Category History Podcasts


History Podcasts

Gas masks in World War One

Gas masks used in World War One were made as a result of poison gas attacks that took the Allies in the trenches on the Western Front by surprise. Early gas masks were crude as would be expected as no-one had thought that poison gas would ever be used in warfare as the mere thought seemed too shocking.
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First British Shots of WW1

The first shot fired by a British soldier in World War One came on August 22 nd 1914 in the village of Casteau in Belgium. Cavalry reconnaissance patrols had been sent out ahead of the advancing British Expeditionary Force to investigate claims that the Germans were advancing towards the BEF in huge numbers.
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John 'Galloping Jack' Seely

John 'Galloping Jack' Seely led the last major cavalry charge of World War One. Seely commanded men from the Canadian Cavalry Brigade at Moreuil Wood in March 1918. During the course of World War One, many had accepted that cavalry had become obsolete as a front line weapon. New weapons such as the machine gun had made a cavalry charge extremely dangerous and at certain times of the year, the mud made any form of movement by horse all but impossible.
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Horses in World War One

Horses were heavily used in World War One. Horses were involved in the war's first military conflict involving Great Britain - a cavalry attack near Mons in August 1914. Horses were primarily to be used as a form of transport during the war. Horses pulling artillery When the war broke out in Western Europe in August 1914, both Britain and Germany had a cavalry force that each numbered about 100,000 men.
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Christmas 1914 and World War One

Many myths and legends surround World War One and Christmas - especially the first Christmas of the war in December 1914. The British public and the soldiers fighting in the mud of Flanders were given the impression by those in charge that the Germans, fighting possibly less than100 metres away, were blood-lusting psychopaths bent on destroying all in their way.
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Talbot House

Talbot House or Toc H is in the Belgian town of Poperinge. Toc H (gunners' signalling code) was the idea of Philip 'Tubby Clayton' who wanted to create a place where soldiers on the Western Front could find some peace and quiet when they were away from the trenches. The house was named after Lieutenant Gilbert Talbot who was killed at Ypres in July 1915.
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Polygon Wood

The Battle of Polygon Wood was fought as part of the Third Battle of Ypres (also known as the Battle of Passchendaele). Polygon Wood, four miles east of Ypres, was named after its shape but the battle fought in Polygon Wood has become synonymous with the brutality of warfare in World War One. Polygon Wood was also known as 'Racecourse Wood' as a racecourse had once been there.
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Delville Wood

The fighting that took place within Delville Wood was fierce in the extreme. By the time the fighting finished not one tree in Delville Wood was left untouched and the immediate landscape was littered with just the stumps of what had been trees. It was not surprising that soldiers who fought there referred to it as 'Devil's Wood' as opposed to Delville Wood.
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Vimy Ridge Tunnels

Occupation of Vimy Ridge gave either side in World War One an especially good view of the locality - Hill 145 at Vimy Ridge was the highest point in the whole area. The strategic value of Vimy Ridge made it a prize possession and from the Allies point of view the German occupation of Vimy Ridge was a major threat to any advance in the Somme region in 1917.
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The Second Battle of the Aisne

The Second Battle of the Aisne was the main part of the Nivelle Offensive of April 1917. Robert Nivelle's plan was for a huge attack on the German forces along the River Aisne, which would, he stated, be successful in 48 hours with the loss of just 10,000 men. Nivelle argued that the defeat would be so shattering for the Germans that they would sue for peace.
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The Brusilov Offensive

The Brusilov Offensive took place in 1916. The offensive started in June 1916 and ended in August of the same year. The Brusilov Offensive ironically was nearly a major success in a war that had been a disaster for the Russians up to that year. After the disasters at Tannenburg and the Masurian Lakes, the Russian army had fallen back to a line from Riga in the Baltic through to the Pinsk marshes near the Rumanian frontier - about 500 miles long.
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Aircraft and World War One

At the start of World War One, aircraft were very basic and crude. By the time World War One had ended, aircraft had become far more sophisticated and had differentiated into fighters, bombers and long-range bombers. The development of aircraft was stimulated by the war's requirements, as was the way aircraft were actually used.
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SE 5

The S E 5 was one of the most famous British fighter aircraft of World War One. The S E 5, strictly the Royal Aircraft Factory S E 5, had an inauspicious start to its 'life' in the Royal Flying Corps, when one of its most famous aces, Albert Ball, told General Trenchard that it was “a bloody awful machine”.
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Albert Ball

Albert Ball was probably the Royal Flying Corp's most famous 'ace' in World War One - though other aces shot down more German aeroplanes by the time war ended. Ball seemed to represent all that a fighter ace should be - young, handsome, modest and brave. His death in combat at an early age did have an impact on the RFC at the time causing much despondency - such was his status among other pilots.
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Admiral Jackie Fisher

Admiral John ('Jackie') Fisher is generally regarded as one of Britain's greatest admirals. John Fisher was astute enough to support most technical developments - such as submarines and the dreadnoughts - and his impact on naval policy on World War One cannot be disputed. Admiral Jackie Fisher Admiral Fisher was born in 1841 in Ceylon.
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Hill 60

Hill 60 is about three miles southeast from Ypres. Though it is known as Hill 60 and was called this on Allied trench maps from the time, Hill 60 was in fact man-made. It was created in the 1860's from what was dug out from a nearby railway line. However, with a height of 150 feet any elevation within the Ypres Salient was advantageous to whoever held it and for this reason Hill 60 became a prime target for both Allies and Germans.
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Edward 'Mick' Mannock

Edward 'Mick' Mannock was one of the most famous fighter aces of World War One. Mannock is credited with being the Royal Flying Corp's most successful fighter pilot in World War One. Despite major advances in aeroplanes leading up to 1939, Mannock's 'Fifteen Rules' for flying in combat were used in World War Two such was their importance to fighter pilots.
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Canada and World War One

Troops from Canada played a prominent part in World War One. Canada was part of the British Empire in 1914. As a result of this, when Great Britain declared war on Germany in August 1914, Canada was automatically at war. Along with other nations in the Empire, such as Australia and India, tens of thousands of Canadians joined the army in the first few months of the war.
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Australia and World War One

Australia entered World War One as a united population. Many of Australia's 5 million population had a strong bond with the United Kingdom and once the UK entered World War One it seemed almost natural that Australia would do the same. Political leaders in Australia vied with each other to appear the most patriotic to the cause.
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Langemark War Cemetery

Langemark Cemetery is a few miles to the north of Ypres. Langemark Cemetery is for German soldiers killed in and around the Ypres Salient in World War One. There are relatively few German war cemeteries on what was the Western Front. Though the cemetery at Langemark is smaller in size that the nearby Tyne Cot cemetery, it contains more burials.
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