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Sturmey

Tommies - The BBC Radio 4 Drama series

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Sturmey

Hi Mike

 

Yes, the environments for speech wireless were always going to be very difficult for them. It's funny you should mention it because it is one of my aims to demonstrate their pioneering spirit by for air to speak to tank in one of the final 1918 episodes, and I'll be asking after your Cross and Cockade article volume number when the time comes. And today I'm working on a script for a tank scene in 1916 where I am setting up that expectation - a tankie asking the signallers when the devil he's going to get wireless. We have to plan these things, you know!

 

I live just a few miles from Orfordness here in Suffolk, and have the basic books on it, but never knew about Butley. Is there a basic book about that?

 

atb Jonathan

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MikeMeech
39 minutes ago, Sturmey said:

Hi Mike

 

Yes, the environments for speech wireless were always going to be very difficult for them. It's funny you should mention it because it is one of my aims to demonstrate their pioneering spirit by for air to speak to tank in one of the final 1918 episodes, and I'll be asking after your Cross and Cockade article volume number when the time comes. And today I'm working on a script for a tank scene in 1916 where I am setting up that expectation - a tankie asking the signallers when the devil he's going to get wireless. We have to plan these things, you know!

 

I live just a few miles from Orfordness here in Suffolk, and have the basic books on it, but never knew about Butley. Is there a basic book about that?

 

atb Jonathan

Hi Jonathan

 

There are several mentions of Butley in Paddy Heavell's book 'Most Secret - The Hidden History of Orfordness', which you may of course have, page 50-53 has the main bit of information on it.  Otherwise there are occasional mentions but no 'full' history I think.

 

For an overview of tank communication in general have you seen Brian Hall's chapter in 'Genesis, Employment, Aftermath - First World War Tanks and the New Warfare, 1900-1945', edited by Alaric Searle, Helion 2015.  His chapter's titled 'The Development of Tank Communications in the British Expeditionary Force, 1916-1918'.  It may be useful.

 

Let me know if you want any further information when the time comes, I am always willing to help if I can.  Just for information I have attached a small part of an 8 Squadron, RAF, Weekly Report that has information on some experiments.

 

Mike

 

1918wtelephonyairtank002.jpg

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Sturmey

Thanks, I'll look those books out. I haven't got them.

 

And that scan shows a real improvement over less than a week of trials. Amazing really

 

Will certainly be in touch, currently trying to unravel a military discharge question

 

atb

 

Jonathan

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Sturmey

Hi all

 

TOMMIES is coming back.

 

The Radio 4 Extra people are putting out our June 1916 series from Monday 31st October at 1115 and 2115.

 

And we begin our new series on 11 November 2016 at 1415 on BBC Radio 4, then every Friday for a further three weeks.

 

11 Nov: Serbian operations based on the lives of Flora Sandes, Olive King and Milunka Savic.

 

18 Nov: The Last Day of the Battle of the Somme. II Corps operations on the Ancre

 

25 Nov: German peace-feelers reach Paris

 

2 Dec: Ex-Kut Indian Army soldiers try to escape from a Turkish POW camp

 

Hope you like them

 

 

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rolt968
10 hours ago, Sturmey said:

Hi all

 

TOMMIES is coming back.

 

The Radio 4 Extra people are putting out our June 1916 series from Monday 31st October at 1115 and 2115.

 

And we begin our new series on 11 November 2016 at 1415 on BBC Radio 4, then every Friday for a further three weeks.

 

11 Nov: Serbian operations based on the lives of Flora Sandes, Olive King and Milunka Savic.

 

18 Nov: The Last Day of the Battle of the Somme. II Corps operations on the Ancre

 

25 Nov: German peace-feelers reach Paris

 

2 Dec: Ex-Kut Indian Army soldiers try to escape from a Turkish POW camp

 

Hope you like them

 

 

Thank you,

I will note the dates and times.

Roger M

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Sturmey
On ‎31‎/‎08‎/‎2016 at 09:51, MikeMeech said:

Hi Jonathan

 

There are several mentions of Butley in Paddy Heavell's book 'Most Secret - The Hidden History of Orfordness', which you may of course have, page 50-53 has the main bit of information on it.  Otherwise there are occasional mentions but no 'full' history I think.

 

For an overview of tank communication in general have you seen Brian Hall's chapter in 'Genesis, Employment, Aftermath - First World War Tanks and the New Warfare, 1900-1945', edited by Alaric Searle, Helion 2015.  His chapter's titled 'The Development of Tank Communications in the British Expeditionary Force, 1916-1918'.  It may be useful.

 

Let me know if you want any further information when the time comes, I am always willing to help if I can.  Just for information I have attached a small part of an 8 Squadron, RAF, Weekly Report that has information on some experiments.

 

Mike

 

1918wtelephonyairtank002.jpg

Hi Mike

 

Hope this finds you well, still plodding along here. I have a November 1917 Palestine front question for you, and I'm sure you're the man for this even though no wireless is involved. I have two characters up in an BE2, very possibly 14 Sqn on liaison duties, bringing one bloke (sitting on the mail) back to Cairo from the front.

