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Mentioned in Dispatches

History Podcasts

A podcast hosted by Dr Tom Thorpe on all aspects of the Great War from the UK's leading First World War history society The Western Front Association (


United Kingdom


A podcast hosted by Dr Tom Thorpe on all aspects of the Great War from the UK's leading First World War history society The Western Front Association (




Ep325 – County Mayo, 1912-23 – Prof Joost Augusteijn

Tune in to the latest Mentioned in Dispatches Podcast, where we engage in a compelling conversation with Professor Joost Augusteijn about his in-depth study of County Mayo, 1912-23. Delving into a period of unprecedented turmoil, this examination offers a comprehensive look at all facets of life in County Mayo during the revolutionary era. Joost draws from a diverse range of sources, including memoirs, interviews with former IRA members, newspaper reports, police records, and official documents from both British authorities and Sinn Féin-led governments. The narrative commences with an exploration of the pivotal role of the land question in Mayo's political landscape prior to World War I and reveals how Sinn Féin successfully challenged the entrenched Irish Party's influence post-1916. The book underscores the significance of notable nationalist figures such as Michael Davitt, William O'Brien, James Dillon, and John MacBride in local developments. It also delves into the impact of World War I on the shifting dynamics of various political groups and marginalized segments of Mayo's population, including unionists, suffragettes, and labour activists. A central theme is the gradual radicalization of activists and their growing confrontation with authorities, drawing increasing numbers of Mayo residents into the fold. The book's focus on how daily life was affected adds depth to the narrative, culminating in a comprehensive account of Mayo's experiences during the Civil War. Don't miss this engaging exploration of a pivotal period in County Mayo's history. Published by Four Courts Press Ltd.


Ep325 – County Mayo, 1912-23 – Prof Joost Augusteijn



Ep324 – Field Marshal the Earl of Cavan – Dr Michael Senior

Join us in the latest episode of the Mentioned in Dispatches Podcast as we delve into the life and career of Field Marshal Lord Cavan. In this enlightening conversation with Dr. Michael Senior, author of the recently published book 'Field Marshal the Earl of Cavan: Soldier and Fox Hunter,' we explore the multifaceted character of a distinguished British army commander. Cavan's legacy was a subject of debate among his contemporaries, with some dismissing him as ignorant and vain, while others lauded his calm self-confidence and leadership. Uncover the real qualities and achievements of this often-neglected officer, who served in the Boer War, World War I, and played a pivotal role in post-war army reductions. Michael Senior offers a comprehensive biography, assessing Cavan as a leader, corps commander, and administrator, positioning him among the foremost soldiers of his era. We also delve into Cavan's personal life, his aristocratic background, wealth, and his love for fox hunting, shedding light on how these factors influenced his actions in both war and peace. This episode is a fascinating exploration of a remarkable figure in British military history. This book is published by Pen & Sword.


Ep323 – Irish divisions at Langemark – Michael Nugent

In this episode of the Mentioned in Dispatches Podcast, Michael Nugent delves into his book 'A Bad Day, I Fear,' shedding light on a little-known chapter of World War I history. Join us as we explore the tragic Battle of Langemarck on August 16, 1917, where the 16th (Irish) Division and 36th (Ulster) Division, after their previous success at Messines, faced an unmitigated disaster. Nugent unravels the causes behind the failure to capitalize on their previous victory, including a lack of urgency, tactical misunderstandings, and mismanagement of crucial assets. Discover how the delay between the Messines offensive and the Third Battle of Ypres allowed the Germans to fortify their defences, leading to a harrowing two weeks of constant shelling and adverse weather conditions. Through contemporary accounts and in-depth analysis, we gain a new perspective on the tragic events of that fateful day and the impact it had on Ireland and its divisions. This book is published by Helion & Company.


