Remembrance Day 2018

Remembrance Day marks the anniversary of the armistice which ended the First World War.

This November, the HISTORY channel has an impressive line-up of specials and documentaries to remember those who have served and sacrificed their lives for Australia and New Zealand, to share their stories of bravery and heroism. 

 


100 Days to Victory

Thursdays at 8:30pm AEDT from November 1 until November 8

From command headquarters to the frontlines, this inspiring drama documentary from Electric Pictures and Bristow Global Media Inc. vividly tells the story behind WWI’s finest multinational feat of arms. Told in an accessible, popular style, the series reveals how visionary Allied leadership, revolutionary tactics and the indomitable bravery and skill of the Australian, Canadian, British and French, Armies, turned the tide to win the Great War. In early 1918, the Allies had their backs to the wall as a great German offensive swept westward in a final bid to win the bloodiest war of all. Yet, little more than six months later, Germany was forced to accept bitter, final defeat.

This two-part series offers a fresh and appealing approach: one that is focuses upon victory against the odds, a victory only made possible through great feats of courage, determination and ingenuity.  This version of the events of 1918 will remind audiences of a genre they are familiar with from the movies: the super-hero movie. Faced with overwhelming jeopardy, our heroes must rise above past disasters, overcome their own personal demons and, in the face of appalling circumstances, find a way to triumph. They do so by experimenting with new ideas and learning to trust each other.

The Allied generals’ tactics are innovative. The battles of 1918 embody what came to be known 25 years later as ‘total war’ – fought out of the trenches, in towns, across bridges and canals, scaling hillsides, using covert penetration at night, ‘bite and hold’ tactics, and – for the first time – carefully co-ordinated massed artillery, tanks, aircraft and infantry. Based on vivid personal testimonies, we bring the generals’ battle plans and the searing experience of our front-line fighters powerfully to life.

Through cinematic recreations, interviews with top historians and state-of-the-art CGI, 100 Days to Victory is a gripping account of the last 100 Days of the First World War.

 


War’s Secret Shame: Shell Shock

Monday November 5 at 9:30pm AEDT

An emotional account of the mental-health crisis caused by the First World War, and the long struggle to face the devastating impact suffered by soldiers ever since. In the aftermath of the First World War, soldiers who sacrificed so much were called cowards when they came home. Paralysed by fatigue, anxiety and extreme terrors, they were the victims of shell shock.

This emotional film delves into previously unseen archives to tell their story. Featuring interviews with top specialists, recovering veterans, and the British Ministry of Defence, it’s a moving account of the battle against an insidious killer.

From the doctor who challenged orthodoxy during the Great War, to the campaigners who brought a lawsuit against their government after the first Gulf War, meet the outliers who paved the way for progress.

 


Bristol Scout: Rebuilding History

Wednesday November 7 at 9:30pm AEDT

This one hour documentary, narrated by Robert Llewellyn, follows a fourteen-year personal journey of determination and skill rebuilding history, beginning with the discovery of various aviation artefacts belonging to Captain F. D. H. Bremner, a World War One pilot. Chanced upon by his grandsons, the find leads to them to undertake a rebuild of the Bristol Scout aircraft flown by their grandfather during the Great War.

The programme follows David & Rick Bremner along with their friend, Theo Willford in their ambitious task of building the aircraft, one of the first single seat fighters, to its original specifications, searching out the original plans and parts list, using former techniques and construction skills, learning, as they do so, the trials, tribulations and triumphs that faced those early pioneers of flight and aerial warfare.

 


War Above The Trenches

Thursdays at 7:30pm AEDT from November 8 until November 15

Above the trenches of the Western Front, another battle is taking place. From the stumbling, earliest days of flight to the savagery of industrialised warfare, the aeroplane has become a killing machine.

 


Anzac Stories

Saturday November 10 at 1:30pm AEDT

ANZAC Stories reveals the personal experiences of six of the men and women whose stories are featured at the National Anzac Centre. The people chosen represent an eclectic mix, including a padre, a nurse and a military commander.

We follow their remarkable journeys; from recruitment, departure by convoy from Albany, to the horror of the battlefields and life post-war. Family members appear in newly-filmed interviews, providing a lasting testament and deeply personal connection to the tumultuous events of a century ago.

The stories are richly illustrated with archival footage and photos, many from the personal collections of family members.

