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Stories of Valour, Courage and Bravery. Former British soldier Darren Coventry talks to men and women who’ve received the UK’s highest military honours. Hear the real stories behind acts of bravery from the medal recipients and those who were there.
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We all remember the movies from the 80‘s and 90‘s that filled our rainy days, and shaped our childhoods in profound yet subtle ways. Or do we? Welcome to You Deserve Medals, where Jay and Benny spend every episode biting down hard on the pop-culture pillow, to watch the has-been and might‘ve-been movies from our childhoods, and talk about what made them great - or what made them disturbingly and aggressively less than great. Some of them are far better than we remember, and are definitely wo ...
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Darren and Jess have news about our latest BFBS podcast series “Near Death” and how it’s related to “Tea & Medals”. If you enjoyed the Michelle Goodman DFC episode you’ll want to hear this! Listen to the full series of Near Death here: https://open.spotify.com/show/6Z8fTmj6gJ7BRe93qHMGlA https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/near-death/id1712834196…
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VF-17 is likely the most famous of all the US Navy squadrons. Their history started back with their deployment to the Solomon Islands in 1943 and participation in the campaigns around Bouganville and Rabul and continues to this day. This episode covers their time in the South Pacific as well as the trials involved in the use of the F4U Corsair as a…
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A new podcast from the makers of Tea & Medals. Darren introduces Near Death... How do you come back from the brink? A close encounter with a body bag, an out of body experience or a fight through a wall of fire. Some people know what it’s like to come back from death’s door. Near Death is a brand-new podcast from BFBS Creative that explores some of…
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Continuing the series of episodes on the Corsair and the fight for aerial supremacy in the Solomon Islands. In January 1944, the Japanese defenders at Rabul still had some fight in them. Robert Hanson, a 23 year old Marine Corsair pilot, would rack up an impressive string of victories in January, ending with 25 kills at the time of his death. This …
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This episode covers Pappy’s time in the South Pacific, his command of VMF-214, The Blacksheep, and their run through the Solomons in late 1943 and early 1944, and finally his time as a prisoner of war. Initially two parts, I condensed it down cutting much of Pappy’s postwar life. If you’re interested in that, there are many books that cover that, i…
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Part 1 on Greg "Pappy" Boyington. Before he led the world famous VMF-214 Blacksheep over the Solomons, Pappy Boyington was a broke, sometimes violent, drunk, about to get kicked out of the Marine Corps. He’s given a second chance when he joins the American Volunteer Group, the Flying Tigers. This episode covers Pappy’s early life and time before hi…
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In a More Tea special Darren Coventry and Jess Bracey speak to medal expert Mark Smith about the medals on show at the funeral of Her Majesty the Queen on Monday 19th September. We also talk about whether the Queen's pallbearers are likely to receive a medal and look ahead to the Coronation of King Charles III.…
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In 1962 Sergeant Eric Smith, a search and rescue winchman in the RAF, was called out alongside his crew to the French fishing trawler The Jeanne Gougy which had run aground on the Cornish coast. They spent hours above the sea in a Westland Whirlwind Mark 10 helicopter battling the conditions as Eric was winched down to the vessel to help those in t…
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17th May 2000, Lungi Lol, Sierra Leone Sergeant Steve Heaney was deployed to Sierra Leone as part of a task force sent to evacuate foreign citizens caught up in the country’s civil war. The Revolutionary United Front, a murderous rebel group known for their brutality, were advancing towards the capital Freetown and Steve, along with the rest of his…
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As we mark the 40th anniversary of the 1982 Falklands Conflict, we revisit our Tea & Medals episode with Keith Mills DSC. At just 22 years old Keith Mills, then a Lieutenant in the Royal Marines, was sent to the island of South Georgia to sort out an issue with some Argentinian scrap metal workers. The diplomatic incident turned into an assault whe…
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1st Lt Kenneth Walsh was the first F4U Corsair ace and a pilot in VMF-124 during the Solomon Islands campaign. He would earn his Medal of Honor over the course of two missions in August of 1943 and finish the war with 21 victories. In addition to Ken Walsh and VMF-124, this episode covers the development of the F4U Corsair and the initial moves of …
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28th May 1995 Gorazde, Bosnia Major Richard Westley and his company of Royal Welch Fusiliers were working as United Nations protection force troops, attempting to keep the peace in the hostilities that followed the break-up of the former Yugoslavia. Richard’s company of Fusiliers were protecting civilians in Gorazde, one of several Bosnian Muslim e…
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There are very few things in life that Jay and I love more than a good space movie. And while we would both trade everything we have for an hour of wife and child-free peace, sitting back and viewing an incredibly well-written, visually stunning, and powerfully inspiring space movie runs a very close second. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a copy of…
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In 1942 the island of Malta was awarded the George Cross by King George 6th to recognise the population’s bravery and defiance during the Second World War. They refused to surrender despite continuous bombardment by German and Italian forces throughout The Siege of Malta. As well as The George Cross, a number of civilians were also awarded the Geor…
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15th April 1942, Valetta, Malta. Between 1940 and 1943 the combined air forces of Italy and Germany launched twenty-six thousand aerial sorties against Malta. The island was part of the British Empire at the time, but Germany and Italy wanted to take this perfectly placed strategic location in the middle of the Mediterranean for themselves. A susta…
