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Welcome to VARIETY x AFRS, a collection of classic variety programs; many that aired on the Armed Forces Radio Service (a.k.a. the Armed Forces Radio Network). Programs include comedians, sketch comedy, music (singers & live bands), and ventriloquism. AFRS (Armed Forces Radio Services) also known as AFN (American Forces Network) were variety programs that only broadcast to overseas military on their own government radio broadcast service. These services are actually still in production today ...
 
Our Armed Forces operate in challenging environments. Each episode, Service men and women share their stories. Hosted by Company of Makers co-founder Steve Bomford and former submariner Mike Davis-Marks. Company of Makers exists to support Veterans and their partners who are struggling to transition from military to civilian life, no matter how long ago they left the Forces.
 
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GI Jive was a 15-minute radio program broadcast to and by the Armed Forces Radio Service (AFRS) for military entertainment during World War II. Its initial frequency of five days per week later increased to six days per week. The disc jockey played popular songs of the day, often by request from the soldiers. These episodes are hosted by Martha Wil…
 
“They…took my husband through our house at gunpoint searching for 'the enemy', as they called them.” Falkland Islander, Carol Phillips, had 3 small children in 1982, “My first thought was…'Are they going to…machine gun us all down?’” The task force had 8,000 miles to sail, “Perhaps we would all be dead by the time they got here?…My Dad…kept saying,…
 
Sealtest Variety Theater (aka The Dorothy Lamour Show) aired from 1946 to 1949 on Thursday evenings. This episode features her longtime friend Bob Hope, with whom she starred in a string of popular movies (along with Bing Crosby) known as, "The Road to..." movies because they the titled always started with 'The Road to' (ex. The Road to Bali). Robe…
 
Re-brodcast on the Armed Forces Radio Service (AFRS), this is Comedy Caravan with Jimmy Durante and Garry Moore, with guest Marion Hutton. This episode aired Friday, April 6, 1945. Sponsored by Rexall Drug Products (originally a U.S. pharmacy/drug store). Cast: Howard Petrie (announcer); Jimmy Durante, singer Georgia Gibbs, Garry Moore, and with mu…
 
“'I'm not going to lose my life…here'…I could just see a picture of my wife and my two boys in my mind thinking, 'No, I'm gonna get out.' That was my motivation.” Chris Howe was deep down inside HMS Coventry, D118, “…a dull thud…followed by extreme heat…a flash and a fireball whipping around the Operations Room…we'd been hit…next thing I knew…I'm c…
 
“I would happily go to sea with them all over again, cracking bunch of guys, led by a cracking man.” We hear from Mick Dilucia, of HMS Coventry Flight, Coventry’s helicopter team. “The mood was fairly relaxed heading south… none of us believed it was ever going to happen…then Sandy Woodward briefed us… 'Look around amongst us because we might not a…
 
Armed Forces Radio Service (AFRS) re-broadcast of Bob Hope. The program originates from the Quonset Point Air National Base in North Kingstown, Rhode Island. The cast sings, "The Life of Jerry Colonna." The AFRS music fill is a band remote from 'The Ice Terrace Room' in New Jersey by Louis Prima and His Orchestra with vocals by Lily Ann Carol. The …
 
What was a submarine doing in a war to retake The Falkland Islands? “...the ability to land and recover Special Forces…SAS and SBS, was key.” We hear the fascinating and poignant story of HMS Onyx, the only diesel-electric boat that Served during the war. Submariner, Steve Hussey, was there and shares his unique insight, from beneath the waves, “No…
 
“I was in a pub in Aldershot…a couple of the guys came in with the paper…and the general feeling was that we needed to get over there…and start kicking some arse.” This is the story of 2 Para, told through the eyes of Gary Steele, who Served in the battalion during The Falklands War. “We needed to do something, and Goose Green was the something tha…
 
“You’ve got the battles, then you’ve got the humanitarian side…It’s a strange thing is war…” This is the astonishing story of how a North Sea passenger ferry and her civilian crew, became a troop carrier, rescue ship and prisoner of war ship; in the thick of the firing, bombs and air attacks of The Falklands War. The entire operation would have bee…
 
