Tag Archives: france

Aerial laser maps reveal WWI Battle of the Somme secrets


An aerial survey using aircraft mounted lasers has revealed previously undiscovered evidence that might potentially help to dispute accusations of a lack of determination by Welsh soldiers during the first Battle of the Somme in the Great War of 1914-1918. Aerial mapping company Bluesky flew an area of northern France called Mametz Wood, capturing accurate 3D measurements of the terrain and ground cover.

In the years since 1916, there has been uncertainty as to why Mametz Wood proved so hard for the Welsh Soldiers to clear; there were even accusations of a ‘distinct lack of push’. As part of a BBC TV documentary which explored the history of Welsh soldiers on the Somme through the eyes of rugby player Gareth Thomas, the evidence revealed by the data was used to evaluate the topography of landscape and help the archaeological team focus their efforts on the ground.


Using specialist software, the Bluesky LiDAR data was stripped of tree cover and other features to reveal the bare earth surface. The resulting ‘moonlike’ image clearly showed two crater-like features with rectangular sides, so, not shell holes, which were not on any other map. To the east of these anomalies was another, more subtle feature, also not depicted on war time maps or in reconnaissance information.

“The data allowed the experts to read the landscape from the air, seeing through the trees and vegetation,” commented the programme’s producer, Louise Bray of Bearhug TV. “This revealed a number of clues in a never before seen landscape. It was hoped that these discoveries might give a better understanding of the difficulties faced by the soldiers on the ground.”

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Clips from the programme ‘Wales at the Somme: Gareth Thomas and the Battle of Mametz Wood’ is available to view for a limited time only on the BBC iPlayer.

Channel 4 Announces First Dates Spin-Off

First Dates on Channel 4 has commissioned a spin off series

Channel 4 has commissioned a spin off to their First Dates serious called   ‘First Dates Hotel’.  The spin off will see Maître D’ Fred Siriex and his team welcome a whole host of hopeful singletons from all over the UK. First Dates Hotel will follow blind dates with a difference in a romantically charged boutique hotel in the French countryside.

This new series will include a brand new format where if the answer is ‘Yes’ their stay will be extended in romantic hotel and French countryside. And for some who don’t meet with success on their first date, they will be re-matched for a second chance at finding love.

Series Editor, Adam Chapman said: “Having worked across multiple series of first dates we’re really excited to develop the format and take into a new space. The hotel, whilst retaining all of the charm of the restaurant series will give the viewer the chance to see first dates develop into second dates answering that eternal question ‘what happens next’. Maitre-D Fred will be on hand as always to deliver a bespoke first date like no other. The First Dates Hotel will be the perfect antidote to the stresses of modern life; an oasis of romance where daters can concentrate on one thing and one thing only – finding love.”

For the past three years, First Dates have brought to us a contemporary but romantic alternative to the frustrations of modern dating. Now, for daters looking to take the next big step, First Dates is opening a hotel for a variety of people from all different backgrounds and ages.


How Would UK React to Paris Attack?

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David Videcette is an Ex-Scotland Yard detective, who worked on the anti-terrorism branch of the Met police during the 7 July London bombings in 2005.

He spoke to Jason McCrossan and explains what the UK police and Security Services learned from the 2005 bombings and also says how the cuts to policing could have a detrimental affect on our ability to stop a terrorist attack like that seen in France.

Why I Won’t Apologise for Supporting France


I have seen a number of facebook posts over the past few days which challenged those of us who briefly changed our profile picture to reflect our support for the people of France.  They challenged us by asking the question – why do you show so much support for France – yet there was a terrorist outrage in Beirut and Baghdad – why do you choose who to grieve over?  Implied in this question is  – “Do you think a European life is worth more than one in the Middle East?”

The question is simple enough – but it shows a remarkable misunderstanding of the relationship Britain has with France – not over 10 years, not over 100 years – but over 1,000 of years.

The fact that it is implied that grief is something that can be chosen – I’ve decided to weep over the 120 or so dead in Paris – but made a choice not to weep over the 40 or so dead in Beirut says a lot about the person(s) who pose the question.  Grief cannot always been chosen but yes IT IS SELECTIVE.

I don’t weep over every name I come across in the obituary section of a newspaper.  I don’t weep more if they are British or less because they are asian.  Grief in itself is selective and it is about personal connections with the individual or group of people who died.

