World War I through the voices of those who were there.

After Kut20161118British prisoners of war recall their treatment after the end of the siege of Kut-Al-Amara

Dan Snow tells the story of World War I through the voices of those who were there.

Amiens20181106In August 1918 after years of disappointment, bloodshed and stalemate, Allied troops launched a surprise overwhelming attack on the German Army - a short, four day battle in which the Allied forces advanced 12 miles, more than the total advance of the Somme and Passchendaele offensives combined. Veterans recall how they did it.

Presented by Dan Snow
Produced by Megan Jones for BBC Wales

The Battle of Amiens from the point of view of those who helped to win it

Dan Snow tells the story of World War I through the voices of those who were there.

At Rest20161117Soldiers describe what they got up to when they were out of the front line.

Dan Snow tells the story of World War I through the voices of those who were there.

Conscientious Objectors20160629Those who refused to join the army when their call-up papers arrived tell their story.

Dan Snow tells the story of World War I through the voices of those who were there.

Cowardice20161115The impact of a soldier's execution for cowardice in 1916 on his family.

Dan Snow tells the story of World War I through the voices of those who were there.

Enter America20180406Dan Snow hears the recollections of US soldiers who were sent to fight in France in 1918, and looks at the reactions of British and German soldiers to their arrival. They had received formidable physical training, but were naturally regarded as naïve by the battle-hardened 'old sweats' who'd served on the front for several years. But at the Battle of Bellau Wood, the Americans fought as tenaciously as any veteran unit, and helped to turn the tide of the war.

Recollections of the arrival of large numbers of US troops in France in 1918.

Dan Snow tells the story of World War I through the voices of those who were there.

Etaples Mutiny20170719Dan Snow hears conflicting accounts of the Etaples mutiny.

Dan Snow tells the story of World War I through the voices of those who were there.

French Mutinies20170628Dan Snow presents the story of WWI through the voices of those who were there.

Dan Snow tells the story of World War I through the voices of those who were there.

From Beneath: Mines At Messines20170705Survivors of the war describe exploding huge mines at the Messines Ridge.

Dan Snow tells the story of World War I through the voices of those who were there.

Home2015110220160721 (R4)The recollections of soldiers who returned home for a brief period of leave in 1915.

Dan Snow tells the story of World War I through the voices of those who were there.

In The Air: Bloody April20170621Officers of the Royal Flying Corps recall the war in the air during April 1917.

Dan Snow tells the story of World War I through the voices of those who were there.

Jutland20160628Dramatic accounts of the Battle of Jutland from the sailors who survived it.

Dan Snow tells the story of World War I through the voices of those who were there.

Kut: Sand, Mud, Mirage2015110620160722 (R4)WWI veterans describe siege conditions, starvation and surrender in Kut-Al-Amara.

Dan Snow tells the story of World War I through the voices of those who were there.

Morale And Manpower20180404Oral History tells a very different story to the propaganda of contemporary accounts when it comes to the state of morale in 1918. On the British side, the army that had sailed to Europe with a roar in 1914 now moved through a shattered landscape with a whisper. Across Europe, units, armies, even societies were under intolerable strain. But the front line needed reinforcements, so the system continued: young men were given new uniforms and rifles and sent to training depots. Dan Snow hears the recollections of those who were still serving in 1918, including Officer Charles Carrington, who was training up new drafts. He turned sickly adolescents into warriors, and then sent them off to die.

Dan Snow looks at the fading morale of the British and Germans in the spring of 1918.

Dan Snow tells the story of World War I through the voices of those who were there.

Mutiny In The High Seas Fleet20181108Dan Snow hears accounts of those who witnessed the restlessness, disorder and eventual mutiny of the sailors of the German High Seas Fleet in early November 1918, and recollections of one of the most remarkable sights in British Naval history, 10 days after the Armistice. The German Fleet, as a condition of the Armistice, surrendered to the Allies, and arrived in the Firth of Forth on the 21st. Members of the British Grand Fleet, some privileged to be above deck, some peeking through port holes, remembered a stunning sight as both fleets met off the coast of Scotland, against the backdrop of a large, red setting sun.

Presented by Dan Snow
Produced by Megan Jones for BBC Wales

The final meeting of the German and Allied fleets in November 1918

Dan Snow tells the story of World War I through the voices of those who were there.