“The First Sea Lord… decreed that HMS Hermes was under just 72 hours’ notice to sail…” It’s the day after the Argentinians invaded The Falklands and Margaret Thatcher announces that Britain would send a task force. Just a few days later, the task force was ready for war. This is the story of the dockyard workers who rose to that challenge, many of …
 
“For the last 40 years, (we’ve been) trying to get the truth told about what happened on the day that it all kicked off, 2nd April 1982.” This is that true story. “…We didn’t just surrender as the popular story goes.” Ray Bloye was part of Naval Party 8901, the small detachment of Royal Marines on the Falklands at the time of the invasion. The port…
 
The Chase & Sanborn Hour, sponsored by Chase and Sanborn Coffee. This program aired on NBC Radio, mostly Sundays from 1929 to 1948. This episode is features W.C. Fields' last appearance as a regular cast member, it aired August 29, 1937. The first tune is, "Feeling Like A Million." Charlie and "Gazola" have opened a lemonade stand. The cast does, "…
 
Welcome to this second podcast post, featuring Command Performance and their first episode starring and hosted by Eddie Cantor. This episode aired March 8, 1942. Command Performance aired from 1942 to 1949, on the Armed Forces Radio Network (AFRS) and transmitted by shortwave to the troops overseas — with few exceptions, it was not broadcast over d…
 
Welcome to the first post of my new channel. We start with episode 8 (in the podcast I mistakingly said it was ep #1), Chico Marx Orchestra, from Bandwagon. Originally aired on the NBC Blue network and rebroadcast on AFRS. A very young Mel Torme at 17 years old is featured and introduced as, "Mel Tornay." This episode aired December 20, 1942. AFRS …
 
“…what has become my specialism, I think is… gritty, granular detail of the reality of war set in the broader context of important national events…” Having joined the Royal Navy in 1985, Toby managed to pack-in trips round the West Indies, Australia, Hong Kong and Europe during his 10 years of Service. His thirst for adventure remaining unquenched,…
 
“I joined the RAF during the Cold War in 1986… around the time of Frankie Goes to Hollywood and the threat of… thermo-nuclear war.” After going down the pilot route, it became apparent where Ian was more suited, “…the RAF Regiment who seemed larger than life… I met their Commanding Officer who had an unusual approach to dealing with banter in the b…
 
“I lost my purpose at that point… I had no mission and I really started contemplating what I'd done wrong. I couldn't go back…” A far cry from Entrepreneur of the Year, Peter’s transition from the Royal Marines to the business world was challenging, “I joined a company... my first foray into civilian world… it was a really toxic, horrible environme…
 
“I'm a Lieutenant Commander Serving in the Royal Navy, Serving a full, capable career. Oh, by the way, I have HIV.” Oli found out by accident and his 2019 diagnosis came as a complete shock. His first 3 thoughts were: What is my life going to be like? When am I going to die? And do I still have a job? “I realised quite rapidly, I'm not going to die…
 
“They could only work until they didn't fit in their uniform, so the aim was always to circulate the skirts until no skirt would fit them….” Joining us this episode is former WREN Officer and Reservist, Pam Heeley, who explains how women were not allowed to remain in the Navy once they had children; and as there was no maternity uniform, pregnant w…
 
Join us as we head into 2022 to hear the New Year’s Resolutions of 10 of our Armed Forces podcast guests. Actually, before we crack on, let’s put it straight out there, 2 of our guests don’t make resolutions! One thing that ties everyone's hopes and reflections together is sense of purpose and wellbeing. Here are a few of their words of wisdom, but…
 
In 1989, just before training began, “I realised, that I'd bought this copy of the Radio Times because it had a picture of Michael Ball on the front cover and… let me tell you that 30 years ago, Michael Ball was quite hot property...” “…I thought well, ‘that's an incredible complication because in three weeks' time, I'm going to Royal Naval College…
 
