Episode 3: When war broke out in August 1914, Britain’s regular army numbered only 250,000. A recruitment campaign was immediately launched to swell the ranks. Hear about the effects of the recruiting drive on young men of Britain to join the army.
Episode 6: Within days of the outbreak of war in 1914, armed forces across Europe were mobilised. Hear British soldiers recall their departure for war as they prepared to leave home and made their way to the front lines.
Episode 7: As soon as war began in August 1914, the belligerent nations in Europe sent their troops into battle. Hear the men who were sent to the fighting front when war broke out describe their first battles.
Episode 8: One of the most popular sayings of 1914 was that the war would be ‘over by Christmas’. Hear from some of those who experienced the first months of war explaining just how wrong that prediction was.
Episode 11: In 1914, the prosperity of Great Britain and its Empire depended on control of the world’s oceans. Since the start of the twentieth century, Britain and Germany had been locked in a bitter rivalry to build bigger and better warships.
Episode 14: At dawn on 25 April 1915, Allied troops landed at Gallipoli and spent months on the small peninsula of land guarding the Dardanelles Straits in modern-day Turkey. Hear soldiers recall what conditions there were like during some of the fiercest fighting of the war.
Episode 15: Small raids on enemy trenches had begun in late 1914. As trench warfare evolved during the course of the First World War, so did the types of fighting. The British in particular thought it important for their front line troops to dominate no man’s land and remain on the offensive.
Episode 16: As the First World War intensified, each belligerent nation found that more and more armaments were needed for its fighting forces. On the home fronts, workers were recruited for the growing number of munitions factories.
Episode 17: Many men and women who served in the First World War spent long periods of time away from home. To reduce this sense of separation, leave was granted to lift them out of the monotony and dangers of active service.
Episode 18: The entry of the Ottoman Empire into the First World War in October 1914 threatened British interests in the Middle East. The British government decided to send troops to Mesopotamia – present-day Iraq – to protect the valuable oil fields near Basra.
Episode 19: Sports and games were important to those who served during the First World War. Both when officially organised and on a more ad hoc basis, sport kept them fit and provided a welcome distraction from what was going on around them.
Episode 20: For most people, the phrase ‘First World War’ conjures up images of deep, waterlogged trenches and mud-spattered soldiers. But what was trench life really like? In this episode, those who survived it describe their experiences.
Episode 23: The Battle of the Somme is one of the most famous military events in British history – synonymous with huge loss of life and costly failure. After months of deadlock on the Western Front, a joint British and French offensive was planned to break through the German lines north of the River Somme in mid-1916.
Episode 24: Since the onset of trench warfare, British military and political leaders had wanted to develop an armoured vehicle that could carry troops over the shell-holes and barbed wire-strewn battleground of the Western Front.
Episode 25: After the close of the Battle of the Somme in November 1916, the men on the Western Front dug in for the coming winter. That year, it proved to be exceptionally cold. Those who lived through the winter of 1916-17 recall memories of the bitterly freezing conditions.
Episode 26: Submarines played a significant military role for the first time during the First World War. Both the British and German navies made use of their submarines against enemy warships from the outset. Hear how a change in U-boat tactics by the Germans in February 1915 caused great resentment.
Episode 27: By spring 1917, the heavy casualties of the previous year were putting the German Army under considerable strain. In March, German forces on the Western Front withdrew to a shorter defensive line that required fewer men to hold it, known to the Allies as the Hindenburg Line.
Episode 28: The First World War saw the use of air power in conflict on a large scale for the first time. Military aviation was still relatively new in 1914 and the Royal Flying Corps was very small in size but serving in the RFC was an attractive prospect for those living in the trenches on the Western Front.
Episode 29: During the First World War, the mass mobilisation of civilian armies coupled with fighting on an industrial scale led to unprecedented numbers of wounded. Hear about the range of weapons used and the wide variety of ways that men were wounded.
