Silent films’ war footage

The Warwickshires troops on the march
The Warwickshires troops on the march

The Imperial War Museum has over 1000 films made during the First World War – used to record the fighting, troops training and as propaganda.

But you don’t need to travel to London to see a fascinating 
selection of the films that tell us so much about what life was like for the troops and the 
families they left behind.

Dr Toby Haggith, senior 
curator of the Imperial War Museum, is bringing a selection of films from the archives to be shown at the Hippodrome Festival of Silent 
Cinema on Friday, March 20, at 2pm. With live piano accompaniment from Mike Nolan, Toby will personally introduce each of the films, which include footage of Scottish troops from the front in 1914 and a march past through the town of Hawick which captures the optimism and confidence of the troops .

There is also a film that demonstrates how to put a gas mask on. It really gives a sense of what it was like trying to put one on in the little time you would have.

He is looking forward to the festival, saying: “Once a film is shown with musical accompaniment, people are really struck by how modern they are. The ideas and techniques feel very fresh. It is very 
powerful for us to view.”

He also enjoys hearing the audiences’ responses. “It’s amazing how many people have their own personal connections with the films. It often sparks family associations. That gives us a sense of the broader experience of war and brings the films alive.”

For full details visit or call the box office on (01324) 508650.