Let us be clear about the French.  Britain has great historical ties with our garlic loving neighbour which are deep rooted and not always favourable.

I understand that there are people whose genealogy within this country only goes back one, two or three generations – and therefore they may not fully understand our affiliation with the land that loves frogs legs and snails [a combination that’s vomit inducing to those of us brought up on mince and chips].   Those with a short British genealogy may feel a strong connection with the middle east because of their family connections – and that is fine and we respect that.  But the majority of England, Scotland and Wales  DO NOT have connections with Arab countries or the middle east. We are europeans.

12239346_1071698219531001_1740804879240104236_o.jpgFrance isn’t just another ‘nation’ to us in the UK.  Over the centuries Britain and France have  ruled, been ruled, argued, agreed, disagreed, joked at, joked with, fought, killed, tunnelled to, laughed at, laughed with, cried, sympathised, & clashed with each other like petulant children.

The people of France – unlike most other European countries –  aren’t just a close neighbour – they are like cousins – the swish relatives – the really annoying ones – who find us uncouth and like to imply how smart they are, whilst at the same time – eat way too much smelly cheese and tell us that their house is nicer, food is better and don’t like that we get drunk too much. But deep down you love them all the same & you love them because you know them and have a joined history & past.

So, I don’t apologise for not putting the flags of Beirut or Baghdad on my profile. They have my sympathy. Of course they do. As do the Russians who also lost its people to terrorism.  My heart goes out to the 28 British tourists who lost their lives whilst lying peacefully on a in Tunisia.  Where was the poster outside the Mosque in Birmingham then condemning terrorism against BRITISH people?  Maybe it was there…maybe I just missed it.

It doesn’t really matter.  When those close to you suffer – you also suffer.  And I refuse to apologise.


Anniversary of Agincourt – 600 years – Ian Mortimer discusses the Famous Victory


2015 has been a year for anniversaries. As the World War One centenary commemorations continue, we’ve already had the bi-centenary of the Battle of Waterloo and the 800th Anniversary of the signing of Magna Carta. The latest historic event reaching a significant birthday is the Battle of Agincourt, which sees its 600th Anniversary on the 25th October.

The battle was fought on a muddy field near Azincourt in northern France.

Jason McCrossan spoke to the author Dr. Ian Mortimer about his groundbreaking and ambitious book 1415 Henry V’s Year of Glory – which records the dramatic events of 1415 on a day-by-day basis, culminated in the battle of Agincourt: a slaughter ground designed not to advance Henry’s interests directly but to demonstrate God’s approval of Henry’s royal authority on both sides of the Channel.

WW1 The Battle of Loos with Chris Langdon

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The Battle of Loos was the largest British battle that took place in 1915 on the Western Front during World War I. It was the first time the British used poison gas and the first mass engagement of New Army units. The British battle was part of the attempt by the Allies to break through the German defences in Artois and Champagne and restore a war of movement.

Jason McCrossan chats to the historian Chris Langdon from the ‪‎Southend‬ museum about this battle which took place 100 years ago this month.

monday matters with the pretenders & WW1 history

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On Monday Matters tonight: Jason chats to the historian Chris Langdon from the ‪#‎Southend‬ museum about the 1st World War and the Battle of Loos – a battle which took place 100 years ago this month & where the British army used poisoned Gas for the first time.

In our Night-Time Report – The Prime Minister has confirmed that 2 British citizens fighting for Islamic state have been killed by an RAF drone in Syria. However, there are claims that it may not have been lawful – nor was it approved by parliament. More on this after 8pm.
Kyra has the latest music news including Kylie Minogue & Radiohead and she’ll delve into the latest new releases.

Our featured group tonight: The Pretenders. Lead singer Chrissie Hynde celebrates her birthday today.

In our Monday Matters tribute – Freddie Mercury would have celebrated his birthday on Saturday – he would have been 69 years old. We have music and interviews from him after 9pm.

Henry V – year of glory – 1415

Henry V was born in the tower above the gatehouse of Monmouth Castle (and for that reason was sometimes called Henry of Monmouth).

He was King of England from 1413 until his death at the age of 35 in 1422. His military successes culminated in his famous victory at the Battle of Agincourt (1415) and saw him come close to conquering France.

Jason McCrossan spoke with the historian, author and biographer Ian Mortimer who wrote a book called 1415 Henry V’s Year of Glory.