Omnibus 1915 Part Two2015110620180526 (R4)This Omnibus edition of the second five programmes in the series covering the events of 1915 is presented by Dan Snow. Drawing on the sound archives of the Imperial War Museum and the BBC, the series looks at soldiers memories of their first trips home on leave, the rise of U-Boat attacks, and the disastrous Battle of Loos. And we hear the experiences of those fighting on the Eastern Front as the war expanded, in Salonika and Mesopotamia, where the siege of Kut-Al-Amara began in December 1915.

Omnibus edition of the series covering the events of 1915, with Dan Snow.

Dan Snow tells the story of World War I through the voices of those who were there.

Omnibus 1916 Series 220161118Omnibus edition of five programmes drawing on interviews with those who survived WWI.

Dan Snow tells the story of World War I through the voices of those who were there.

Omnibus 191720170728
Open Country20181107'Green fields, no barbed wire, nothing…'. Those who were there recall what it felt like to be advancing at last in the autumn of 1918, after years of stalemate. After a series of assaults on the Hindenburg line, the vast system of German trenches, many remember excitement as they advanced so far they lost contact with their command. But there were pockets of fierce resistance, and an eerie feeling as they set about reclaiming abandoned villages where snipers and booby traps might lie in waiting for them.

Presented by Dan Snow
Produced by Megan Jones for BBC Wales

Those who were there recall the rapid Allied advances of autumn 1918

Dan Snow tells the story of World War I through the voices of those who were there.

Operation Michael20180402The return of the major series tracking the development of the First World War, presented by Dan Snow. After 40 episodes looking at the war through interviews in the sound archives of the IWM and the BBC with those who experienced it, this week's five programmes explore the beginning of the end: the first months of 1918.

The year didn't begin well for the British. After a few months of relative quiet over the winter, British soldiers experienced the massive onslaught of the first German Spring Offensive in March 1918. In the first programme, in interviews recorded by the BBC in 1964 and the Imperial War Museums in the 1980s, men recall their devastating experiences of shelling, retreat, serious injury and imprisonment in the wastelands of the Somme during Operation Michael.

Programme 2 captures airmen's recollections of the loss of the last of the great flying aces at this point in the war. In April 1918 the Red Baron, Manfred von Richthofen, was shot down, and there's a tone of respect, of fair play even, which runs through the British officers' testimonies. The third programme looks at the state of British morale at this point in the war, and it's on issues like this that oral history reveals quite a different picture to contemporary accounts. The men talk openly and honestly about how they felt about their reluctance to serve as new drafts, or to return to the front if they'd been wounded: they now knew what they were up against. Programme 4 explores the impact of Spanish Flu through the recollections of both soldiers and the nurses that tended to them, and in the final programme, 'Enter America', Dan looks at the varied reactions to the long-awaited arrival of US troops in large numbers in the summer - from the French women throwing flowers at the men on parade, to the war-weary and unimpressed British soldiers. For German soldiers who talked to the BBC in 1964, it could mean only one thing: the end was coming.

Those who were there recall their experiences of the German Spring Offensive of 1918.

Dan Snow tells the story of World War I through the voices of those who were there.

Out Of It20171215William Towers, seriously injured at Passchendaele, describes his remarkable journey home.

Dan Snow tells the story of World War I through the voices of those who were there.

Passchendaele: John Palmer20171213
Rank20170712Soldiers and officers speak about the issue of rank and class in the British Army of 1917.

Dan Snow tells the story of World War I through the voices of those who were there.

Sheffield And The Somme20161114Dan Snow looks at the impact of the Battle of the Somme on the Sheffield pals battalion.

Dan Snow tells the story of World War I through the voices of those who were there.

Spanish Flu20180405It was a tragedy beyond comprehension. Soldiers who had survived the trenches, civilians who had weathered shortages and bombardment, now faced a new enemy: influenza. The virus tore through societies already weakened by war in 1918. According to one British nurse who recorded an interview with the Imperial War Museum, 'the mortuaries were so full we had the patients lying one on top of the other'. Dan Snow hears the accounts of those who survived it, from those in the front line and Prisoner of War camps, to those who were schoolchildren at the time in Britain, and were forced to look after their families and neighbours.

Recollections of the devastating impact of the flu pandemic that hit in 1918.

Dan Snow tells the story of World War I through the voices of those who were there.