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Until recently, WO2 John Thompson was Britain’s most decorated Royal Marine Commando. He was mentioned in dispatches in recognition of his gallant and distinguished service in Iraq and later received the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross following a Taliban ambush in Afghanistan. In this bonus episode with Jess Bracey and Darren Coventry, Tommo explains …
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10th January 2007, Helmand Province, Afghanistan. By the time Corporal John Thompson made his way to Afghanistan in 2006 for Operation Herrick 5, he had already been mentioned in despatches in recognition of his gallant and distinguished service in Iraq. But that wasn’t the end of his bravery. Three years later in Afghanistan a Taliban ambush saw h…
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Tea & Medals is back for Series 2! But before we get stuck into more stories of gallantry and bravery, we find out more about our host Darren Coventry, whose military career spanned more than 1700 days on operation, including several tours of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq. Podcast producer Josella Waldron asks Darren about his connections to the sto…
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You can be forgiven for forgetting about Starman, an early 80’s science fiction romance that came out in the same year as such obscure indie films as Ghostbusters, The Karate Kid, Gremlins, Beverly Hills Cop, The Terminator, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Conan, The Last Starfighter…Can we please travel back in time to 1984? We digress - Sta…
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Ahhh…another turn of the decade sci-fi classic, featuring an indifferent and poorly conceived modern day Earthling protagonist with flowing locks, thrust into the far future to embark on a space battle for freedom, while having to choose between an attractive but boring romantic interest or an absolute sultry smokeshow of a romantic interest. Is th…
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Arriving just two days after John L. Smith and VMF-223, the pilots of the 67th Fighter Squadron quickly learned their P-400 Airacobras were woefully inadequate for the air to air mission. Unable to climb quickly or high enough to intercept the Japanese Zeros and Betty bombers, the P-39 variants were pressed into an air to ground role. From Septembe…
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Once in a while, things that embody chaos, disappointment, and confusion end up sinking their greasy claws into our hearts and hold on throughout our lives with the tenacity of a rabid bulldog. For Jay, it’s the overwhelming adoration for wearing animal onesies while sipping homemade Shirley Temples. For Benny, it’s the demon spawn his DNA belched …
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New and old listeners alike can agree on one thing - Benny is not a smart man. He prefers fart jokes and explosions over deep and meaningful dialogue and themes. He makes detailed notes for every episode because he has the memory of a dead parakeet. He got married and had kids. All of the hallmarks of a functional idiot. So it shouldn’t come as a s…
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Shocking revelations come in all shapes and sizes. Did you know that Chris Evan’s wore a prosthetic jaw in Avengers in order to hide the beard he was growing for Snowpiercer? How about the fact that Stephen Hawking was the only person to ever play him or herself on a Star Trek episode? Or, when you first look into the eyes of your newborn baby, you…
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Nostalgia is a powerful force, and is a driving factor in our show. But when you reach our ages, very few movies actually MAKE you feel younger. Watching them doesn’t just trigger memories of your youth, but reminds you of how you FELT when you first saw them. When you could bend over and tie your shoe without throwing your shoulder out for a week.…
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The 80’s were just a different time, full of wonder and creativity. They were painted with the hope and anticipation of a bright future, while struggling with the specter of ever-impending nuclear apocalypse. This is the era that brought us Walkmans, ushered in the golden age of the video arcade, and put the movie theater in every living room with …
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What do you think of when presented with a foreign population hastily integrated within America, forced to come to terms with its new environment, and productively contribute to its new society? A checkered past, shrouded in mystery, hiding a horrible narcotics addiction that once ravaged their population and threatens to do so again? Unheard of le…
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In part 5 of 5 in the Guadalcanal series, 1st Lt Jefferson DeBlanc of VMF-112 becomes the first Marine to achieve 5 victories on a single mission. This episode covers DeBlanc's combat experiences from November 1942 through January 1943, his Medal of Honor mission and recovery following his shootdown, as well as the conclusion of the Guadalcanal cam…
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Do you remember opening Christmas presents as a child, and every year you experienced that one trick gift? The one that looked like it should have been something else, but when you open it, you’re completely surprised by something entirely different? Well, call us Santa Claus, because we’ve given you a big shiny box labeled “Episode 12 - Heathers”,…
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A young boy, overwhelmed with grief at the sudden and potentially violent loss of his mother. A newly widowed father, still struggling to cope with massive change, becomes cold and distant to his son. With his imagination the only thing allowing him to escape to some semblance of happiness, the boy shoplifts a valuable original print book from a ki…
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Finding a $20 bill in the pocket of a jacket you haven’t worn in a while. Sliding into a hole in the wall restaurant out of desperation and having the best meal of your life. A negative paternity test, regardless of your age, location, or relationship status. Bringing home a pet cat and discovering it’s actually a dog. Life is full of pleasant surp…
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1993 saw a big shake up to Britain’s military honours. A new look established equality across the ranks and a new medal filled a void in the hierarchy of gallantry. In this episode medal expert Mark Smith introduces Darren to the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross. They’re very rare, on account of the medal’s relative youth, and the circumstances for whic…
