Modern history

Hollywood actor Sean Bean tells the story of Waterloo, one of history's most decisive battles. Sean's journey of discovery is inspired by his own experiences of playing Napoleonic soldier Richard Sharpe in TV films based on Bernard Cornwell's best-selling novels. In the programmes he draws on the eye-witness accounts of soldiers who fought at Waterloo to tell the story of the dramatic events of 18 June 1815 as they were experienced by the ordinary soldiers who fought it. He pieces together the chronology of the battle and visits some of the legendary places where the outcome was decided, including the buildings at Hougoumont which witnessed some of the heaviest fighting. He also meets descendants of some of the soldiers who fought at Waterloo, to discover how they remember the achievements of their ancestors. To bring their stories to life he works alongside present-day soldiers from the British army and experts in military history and stages hands-on experiments that bring him closer to the reality of fighting at Waterloo. At the Royal Armouries in Leeds he fires an original Waterloo musket, loaded with live ammunition, and takes part in an experiment to test the damage caused by original Waterloo cavalry swords. He works with re-enactors from the Napoleonic Association to find out more about the infantry and artillery tactics used in the battle. He also witnesses the damage caused by an original Waterloo cannon using live ammunition. In Belgium he meets the archaeologist responsible for the unique discovery of the skeleton of a Waterloo soldier who died during the battle and whose remains lay undiscovered on the battlefield for almost 200 years, in the exact spot where the soldier died.

Sean Bean's Waterloo

Modern history

Years 7-8, 9-10 Modern history
1:23:14
Hollywood actor Sean Bean tells the story of Waterloo, one of history's most decisive battles. Sean's journey of discovery is inspired by his own experiences of playing Napoleonic soldier Richard Sharpe in TV films based on Bernard Cornwell's best-selling novels. In the programmes he draws on the eye-witness accounts of soldiers who fought at Waterloo to tell the story of the dramatic events of 18 June 1815 as they were experienced by the ordinary soldiers who fought it. He pieces together the chronology of the battle and visits some of the legendary places where the outcome was decided, including the buildings at Hougoumont which witnessed some of the heaviest fighting. He also meets descendants of some of the soldiers who fought at Waterloo, to discover how they remember the achievements of their ancestors. To bring their stories to life he works alongside present-day soldiers from the British army and experts in military history and stages hands-on experiments that bring him closer to the reality of fighting at Waterloo. At the Royal Armouries in Leeds he fires an original Waterloo musket, loaded with live ammunition, and takes part in an experiment to test the damage caused by original Waterloo cavalry swords. He works with re-enactors from the Napoleonic Association to find out more about the infantry and artillery tactics used in the battle. He also witnesses the damage caused by an original Waterloo cannon using live ammunition. In Belgium he meets the archaeologist responsible for the unique discovery of the skeleton of a Waterloo soldier who died during the battle and whose remains lay undiscovered on the battlefield for almost 200 years, in the exact spot where the soldier died.
The major attack was called off for lack of troops. But then Wingate persuaded Wavell to do something utterly reckless - to allow his three thousand strong force to go behind enemy lines without any supporting major offensive. It would take time for the Japanese to catch up with his forces - but catch up they undoubtedly would. So on 24th March Wingate abandoned non-essential equipment, and got rid of any mules that his force didn't need. He then split his force into smaller units to find their way through the Japanese lines and he gave each unit a special means of escape. Some were given dinghies to get across the Irrawaddy river, some the means to build an airstrip and get out by air and some were sent to return through the hills of China. It turned into one of the most imaginative and complex escapes of the war. Of the 3,000 officers and men who went into Burma only 2,160 returned. Of those only 600 were passed fit enough to see further service in the war. But Churchill was impressed. He had Wingate meet the Chiefs of Staff at the Quebec Conference. Churchill then began to realise that a man, like Wingate, who kept a raw onion around his neck for sustenance and who was not too concerned about wandering around naked unannounced was probably not fit for high command. However Wingate was sent back the following year as a Major General to establish bases behind enemy lines in Burma to harass the Japanese. However he was killed in an air accident while leading this campaign. After his death the exercise was only repeated once again; by the French in Vietnam.

