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What has been the single most satisfying discovery in your archaeological work so far? Human remains that can be identified. You have forged a career as a successful military historian and can count yourself amongst notable names like Martin van Creveld and Robert Citino. I am not sure that I have. There is always more to do and you are only as good as your last book, project or documentary.

Your archaeological work has resulted in the identification of five missing First World War soldiers and allowed them to be buried with military honours, how useful can battlefield archaeology be to a military genealogist? Basically the process is identical to the methods used by genealogists but in reverse. Family historians begin with a bit of evidence about a known individual and work forward to find the evidence. With remains found in archaeology you start with the body and associated artefacts to identify him as an individual and then work back towards the records connected to him.

GHOSTS ON THE SOMME Filming the Battle June-July 1916

Have you traced any of your own family through military genealogy sources? Sadly his service record was lost in , like so many, but I was able to use a range of sources to reconstruct the short military career of my grandfather. In July this year it will be years since the beginning of the Battle of the Somme. Some of your best work relates to this battle such as your books Somme and Ghosts of the Somme: Filming the Battle, June-July , are you working on anything special to commemorate the centenary of the engagement?

In addition I will be running a commemorative event at 7.

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Full details can be found on the Battlefield Partnerships website. I was involved with the film from the early drafts of the screen play to the last day of filming. As the military consultant I was asked questions by Steven Spielberg on every detail of military procedure and even briefed the actor on the attitudes and beliefs of the period.

GHOSTS ON THE SOMME: Filming the Battle, June-July -

I additionally had the opportunity to appear in the film in more than one scene. Finally, for budding military historians out there, do you have any advice on how to get to where you are now? Their comments have been revealed for the first time in more than 90 years by lipreader Jessica Rees who, with three historians, has been analysing the film held in the Imperial War Museum — likely to have been one of many shown as newsreels in cinemas back home at the time.

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Another soldier implores: 'Stop filming, this is awful'. They may have been among his last words.

For, only minutes later, he and his comrades were cut down by machine-gun fire as they were ordered into battle. Elsewhere along the Front that same day, men of the Royal Fusiliers are readied for battle. There are lighter moments, though. Soldiers of the Essex Regiment were filmed washing at a pool. The cameras kept rolling when prisoners were brought in.

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When a soldier fell, he really was dead. They were very upbeat in their speech. Yet, as I was stunned to learn, many of them did not even survive the day of filming. I came away feeling a bit humble. Some were killed a little later that same day.

World War I: Battle of the Somme

Boris Johnson slams Extinction Rebellion's 'nose-ringed crusties in hemp-smelling bivouacs' amid fury at police for failing to stop eco-mob shutting down swathes of London despite arrests. More than 20, British soldiers lost their lives at the Somme. A scene from the film, Battle of the Somme.

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