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January 2019



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TV Watch: I Was There

Of all the programmes I’ve watched so far in the BBC’s First World War season, last week’s I Was There is by far the best. It consists of interviews conducted in the 1960s for the BBC’s famous series The Great War. Everyone interviewed, British or Austrian, soldier or civilian, still had fresh memories of the war and the restrained way in which they report their experiences is an echo from another age. I found it very moving.

I’m indebted to George Simmers’s blog for the information that the extended interviews are available online here. Very well worth watching, I promise. When I watched the programme, I didn’t realise that one interviewee was the same Charles Carrington who wrote A Subaltern’s War, one of the best war memoirs I’ve read.


Edit: I've just found out that many (all, even?) episodes of the 1964 series are available on YouTube. Episode one here. The accents don’t sound so very different from wartime ones.


BBC’s First World War season, as you might imagine, has been very interesting to me. I vaguely remember the BBC's series The Great War. Thank you so much for the head's up that the entire series is on YouTube.
I'm sure I saw some of the episodes at the time but it wouldn't have meant to me what it does today. Aren't online resources wonderful? I understand those interviews are to stay up for a year.
Yes, the online resources are wonderful. The Internet is brilliant in so many ways and has opened up so much information about everything.

I'm thinking of returning to France to visit Alex's grave and the place where he was initially buried on the battlefield again for the centenary of his death in Sept 2016.
That sounds like a fascinating program. Thank you for the recommendation.
Apparently, what we saw on screen was more than appeared in the original series, and the interviews on the other site are shown in full. It was very interesting to hear from both sides.

The Great War

I recently finished reading A Nurse at the Front, the First World War diaries of Edith Appleton. This series would be a great complement to that. Thanks for the tip. I love when history comes alive.

Re: The Great War

Sounds a good book, I'll look out for it.