Narrow Escapes of WWII

Modern history, Personal and social capability

Years 7-8, 9-10 Modern history, Personal and social capability
50:50
The major attack was called off for lack of troops. But then Wingate persuaded Wavell to do something utterly reckless - to allow his three thousand strong force to go behind enemy lines without any supporting major offensive. It would take time for the Japanese to catch up with his forces - but catch up they undoubtedly would. So on 24th March Wingate abandoned non-essential equipment, and got rid of any mules that his force didn't need. He then split his force into smaller units to find their way through the Japanese lines and he gave each unit a special means of escape. Some were given dinghies to get across the Irrawaddy river, some the means to build an airstrip and get out by air and some were sent to return through the hills of China. It turned into one of the most imaginative and complex escapes of the war. Of the 3,000 officers and men who went into Burma only 2,160 returned. Of those only 600 were passed fit enough to see further service in the war. But Churchill was impressed. He had Wingate meet the Chiefs of Staff at the Quebec Conference. Churchill then began to realise that a man, like Wingate, who kept a raw onion around his neck for sustenance and who was not too concerned about wandering around naked unannounced was probably not fit for high command. However Wingate was sent back the following year as a Major General to establish bases behind enemy lines in Burma to harass the Japanese. However he was killed in an air accident while leading this campaign. After his death the exercise was only repeated once again; by the French in Vietnam.
RFK Must Die explores the assassination of Bobby Kennedy on June 5, 1968. Kennedy won the California Democratic primary and looked set to challenge Nixon for the White House. Moments later Kennedy is shot from an inch behind his right ear and slumps to the floor, assassinated. 24-year-old Palestinian Sirhan Sirhan is convicted as the lone assassin, but Sirhan has never been able to remember the shooting. And world authority on hypnosis Dr Herbert Spiegel believes he was hypnotically programmed to kill Kennedy. Not one witness saw Sirhan's gun an inch from Kennedy's right ear, suggesting a second gunman was involved. New audio evidence also proves at least ten shots were fired that night - Sirhan's gun only held eight. Newly discovered film and photographs appear to show three senior CIA operatives at the crime scene, suggesting the CIA was behind the assassination. Writer-director Shane O'Sullivan, highly sceptical of the official report, conducted his own exhaustive investigation. Through exclusive interviews with eyewitnesses, investigators and survivors of the assassination as well as rare archival footage and a wealth of expert testimony, this disturbing documentary sheds new light on the murder of one of America's most beloved politicians. Today, Sirhan is still in the same California prison as Charles Manson, with no imminent hope of parole. This new feature documentary thoroughly investigates one of America's most bizarre and enduring murder mysteries and calls for a reopening of the case in the lead up to the fortieth anniversary of his assassination in June 2008.

RFK Must Die: The Assassination of Robert Kennedy

Modern history, Civics and citizenship

Years 9-10, 11-12 Modern history, Civics and citizenship
52:57
RFK Must Die explores the assassination of Bobby Kennedy on June 5, 1968. Kennedy won the California Democratic primary and looked set to challenge Nixon for the White House. Moments later Kennedy is shot from an inch behind his right ear and slumps to the floor, assassinated. 24-year-old Palestinian Sirhan Sirhan is convicted as the lone assassin, but Sirhan has never been able to remember the shooting. And world authority on hypnosis Dr Herbert Spiegel believes he was hypnotically programmed to kill Kennedy. Not one witness saw Sirhan's gun an inch from Kennedy's right ear, suggesting a second gunman was involved. New audio evidence also proves at least ten shots were fired that night - Sirhan's gun only held eight. Newly discovered film and photographs appear to show three senior CIA operatives at the crime scene, suggesting the CIA was behind the assassination. Writer-director Shane O'Sullivan, highly sceptical of the official report, conducted his own exhaustive investigation. Through exclusive interviews with eyewitnesses, investigators and survivors of the assassination as well as rare archival footage and a wealth of expert testimony, this disturbing documentary sheds new light on the murder of one of America's most beloved politicians. Today, Sirhan is still in the same California prison as Charles Manson, with no imminent hope of parole. This new feature documentary thoroughly investigates one of America's most bizarre and enduring murder mysteries and calls for a reopening of the case in the lead up to the fortieth anniversary of his assassination in June 2008.
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