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  4. Brothers in Arms: The Pals Army of World War One

Brothers in Arms: The Pals Army of World War One

Programme run: 1 x 60 mins
Production: BBC
First Transmitted: 2014 HD available 

This film tells the epic story of the young men who joined up together, fought together and died together in World War One.  It draws on a unique collection of filmed interviews with veterans in their nineties and hundreds who vividly remember how they volunteered with their friends in the first days of war to serve in Kitchener’s Army and the Pals Battalions. They relive the heroism and heartbreak of the pals in the trenches who went over the top together.   

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On the centenary of the “war to end all wars,” this is a fitting tribute to a generation of young men distinguished by their sense of patriotism, duty, friendship, loyalty and courage.

I walked over to the Town Hall intending to join the Birmingham Pals. And I was amazed to see a long queue of young people about the same age as myself all laughing and joking, all wanting to be a solder. I thought it was more like a queue for a music hall than to be a soldier.

Ted Francis

We met a hurricane of bullets when we went over the top. They whizzed by my ears, ping, ping, ping. And I thought, how marvellous, they've missed me, I must be the luckiest man on earth. But my best friend, I never saw him anymore. He must have had the bullet right away.

Tommy Gay

If I'd had time to lift his head up, to try to talk to him, that's what I would have tried to do, but it's no good, you had to keep going, either that or you'd get trampled on. He were a grand lad, aye, he was my best friend. We'd not even said so long to one another, aye.  And I’ve thought many a time, to think of all those young lives lost, it was all for no purpose

George Littlefair

I was happy, I knew I did something for my country. All the fellows gave their lives so that other people could live. And I still contend that they saved us all, they saved the country.   

Robbie Burns


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