There are now no living veterans of WW1, but it is still possible to go back to the First World War through the memories of those who actually took part. In a unique partnership between the Imperial War Museums and the BBC, two sound archive collections featuring survivors of the war are brought together for the first time. The Imperial War Museums' holdings include a major oral history resource of remarkable recordings made in the 1980s and early 1990s with the remaining survivors of the conflict. The interviews were done not for immediate use or broadcast, but because it was felt that this diminishing resource that could never be replenished, would be of unique value in the future. 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. This series will broadcast many of these recordings for the first time. Among the BBC's extensive collection of archive featuring first hand recollections of the conflict a century ago, are the interviews recorded for the 1964 TV series 'The Great War', which vividly bring to life the human experience of those fighting and living through the war.
Dan Snow narrates this new oral history, which will be broadcast in short seasons throughout the commemorative period.
This is an omnibus edition of five programmes that were first broadcast October 2014, in which soldiers recall the state of their morale in 1914, the First Battle of Ypres, the trenches, their experiences as Prisoners of War, and the much-mythologised Christmas Truce.