Tanks20161116Soldiers describe seeing tanks for the very first time on the battlefield at Flers in 1916

Dan Snow tells the story of World War I through the voices of those who were there.

The Battle Of Cambrai20171214The beginning of the Battle of Cambrai from the point of view of members of the Tank Corps

Dan Snow tells the story of World War I through the voices of those who were there.

The Last Of The Great Aces20180403Dan Snow looks at the war in the air in the first months of 1918, when a pilot's expertise began to matter less than an aircraft's bombing capabilities. Airmen recall that most of the great flying aces had been lost by this point. In April, the most feared of them was shot down: the Red Baron, Manfred von Richthofen. There's a tone of respect which runs through the officers' testimonies, whether German or British.

The return of the major series tracking the development of the First World War, presented by Dan Snow. After 40 episodes looking at the war through interviews in the sound archives of the Imperial War Museums and the BBC with those who experienced it, this week's five programmes explore the beginning of the end: the first months of 1918.

Airmen recall the Red Baron, Manfred von Richtofen, being shot down in April 1918.

Dan Snow tells the story of World War I through the voices of those who were there.

The Somme: From Sunrise To Zero Hour20160630Those who fought at the Battle of the Somme recall the build-up to the battle.

Dan Snow tells the story of World War I through the voices of those who were there.

The Somme: Over The Top20160701The first catastrophic ten minutes of the Battle of the Somme, described by survivors.

Dan Snow tells the story of World War I through the voices of those who were there.

Third Ypres - Conditions20171211Veterans of the darkest days of the war recall the horror of the Third Battle of Ypres.

Dan Snow tells the story of World War I through the voices of those who were there.

Torpedo20181105Across 50 programmes, in a major series throughout the commemorative period, Voices of the First World War has been tracking the story of the war through archive interviews with those who experienced it, year by year. Presented by Dan Snow, the programmes have featured recollections recorded by the BBC for the Great War series in 1964, and by the Imperial War Museums for their oral history collection in the 1970s and 80s. Speakers recall in great detail, as though it were yesterday, the conditions of the trenches, the brutality of the battlefield, the experience of seeing their first casualty and hearing their first shell, their daily and nightly routines as soldiers, pilots or navy members of all ranks, and their psychological state in the face of so much trauma.

In the final series of five programmes, presented by Dan Snow, we hear from those who experienced the closing stages of the war, including those present at one of its most significant turning points, the Battle of Amiens. At last breaking the deadlock of trench warfare, veterans recall the excitement of advancing rapidly though open country, and the eerie feeling of reclaiming abandoned villages where snipers and booby traps might lie waiting for them. We also hear from German officers recalling the collapse in morale from October onwards, and those present at the mutiny of the German High Seas Fleet. Finally, in '11 o'clock', soldiers recall how they felt at the news of the Armistice. While there were celebrations and relief, the men report that there was also disbelief, an empty feeling, and a looming question that seemed to trouble many of them: what were they going to do now?

In the first episode, Brian de Courcy-Ireland recalls a torpedo strike - the prolonged, terrifying ordeal that had led to the deaths of thousands of sailors during the war: the steel hull buckled and twisted by the blast, passageways blocked, hatches jammed, lights dimmed, and the slow, unstoppable ingress of seawater... He survived without injury, but the psychological impact would reveal itself soon after, and remain with him for many years.

Presented by Dan Snow
Produced by Megan Jones for BBC Wales

Brian de Courcy-Ireland recalls a torpedo strike and its aftermath

Dan Snow tells the story of World War I through the voices of those who were there.

Towards Passchendaele20171212Dan Snow maps the slow progress of the British towards Passchendaele in the autumn of 1917

Dan Snow tells the story of World War I through the voices of those who were there.

Verdun20160627Dan Snow brings together the sound archive collections of the Imperial War Museums and BBC

Dan Snow tells the story of World War I through the voices of those who were there.

05By Night2014103120160718 (R4)Soldiers' experiences at night on the battlefields of the First World War.

Dan Snow tells the story of World War I through the voices of those who were there.

06Morale2014110320160719 (R4)Dan Snow looks at the morale of men serving in the First World War in 1914.

Dan Snow tells the story of World War I through the voices of those who were there.

09Prisoners Of War2014110620160720 (R4)Dan Snow hears soldiers' recollections of becoming prisoners of war in 1914.

