David Ervine of the Progressive Unionist Party and Sinn Fein's Tom Hartley explore the issue of war and memory as they walk across the World War I killing fields of Northern France and Flanders.
Historian Peter Barton explores the events of the Battle of the Somme.
The Heroes of the Somme uses original archive from the Western Front to uncover the stories of seven of the men whose remarkable bravery won them the Victoria Cross, Britain's most prized military medal. The WWI Somme offensive lasted 141 days and involved 13 Allied nations fighting 14 separate battles. Day One of the battle, 1 July 1916, was the worst in British military history with 60,000 casualties. By the end of the offensive the total for both sides was a million. This extraordinary sacrifice was made for just six miles of empty farmland.
Welsh rugby player Gareth Thomas travels to France to unearth his great uncles' involvement in the Battle of the Somme. At Mametz Wood he joins an archaeological dig, which reveals new discoveries.
The 1916 Battle of the Somme remains the most famous battle of World War I, remembered for its bloodshed and its limited territorial gains. What is often overlooked, however, is the literary importance of the Somme: more writers and poets fought in it than in any other battle in history.
Beneath the Somme battlefield lies one of the great secrets of the First World War, a recently-discovered network of deep tunnels thought to extend over several kilometres. This lost underground battlefield, centred on the small French village of La Boisselle in Picardy, was constructed largely by British troops between 1914 and 1916. Over 120 men died here in ongoing attempts to undermine the nearby German lines and these galleries still serve as a tomb for many of those men. This documentary follows historian Peter Barton and a team of archaeologists as they become the first people in nearly a hundred years to enter this hidden, and still dangerous, labyrinth. Military mines were the original weapons of shock and awe - with nowhere to hide from a mine explosion, these huge explosive charges could destroy a heavily-fortified trench in an instant. In order to get under the German lines to plant their mines, British tunnellers had to play a terrifying game of subterranean cat and mouse - constantly listening out for enemy digging and trying to intercept the German tunnels without being detected. To lose this game probably meant death. As well uncovering the grim reality of this strange underground war, Peter discovers the story of the men who served here, including the tunnelling companies' special military units made up of ordinary civillian sewer workers and miners. He reveals their top secret mission that launched the Battle of the Somme's first day and discovers why British high command failed to capitalise on a crucial tactical advantage they had been given by the tunnellers.