 


Mata Hari: The Beautiful Spy

Saturday 10 November at 5.30pm AEDT

Mata Hari is the very epitome of beauty and feminine seduction. As a courtesan she captivates the most influential men of her time, and she exerts a hold over our imagination to this very day. But as World War I raged did Mata Hari really betray secrets revealed to her by her influential lovers? Was she a German spy? Was the death sentence passed by the French justified? This documentary tracks down the true Mata Hari – the most famous and most beautiful spy of all time.

 


Long Tan: The True Story

Saturday November 10 at 6:30pm AEDT

Investigate the battle of Long Tan, when an infantry company of untried Australians and New Zealanders held off repeated attacks by two heavily-armed North Vietnamese Army and Viet Cong units outnumbering them 20 to 1.

 


The Battle for Fire Support Base Coral

Saturday November 10 at 7:30pm AEDT

Over three weeks in 1968 the 1st and 3rd battalions of the Royal Australian Regiment 3RAR fought in desperate hand to hand combat against overwhelming Vietnamese forces.
The largest battle Australian forces had been involved in since World War 2, 25 Diggers were killed and over 100 wounded, the most casualties suffered by Australia in any one engagement in the Vietnam War.

If the Australian forces had lost at FSB Coral, Australia would have been out of the war. Yet few Australians today have ever heard of the Battle for Fire Support Base Coral.

 


Spirit Of The Railway 

Saturday November 10 at 8:30pm AEDT

The true story of the forced construction of the infamous Thai-Burma Railway by prisoners of war during World War 2. 100,000 men died of disease, starvation or were beaten to death by the Japanese and Korean guards.

 


Beyond Kokoda

Saturday November 10 at 9:30pm AEDT

This moving documentary shows the violent and savagery experiences shared between Australian and Japanese soldiers forged in the dense jungles of Papua New Guinea. The Kokoda Campaign was a war without mercy, the scene of one of the most brutal conflicts in Australian History. This 2-hour special shows the story of men caught in the war and how they reconcile their shared history over sixty years later by interviews with Australian soldiers and for the first time show extensive interviews with Japanese soldiers and airmen to gain a unique and almost lost perspective of the Kokoda Campaign.

The battle was a decisive Australian victory, a victory that delivered Australia from Japanese encirclement and possible occupation. The film provides Australian and Japanese audiences with poignant statements about the bloody nature of war and how this has scarred the young men who fought it.

 


Americans Underground: Secret City of WWI

Saturday November 10 at 11:30pm AEDT

Jeff Gusky is an ER doctor from Texas. His interest in World War I begins with the realisation that this first truly modern conflict must have posed the ultimate challenge for people like himself dedicated to saving lives. Millions of soldiers were the victims of the first weapons of mass destruction. But when he goes to France to search the battlefields for clues about the lives of the soldiers who fought there he finds only cemeteries and monuments. World War I has been sanitised and covered up. Then one day he visits an ancient limestone quarry in a hillside in Northern France close to where some of the original trenches of the Western Front were dug.

What he finds inside that hillside is an underground city complete with railcars and electricity. And on its limestone walls are hundreds of inscriptions and images left by soldiers who were once billeted there. To his great surprise there are American names among them. With the help of military experts and historians he traces them to the 26th or Yankee Division, a unit from New England that was among the first to arrive in France. Gusky’s mission is to tell the story of Yankee Division in this hidden world of World War I.

To find out who these men were, where they came from and what happened to them. The film follows his progress which takes him from the underground caves and battlefields of France back to New England where he tracks down some of the descendants of the soldiers whose names he discovered on the walls of the underground city.

 


Invasion of Belgium

Sunday November 11 at 6:30am AEDT

On the 2nd of August 1914 Belgium did not expect to be at war, but by the following day, that was exactly its situation. That this small country could stop a German army ten times larger than its own was unthinkable. What followed in the first few days of the First World War was remarkable, bringing the first deaths, the first air raid, the first mass gas attack and the first battles and the first gallantry awards, all of which has been largely ignored by the enormity of the five million deaths that followed.

The film traces that first month, the battles of Liège, Antwerp and Mons. In reconstruction it uses the words of those who took part and looks at the remains of the battlefields and the fortifications that amazingly still exist.

The small Belgian army held up the German advance, the British Expeditionary Force fought its first battle and the invincible German army was brought to a standstill in Bel-gium.

The British army started at the small Belgian city of Mons which the Germans occupied for four years until the very last day of the war, when it was retaken and where it was to see the last death. The film is the story, through the words of a few soldiers who were there, of the first month and the last day of the ‘war to end all wars’.

