100 episodes

A journey through the Great War

Footsteps of the fallen Matt Dixon

    • History
    • 4.8 • 16 Ratings

A journey through the Great War

    Turn left on Piccadilly - a day in the life of a British trench

    Turn left on Piccadilly - a day in the life of a British trench

    Welcome to our 100th podcast!

    In today's episode, we look at the trenches that formed the 450 miles of the Western Front, running from the Swiss border to the Belgian coast.

    We look at how trenches were designed, and where the naming patterns came from.  We hear the macabre reasoning behind Woman Trench, learn about the role of the Sanitary Corporal and discover how a German artillery attack did wonders for a British officer's digestive problems.

    Footsteps of the Fallen will be back on the 4th December! 

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    • 1 hr 13 min
    For God and for France! The battle of Touvent Farm

    For God and for France! The battle of Touvent Farm

    This episode looks at the fighting around Touvent Farm, a critical strong point on what was to become the Somme battlefields.  For seven days in June 1915, French infantry fought hand-to-hand with fanatical German defenders to capture this important strongpoint.

    We begin by looking at the French army and its evolution during the Great War.  Consisting largely of conscripted men, over 8 million were called into service.  We look at their weapons and how their famous red trousers became a political issue in the French parliament.  We meet a French gunner who wrote one of the most powerful narratives of combat to come out of the Great War, and why supply problems led to the production of the famous blue French uniform.

    We then look at the fighting around Touvent Farm, where France emerged victorious,  but at what cost?

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    • 55 min
    Trench talk - Richard Dunning MBE

    Trench talk - Richard Dunning MBE

    Apologies for the sound issues in this episode, it was recorded online and sadly the Internet connection was misbehaving. The sound is not of the usual standard, but this was out of my control.

    In our latest episode of Trench Talk we are joined by Richard Dunning MBE, the owner of the Lochnagar Crater at La Boiselle.  In this wide-ranging chat we talk about how reading a paperback book in the middle of a riot in Chicago led Richard on a lifetimes journey into the Somme battlefields.  We hear about the impact the fighting at La Boiselle had on the veterans who fought there, the most common question Richard gets asked, how a conversation in a clump of weeds led an inner-city lad to study history at University, and the perils of inviting Cossacks to the 1st July memorial service.

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    • 1 hr 6 min
    Hill 35 and the story of Fray Bentos

    Hill 35 and the story of Fray Bentos

    In today's podcast, we look at the remarkable story of Tank F41 "Fray Bentos"  which took part in an attack on the heavily defended German lines near Hill 35 just outside Zonnebeke in August 1917. The attack failed but for three days and nights, Fray Bentos and its crew performed one of the greatest defensive actions of the Great War.

    Our journey begins at Oxford Road cemetery near Wieltje, where we hear about one of the greatest cricketers to play the game, Colin Blythe, before we visit the grave of Clement Robertson VC, the first man of The Tank Corps to be awarded the Victoria Cross during the Great War.  We hear about Robertson's remarkable actions during the fighting of October 1917.

    Two months before Robertson won his VC,  the crew of Frey Bentos performed an incredible rearguard action in the face of fanatical German firepower while fighting near Pond Farm, just outside Ypres. The story of Capt Richardson and his crew of "tankies" is quite remarkable and led the men to become the most highly decorated tank crew of the Great War.

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    • 57 min
    Eat Apples

    Eat Apples

    Our latest episode visits the massive military facility at Etaples on the French coast. Known as Eat Apples to the Tommies, the facility contained 20 hospitals and enough accommodation for 100,000 men.

    Why was the camp there, how was it run, and what was life like for those who stayed there? We hear about the logistical issues of running such a massive camp, meet the "Pencil General" responsible for managing the day-to-day affairs of this mini-city, and look at the medical evacuation process.  We finish by looking at the fabled mutiny of 1917, and contemplate the enigmatic story of the so called "Monocled Mutineer."

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    • 1 hr 2 min
    A bloody great hole in the ground - La Boiselle

    A bloody great hole in the ground - La Boiselle

    In our latest episode we visit the tiny Somme hamlet of La Boiselle and look at the action which led up to the creation of the massive Lochnagar Crater, which stands on the site to this day as a memorial to the men who died in combat on the first day of the Somme.

    The men of Tyneside paid a heavy toll at the hands of German machine gunners, and we look at how German intelligence intercepts rendered any element of surprise obsolete.  We hear about the three Victoria Cross winners from the fighting at La Boiselle, including the eccentric and bellicose Adrian Carton de Wiart, a man who described WW1 as really rather good fun. 

    Our episode concludes with looking at the works of William Orpen, the official war artist, a man who never let the truth get in the way of gaining access to the battlefields, and who used his connections with senior command to get him out of numerous scrapes as he travelled the battlefield producing his exceptional works of art.

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    • 1 hr 1 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
16 Ratings

16 Ratings

brion brigman ,

1915

Great podcast. I love that he does a lot on the battles of 1915 an oft forgotten year in the Great War minus Gallipoli. Thanks for providing the content

greed freedy 🥵 ,

Dissatisfied

Just not good enough

jay michaelson 867 ,

Well done

Very well spoken, easy to understand with great flow. Appreciate the unique detail behind the battles. Keep it up!

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