Dig WW2 Photos, a set on Flickr.
Last year I worked as the Historical Consultant for Dig WW2, made for BBC NI by 360Production. The series in some ways grew out of Dig1940 we made back in 2009 however this was more ambitious – to look at aspects from the whole war from the point of view of what was left behind.
We were lucky to follow several digs across Europe: one at Arnhem where a Northern Ireland soldier fell in 1944 – another in Italy near Monte Cassino – and two in Normandy, at Juno Beach and the site of the Brecourt Manor Battery; the latter attacked by the ‘Band of Brothers’ on D-Day.
The series also looked at sites and digs in the UK, with a heavy emphasis on Ireland and included a dig on a Spitfire where the recovered guns were made to work again!
These photos give an insight into what we did on the series. There are photos of the incredible work done by the Dutch Recovery Unit who recover the WW2 dead in Holland. There are images of the family of Sammy Cassidy visiting where he died at Arnhem. Our team in Italy uncovered parts of the Hitler Line bunkers near Cassino, and in Normandy Dan got down and dirty in the sand of Juno beach as we made our way into a D-Day bunker.
But one dig will be of interest to many: Brecourt Manor, where Major Richard Winters and men of Easy Company 506 PIR fought on D-Day. Local Normandy historian Paul Woodadge and his wife had enabled the dig here to take place and showed that archaeology can often throw up more questions than it answers. We found traces of where the gun pits had been but the site had been ‘polluted’ by a nearby post-D-Day hospital and the photos of the finds in this set show the US medical gear we found.
Dig WW2 was a fantastic series to work on, especially so because of the many WW2 veterans we met and spoke to. It highlights some of the many stories of bravery and sacrifice in that Total War which changed the world forever.