 


Gallipoli From Above

Sunday November 11 at 7:30am AEDT

The true story of how a team of Australian officers used aerial intelligence, emerging technology and innovative tactics to plan the landing at Anzac Cove. Generals William Throsby Bridges and Colonel Brudenell White were charged with the difficult task of landing 20,000 ANZAC troops on a heavily defended and precipitous shoreline. They used an aircraft carrier, a tethered balloon and a squadron of biplanes to gather detailed information on the disposition of the Turkish defenders and developed a plan for the landing that avoided significant casualties.

It is now nearly 100 years since the landing and hundreds of books, movies and documentaries have failed to grasp the significance of the ANZAC achievement. Instead, the mythology has clouded the real story of how these two influential Australian officers took control of the landing using every innovation they could muster to safely land their men on Z Beach.

 


Gallipoli: Last ANZACs Tell All

Sunday November 11 at 8:30am AEDT

Narrated by Jack Thompson and featuring the last Gallipoli Anzacs this film challenges the widely held perspective of the Gallipoli Campaign and the birth of the Anzac legend.

 


The Heroes of The Somme

Sunday November 11 at 9:30am AEDT

The Heroes of the Somme uses original archive from the Western Front to uncover the stories of seven of the men whose remarkable bravery in 1916 won them the Victoria Cross, Britain’s most prized military medal.

 


Armistice

Sunday November 11 at 10:30am AEDT

Professor David Reynolds takes a fresh look at the extraordinary events and personalities involved in the Armistice which brought the Frist World war to an end in 1918.  He uncovers a story of wounded egos, political scheming and brinkmanship behind the lines as statesmen and generals haggled over the terms of peace while, at the front, the soldiers fought on.

In a journey that takes him through command centres and battlefields, he explores why half a million men were killed or wounded in the bitter endgame of the ‘Great War’ and he unravels how Germany ultimately plunged to total defeat. In March 1918 the Germans nearly won the war; in November they not only lost it, their country also fell apart in revolution, leaving them unable to resist the Allies’ harsh terms.  So, for many Germans, the new order was a betrayal of all they had fought for – a lasting resentment that would eventually fuel Adolf Hitler’s rise to power.

November 11th proved to be a doomed peace – a prelude to a century-long struggle for mastery of Europe.  David Reynolds argues that it was the frenetic politicking and brutality of the fighting in1918 that sowed the seeds of the even bloodier Second World War just 20 years later.

 


Western Front: Last Survivors Tell All

Sunday November 11 at 11:30am AEDT

Narrated by Jack ‘Living Treasure’ Thompson, this landmark film commemorates the 100th anniversary of Australia’s worst battle Fromelles with the last ten surviving WWI veterans revealing how 2000 young Australians were killed in one day, in their first Western Front battle, when British Generals ordered them to charge in broad daylight across flat fields towards German machine gunners. These brutally honest old warriors who enlisted at 16 tell horror stories about bungling and bloodshed in battles claiming 46,000 Australians lives that will make viewers weep.

Condemning failed British-led Gallipoli as a terrible mistake these centenarians beg Australians to focus on Australian led victories on the Western Front which was five times greater because our soldiers won five times more battles, five times more Victoria Crosses, served there five times longer and sadly lost five times more lives. After hearing these brave soldier’s stories, you’ll never think about WWI in the same light again.

 


Jutland: WWI’s Greatest Sea Battle

Sunday November 11 at 12:30pm AEDT

Thousands of British sailors died in the Battle of Jutland. In the recriminations that followed, Admiral Jellicoe’s reputation was ruined. Now his grandson plans to uncover the truth about the battle.

 


Lusitania – 18 Minutes That Changed The World

Sunday November 11 at 1:30pm AEDT

When the passenger liner Lusitania was torpedoed by a German U-boat off the southern coast of Ireland in 1915, the ship sunk in just 18 minutes, taking 1200 people down with it. The needless tragedy arguably altered the course of World War I, as the number of Americans among the dead pulled the previously unaligned US and all its military might  into the war. Focusing on eight individual passengers and the German U-boat captain, this enthralling film brings those desperate last 18 minutes onboard the Lusitania vividly to life.

From the kitchens deep below deck to the first class cabins, it reveals stories of heroism, sacrifice, luck and misfortune  and how these individuals’ fight for survival impacted on the lives of millions world-wide.

 


Palestine: Last Lighthorsemen Tell All 

Sunday November 11 at 2:30pm AEDT

This landmark centennial tribute marks the 100th anniversary of the WWI Battle of Beersheba – one of history’s last successful cavalry charges, mounted by the romantic Australian Light Horsemen against the Turkish enemy in Palestine.

