The sound of sadness - a journey round The Birdcage
In our latest podcast, we visit the hulking mass of Plugstreet Wood and look at the actions of December 1914 around the German strongpoint known as The Birdcage.Formed of trenches captured from the Worcestershire Regiment and three ruined farm buildings, it was a show-stopper for the men of the Rifle Brigade, Somerset LI and Hampshire Regiment who paid a heavy toll in trying to capture it.We begin with a reminiscence of guiding a remarkable man around Plugstreet Wood, consider why some places on the Western Front have such a powerful impact on us, and then look at the fighting for the Birdcage in December 1914. The episode concludes with a special recording made in the wood itself early one morning in 2019.This episode is dedicated to the memory of Graham Stapleton.Support the podcast:https://www.buymeacoffee.com/footstepsbloghttps://www.patreon.com/footstepsofthefallen
Was I brave?
In this latest episode of the podcast, we look at bravery on the battlefield through the stories of six remarkable men.Between them, they won 4 Victoria Crosses, 4 Distinguished Service Orders, 8 Military Crosses, 6 Military Medals, 2 Distinguished Conduct Medals, and 2 Distinguished Flying Crosses, and were mentioned in despatches no less than 17 times. What does bravery on a battlefield mean, and how does one define the "value" of a particular medal?Support the podcast:https://www.patreon.com/footstepsofthefallenhttps://www.buymeacoffee.com/footstepsblog
"Take one more step and I'll bloody shoot you!" - Aubers Ridge
On the 9th May 1915, the British launched an attack on the billiard table flat fields of Artois against the Aubers Ridge. What was supposed to be a gentle stroll across the Artois countryside, turned into one of the great military disasters the British suffered during the Great War.As night fell, nearly 11,000 men lay dead or wounded, and the ridge remained firmly in German's hands. The ensuing crisis saw the Government toppled in what became known as the "shell scandal".Support the podcasthttps://www.buymeacoffee.com/footstepsbloghttps://www.patreon.com/footstepsofthefallen
Trench Talk: William Stroock - "Blackjack"
In this episode, it's a real pleasure to be joined by the American writer and former History professor, William Stroock.William's historical interests are many, but his book on the WW1 American general John J "Blackjack" Pershing is a fascinating insight into one of the Great War's most complex and colourful characters.We talk about Pershing's early life and military career, examine whether some of the more disagreeable traits in his character were compatible with Generalship, and consider his legacy, as well as look at the often strained relationship between Blackjack and other members of Allied high command during the Great War.You can find a copy of William's book by clicking on the following link:https://amzn.eu/d/hhhd8cgSupport the podcast:https://www.patreon.com/footstepsofthefallenhttps://www.buymeacoffee.com/footstepsblog
Conchies - the men who wouldn't fight
During the Great War over 16,000 men registered as Conscientious Objectors; men whose conscience wouldn't allow them to take the life of another human. Ridiculed in the press, humiliated by the Government, and shunned by friends and neighbours, the life of a CO was a lonely one. An organisation aimed at helping those who objected to war was set up, the No-Conscription Fellowship, which became one of the most powerful anti-war bodies of the time.Our episode begins with looking at the back story behind one of British TV's most loveable characters and then hears the story of the writer "Mark VII" an officer who resigned from his commission on religious grounds to become a conscientious objector. We hear about the Tribunals, a pseudo-legal Government panel that allowed COs to plead their case, the remarkable women who kept an underground newspaper running, and the tragic story of the first CO to die in prison.In 1916, in a show of force, the Government shipped 35 COs off to France to be subjected to military justice, where they encountered a regime that was both inhuman and brutal. Sentenced to be shot, a secret telegramme saved the men, and on their return, they were transferred to the harsh regime of Dartmoor prison where they created what is still known as Conchies Field. Our podcast ends by looking at the life of one conscientious objector who fell foul of military law in two World Wars.Support the podcast:https://www.buymeacoffee.com/footstepsbloghttps://www.patreon.com/footstepsofthefallen