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Iraq veteran Collins accuses BBC of forgetting Britain's Great War victory

By Staff Reporter

Iraq war hero Tim Collins has criticised the BBC's coverage of the First World War centenary saying that Britain's victory was "largely forgotten".

The former senior officer, originally from Northern Ireland, said the organisation's coverage was "too saturated in grief".

The Belfast-born war veteran and commander of the Royal Irish Regiment during the Iraq War said in the Radio Times: "Last year's coverage of the Passchendaele anniversary by the BBC was a prime example.

"While paying appropriate tribute to the sacrifice of the many soldiers who lost their lives, it was saturated in grief, in the horror and pity of war.

"When the time comes to mark 100 years since the Armistice, I am calling on the BBC to also note that we are marking a victory."

Colonel Collins, famous for his rousing eve-of-invasion Iraq speech, said it was difficult for young audiences to know that "Britain and her allies won".

He added that coverage took more favour of the "Blackadder version" of events during the Great War, which depicts cowardly generals sending troops out of the trenches to be slaughtered in the battlefield.

"The brilliance of our leadership has been blotted out and forgotten," he said.

Col Collins said that TV viewers "endure a diet of woe and horror", particularly on the BBC and called on the broadcaster to add a note of triumph to its commemorative broadcasts on the centenary of the war this year.

He wrote in the Radio Times: "With the centenary of the end of the First World War looming, one might not realise from the TV series recalling those momentous times that Britain and her Allies won the war."

The BBC said it "aimed to reflect every aspect of the war, with strategic and military history taking its place alongside examinations of the lives of ordinary soldiers and the wider social changes at home and abroad".

"Our programming has celebrated our armed forces' achievements and this will continue in 2018 with new programmes on The Last 100 Days charting the spectacular turnaround in 1918 as the Allies turned potential defeat into victory, and later this year a special focus on the RAF, as it celebrates its centenary," a spokesman said.

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