Mark Jones The RMS Titanic sailed from Southampton en route for New York on her maiden voyage with 2,228 passengers and crew on board. On 14 April, 1912, at twenty minutes before midnight, sailing at almost full speed, she struck an iceberg and sank in just two and a half hours. Over 1500 lives were lost.
This is the story of a great tragedy described by the surviving passengers, officers, and crew who were on board that night. Firsthand accounts help to explain why so few of the passengers took to the lifeboats and later describe the miraculous survival of those forced to jump into the icy waters of the North Atlantic. The story of the Titanic is ultimately one of simple human loss and these laconic Edwardian voices bring it alive.
Mark Jones First-hand accounts featuring the RAF pilots who took part in the Battle of Britain - one of the chief turning points of World War II.
‘Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few’ - Winston Churchill. The ‘Few’ were the nearly 3,000 RAF pilots who fought against the Luftwaffe in the Battle of Britain, which raged in the skies over southern England and the English Channel in the summer of 1940.
With a new prime minister, Winston Churchill, Britain fought alone in Europe - and under the threat of invasion from Hitler’s Germany. Douglas Bader, Flight Lt Richard Hillary, ‘Ginger’ Lacey, and Flight Lt. Brian Kingcombe describe the strains they had to face as pilots: ‘I didn’t have butterflies in my stomach - I had vultures’ and the ‘long, boring hours interspersed with moments of tremendous exhilaration’.
Their determination, bravery, and skill are evident as, outnumbered, they fought doggedly in their superior Hurricanes and Spitfires.
With news bulletins, reportage, personal accounts from the ground crews, and excerpts from Churchill’s famous speeches, this recording undeniably shows why, for the victorious RAF pilots, ‘This was their finest hour’.
Mark Jones A unique collection of historic recordings covering events from the last days of peace to the Christmas truce, 1914.
At midnight on 4 August, Britain had declared war on Germany. The pacifist Bertrand Russell was shocked by the pro-war euphoria on the streets, yet young men enlisted willingly because "it would all be over by Christmas". It was not. Instead the opposing armies had become entrenched. It was the beginning of a long and bitter stalemate.
In this new audio compilation, troops of the British Expeditionary Force vividly recall the exhausting retreat from Mons, the success at the Marne, and the first battle of Ypres, where the Territorials arrived in bright red London buses. For reconnaissance pilots, the battlefield was defined by blazing villages, and fields alive with German troops. Among the items which powerfully capture the mood of the time are an eyewitness account of the Kaiser’s reaction to the news from Sarajevo on 28 June; Margot Asquith, wife of the Prime Minister, remembering their despair at the inevitability of war; and the poignant reminiscences of civilians and soldiers.
Mark Jones 'We Churchills die at forty,' said Winston in 1908, 'and I want to put something more on the slate before then.' By the time he died in 1965, the slate was full. From his earliest days Churchill was an ambitious character, eager for action. He achieved fame and popularity through his dispatches from the Boer War, and in 1900 was elected MP for Oldham. Until the outbreak of war in 1939 Churchill was loved and loathed in equal measure. Critics and supporters alike recognised his vision, but often questioned his judgement. In the thirties, his out-of-touch views on subjects such as Indian nationalism meant that his warnings on German militarism were not taken seriously. On the day Churchill took office as Prime Minister, Hitler invaded the low countries; by mid-June France had fallen. A lesser man would have been overwhelmed. Even his opponents do not doubt his greatness as a leader during the Second World War. But the 1945 election brought a shock defeat. Despite this setback, in 1951 at the age of 77 he returned to serve a second term as Prime Minister.
Churchill Remembered draws on a wealth of archive broadcasts by, among others, Robert Boothby, Violet Bonham Carter, Nancy Astor, Oswald Mosley and Churchill himself, and encompasses the whole of his extraordinary life. This is a fascinating and illuminating audio portrait of the life and career of one of Britain's greatest leaders, recounted by those who knew him and in his own words.
