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30 June 1916

Tommies reveals a hidden true story, based on secret German documents, of a British signalling blunder on the first day of the Battle of the Somme.

Tommies reveals a hidden true story, based on secret German documents, of how a British signalling blunder contributed to the terrible death toll on the first day of the Battle of the Somme.

By 30th June 1916, the German lines have been under constant bombardment for days. An attack is coming, but it's vital that the enemy don't know exactly when.

As vast numbers of men, machinery and armaments move to their final jumping-off points, the Indian cavalry of the 34th Poona Horse face their battle plan. And Mickey Bliss is training the signallers of the Tyneside Scottish - according to his unique methods. Mickey has every last point of preparation covered.

But there's one tiny detail he has missed.

Lee Ross stars in this story by Nandita Ghose.

Meticulously based on unit war diaries and eye-witness accounts, each episode of TOMMIES traces one real day at war, exactly 100 years ago.

And through it all, we'll follow the fortunes of Mickey Bliss and his fellow signallers, from the Lahore Division of the British Indian Army. They are the cogs in an immense machine, one which connects situations across the whole theatre of the war, over four long years.

Series created by Jonathan Ruffle
Producers: David Hunter, Jonquil Panting, Jonathan Ruffle
Director: Jonquil Panting.

45 minutes

Last on

Sat 8 Sep 2018 21:00

Credits

Role Contributor
Mickey Bliss Lee Ross
Commentator Indira Varma
Kenny Stokoe Dean Logan
Sergeant Dixon Daniel Weyman
Francis Woodrington Nick Underwood
Second Lieutenant Gascoigne Neil Grainger
Jemadar Mehta Raj Ghatak
Sowar Gopal Munir Khairdin
Actor Anneika Rose
Actor Sargon Yelda
Actor Ewan Bailey
Producer David Hunter
Producer Jonquil Panting
Producer Jonathan Ruffle
Director Jonquil Panting
Writer Nandita Ghose

Broadcasts

BBC Online Courses

BBC Online Courses

Study key WW1 themes: Aviation; Heroism; Trauma; A New World Order

Find out more about Tommies

Find out more about Tommies

Explore the history behind the stories