When Silk star Theo Barklem-Biggs was asked to play World War One hero Private Sid Godley he was thrilled it would mean he’d be firing a real machine gun from that era!

“For filming, I got to fire an actual Vickers machine gun which they used back then,’ says Theo, who played law clerk Jake Milner in BBC1’s legal drama Silk.

“I know it was all done with blanks, but it was still incredible and I really got into it. I learnt how to work it, put it up, dismantle it – it was an amazing piece of kit!”

The story of Sid Godley and other brave young soldiers in the Royal Fusiliers is told in The First Battle, the first of three dramas for BBC3’s Our World series celebrating real-life heroes from World War One.

The drama will show how 25-year-old Sid in the war’s terrifying first battle at Mons, Belgium, in August 1914.

“It was so ironic that Sid was the worst in the Fusiliers at shooting practice drills – and you see this in the drama – but he ended up being the last soldier defending the crucial Nimy bridge.

“Sid ended up shot in the head but he miraculously survived. Almost dead, he was picked up by the German medics who performed life-saving surgery. Apparently the Germans had much better medical facilities than the British back then, so it was very lucky he ended up in their hands. So in a way it was the enemy who saved his life! It really is an amazing story.”

Theo is also know for having starred in the first Inbetweeners Movie in 2011, but his madcap character Richard, who the lads met on holiday in Crete, won’t be returning for The Inbetweeners 2 movie which is set in Australia and us released on August 6.

“Playing Richard was fantastic, but there wasn’t any more they could do with Richard in the next movie. I’m looking forward to seeing it though.”

Our World War: The First Battle is shown on August 7, BBC3, at 9pm