Ep322 – The 21st Division in the Great War – Dr Derek Clayton

Author and historians Dr Derek Clayton talks about his book To Do the Work of Men : An Operational History of the 21st Division in the Great War. The 21st Division was formed in September 1914 as part of Kitchener's Third Army (K3), comprising units mostly from Yorkshire, Northumberland, Durham and Lincolnshire. It was destined to spend its entire period of active service on the Western Front, taking part in almost all the major engagements. Only two weeks after having arrived in France, and with no battlefield experience, they were thrown into action on the second day of the Battle of Loos. Badly misused by high command, it was not surprising that they underperformed. The division, from May 1916 under the command of Major-General David "Soarer" Campbell, managed to recover from this disastrous baptism of fire to achieve creditable success on three occasions during the Battle of the Somme, including the attack north of Fricourt on the first day. It was during this campaign that the original 63 Bde was exchanged for 110 Bde, the latter's four battalions of the Leicestershire Regiment performing admirably at the Battle of Bazentin on 14 July. The division then re-entered the fray with the newly-introduced tanks in September as the BEF captured the villages of Flers and Gueudecourt. In 1917, they experienced mixed fortunes both at Arras, coming up against the formidable Hindenburg Line defenses, and during the latter stages of Third Ypres as they defended Polygon Wood against German counter attacks before struggling forward through the October mud to assault the village of Reutel. Between March and June of 1918, the division faced all three major German Spring Offensives: they put up a stout defense of the village of Epéhy on 21 March before conducting a lengthy fighting retreat that reduced its battalions to barely 200 men each. In April, they halted the German advance near Ypres during the Battle of the Lys and then, having been sent to a quiet French sector to rest and reorganize, on 28 May they found themselves in the path of the Blücher offensive and were sent reeling as the Germans stormed across the Chemin des Dames Ridge. The division survived - barely - and recovered to play its part in the Hundred Days victories. It was involved in a dozen or so attacks through the summer and autumn, recapturing much of the ground ceded during the March retreat before extending their advance across the Selle and Sambre rivers. They fought their last engagement four days before the armistice when they captured the village of Limont-Fontaine. The 21st had a busy and costly war, losing more men killed, wounded or missing than any other New Army division. It is no wonder that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle described the 21st Division as "that hard-bitten old scrapper". This is published by Helion.


Ep321 – Field Marshal Lord Birdwood – Richard Farrimond

In this podcast interview, Richard Farrimond discusses their motivation for writing a comprehensive biography of Field Marshal Lord Birdwood, highlighting their personal connection to Clifton College and Birdwood's autobiography, Khaki and Gown, as initial inspirations. Richard also explains that their academic journey, including a history Masters degree and a PhD, led them to explore Birdwood's life beyond his role at Gallipoli. The interview delves into lesser-known aspects of Birdwood's career, emphasizing his language skills, early military experiences in Tirah and South Africa, and his ability to excel in staff work. The author challenges the traditional characterization of Birdwood as an "easygoing and fortunate" officer, revealing his dedication, competence, and command abilities. They also discuss Birdwood's diplomatic challenges and achievements throughout his career, which involved interactions with various dignitaries and political leaders.


Ep320 – Did the 5th Army collapse in spring 1918 – Glyn Taylor



Ep319 – Battle of the Sambre, 4 November 1918 – Dr Derek Clayton



Ep318 – Hedworth Lambton and the GW – Peter Welsh




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Ep318 – Hedworth Lambton and the GW – Peter Welsh

Historian and writer Peter Welsh talks about Sir Hedworth Meux (Lambton) during the Great War. Meux was a distinguished Royal Navy officer whose legacy is marked by a lifetime of service and leadership. Born as Hedworth Lambton, he embarked on a remarkable career that spanned from 1870 to 1916. Notably, Meux played a pivotal role in significant historical events, including the Anglo-Egyptian War, the Second Boer War, and the First World War. Meux's early days in the Royal Navy saw him at the bombardment of Alexandria during the Anglo-Egyptian War, where his dedication and valiance were evident. His moment of heroism came during the Second Boer War in 1899 when he displayed remarkable initiative and courage. While stationed at Mauritius, Meux picked up a battalion of soldiers and led a naval brigade to aid British forces at Ladysmith. His quick thinking and leadership, along with the delivery of much-needed artillery, earned him widespread recognition and made him a celebrated figure ba


Ep317 – Gay soldiers, the law and the Great War – Dr Frances Hurd

Author and historian Dr Frances Hurd talks about her research into gay officers, the law and their experiences in the British Army during the Great War. She discusses what happened to British officers arrested for homosexuality, their fate and the legacy of the treatment. Frances is based in Chichester, West Sussex, and has a PhD in history. For 19 years she was an Ofsted inspector.


Ep316 – AEF Communications during the Great War – Dr. Brian Hall

Academic Dr Brian Hall talks about his research into the development of communications in the American Expeditionary Force during the Great War. Brian is the Programme Leader, BA (Hons) Contemporary Military & International History, University of Salford.


