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The Old Front Line

Walk the battlefields of the First World War with Military Historian, Paul Reed. In these podcasts, Paul brings together over 35 years of studying the Great War, from the stories of veterans he interviewed, to when he spent more than a decade living on the Old Front Line in the heart of the Somme battlefields.

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Walk the battlefields of the First World War with Military Historian, Paul Reed. In these podcasts, Paul brings together over 35 years of studying the Great War, from the stories of veterans he interviewed, to when he spent more than a decade living on the Old Front Line in the heart of the Somme battlefields.

Third Ypres Remembered

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On 31st July 1917 the Third Battle of Ypres - or the Battle of Passchendaele as it is often called - began with an attack on a forteen mile front near the city of Ypres. In this Anniversary episode we look at the first day of Third Ypres; who attacked, what happened and what were the casualties? 

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/oldfrontline)

Jul 31 2021

45mins

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The Loos Memorial

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the heart of the Loos Battlefield. Here we look at the fighting in this part of the Western Front, the background to the Missing, and examine some stories of those commemorated here: from a Major-General to the son of Rudyard Kipling, to the men from Sussex, many of whom died at Richebourg.  

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/oldfrontline)

Jul 24 2021

45mins

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Somme 105: The Battle Continues

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As the Battle of the Somme continued, it took the British Army into the 'Horseshoe of Woods' that characterised the next phase of the fighting here in July 1916. As the 105th Anniversary of the Somme continues, we look at how the battle progressed. 

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/oldfrontline)

Jul 17 2021

43mins

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The Western Front: WW1 Trench Warfare

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The Great War went from a mobile war in 1914 to a static conflict with hundreds of miles of trenches across France and Flanders. How did trench warfare come about, what were the trenches that crisscrossed the battlefield and what were the differences between Allied and German trenches? 

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Jul 10 2021

57mins

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Walking Ypres: Wieltje to the Steenbeek River

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In this episode, we look at how the Northumbrian Territorials were thrown into battle at Ypres in April 1915, look at Wieltje as a front line village, and walk the ground where the opening phase of the Third Battle of Ypres took place following the men from the medical services as they struggled to save the wounded, including Captain Noel Chavasse VC & Bar. 

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Jul 03 2021

58mins

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Somme 105th Anniversary

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Today is the 105th Anniversary of the First Day of the Battle of the Somme. The battle began on this day at 7.30 am, when the British soldiers went Over The Top on a perfect summer's morning. On this anniversary we look at the background to 1st July 1916, visit the Thiepval Memorial, and discuss what the First Day of the Somme means to me, reflecting on the experience of the veterans I interviewed.

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Jul 01 2021

32mins

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Walking The Somme: High Wood

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High Wood was one of the most fought-over corners of the Somme battlefields in 1916. We take a walk from Caterpillar Valley Cemetery via Longueval, to stand beneath the dark trees of the wood. We learn about New Zealand's Unknown Warrior, Indian Cavalry, and a father and son who were both awarded the Victoria Cross. 

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/oldfrontline)

Jun 26 2021

1hr 3mins

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Walking Ypres: Plugstreet Wood

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South of the city of Ypres in Belgium, a large area of woodland was swallowed up in the fighting of 1914. For the next four years, the British and Commonwealth forces held the line in and around Ploegsteert Wood - "Plugstreet Wood" to the British Tommy. 

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Jun 19 2021

1hr 11mins

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Trench Chat: Canadian Remembrance Tourism with Samantha Cowan

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In this 'Trench Chat' we talk to Canadian Tour operator Samantha Cowan about battlefield tourism coming to the Great War battlefields from Canada. What inspires Canadians to come? What does Vimy mean to them? Samantha shares her years of experience with her tour company TheBattlefieldTours.

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Jun 12 2021

56mins

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Walking Arras: The Pals at Oppy Wood

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The story of the Northern Pals battalions who marched to war in 1914 is forever linked to the Somme, but their war continued and in May 1917 they found themselves up against a 'dark wood' - Oppy Wood, near Arras. 