Mark Jones Firsthand accounts by those who planned and took part in the Normandy landings, and eyewitness reports from BBC correspondents travelling with the troops on 6 June, 1944.
In 1940, after the evacuation of the British army from Dunkirk, Winston Churchill vowed that Allied Forces would return to "cleanse Europe of the Nazi Pestilence". The logistics of Operation Overlord were daunting, but an inspired campaign of deception successfully diverted Hitler’s attention away from the Normandy beaches until it was too late. Rommel had privately declared the battle must won in the first 24 hours or it would be the beginning of the end for Germany. By midnight on D-Day, a beachhead had been established. The Allies were back in Europe, and Rommel was right.
The reminiscences of civilians, military strategists, German officers, and Allied servicemen powerfully evoke the events of 70 years ago. The courage of the troops is evident, yet their individual stories reveal their deepest fears. Some were haunted by the carnage, others exhilarated by the action, but, in the words of one officer," obviously there were tragic moments, frightening moments too, but on the whole it had to be done and we did it.
Mark Jones A unique collection of historic recordings covering the events of 1915, from the first Zeppelin raids to the ultimate failure at Gallipoli. In this selection of authentic eyewitness accounts, survivors describe the sinking of the Lusitania; the author Compton McKenzie remembers the Gallipoli disaster; and Violet Bonham Carter pays tribute to Rupert Brooke, who died en route to that campaign. In another poignant memoir, a close colleague recalls the last hours of the British nurse Edith Cavell, executed by the Germans for treason.
Women left at home talk about the hazards they faced taking over men’s jobs, particularly in munitions; but it is the troops speaking informally and candidly who convey the truly harrowing nature of the war. Whether helpless during a poison gas attack, or pinned down on the Gallipoli beaches, their memories are bleak.
For one soldier, ordered to take part in a firing squad, there was a further horror: the prospect of shooting a comrade for desertion. As the stalemate of the trenches continued, hopes for 1916 were focused on a radical new invention: the tank.
Mark Jones A unique collection of historic BBC archive recordings documenting the last months of the Second World War, the euphoria of the victory celebrations, and the dawning of a very different world.
In this original compilation of eyewitness accounts, BBC correspondents and official observers describe the contentious fire-bombing of Dresden in February, the liberation of Belsen in April, and the dropping of the atomic bomb in August.
At home the July election produced a shock Labour landslide, putting Churchill out of office. Those close to him, politicians and family, analyse the reasons for his defeat. Its consequences were far reaching and led ultimately to the foundation of the Welfare State.
Gradually the country returned to normal life; cricket and football matches were resumed, and cinema audiences increased as people enjoyed more leisure. At the same time, deadlock with the Soviet Union at the Potsdam conference was sowing the seeds of a new kind of conflict: ‘cold’ war.
For demobbed troops and returning POWs, there were more immediate problems: the unexpected tensions of coming home. But at least there was the consolation of the first peacetime Christmas since 1938.
Mark Jones A unique collection of historic recordings covering the events of 1916, from the final evacuation of Gallipoli to the aftermath of the Somme. These fascinating and often poignant firsthand accounts describe the humiliating retreat by Allied forces from Gallipoli, starvation during the Siege of Kut-al-Amara in Mesopotamia, the Easter Rising - viewed from both sides of the Irish divide - and the costly battles of Jutland and the Somme.
At Jutland, the only full-scale fleet-to-fleet encounter of the war, 6,000 sailors died. Survivors are haunted by memories of their drowning comrades, but it is the Somme which arouses the strongest feelings. Soldiers speak bitterly of the carnage and needless sacrifices as men were cut down 'like sickled grain'. With a final toll of over 600,000 Allied casualties and no decisive breakthrough, the battle marked the point at which hope began to fade.
Among the reminiscences, conscientious objectors defend their beliefs, the poets Edmund Blunden and Robert Graves offer their own distinctive observations on life in the trenches and a fusilier on the Western Front recalls meeting his new battalion commander, Lt-Col Winston Churchill.
Finally, David Lloyd George, looking back on 1916, remembers a 'dark and desperate' time for the country.
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