Commemoration of First World War 100 years on

100 years since the start of the Great War

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The first British battle of the Great War

The first major battle for the British in World War One was at Mons in Belgium on August 23rd 1914. Involved in the fighting were troops from the Queen's Own Royal West Kents. Derek Johnson travelled to Belgium with the regiment's archivist Chris Jupp and also spoke to Matthew Watson and David Hanmore whose relatives fought on day one.

  1. Kevin Harrison

Lights out - the South East remembers The Great War

At 11 o clock last night, lights the length and breadth of the country were dimmed, or put out, to remember the dead of the Great War. It was a hundred years, exactly, to the hour, that Britain declared war on Germany. In Folkestone, where earlier in the day, Prince Harry had unveiled a fourteen metre high arch on the town's clifftop to mark the anniversary, thousands gathered to pay their respects. For so many fighting men, Folkestone was their last glimpse of home as they departed to fight for King and country. At last night's ceremony, Kevin Harrison.


How WW1 created a technological revolution

They called it the war to end all wars - but sadly that never came true. What the First World War did do though was change forever the face of both the battlefield and the working lives of those at home.

Industry and technology went into overdrive in an attempt to break the stalemate of the trenches, and create bigger and every more fearful weapons. Martin Dowse reports on how the South played its part in the arms race of a century ago.


  1. Derek Johnson (@derekjohnsonitv)

Teenage Tommy who saw history made

Benjamin Clouting was 16 when he witnessed the first British shots of the Great War. He was the son of a groom working on a large estate near Lewes in Sussex and his love of horses and desire to join the Army brought him to 4th the Royal Irish Dragoon Guards.

Just a week after setting foot in France, Ben took part in the British Army’s first engagement near the Belgian town of Mons when his colleagues opened fire on a group of enemy lancers.

Ben remained on the Western Front for almost the entire war and later in life took over a window cleaning business in Reading, where he worked until shortly before his death in August 1990, aged nearly 93.

Later in his life Benjamin relayed a vivid account of what he saw that day to author Richard van Emden who is interviewed here along with Ben's great grandson. We also hear from benjamin Clouting himself in an interview filmed just before his death on the very spot those shots were fired.

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