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This powerful dramatised documentary tells the story of the most infamous battle of the First World War - the battle of the Somme. Based on real accounts it follows a group of pals from Salford, ma...tes from the local church, who joined up together to fight for King and Country. Walter Fiddes was a shop assistant, Stephen Sharples a builder, and Thomas Mellor a travelling salesman. They would fight - and die - side by side on 1st of July 1916, just three of the 20,000 who would fall on the first day of the Somme. -- July 1st 1916 was the bloodiest day in British military history. But there was much more to the Somme than senseless slaughter. The Somme: From Defeat to Victory challenges the traditional view of the battle as a disaster and reveals how it was on the Somme that the British Army learnt to fight a modern war. The film shows how men like Lt Colonel Frank Maxwell and Private Frederick Edwards would help turn initial defeat into ultimate victory. Two months after the failure of July 1st, Maxwell, a maverick battalion commander, led a daring raid on the German positions where Mellor, Fiddes, and Sharples had been killed. The fighting was savage, but with the help of innovative tactics, such as the 'creeping barrage', and a new-fangled weapon, one of the first ever tanks, they eventually defeated their German enemy. Private Edwards who couldn't even read or write won the VC for his heroics and Lt Colonel Maxwell was promoted to command a brigade. -- Based on extensive research in British and German archives, The Somme: From Defeat to Victory mixes shockingly realistic, historically sourced drama scenes, archive, documentary footage and state of the art computer graphics to bring the extraordinary events of the Somme to life for a modern audience. It has been made with the advice of some of the world's top military historians. The result is a programme that is both deeply moving and offers a radical new perspective on the Somme, putting the terrible events of July 1st into their proper historical context.
Metadata describing this Open University video programme
First transmission date: 2006
Published: 2006
Rights Statement:
Restrictions on use:
Duration: 00:58:18
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Producer: Detlef Siebert
Publisher: BBC Open University
Link to related site: Website:
Subject terms: Somme, 1st Battle of the, France, 1916; World War, 1914-1918--Campaigns--France
Master spool number: LSGB201S
Production number: LSGB201S
Videofinder number: 7311
Available to public: no