“HMS Manchester… I was playing on the bridge wing once and… the Club Swinger… came out and started doing The Sailor's Hornpipe… and so I was… on my accordion and she was dancing it superbly... and then… we had an idea, 'Let's get a team together'. So, we put a thing on daily orders for… 9, a mixture, male and female from the ship's company, and the…
 
“Everyone in the military loves a couple of idiots going off and doing a big physical challenge and that's what we are, and that's what we're doing.” Having live streamed daily chats with Pascal throughout his recent ‘LEJOG’ bike ride – that’s Land’s End to John O’Groats to you and I, we catch-up with him as he reflects on what was achieved in supp…
 
“It's a bit like what we used to call in the Royal Marines… 'babbin’ your wack'… when you're proper pooing yourself before you go and do something.” Royal Marine (RM) turned professional actor, Tip, is a ‘story-teller’ and as a young man in Belfast, he had an epiphany, “I knew that I had to become a Royal Marines Commando.” 30 years later, RM Capta…
 
“The thing I would say to anyone who's leaving the Services or has left the Services is, ‘Do not underestimate your ability to pull things off…” Royal Marine (RM) turned marine biologist and TV presenter, Monty left the Corps in ’96, “I look back on it with the fondest, fondest memories… all my best mates, my best muccas are still bootnecks that I …
 
“When it comes down to mental health issues, I feel that a lot of it can be helped with just breaking that habit of what your brain's been through… If you watched a film and you thought it was rubbish, you wouldn't put it on again, you’d put something else on!” Submariner, John is part of HMND Clyde’s Recovery Cell, looking after the day-to-day liv…
 
“Being yourself at work…” as easy as it sounds? “…in the military, there is a stereotype of what a military person is… and over the past 30 or 40 years, we've made some changes. So we've increased the number of women that are Serving… it's no longer illegal to be homosexual within the Armed Forces, we've got more Commonwealth personnel Serving with…
 
Passing the exam marks the start of an instructive and interesting time as a military musician. Do you play a musical instrument? Would you like the chance to hone your skills for 18 weeks and play more music? Taking on musical challenges, rehearsing for a wide range of performances, giving concerts and taking part in tattoos or even conducting a m…
 
“The Navy? What is that?!” Few Royal Navy sailors started their careers with that question, but then most Royal Navy sailors didn’t grow up in land-locked Zimbabwe. Janine arrived in England aged 19, having been invited by her aunt when Janine felt she needed to leave Zimbabwe due to the political unrest of the 1990s, “So I left, came to London and…
 
Taking on musical challenges, rehearsing for a wide range of performances, giving concerts and taking part in tattoos or even conducting a musical formation: The training opportunities at military music recruit and cadre schools can open up unexpected possibilities.Di Electronic Media Center EMC
 
Do you play a musical instrument? Would you like the chance to hone your skills for 18 weeks and play more music? How do you become a military musician, and what does the specialist exam involve? This film answers those questions and shows the start of recruit school.Di Electronic Media Center EMC
 
“Just try for a day. Keep your legs, but just take your dominant arm and put it behind your back… and look at the challenges that come just from that… and then try and multiply that by 10.” Before the incident, “I was 6’2, 16 stone, at the peak of my physical fitness, everything that in my mind, I thought an alpha male should be and I was living th…
 
Tornado Pilot, Mandy, Served for 17 years in the Royal Air Force. Yes, you know we can’t resist, “Highway to the danger zone…..” OK, Top Gun reference out of the way and onto business. Literally, actually. Having left the RAF 10 years ago, Mandy runs her own business as a Motivational Speaker, taking lessons learned from aviation into businesses an…
 
“The whole NHS has really stood up and been there when the country needed it most.” Two careers linked by Public Service. The first, 28 years in the Royal Navy with “Lots of sea-time”; followed by a career in the NHS, “Making a difference to people, making people’s lives better.” Having joined-up at 18, David’s varied Naval career included work at …
 