 

They need to speak. Do they shout over the noise, use a speaking tube, or do they not even bother because the environment is too noisy? Or use hand signals even? Any thoughts?

 

Meanwhile, thought you might be interested that RE signals slung their main aerial in Cairo from the top of the Great Pyramid of Cheops!

 

all the best

 

Jonathan

 

 

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MikeMeech
23 hours ago, Sturmey said:

Hi Mike

 

Hope this finds you well, still plodding along here. I have a November 1917 Palestine front question for you, and I'm sure you're the man for this even though no wireless is involved. I have two characters up in an BE2, very possibly 14 Sqn on liaison duties, bringing one bloke (sitting on the mail) back to Cairo from the front.

 

They need to speak. Do they shout over the noise, use a speaking tube, or do they not even bother because the environment is too noisy? Or use hand signals even? Any thoughts?

 

Meanwhile, thought you might be interested that RE signals slung their main aerial in Cairo from the top of the Great Pyramid of Cheops!

 

all the best

 

Jonathan

 

 

Hi Jonathan

Thanks for the information on the Great Pyramid.

 

It is unlikely that an operational BE.2 would have a speaking tube (The Gosport Tube had ear pieces so the pupil in training could hear the instructor so it was 'one way', in an operational aircraft the observer could get entangled in any tube connection).  The 'passenger' in this case would be in front of the pilot so would be quite visible to the pilot, so notes on paper, hand signals mouthing or shouting would probably get information across.  I presume for radio purposes they need to speak, so either 'throttling down' the engine so it made less noise so they could have a 'conversation' would be acceptable.  Another option, if the conversation was important, is to 'stop' the engine for a while, they did do engine off landings in training and in some cases (at night) pilots would turn off the engine to make a glide approach on a bombing mission.  I think a bit of 'artistic licence' would be acceptable and the wind noise through the wires might be a nice touch.

 

Mike

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Sturmey
1 hour ago, MikeMeech said:

Hi Jonathan

Thanks for the information on the Great Pyramid.

 

It is unlikely that an operational BE.2 would have a speaking tube (The Gosport Tube had ear pieces so the pupil in training could hear the instructor so it was 'one way', in an operational aircraft the observer could get entangled in any tube connection).  The 'passenger' in this case would be in front of the pilot so would be quite visible to the pilot, so notes on paper, hand signals mouthing or shouting would probably get information across.  I presume for radio purposes they need to speak, so either 'throttling down' the engine so it made less noise so they could have a 'conversation' would be acceptable.  Another option, if the conversation was important, is to 'stop' the engine for a while, they did do engine off landings in training and in some cases (at night) pilots would turn off the engine to make a glide approach on a bombing mission.  I think a bit of 'artistic licence' would be acceptable and the wind noise through the wires might be a nice touch.

 

Mike

 

Mike, a career in radio production beckons you!

 

Those are some really strong alternatives. Think I'll go with the throttling back, but the switch off is intriguing.

 

Many many thanks, I'm actually drafting that scene on Monday so couldn't be better

 

all the best

 

Jonathan

 

ps not forgotten a/g, but that's for next year in programme terms

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MikeMeech
2 hours ago, Sturmey said:

 

Mike, a career in radio production beckons you!

 

Those are some really strong alternatives. Think I'll go with the throttling back, but the switch off is intriguing.

 

Many many thanks, I'm actually drafting that scene on Monday so couldn't be better

 

all the best

 

Jonathan

 

ps not forgotten a/g, but that's for next year in programme terms

Hi

 

Glad to be of some minor help.  Just let me know if you require any other information.

 

Mike

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GrenPen

I'm a Johnny come lately with regard to "Tommies". I only became aware of its existence during this summer, and was wary of it being in the same category as the dreary "Home Front" drama series. 

The stories have come across as plausible, and well-researched. It has only been in the past day or so that I have come across the research notes for the most recent episodes on the GBfilms website, which underlines just how much attention to detail has been made.

I have been catching up with various episodes - I am more likely to listen live to Radio 4 than to listen via iPlayer. My only gripe is that - like Operation War Diary - the episodes appear in a non-linear manner, so it can be confusing to recall the backstory of Sergeant Mickey Bliss, Robert de Tullio et al. 

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Sturmey

Thanks GrenPen for those kind remarks -

 

To take up your point about the non-linear nature of Tommies. While I was really grateful the BBC decided to repeat a selection of episodes across the summer in the Saturday night slot, we were still obviously ploughing on with the real-time episodes in the afternoon slots. This led to the rather odd scenario where 080818 was rebroadcast on 101118, to be rapidly followed by 111118 on 111118 and 121118 on 121118. 

 

Anyhoo, and this looks like the clunkiest advert imaginable, the whole thing (all 42 episodes) is now available through our tax- and VAT-averse chums at Amazon. Yes, I preferred it when it was the BBC Shop as well.

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