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Have you ever been without something or someone for so long that you ache from places deep within yourself? And when you finally become reacquainted, the crushing realization that reality will never live up to expectation washes over every fiber of your being and leaves you a convulsing, sobbing waste of human life? Well put on some of that extra r…
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The George Cross is on par with the Victoria Cross in the table of Gallantry, so how do they differ? The answer may not be as straightforward as you think. In this episode, medal expert and military historian, Mark Smith, guides Darren through the subtle differences between these top tier awards, and provides the context to its institution by King …
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Imagine being present during the golden age of the dinosaurs, or traveling back to witness the rise of Athens, the fall of Rome, or the incredible first flight of the Wright brothers. The awe and wonder you would feel watching those first few moments of the moon landing, or the emotional ride of Banting and Best taking their first steps towards sav…
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More Distinguished Flying Crosses were issued in the Second World War than any other award. In this episode, medal expert Mark Smith introduces Darren to some of his favourite DFC recipients, from the aviators known as ‘The Few’. Their daring dogfights in the Battle of Britain secured air superiority over the German Luftwaffe, resulting in Adolf Hi…
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When did Britain start awarding medals to women? At their introduction, Britain’s military honours were exclusively for men. In this bonus episode military historian Mark Smith introduces Darren to the trailblazing women of the Nursing Service, who did their duty with no medallic recognition, and reveals which campaign rang the changes.…
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Since the dawn of cinema, sequels have always been a dicey proposition. As the media is oft to tell us, fans are absolute monsters and barely register as human, and as such, can be fickle and unreasonable with how they receive follow-ups to their favourite properties. Some sequels meet even the most jaded fan expectations, and provide quality and w…
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30 years ago, if you were to tell us that one of our favourite movies of all time would feature ridiculous looking puppets, a young woman struggling with the emotional burden of having to grow up, and a tarted up rock star complete with musical acts and dance sequences, we would have called you crazy and stomped off to play with our Transformers an…
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The First World War saw the advent of the Royal Air Force, and with a new service came more medals and tough decisions about who gets what. So how are those decisions made?In this bonus episode expert Mark Smith talks Darren through medal admin and the hoops that have to be jumped through before one can be awarded.…
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Is it an homage to classic 70’s kung-fu movies, complete with an old master teaching a young and impatient prodigy the mystic and ancient ways of combat? Perhaps it’s a tongue-in-cheek popcorn action movie, poking fun at itself while projecting chaotic and entertaining action sequences with reckless abandon? Or is it a poignant commentary on shadow…
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The original statute for the Victoria Cross stated that the honour couldn’t be bestowed posthumously, but that’s not the case today. Public pressure led to the re-writing of the statute, all because of the actions of two young officers at Rorke’s Drift. Mark Smith tells Darren of their bravery in this bonus episode, and introduces a new medal to th…
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Imagine inventing a technology that can shrink anything, like a manned submarine, to the point where it can exist within another living creature. Aside from the childlike wonder and excitement that would come from a new frontier of exploration, the implications to healthcare, biomechanics, civilian and military engineering, would be absolutely stag…
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3rd April 1982, South Georgia, South Atlantic.The Falklands War wasn’t just about the Falkland Islands. There’s another British Overseas Territory a thousand miles away which has its own story to tell about that particular conflict…And who better to tell it than Keith Mills, then a Lieutenant in the Royal Marines, who at just 22 years old was sent …
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Queen Victoria wanted a new medal for her soldiers and sailors. It would be an award for the bravest of the brave, something that would only be presented to those who had shown extreme bravery in the face of the enemy.In this bonus episode Darren asks medals expert Mark Smith to tell him the story of the Victoria Cross.There’s also a preview of epi…
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Are you ready to blast off into outer space for a rip-roaring adventure that’s out of this galaxy? Setting your phasers to stun...ning acting and character development, resulting in roles you actually care about and are emotionally invested in? Initiating warp speed to get through every moment of a well-written and even better paced story with dept…
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24th July, 2005, Al Bayaa District, near Baghdad, Iraq.Captain Pete Norton was used to dealing with explosives. By the time he deployed to Iraq he had spent more than 20 years working in bomb disposal. He was so well known for his cool head and unflappable nature he was given the nickname “Perfect Pete”.But one night investigating the scene of a de…
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Queen Victoria was dismayed to discover there were no medals for those who fought for Britain in the Battle of Trafalgar or those who fought with the Duke of Wellington in the Peninsular.In fact, she was so unhappy, she invented two new medals herself.In this bonus episode Darren talks to medals expert Mark Smith about Queen Victoria’s important ro…
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Normally, the terms “campy 80’s horror” and “heartwarming solid story telling” go together about as well as “Jay” and “healthy gastro-intestinal operation” or “Benny” and “underwear devoid of faint brown streaks”. However, this is one of those rare and beautiful exceptions to the rule, and also serves as a fantastic palate cleanser after we had to …
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