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WAR OFFICE OFFICIAL TOPICAL BUDGET 310-1 [Main]

  • Country: GB
  • Year: 1917
  • Runtime: 3 mins
  • Description:
    I. German POWs in France are employed in reconstruction work.II. French tanks pass through a ruined village.III. The ruins of Craonne in the Champagne region.IV. Mob storms a church to break up a pacifist meeting.

    I. 'WAR'S DEVASTATION. German prisoners employed in reconstruction work at Ribécourt 35 Kilometres behind the firing line.' LS pan as men move about with wheelbarrows shifting earth - ruined village buildings in the background. Tented POW encampment in the grounds of a château - tanned POWs walk towards and past camera. The men wear uniform jackets or fatigues some stamped with an identifying mark (PG for Prisonniers de Guerre) and number. The men fall in. POWs at work repairing the road surface and clearing debris in Ribécourt - in the background is the quaintly named 'Hotel de Cornet d'Or'. French guards stand about, rifles slung. POWs clean stones of mortar for re-use, construct a wooden-frame building, saw timber by hand and using a power jig-saw. 'PRISONERS' TOILET. The labours of the day ended, the prisoners take a dip.' Men sit on a wooden jetty washing in the river - a barge is alongside.II. 'FRENCH TANKS. French Land Cruisers on their way to the front.' HA.MS as two Saint Chamond tanks move through a ruined village. The leading vehicle, named 'Teddy', negotiates a corner. (These are early models with flat roof and 75mm Saint Chamond TR gun.)III. 'THE CHAMPAGNE REGION. The Ruins of Caronne (sic). The bombardment of the Californie Plateau.' Various shots as men move among shattered trees and the remains of buildings. LS pan over land gently sloping away from the camera-position - trees broken by artillery fire in the foreground. LS up denuded slope as shells explode on high ground - a graphically devastated landscape.IV. 'PACIFISTS ROUTED AT BROTHERHOOD CHURCH. A pacifist meeting held at Kingsland was broken up by the forces of loyalty and patriotism. The crowd breaking into the Church.' MS of church building surrounded by a hostile crowd - one patriot is battering at the closed doors while others throw stones and kick at the windows. Having smashed one of the windows a man climbs inside but is forced to withdraw. Mounted police sit idly by watching events. Men try once again to enter by the broken window, but are kept out by one of the congregation wielding a length of wood - those outside try to seize the defender's weapon and throw stones at those within. A second window comes under attack. The pacifists are still resisting vigorously, although losing ground, and the forces of law and order are still apparently asleep when the sequence ends.

  • Keywords: EFG1914
    World War I
    French Army
    destruction, French military - area
    prisoners of war, German - custody: hygiene
    prisoners of war, German - labour
    reconstruction, French
    armour, French - tank: Saint Chamond Char d'Assault
    operations, British military - movement: road
    destruction, French military - area
    combat, French - artillery bombardment [D]
    politics, British - alternative: pacifism
    law and order, British - enforcement: crowd control & [abuse]
    politics, British - alternative: patriotic riot
    Ribecourt, Nord, France
    France
    World War, 1914-1918 -- France
    Craonne, Marne, France
    GB, England & Kingsland, Herefs (?)
  • Provenance: Imperial War Museums
  • Provider: Imperial War Museums
  • Production company:Topical Film Company
  • Colour: Black & White
  • Sound: Without sound