Dawn on the Somme

The BBC has quietly been going about the business of commemorating the Great War in its usual efficient and elucidating manner... at least, on radio.

Unfortunately if it's not the telly (and not BBC One most of the time) it doesn't always get the  coverage or recognition it deserves. And BBC Radio Three is something of a backwater (a cultural significant backwater) even as far as the senior network is concerned, so unless you're looking for it, chances are you'd miss it.

But this Sunday Feature item, first broadcast in July 2017, is well worth a listen.

Dr Kate Kennedy is Research Fellow in Life-Writing at Wolfson College, Oxford and the author of a biography of the poet and composer, Ivor Gurney – Dweller in Shadows (published by Princeton University Press, 2018).

In Dawn on the Somme she explores the history and legacy of this iconic Great War battle through the lives of British composers and musicians who served in France in 1916. George Butterworth, Ivor Gurney, Arthur Bliss and his clarinettist brother Kennard, and Frederick Septimus Kelly are all featured using their own words and their music and the programme includes contributions from historians Gary Sheffield and Marjolaine Boutet, the cultural historian Jay Winter and the director of the Historial Museum in Péronne, Hervé François.

You can listen to the programme on BBC iPlayer here Sunday Feature: Dawn on the Somme and below are pictures (from the BBC Radio 3 website) illustrating some of the locations featured

 The Thiepval Memorial to the missing of the Somme: Thiepval, France

 Entrance to mine tunnel at La Boiselle

 Memorial to George Butterworth at Pozieres

Martinsart Cemetery, resting place of Frederick Septimus Kelly 


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