Blogger: GemSen The First World War Centenary is looming and increasing numbers of people are becoming interested in military history and also genealogy.
In reaction to the impending commemorations, the media and in particular the BBC has planned an interesting and ambitious schedule of features spanning 2014-2018 to mark the special anniversary. It will span across TV, radio and online across international, national and local services. And while the exact times and dates are not known yet, it’s worth taking a look at some of the things we can start to look forward to viewing and gaining more knowledge on in 2014. To be shown on BBC One, a documentary series called ‘Britain’s Great War’ will explore how the lives of British people were transformed by war. Produced in partnership with the Open University and presented by Jeremy Paxman, the educational and informative series will also make up a version to be shown in schools. The episodes will chart different stages of the war and focus on astonishing personal stories filled with different emotions and perceptions adding real insight to our understanding of World War One — the first ‘total war’. One interview features a woman of 105, who recalls the German shelling of Hartlepool, in 1914. When Britain went to war it turned British society upside down — it was the first war in British history in which men were conscripted to fight, women did the jobs of men, civilians had their homes bombed, and every family feared a knock on the door bringing terrible news. The nation almost over night had to become war ready and tenacious – this is what enabled Britain to be victorious. And in the documentary Jeremy will talk about how support for the war remained solid even through grief and hardship in its darkest days. “The trouble with so much of our understanding of World War One is that it is seen through the prism of the prejudices of the hundred years which have followed it. It’s an amazing and important story which deserves to be viewed afresh," said Jeremy Paxman. Other programmes include Teenage Tommies to be shown on BBC Two, which will be a moving tribute to the teenage heroes of the Great War. With as many as 250,000 boys under the age of 18 having served in the British Army during World War One, and with every tenth volunteer lying about his age, Fergal Keane looks to find out what made them enlist — patriotism, or the spirit of adventure? The programme looks at how these Boy Soldiers of the trenches coped with the reality of war. Not many of us can really bear to think about what it was like to live in a dark and wet trench among the shelling, mud, stench, disease, rats and lice. Life there must have been truly awful, especially for a young boy. Another one to watch, and to be shown on BBC Two, is ‘The Story of Women in World War One’. This explores the life changing impact the war had on women who suddenly became a visible and essential force in society. Other programmes will include: ‘Royal Cousins at War’, Pipers of the Trenches’, ‘The Machine Gun and Skye’s Band of Brothers’, ‘My Great War’, ‘Gallipoli’, ‘The World’s War’, and ‘Tommy and Jerry’s Camera’. There will also be a whole host of programmes on the radio and other channels – we’ll be sure to keep you updated on the ones we hear about. Visit the: BBC Media Centre for more detailed information on the programmes mentioned. Alternatively tell us if you know of any relevant programmes, events or local commemoration services that you know of or will be attending. The 100th anniversary commemorations will start on the 4th of August, next year. A service at Westminster Abbey will be the main focus for the events, with a final candle to be extinguished at 11pm – to mark the precise moment that Britain went to war with Germany. Source: BBC Media Centre Find out more with Forces War Records… Looking at your ancestors in the framework of such rich British military history makes genealogy much more than just dates and places – it’s about people, heroes, bravery, lives saved and lives lost. It’s about your history — it’s about you! Do you know enough about your ancestors and their military past? Why not log on to Forces War Records and search our vast collection of records to find out more – there could be a war hero in your family just waiting to be discovered, and remembered… Why not delve into our ‘historic documents’ library and read some of the interesting war diaries that we get sent – there’s nothing quite like reading a personal account of war, as history unfolds itself through the eyes of somebody who was actually there.