Chalke Talk

The podcast from the Chalke Valley History Festival
Released every Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings


Chalke Talks for THEME: War


  • 10. FIGHTING WITH THE FRENCH RESISTANCE
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    Jean Jammes was a schoolboy in 1944 when, that summer, he joined the Resistance group led by his father in the countryside around Épernon. Involved in numerous actions of sabotage, he also helped capture three German officers and was awarded the Croix de Guerre. In this very special event he talks to Peter Caddick-Adams about […]

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  • 11. THE NOBLE REVOLT: THE ENGLISH CIVIL WAR
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    John Adamson is one of the country’s most brilliant historians and a leading authority on the Civil War. In this talk, he discusses what he calls ‘the noble revolt,’ challenging some of our perceptions of that conflict between Parliament and King while casting new and relevant light onto one of the most tumultuous and significant […]

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  • 13. THE CRUSADES AND MEDIEVAL WARFARE
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    In this talk for senior schools, Professor Jeremy Black gives an insight into the motivations of the Crusaders. In addition to the notion that Jerusalem should be ‘freed’, this period saw the expansionism of European feudal society, a new role for the papacy, and developing commercial opportunities, as well as a desire to protect Constantinople. […]

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  • 14. APPEASING HITLER: CHAMBERLAIN, CHURCHILL AND THE ROAD TO WAR
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    On 30th September 1938, Neville Chamberlain stepped off an aeroplane and announced that his visit to Hitler had averted the greatest crisis in recent memory. He declared it was ‘peace for our time’, but within a year Britain was at war with Germany. Tim Bouverie gives a compelling reappraisal of the immense drama of those […]

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  • 23. THE FIRST WORLD WAR: THE HUMAN EXPERIENCE AND LEGACY
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    The First World War still captures the imagination, but how do you paint a picture of people that are long gone? How do you put their existence in context with the manner in which they died, so that future generations retain a connection to the human impact of WW1 that transcends tales of strategic success […]

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  • 26. D-DAY: BY THOSE WHO WERE THERE
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    In this moving event to mark the 70th Anniversary of D-Day, two veterans of that campaign talk about their experiences with Stuart Tootal, former commander of 3 Para in Afghanistan. Fred Glover (1926-2020) was the only British infantryman known to have fought with the French Resistance while David Render (1925-1917) served with the Sherwood Rangers […]

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  • 27. KING ALFRED AND THE BATTLE FOR WESSEX
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    Broadcaster and historian Professor Michael Wood tells the incredible story of King Alfred’s Battle for Wessex. After defeat at Chippenham, Alfred’s kingdom was reduced to a postage stamp of marshland in Somerset, yet he survived and built his army again, leading them to victory at Ethandun. It is unquestionably one of the great moments in […]

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  • 29. THE SECRET LIFE OF BLETCHLEY PARK
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    The code breakers of Bletchley Park played an absolutely crucial part in the Allied victory in the Second World War. Best-selling historian Sinclair McKay tackles the story of this iconic place, drawing on his conversations with many of the brilliant men and women who served there during the war.

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  • 30. THE BURNING CHAMBERS: THE FRENCH WARS OF RELIGION, HUGUENOTS v CATHOLICS
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    Kate Mosse discusses one of the darkest periods in French history. The Wars of Religion began in 1562 and ended, after millions had been massacred or displaced, with the Edict of Nantes in 1598. She examines the power struggles between Catholic and Protestant factions in Carcassonne, Paris, London and Amsterdam and how this dark history […]

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  • 33. SOLDIER, SPY: A SURVIVOR’S TALE
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    Victor Gregg (born 1919) had an extraordinary war and his adventures did not end in 1945. In this very special event, he discusses with Rick Stroud what it was like fighting in North Africa, escaping the ruins of Dresden where he had been a prisoner of war on the night the city was bombed, and […]

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  • 36. THEY CALLED IT PASSCHENDAELE
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    Lyn Macdonald remains revered as the great chronicler of the human experience of the Western Front and has recorded interviews with more veterans of the First World War than any other. In this talk she returns to the subject of her first book, the Battle of Passchendaele, fought over a hundred years ago in 1917, […]

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  • 41. THE AGINCOURT ARCHER
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    Experimental archaeologist Dave Allan discusses the daily life of an English longbowman from his training to the skills needed. Drawing upon real artefacts from different bows to arrowheads, this offers a compelling insight.

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  • VIETNAM: AN EPIC TRAGEDY 1945-1975
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    In an acclaimed retelling of the Vietnam tragedy, Max Hastings offers a balanced account of how and why the Vietnam War unfolded as it did, and a gripping description of what it was like to take part, based on the testimony of scores of participants – communist and anti-communist Vietnamese, Chinese railway engineers, Soviet missile […]

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  • CHINA’S WAR WITH JAPAN 1937-45: A STRUGGLE FOR SURVIVAL
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    In 1937 the ‘Marco Polo Bridge Incident’ plunged China and Japan into a conflict of extraordinary duration and ferocity – a war that would result in many millions of deaths and completely reshape East Asia in ways that we continue to confront today. Professor Rana Mitter explains how Japan’s failure to defeat China was the […]

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  • THE WOMAN WHO SAVED THE CHILDREN: EGLANTYNE JEBB
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    Eglantyne Jebb not only helped save millions of lives, she also permanently changed the way the world treats children through the foundation of Save the Children. Clare Mulley brings to life this brilliant, charismatic, and passionate woman, whose work took her between drawing rooms and war zones, defying convention and breaking the law, until she […]

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  • ARNHEM: THE BATTLE FOR THE BRIDGES, 1944
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    The battle of Arnhem, the great airborne fight for the bridges in 1944, was a courageous strategic gamble that failed. Britain’s best- selling historian Antony Beevor, using often overlooked sources from Allied and German archives, reconstructs the terrible reality of the fighting and questions whether this plan to end the war could ever have worked, […]

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