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Wednesday, November 18, 1998 Published at 16:56 GMT


Interviews from the archives



Over the years many World War I veterans have shared their experiences with the BBC. Listen to these first-hand accounts of courage, fear and humour on the battlefield from the BBC's radio archives.

Returning to the Somme A handful of veterans in their 90s return to the Somme. David Watson, George Worsley, Jack Cross and Len Lovell talk to the BBC's Graham McLagan and give disturbing accounts of the battle that was one of the bloodiest in British military history. (1983)

A soldier at 14 Ten-year-old Victoria Creese and Mitchell Whale interviewed 83-year-old war veteran Charlie Stockford for their school radio. He was just four years older than them when he joined up and went off to fight in 1914. (1983)

The Christmas truce Frank Richards of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers recalls the legendary Christmas truce of 1914. He says that as the Germans came over, the British threw off their equipment and went out to meet them, shaking hands and sharing rations.(1954)

"A spoonful of jam and a tot of rum" Mr Richards remembers the shortages of rations at the front and how they used to rummage through the pockets of dead Germans for extra food. (1954)

"We found food we hadn't seen for years" Charles Benning, a former German private, remembers his experiences of the trenches - in particular finding British food when he was starving. (1978)

"The worst thing I ever done" Frank Richards remembers having to burn burial crosses to stay alive when he ran out of fuel in winter. (1954)

"Frightfully hot and a terrible lack of water" Gallipoli survivors attend Remembrance Day at the cenotaph and recall their time spent on the Turkish peninsula in 1915 during which time there were half a million casualties. (1985)

Battles in the air Captain Tim Hervey of the Royal Flying Corps remembers the life of a 'flyer' during World War I - and how he was invited to lunch by his German captors. (1986)

"The British artlillery opened up... and we were cut to pieces." A German officer describes being under machine gun fire at Ypres in 1914 during an attack on the British. (1964)

Armistice Day 1918 Why is it celebrated at 11th hour of the 11th day on the 11th month? Recorded for the 40th anniversary of the end of the war. (1958)

"France was drained of her life blood" A French Infantryman and later theatrical producer Michel St Denis reflects on Armistice day and what the war meant for France. (1958)

"I refused to believe the war was over" American officer Major George Fielding Elliot recalls his feelings at the time of the armistice and what the wider mood was like in America. (1958)





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In this section

The war to end all wars

War and revolution in Russia

Lions led by donkeys?

The Christmas truce

Germany declines armistice day invite

Letters home: Becoming a man

Letters home: Forever sweethearts

Letters home: Over the top

Letters home: 'Pray for me'

Letters home: 'The real state of affairs'

The Somme: Hell on earth

Gallipoli: Heat and thirst

Verdun: Symbol of suffering

Passchendaele: Drowning in mud

My grandfather's war

Legacies of the Great War

War memorials: Lest we forget

World War I : Your stories

Huge interest in war graves website

Veterans tell of war horrors