first world war

  • Video contentAnd you're up and you're over

    The Great War: And you’re up and you’re over

    Henry explains how the order comes and the whistle blows and he has to go over the top. He describes the fear and also the shell and bullet fire coming at the advancing soldiers. He explains how soldiers took their…

  • Video contentOr you'll get it shot off

    The Great War: Or you’ll get it shot off

    This short extract sees Henry explaining that experienced soldiers were very wary of putting their heads, hands or anything else over the top of the trench. He concludes by explaining how frightening it was to go over the top in…

  • Video contentGripping his throat

    The Great War: Gripping his throat

    This clip explains the different types of gases used and their effects. He gives a harrowing description of one soldier who was badly burned by gas. Context This clip is one of fourteen clips in which actor John Gregor recreates…

  • Video contentStuff your pockets with lots of grub

    The Great War: Stuff your pockets with lots of grub

    Henry explains that the kitchens are about a mile from the front line trenches. He describes how different types of food are carried up to the front. He explains that communication trenches used to carry the food were sometimes shelled…

  • Video contentComes the order to fix bayonets

    The Great War: Comes the order to fix bayonets

    Henry opens by explaining how the soldiers often worried about being killed or injured. Soldiers often gambled, partly because death could be sudden and instant. Before attacking, soldiers were told to keep their valuables somewhere safe so that family can…

  • Video contentLike a great rolling sea

    The Great War: Like a great sea rolling

    Henry talks about how his unit’s attack had been stopped and his mates decimated. He then explains how he waited until dark to get back to his lines. He crawled across no man’s land, like many others. He crawled over…

  • Video contentThe longer the letter the better

    The Great War: The longer the letter the better

    Henry explains how important letters were. The post is good on the whole. He explains that soldiers like descriptions of ordinary daily life. He also explains that long letters can also be used as toilet paper! He also points out…

  • Video contentTry and get yourself a bit of kip

    The Great War: Try and get yourself a bit of kip

    Soldiering is described as being a bit boring! Henry explains how a lot of time is spent doing little or nothing. He tells us that the main action is at night including: raids, patrols, and movement of supplies, repairs. Henry…

  • Video contentSome of 'em are as big as kittens

    The Great War: Some of ‘em are as big as kittens

    In this clip Henry starts off describing rats and the soldiers’ hatred of them. The rats eat the dead, and Henry explains how bodies can be found everywhere and the superstition of shaking a dead hand. He then explains the…

  • Video contentA 'fella' can drown

    The Great War: A ‘fella’ can drown

    Henry describes how trenches are often wet and muddy or even flooded. He describes how shells have churned up the land and that shell holes can fill up with mud and water, sometimes causing men to drown. Context This clip…

  • Video contentWe were still in tropical kit

    The Great War: We were still wearing tropical kit

    Henry opens by explaining he was first posted to Egypt, but little happened. He then came to France in Spring of 1916. He then explains the value and uses of the regulation steel helmet – some of them rather unorthodox!…

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