BBC World War One

BBC World War One

BBC Radio brings you stories of the war that changed who we are, with documentaries exploring the causes, politics and impact of WW1 and its legacy. From BBC National, Local, Regional and World Service Radio.

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Recent episodes (10)

  • WW1 At Home 14 - A Captain's Execution & U-boat Defences

    Wed, 17 Sep 14

    14 mins

    The story of Captain Fryatt - a civilian naval officer executed by the Germans, and the Royal Navy tactic of deploying 'Q ships'. These resembled British merchant ships, to lure the enemy to the surface, but were actually heavily armed with concealed weapons.

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  • Episode 2 - Forgotten Heroes, The Indian Army in the Great Army

    Thu, 21 Aug 14

    30 mins

    In the second part of his documentary looking at the Asian contribution to WW1, Sarfraz Manzoor charts the experiences of soldiers and labourers in Mesopotamia and Gallipoli. The story for India changes as the war wears on. Recruitment becomes more draconian, British officers are killed, leaving a void which is not easy to fill, and the pressure on India for food supplies and the resources of war increases. As Turkey enters the war, German and Turkish propaganda plays on the Muslim soldiers' faith and the British Authorities take very seriously the threat of mutiny.

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  • Episode 1 - Forgotten Heroes, The Indian Army in the Great War

    Wed, 20 Aug 14

    30 mins

    Sarfraz Manzoor tells the story of the 1.27m men from the Indian Army who fought valiantly in the Great War, through a series of the soldiers' letters written home from Western Front. This first episode of a three part series focuses on the make-up of the army in 1914, including the colonial policy to recruit from what were considered the martial races - communities with a warrior tradition.

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  • Heroes at War: Frederick Kelly

    Wed, 13 Aug 14

    49 mins

    Two time Olympic gold medalist Steve Williams tells the story of Frederick "Clegg" Kelly, Olympic rowing champion and one of Britain's leading composers, who lost his life on the battlefield in WW1.

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  • Heroes at War: Walter Tull

    Tue, 12 Aug 14

    48 mins

    Ex-Northampton Town player Clarke Carlisle tells the story of Walter Tull, the first Afro-Caribbean outfield player in the top division of English football, and the first to be commissioned as an infantry officer in the British Army. Clarke retraces the steps that took Tull from the playing field of Northampton Town to the place where he lost life fighting for his country.

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  • Veterans: From WW1 to Afghanistan

    Tue, 5 Aug 14

    60 mins

    Radio 1's Greg James hears from British troops who served in Afghanistan as they contrast their experiences with those who fought in World War One. Mixing new interviews from Afghanistan veterans with archive of those who endured the trenches, this story brings out the universality of experience of going to war: the joining up, the camaraderie, the killing, the trauma and the loss, as well as asking if all wars change those who fight in them in similar ways.

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  • Women's lives on the Home Front

    Mon, 4 Aug 14

    19 mins

    Woman's Hour goes behind the scenes at new Radio 4 drama Home Front, as it begins its four-year run. Actor Harriet Walter talks about her cameo role as Emmeline Pankhurst, and we hear from the writers about the opportunity to dramatise the domestic lives of people whose stories aren’t told in military history books. Plus Emma Barnett is joined by Home Front editor Jessica Dromgoole and academic Dr Angela K Smith to discuss the war's impact on the lives of women far away from the trenches.

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  • WW1 At Home 13 - Sikh Soldiers & Pilot Heroes

    Sun, 3 Aug 14

    14 mins

    The valiant Sikh contribution, the drama of those first training flights above the meadows of Oxfordshire, and a bittersweet story of two families brought together by love and loss.

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  • How Britain Went to War

    Mon, 28 Jul 14

    57 mins

    Leading Whitehall historian Peter Hennessy examines Britain's secret war planning and preparations before 1914. Drawing on official papers, sound archive, and interviews with historians, Hennessy discusses what was in the minds of Asquith, ministers, officials and top soldiers and sailors, as they prepared for a possible conflict and as they finally took Britain into war in August 1914. He explores tensions between senior military and naval officers, between the Admiralty and the War Office, and within the Cabinet, and shows how debates and divisions shaped the war plans and influenced their effectiveness.

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  • Minds at War - The Grieving Parents

    Sat, 19 Jul 14

    14 mins

    Poet Ruth Padel reflects on German artist Kathe Kollwitz's memorial for her son, who died on the battlefields of the First World War in October 1914. The German painter, printmaker and sculptor created some of the greatest and most searing accounts of the tragedies of poverty, hunger and war in the 20th century. The death of her youngest son Peter prompted a prolonged period of deep depression, but by the end of that year she was turning her thoughts to creating a monument to him and his fallen comrades. The final memorial, entitled The Grieving Parents, was finally completed in 1932 and placed in the cemetery where Peter lay.

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