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Britain's Greatest Generation

  • Season 1
  • 4 episodes
  • History
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Episode 3: The Fight for Freedom

Summary

Stories of courage, suffering and survival from servicemen and women between 1942 and 1945, as revealed by a generation of people now in their nineties and hundreds. This instalment includes the story of Fergus Anckorn who was once the youngest member of the Magic Circle and - at 96 - is now the oldest. He was taken prisoner by the Japanese in Singapore and put to work on the Burma Railway. He managed to survive using his magic to entertain his captors, who rewarded him with food that kept him and his fellow prisoners alive.
Recommended

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

More modest but stirring testimony about the Second World War. Fergus Anckorn describes how he awoke in a Singapore hospital in 1942 to find Japanese soldiers working their way through the wards, bayonetting patients. He avoided death, ending up in one of the forced labour camps and at one stage had no food for six weeks: his litany of what he ate to get through that time is not pretty.

We also meet the remarkable 103-year-old Dr Bill Frankland (recently on Radio 4's The Reunion) and hear a philosophical view from former bomber Bob Frost: “We didn't win the war,” he sums up. “Nobody wins a war. Somebody comes off worse than the others, and thank God they came off worse than we did.”

How to watch

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Details

Formats
Colour

Credits

Crew

rolename
DirectorSteve Humphries
EditorNick Maddocks
ProducerSteve Humphries
ProducerNick Maddocks

All episodes

  • Episode 3

    The Fight for Freedom

    Summary

    Stories of courage, suffering and survival from servicemen and women between 1942 and 1945, as revealed by a generation of people now in their nineties and hundreds. This instalment includes the story of Fergus Anckorn who was once the youngest member of the Magic Circle and - at 96 - is now the oldest. He was taken prisoner by the Japanese in Singapore and put to work on the Burma Railway. He managed to survive using his magic to entertain his captors, who rewarded him with food that kept him and his fellow prisoners alive.
    Recommended

    Review

    Rating: 4 out of 5.

    More modest but stirring testimony about the Second World War. Fergus Anckorn describes how he awoke in a Singapore hospital in 1942 to find Japanese soldiers working their way through the wards, bayonetting patients. He avoided death, ending up in one of the forced labour camps and at one stage had no food for six weeks: his litany of what he ate to get through that time is not pretty.

    We also meet the remarkable 103-year-old Dr Bill Frankland (recently on Radio 4's The Reunion) and hear a philosophical view from former bomber Bob Frost: “We didn't win the war,” he sums up. “Nobody wins a war. Somebody comes off worse than the others, and thank God they came off worse than we did.”

    How to watch

    Loading

    Details

    Formats
    Colour

    Credits

    Crew

    rolename
    DirectorSteve Humphries
    EditorNick Maddocks
    ProducerSteve Humphries
    ProducerNick Maddocks
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