Remembrance Day – November 2016

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.

SERIES – Anzac Battlefields
Where is the Western Front? Why did two vast armies dig in, extending lines of trenches from the Channel ports almost to the Alps? This is the battlefield that the ANZACs, withdrawn from Gallipoli, entered at the beginning of 1916.

Industrial warfare at its most terrifying, gas, tanks, machine guns, barbed wire, the ANZACS find themselves fully acquainted with the texture of war on the Western Front.

It is 1917 and the Anzacs are involved in the seminal battles of Bullecourt, Ypres, Messines and Menin Road. The year starts for the Australians with success but a German counter-attack overwhelms them at Bullecourt.

One of the most notorious killing fields of WWI – Passchendaele. We walk where the battalions fought and where the artillery sank in liquid mud.

The German’s launched the massive Operation Michael on an 80 kilometre front on March 21st 1918, the greatest offensive of the war. We hear stories of desperate defence and the crumbling of the Allied line.

As the Germans retreated towards the fortified Hindenburg Line they attempted a ‘scorched earth’ policy, cratering roads and destroying bridges. Vigorous pursuit was necessary to prevent this.


SERIES – Changed Forever
“Changed Forever” is the dramatised story of Australia and Australians during the years of the First World War. Through the experiences of the common soldier, the commander, the politician, the family, the working man, the journalist and the superstar we weave narratives which illustrate events in Australia, Europe, the Middle East and America. Presented and narrated by Colin Friels, “Changed Forever” vividly recreates, in a most original way, years whose influence continues to resonate in the story of who we are and how we understand ourselves.


SPECIAL – Sydney At War
We present archival footage recalling the events of the attack on Sydney Harbour and interviews with the remaining survivors of the mission, both Australian and Japanese, as well as family members of the Japanese submariners.


SPECIAL – Charles Bean’s Great War
Charles Bean: war correspondent, obsessive historian and reluctant myth maker. He was largely responsible for starting the Australian War Memorial, and he was instrumental in the creation of the ANZAC legend. See World War I through his eyes.


SPECIAL – Gallipoli From Above
Discover a truth about the Anzac landing far more significant than the myths about poor planning, wrong beaches, and British generals sending the Anzacs to certain death.


SPECIAL – Lancaster: Reunion of Giants
The last two airworthy WWII Lancaster Bombers reunited over England to make history in 2014. A war relic from Canada crossed the Atlantic to meet her counterpart in the UK and for the first time in 50 years two Lancasters shared the sky for a reunion tour.


SPECIAL – Western Front: Last Survivors Tell All
Commemorate the 100th anniversary of the battle of Fromelles with the last ten surviving WWI veterans as they reveal how 2000 young Australians were killed in their first Western Front battle.


SPECIAL – Deadline Gallipoli: The Full Story
Presented by Sam Worthington, this is an exhilarating documentary, which follows the making of the landmark drama about four journalists who fought the upper echelons of the military to get the truth out about Gallipoli.


SPECIAL – The Day They Dropped The Bomb
THE DAY THEY DROPPED THE BOMB commemorates the events at Hiroshima and their effect on us all, through the story of what happened on that tragic day. It was a day that changed the course of history – a watershed moment that hastened the end of World War II and cast the shadow of potential nuclear destruction over the Western world. It was also a day which started a debate about the morality of using the bomb that still continues.


SPECIAL – Day of the Kamikaze
This is the true story of the biggest and bloodiest suicide campaign in history.

In 1945, Operation Ten-Go (Operation Heaven) lasted four months, involving more than 3000 planes, hundreds of rocket bombs, suicide ships, human torpedoes and the world’s biggest battleship The Yamato.  More than 7000 Japanese died, 400 Allied ships were hit and 5000 Allied sailors were killed in the largest suicide attack in history.


SPECIAL – Gallipoli: The Last ANZACs Tell All
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.


SPECIAL – The Liberators: Why We Fought
On April 29, 1945, allied troops liberated the nearby Munich located concentration camp Dachau. This one-hour documentary is the story from the American Liberators’ point of view.


SPECIAL – The Bombing of Darwin
In 1942, the same Japanese force that had attacked Pearl Harbor struck Darwin, dropping more bombs, killing more civilians and sinking more ships, and yet the bombing of Darwin has remained in the shadows.


SPECIAL – Gallipoli: The Frontline Experience
The epic story of the Gallipoli battle told from all sides of conflict. It is the story of ordinary men faced with extraordinary hardships. Narrated by Jeremy Irons and Sam Neill.


FROM THE SERIES – The Memorial – The Landing
Using the War Memorials weapons, artefacts and letters, Neil retraces the story of soldier Private Thomas Anderson Whyte -a champion rower who was among the first wave of soldiers during the historic Landing of Gallipoli.


SPECIAL – The Battle of Long Tan
This exclusive documentary honours the true story behind the heroic deeds of a group of young Australian and NZ soldiers in one of the most pivotal, dramatic and shocking engagements of the Vietnam War.


SPECIAL – Beyond Kokoda
These are the compelling stories told behind the Australian and Japanese men who fought for their lives in the most brutal conflicts of Australian history.


SPECIAL – The Battle Of Fire Support Base Coral
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.


 SPECIAL – The Last Ring Home
The Last Ring Home is the story of Lt Minter Dial’s Annapolis Naval Academy ring, that miraculously made its way home 18 years after he was killed as a POW of the Japanese in WWII. The Last Ring Home is a tribute to Lt Dial, the producer’s grandfather, and all members of the “Greatest Generation,” and the men and women among the Allied forces who gave so much. It is also a journey of self-discovery, having an impact on the filmmaker, his wider family and many other people in its wake. This story, which took over 25 years of research, illustrates the importance of serendipity and the role of good and bad luck in piecing together a personal history of someone who died 70 years ago. The Last Ring Home is to inspire everyone to uncover their own personal history, to keep a foot in their past and the other foot in the future and to be thankful for the tremendous present in which we live, thanks to the sacrifices of the those who fought in WWII.


FROM THE SERIES – The Memorial – The Unknown Soldier
Neil Oliver goes behind the scenes at the Australian War Memorial as its dedicated staff prepare for the commemoration of Remembrance Day. Neil investigates the history of the Unknown Soldier.


FROM THE SERIES – Australia: The Story of Us – New Nation At War
Our newly minted nation throws itself into a global conflict, the outcome of which will decide Australia’s fate. More than 400,000 fight; one-in-seven will never come home; 150,000 will return broken in body or mind. From the trenches come invention and audacity. Frank Murdoch’s daring letter will save thousands of lives – if he can bypass British Intelligence. The Australian submarine AE2 changes the course of the Gallipoli campaign. Nurse Alicia Kelly helps transform emergency medicine terrifyingly close to the front line. To protect his mates Sniper Billy Sing allows himself become the target. Pompey Elliot helps reinvents trench warfare. The trauma of war leaves its mark but a new Australian spirit is born.


SPECIAL – Armistice
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.