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Jun 05 2021

46mins

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Walking The Somme: Albert

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Located at the heart of the Somme battlefields, the town of Albert, known as 'Bert to the troops, was the route to the front line - all roads led there in 1916. Here we look at what the town meant to those who served on the Somme, examine the story of the Basilica with its figure of Mary, which Australian soldiers called 'Fanny Durack' and then look at the British graves in Albert Communal Cemetery and end on the outskirts of the town at Bapaume Post Military Cemetery.

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May 29 2021

1hr

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WW1 at Home: War Graves Week

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It's War Graves Week! The Commonwealth War Graves Commission maintain all cemeteries and memorials from both World Wars worldwide. This week sees the first War Graves Week and the focus is on the graves we see at home, in the cemeteries close to where we live. In this special episode, we talk to Megan Maltby and James King from CWGC, and Battlefield Guide Martin Garnett in Barnsley Cemetery. 

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May 22 2021

1hr 11mins

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Trench Chat: WW1 Machine Guns with Richard Fisher

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In this latest Trench Chat, we are joined by Richard Fisher of the Vickers Machinegun Collection & Research Association to talk about the Machine Gun Corps, Graham Seton Hutchison ('Hutchy') and did they make tea from the hot water in their Vickers gun water jackets?! 

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May 15 2021

58mins

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Books & Battlefields: The Somme

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Something slightly different this week: we look at the village of Bazentin-le-Petit on the Somme battlefields through the lens of three classic memoirs of the Great War. These include Robert Graves Goodbye To All That and Frank Richards Old Soldiers Never Die. How important are these WW1 memoirs and what do they tell us? 

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May 08 2021

49mins

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Walking The Somme: Ancre Valley

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The Ancre Valley cuts across the northern Somme battlefield like a deep scar; in 1916 attack after attack saw heavy losses here. Our walk takes us from the small village of St Pierre Divion, to a bridge over the river Ancre itself, then on to the Ancre Cemetery and ending in Beaumont-Hamel. 

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/oldfrontline)

May 01 2021

1hr

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Last Digger Action: Montbrehain 1918

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In the quiet village of Montbrehain in Northern France, Australians who had fought at Gallipoli, and in some of the key battles on the Western Front, went into battle for the last time on a misty morning in October 1918. This was Australia's final battle of the Great War: the end of a long route across France and Flanders that had cost the lives of more than 45,000 Diggers. 

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/oldfrontline)

Apr 24 2021

46mins

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1914: The Princess & The Christmas Box

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In this Trench Chat Special, we speak to Professor Peter Doyle about his upcoming book on the story of an iconic Great War artifact, the Princess Mary's Christmas Box. Peter explains the history behind the little brass tin, what was in it and who it was given to. 

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/oldfrontline)

Apr 17 2021

1hr 6mins

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Flanders: Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery

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Located just off the main road on a route into Flanders, and sheltered by tall trees, this is Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery. It was once one of the largest British cemeteries from the Great War, with nearly 11,000 burials of men who died of wounds. Here we look at Railheads and Estaminets and examine the treatment of the wounded, and the role of Nurses. 

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Apr 10 2021

1hr 4mins

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Walking Arras: Bullecourt

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In this episode, we follow the Australians - the ANZACs - and men from the West Riding of Yorkshire who fought around the sleepy village of Bullecourt near Arras, in Northern France. Here more than 10,000 ANZACs became casualties in the bloody battles for the Hindenburg Line. 

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Apr 03 2021

59mins

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Ypres: Hill 60

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Once the haunt of lovers, these gentle slopes on a Flanders landscape became Hill 60 to the British Tommy - one of the most infamous locations on the battlefields near Ypres. We look at the story of Demarcation Stones, British and Commonwealth Tunnellers, mine craters and bunkers... and a forgotten WW1 Trench Museum. 

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Mar 27 2021

1hr

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iTunes Ratings

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D. Jefferies

By DIck Jefferies - May 01 2020
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Great podcasts! Very interesting and engaging!

Very absorbing

By Anita Farrell - Apr 27 2020
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Paul’s podcast is more than just battle dates and troop movements. He takes you for a walk to these places and gives visions of how they appeared in The Great War and now. He also has personal insights from decades of research. This is an excellent way to learn about WW1.