“It’s not something to be scared of… they are a little bit different, but with the right care and nourishment they can thrive and they can be awesome.” When Bex’s son was born with Down’s Syndrome, being his advocate became her sense of purpose. Since then, Bex has helped to support other families who have children with Down’s and has been working …
 
“If you know any bootnecks… we love breaking the rules!” But what we don’t expect to hear is this RM attitude applied to creativity. “Learn the rules like a basic or an amateur so can break them like a pro” …this is the ethos the three bootnecks turned film-makers on Sunray live by. ‘Sunray’, meaning “Troop Boss or The Boss in Marine slang” also al…
 
“Flying fish are a nightmare… they fire off the water like missiles.” Why would this bother a submariner, you might ask? For Hugo, life beneath the waves was swapped for life on the waves when he roped his three shipmates… can you call submariners shipmates? Anyway, when they all embarked upon the adventure of competing in a rowing race across the …
 
Switzerland to host the 2025 Military World Winter Games! The Military World Winter Games will take place from 23 to 30 March 2025 in Central Switzerland and in the Goms region. Switzerland will be placing particular emphasis on sustainability and make this the first ever carbon-neutral Military World Games. This clip was part of the candidacy doss…
 
So, how does “an unremarkable pupil” – as described by his P.E. teacher at a parents’ evening – become a triple gold medal Olympic rower? Pete discovered rowing onboard HMS Exeter of all places and his determination, hard work and resilience took him to the Olympics. These attributes have served him well, perhaps none more so than right now. Pete r…
 
“The best bits of the Navy without the b******s!” That’s Bill’s take on the Royal Naval Association (RNA). From boy scout to sailor, for Bill it’s been “loads of ships and lots of people.” Having Served in the Royal Navy for 37 years from the age of 18 and now CEO of the RNA, Bill spent 20 years at sea and then found himself “in Army pyjamas as muc…
 
‘JJ off Strictly’ joins us for our Christmas Special! …Once a Royal Marine, Always a Royal Marine. “Blown-up” while deployed to Afghanistan, JJ joined-up as a Reservist aged 17 and his attitude of “keep cracking on” helped him to go on to win a gold medal at the Invictus Games. JJ describes how life in the Royal Marines brings hardships and challen…
 
Here we are at the start of series 2 and we have a new level of Lockdown restrictions, ‘Tier 4’. The world has continued to be turned upside down by Covid since we chatted with our first podcast guest, Adrian Bell, CEO of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity; so, we thought this would be the perfect time to catch-up and find out what he’s learn…
 
“It’s a myth that everybody in the Armed Forces is either mad, bad or sad – it’s just not true”. For World Mental Health Day, we’re chatting with Mark Perryman from the Defence Medical Welfare Service (DMWS). A former RAF medic whose Service career has had a positive impact on his mental health, making him “more resilient” and able to help others. …
 
Munition that has not or has only partially been detonated – for instance because it has landed in water, snow or soft earth – is called unexploded ordnance. Both unexploded ordnance and munition remnants are usually found on former and current shooting ranges, in mountain target areas and on glaciers. However, they can also be found when clearing …
 
Great story this. Celebrating our move to Fort Cumberland, we’ve called in who else but the Royal Marines. At the fort, we interview two brothers, both former Royal Marines, Andy and Adrian; whose father was also a Bootneck and Served at the fort in the 1960s and 70s. We hear a story about Land Rovers being driven into a ‘wade tank’ (swimming pool …
 
“If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” This is how Ian describes the inter-connectedness of our Armed Forces, the teamwork so vital to VOS in helping Veterans and of course, this applies to all of us in tackling Covid-19. Ian shares a vivid account of his experiences during the Falklands conflict; at the time, a …
 
Preferring not to be defined by her career, Bridget’s a big fan of Winnie the Pooh’s Eeyore. So who is Bridget Nicholson? Bridget’s blog, ‘It’s Gone Tits Up’, certainly provides insight into her honestly and sense of humour. Last year’s cancer diagnosis was a shock and we catch-up with Bridget on the first day that she’s clear of treatment. We touc…
 
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