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In the first five programmes looking at 1917, Dan Snow explores the events of the year through the recollections of those who were there. As the fighting became more and more desperate, in the air, on the Western Front - even below ground in extensive mining operations - the morale of those being sent into battle was at times becoming dangerously low.

Morale was never worse in the Royal Flying Corps than in spring 1917, which became known as 'Bloody April'. Germany had the upper hand at this point of the war in the air, with superior tactics, training, and technology. Crisis enveloped the French Army from May onwards, as mutiny took hold among their long-suffering troops. Dan also looks at the extraordinary feats of military engineering - and deadly human cost - involved in exploding 20 huge mines at the Messines Ridge. Soldiers and officers speak about the issue of rank and class in the British Army of 1917, by which time many of the ex-public school officers had been wiped out. And

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