Ep315 – Smuts, Botha and the Great War – Dr Anthony Garcia

Dr Tony Garcia talks about the book he jointly authored with Ian van der Waag on the Great War roles of roles played by the South African prime minister, General Louis Botha, and his deputy, General Jan Smuts during the Great War. These were very different men and they appealed to different audiences. Botha’s nuance and emotional intelligence complemented Smuts’s intellectualism. Thrown into a world conflagration in August 1914, Botha and Smuts – facing internal rebellion and the threat posed by German troops on their borders – led South Africa’s Union Defence Force, and often commanded from the front. South Africa’s campaigns began badly. The campaigns in German South West and East Africa started with reverses at Sandfontein in September 1914 and Salaitia in January 1916. However, Springbok soldiers of all backgrounds proved resilient, and the later campaigns were marked by near uniform success. The “first-battle” experiences had reshaped thinking and led to better leadership and command at all levels. Both Botha and Smuts commanded in the field. Steadily, the South African army they commanded – benefiting from wartime training, sometimes in the field – gained resilience, experience, and battle-hardiness, adapting to the conditions of the campaigns and the demands of the tasks. South Africa’s campaigns were complex and divergent, starting with the invasion of neighbouring German South West Africa – to neutralise the radio stations and so aid security in the South Atlantic. Suddenly suspended following the outbreak of the Afrikaner Rebellion, the campaign recommenced in January 1915. Following its conclusion, an infantry brigade, raised for the Western Front, was diverted to Egypt before facing near annihilation at Delville Wood. Reconstructed more than once, the brigade was accompanied by a field ambulance and general hospital. The South African deployment in France included two brigades of heavy artillery, a signal company, a railway company, and Auxiliary Horse Transport Company, and several South African Native Labour Contingents. At the same time, a large South African force, fighting alongside troops from British Africa and India, broke German resistance in East Africa, and a brigade of field artillery and later the Cape Corps served in Egypt and Palestine. In addition, more than 6 500 South Africans served in the British Army, the Royal Flying Corps, later the Royal Air Force, and on ships of the Royal Navy. Although lionised during the war by a British public hungry for heroes, there is a different side to Botha and Smuts. Shunned by Afrikaner nationalists at the time, they have remained divisive figures. Responsible for the enactment of the Land Act of 1913, which shaped South Africa’s socio-economic and political landscape, Botha’s statue in Cape Town was vandalised in 2015 and 2016. Behind his charming, attractive façade, and Smuts’s stoic machine, were two very human, imperfect, and quite probably inconsiderate, men. Together they provide a wonderful lens through which to examine the potent forces of the early twentieth-century world and the country they hoped to forge. Myopic compatriots had constrained their plans; but it was the outbreak of war in 1914 that offered the most significant opportunities and brought the most adverse challenges. They fought insurmountable odds, and achieved great victories, at home and abroad, but also made startling errors, and, ultimately, in classical fashion risked being crushed by the weight of the world they tried to create. Ian van der Waag is a faculty member in Military History at Stellenbosch University, South Africa. Tony Garcia is Research Fellow at Stellenbosch University. His latest book publication The First Campaign Victory of the Great War was published by Helion in 2019.


Ep314 – The German Army in 1917 – Dr Tony Cowan

Author and academic Dr Tony Cowan talks about his recent book, Holding Out. This book examines German operational command during a critical phase of the First World War from November 1916 to the eve of the third battle of Ypres. The situation faced by the German army on the Western Front in 1917 was very different from the one anticipated in pre-war doctrine and Holding Out examines how German commanders and staff officers adapted. Tony Cowan analyses key command tasks to get under the skin of the army's command culture, internal politics and battle management systems from co-ordinating the troops, matériel and different levels of command needed to fight a modern battle to continuously learning and applying lessons from the ever-changing Western Front. His detailed analysis of the German defeat of the 1917 Entente spring offensive sheds new light on how the army and Germany were able to hold out so long during the war against increasing odds. This is published by CUP. Tony is a retired diplomat and member of the British Commission for Military History, Society of Military History and Western Front Association. He co-edited a translation of the German official monograph on the battle of Amiens (2019).


Ep313 – Anzac Labour – Dr Nathan Wise



Ep312 – Barcombe in the Great War – Ian Hilder

Author Ian Hilder about talks his recent book Great War Barcombe News from a Sussex Village 1914 -1919. This book was published by Country Books in 2018.


Ep311 – The Third Earl of Durham in the GW – Peter Welsh



Ep310 – International Jewish relief work in WW1 – Dr Jaclyn Granick



Ep309 – Russian military strategy in WW1 – Dr Sofya Anisimova