Dan Snow tells the story of World War I through the voices of those who were there.

10The Christmas Truce20171225An omnibus edition of five episodes spanning the course of the war from 1914 to 1917.

Dan Snow tells the story of World War I through the voices of those who were there.

191419142018110620181107 (BBC7)Voices of the First World War has been broadcast throughout the commemorative period on Radio 4 as a 50-part series in which Dan Snow brings together the sound archive collections of the Imperial War Museums and the BBC, to tell the story of the war through the recollections of those who were there. The series, which will conclude in the week running up to November 11th 2018, has been tracing the story of the war, year by year, by drawing on interviews in the oral history collection of the IWM and the rushes for the BBC's ‘Great War' series of 1964.

All this week on 4 Extra, five hour-long editions will explore the events of each year of the war through the memories of those who actually took part. In this first programme exploring the men's experience of the beginning of the war in 1914, speakers recall in great detail, as though it were yesterday, their first impressions of France as they arrived, the shock of seeing their first casualty and hearing their first shell, their daily and nightly routines as soldiers, and their psychological state in the face of so much trauma. And we hear recollections of the much-mythologised Christmas Truce of 1914, from the point of view of those who witnessed it.

The story of WW1 in 1914 told through archive interviews with those who were there.

Archive interviews with those who experienced the First World War.

191519152018110720181108 (BBC7)Dan Snow introduces a selection of 'Voices of the First World War' programmes covering the developments of 1915. In archive interviews from the BBC and Imperial War Museum, those who witnessed it recall the battle of Neuve Chappelle, the first major use of gas on the Western Front and the effect on the soldiers who breathed it in, and what it was like to be in command of U-boats - or be at their mercy: we hear from a survivor of the sinking of the Lusitania. And those who fought in Gallipoli recall the landings, the terrible conditions they suffered on the peninsula, and their eventual evacuation.

The story of WW1 in 1915 told through archive interviews with those who were there.

Archive interviews with those who experienced the First World War.

191619162018110820181109 (BBC7)Voices of the First World War has tracked the history of the war year by year over the past four years, through interviews in the archives of the BBC and the Imperial War Museum. In a special compilation of programmes covering some of the events of 1916, we hear from those who experienced the battles whose names are now seared into the national consciousness, including Verdun, Jutland, and the Somme. With Dan Snow.

The story of WW1 in 1916 told through archive interviews with those who were there.

Archive interviews with those who experienced the First World War.

191719172018110920181110 (BBC7)Reaching 1917, Dan Snow explores the events of the year through the recollections of those who were there. As the fighting became more and more desperate, in the air, on the Western Front - even below ground in extensive mining operations - the morale of those being sent into battle was at times becoming dangerously low. We reach the darkest days of the war with the Third Battle of Ypres. Dan Snow, based on location in Ypres and listening to the accounts of those who survived the place a century ago, attempts to grasp the unimaginable horror that marked this period of the war on the Western Front.

As they inched their way towards Passchendaele from July to November 1917, men witnessed scenes that would stay vividly with them for the rest of their lives. As Norman Macmillan, officer of the Royal Flying Corps, surveying the Battle of Passchendaele from the sky, said of it: 'Never at any time had I passed through such an extraordinary experience... Real damnation on the ground. And as we came out of it I felt that we had escaped from one of the most evil things I had ever seen at any time during that war'.

The story of WW1 in 1917 told through archive interviews with those who were there.

Archive interviews with those who experienced the First World War.

191819182018111120181112 (BBC7)Dan Snow introduces a selection of programmes covering the events of the war in 1918.

The year didn't begin well for the British. After a few months of relative quiet over the winter, British soldiers experienced the massive onslaught of the first German Spring Offensive in March.

In interviews recorded by the BBC in 1964 and the Imperial War Museums in the 1980s, men recall their devastating experiences of shelling, retreat, serious injury and imprisonment in the wastelands of the Somme during Operation Michael. But American troops started to arrive in large numbers, and by August there were significant breakthroughs at Amiens.

When the end finally came in November 1918, there were common themes in veterans' reactions to the Armistice: relief and disbelief, but also a sense of emptiness, with some reporting feeling drained of all emotion.

The story of WW1 in 1918 told through archive interviews with those who were there.

Archive interviews with those who experienced the First World War.