Episode 30: From the start of hostilities in 1914, women contributed to the war effort. Initially, there were only a few voluntary organisations as well as some official schemes for them to join. But over time, the range of roles and the number of more formal services open to women gradually grew.
Episode 31: The Ypres Salient was one of the most intensely fought over sections of the Western Front. Hear about the British high command's plans in early 1917 to seize control of the area once and for all.
Episode 32: Artillery played a huge role in the First World War and helped to shape how it was fought. Hear about the training new wartime recruits to the Royal Artillery had to undergo before being sent to the front.
Episode 33: The First World War was the first time that the psychological trauma of warfare was formally recognised both by doctors and society at large. The condition became known as ‘shell shock’. Hear about the varying experiences of the men who suffered the condition.
Animals have played a role in armed conflict throughout history, and the First World War was no different. Hear how millions of horses were used by all the combatant nations to transport men, supplies and equipment, as well as how pigeons and dogs were trained to carry messages.
Episode 35: The First World War had a profound effect on the lives of civilians. In Britain, people found themselves being gradually drawn into a conflict that had, at first, seemed remote. Hear about the main ways the war affected civilians.
Episode 36: During the First World War British soldiers served on many fighting fronts. Hear about their experiences of being drawn into a truly global conflict that swiftly moved beyond its initial starting point.
Episode 37: Around 16,000 men refused to take up arms or fight during the First World War for any number of religious, moral, ethical or political reasons. They were known as conscientious objectors. Hear soldiers recall how they were treated for resisting military service.
Episode 38: Those who lived through the First World War experienced Christmas in a variety of ways. One of the most famous Christmas-time events was the truce that took place along some parts of the line on the Western Front in 1914.
Episode 39: It was essential for soldiers during the First World War to be properly armed for combat. At the start of the war, members of the British Army trained with very basic weapons. However as operations grew in scale, weapons evolved to keep pace with them and to enable them to be fought.
Episode 40: Those who served overseas in the First World War needed to be supplied with food, vital equipment and weapons, as well as being transported to, from and around the fighting fronts. Much of this essential wartime logistical work was undertaken by the Army Service Corps.
Episode 41: By early 1918, Allied troops on the Western Front were weary from years of launching failed campaigns against the Germans. Meanwhile the German Army was boosted by the arrival of men from the Eastern Front – and busy preparing for a huge attack.
Episode 42: Thousands of British and Commonwealth soldiers were captured by their enemies during the First World War. Unable to take any further part in the fighting, they became Prisoners of War, or POWs.
Episode 43: When war broke out in Europe in 1914, the United States of America adopted a policy of strict neutrality. They wanted to stay completely out of the conflict, but found this increasingly difficult due to Germany’s policy of unrestricted submarine warfare.
Episode 44: The men who served during the First World War didn’t spend their entire time fighting. They would often have to find ways to pass the long, tedious hours when nothing was happening. Hear about some of the popular games solider's kept themselves entertained with.
Episode 45: By the summer of 1918, the German offensives on the Western Front had stalled. The Allies suffered greatly in these attacks – but held on. By August, they were ready to launch an offensive of their own.
Episode 46: After four, long years, fighting on the Western Front finally came to an end in the autumn of 1918. During the Hundred Days Offensive, Allied forces pushed the war-weary Germans into retreat.
Episode 47: In early October 1918, Germany, no longer able to continue the war, approached the United States about an armistice. Many ordinary British soldiers on the Western Front recall having a sense that the war was drawing to a close.
Episode 48: Although the armistice of November 1918 ended the war on the Western Front, the millions of men who were serving there didn't immediately return home. A demobilisation scheme was implemented, to ensure the gradual release of men from military service.
Episode 49: The First World War was a new kind of war. It was fought on a massive scale, and involved millions of people. Entire populations became engaged in a fight for survival. Hear how a number of factors made this new – total – war possible.
Episode 50: For millions of people, the effects of the First World War did not cease with the end of hostilities in 1918. Physical and mental trauma endured long after the armistice and the economic, social and political consequences of the conflict were felt long into the future.