Discovery marks the centenary of the defining moment in World War One with a special one-off documentary, hosted by actor and historian Sir Tony Robinson, which poignantly examines the first day of one of the bloodiest battles in human history.
This one-off special tells the powerful and moving story of five men, all members of a unique volunteer army – the Sheffield City battalion – as it recounts the soldiers’ last days, leaving their homes and loved ones to go and serve alongside their friends and neighbours, completely unaware of what lay ahead of them.
Central to the programme is the story of Private Frank Meakin, who recorded his unique personal testimony of the war. Frank and his friends could never have anticipated what they would experience, but 100 years on we know in detail, thanks to his diary – an account that shouldn’t have existed, because keeping one was forbidden for servicemen on active duty on the Western Front.
Frank’s diary, which was smuggled back from the Front, reveals the intimate details and dramatic stories of one battalion – and one British city – in the words of one man.