The film features unique interviews with Australian veterans, such as Gunner Len Hall, who not only helped capture Beersheba, but also landed at Gallipoli with the Anzacs and rode with the legendary Lawrence of Arabia to capture Damascus.

 


100 Years of The R.A.F.

Sunday November 11 at 3:30pm AEDT

For 100 years the Royal Air Force’s courage, perseverance and innovation have secured freedom, survival and safety for the many – at home and abroad.

 


Tony Robinson’s Tour of Duty – Toowoomba

Sunday November 11 at 5:30pm AEDT

Toowoomba marks the first stop on Tony Robinson’s Tour of Duty as he explores this charming Queensland town’s military history. Revisit WW1 meeting the daughter of the first Aboriginal fighter pilot and stories of modern day warfare with the dog that saved an Afghanistan Veteran, not in the heat of battle but back on home turf. For the first time, experience the Tour of Duty Roadshow and feel part of the community as personal memories are exchanged alongside relics of fallen ancestors.

Tony digs deep through the trenches with the locals discovering a medical kit from Gallipoli with remedies and medicines to make you squirm and a Vietnam Veteran whose past smoking habit actually saved his life.

 


100 Days to Victory – Episode 1

Sunday November 11 at 6:30pm AEDT

From command headquarters to the frontlines, this inspiring drama documentary from Electric Pictures and Bristow Global Media Inc. vividly tells the story behind WWI’s finest multinational feat of arms. Told in an accessible, popular style, the series reveals how visionary Allied leadership, revolutionary tactics and the indomitable bravery and skill of the Australian, Canadian, British and French, Armies, turned the tide to win the Great War.

In early 1918, the Allies had their backs to the wall as a great German offensive swept westward in a final bid to win the bloodiest war of all. Yet, little more than six months later, Germany was forced to accept bitter, final defeat.

 


100 Days to Victory – Episode 2

Sunday November 11 at 7:30pm AEDT

From command headquarters to the frontlines, this inspiring drama documentary from Electric Pictures and Bristow Global Media Inc. vividly tells the story behind WWI’s finest multinational feat of arms. Told in an accessible, popular style, the series reveals how visionary Allied leadership, revolutionary tactics and the indomitable bravery and skill of the Australian, Canadian, British and French, Armies, turned the tide to win the Great War. In early 1918, the Allies had their backs to the wall as a great German offensive swept westward in a final bid to win the bloodiest war of all.

Yet, little more than six months later, Germany was forced to accept bitter, final defeat.

 


War’s Secret Shame: Shell Shock

Sunday November 11 at 8:30pm AEDT

An emotional account of the mental-health crisis caused by the First World War, and the long struggle to face the devastating impact suffered by soldiers ever since. In the aftermath of the First World War, soldiers who sacrificed so much were called cowards when they came home. Paralysed by fatigue, anxiety and extreme terrors, they were the victims of shell shock.

This emotional film delves into previously unseen archives to tell their story. Featuring interviews with top specialists, recovering veterans, and the British Ministry of Defence, it’s a moving account of the battle against an insidious killer.

From the doctor who challenged orthodoxy during the Great War, to the campaigners who brought a lawsuit against their government after the first Gulf War, meet the outliers who paved the way for progress.

 


Anzac Stories

Sunday November 11 at 11:30pm AEDT

ANZAC Stories reveals the personal experiences of six of the men and women whose stories are featured at the National Anzac Centre. The people chosen represent an eclectic mix, including a padre, a nurse and a military commander.

We follow their remarkable journeys; from recruitment, departure by convoy from Albany, to the horror of the battlefields and life post-war. Family members appear in newly-filmed interviews, providing a lasting testament and deeply personal connection to the tumultuous events of a century ago.

The stories are richly illustrated with archival footage and photos, many from the personal collections of family members.

 


The Anzac Spirit

Sunday November 11 at 12:00am AEDT

When things are tough – on the sports field, in the face of natural disaster – we summon up The ANZAC Spirit.  We know what we mean – the spirit shown by the original ANZACs on Gallipoli, in the Middle East and on the Western Front.  But what were the qualities those ANZACs had that came together to be The ANZAC Spirit? They were: mateship, courage, humour, igenuity, endurance and individualism.

Through the resources of the Australian War Memorial – photographs, documents, objects – Neil Pigot tells six stories of the ANZACs, each illustrating one of these qualities and all in combination bringing to life the very best examples of The ANZAC Spirit.