Solving the mystery of an unknown Somme hero

29th November 2021

© IWM 191. The Battle of the Somme / Secrets of the Imperial War Museum - Episode one trailer 

This famous image captures a few seconds from one of the most well-known battles in British military history - it is a still taken from a sequence of footage in the 1916 documentary film, The Battle of the Somme. 

In the first episode of Secrets of the Imperial War Museum, a new six-part documentary series exploring IWM's branches and collections on Channel 5, Head of Film Matt Lee tackles a 100 year old mystery - identifying the heroic man from the film.

New episode every Friday at 7pm from 26 November on Channel 5. Watch it on My5

The Battle of the Somme began on 1 July 1916. After a week-long artillery bombardment of the German lines, tens of thousands of Allied troops went 'over the top' in an attack that would become synonymous with the horrors of trench warfare.

Filmed and first released in 1916, the 35mm film in IWM's collections remains an important early example of propaganda as well as remaining a vital historical record of the early stages of the battle. Contact us to enquire about licensing HD clips.

Find out more

What most people get wrong about the Battle of the Somme

How the IWM is trying to identify the man in this film

How the Battle of the Somme was filmed