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Title:THE WORLD'S GREATEST STORY - EPISODE 15 [Main Title]
Film Number:IWM 420-29+30
Summary: A thematic treatment of the last days of the First World War and subsequent British victory celebrations.
Description: (Reel 29) The opening justifies the series, "It is our contention that all right minded men and women will essentially look in a spirit of reverence upon all these things... This film does not depend for its interest upon sickly sentiment, nor a specious portrayal of life's true values... The final episode of this story recalls to you that happy time when a sorrowing world first knew that the terrible thunder of a thousand guns and all the dire agonies of a mighty war were leading us UNTO THE DAWN." The figure of 'Justice'. British soldiers charging across no man's land. A British cyclist patrol liberates a French village, and the soldiers fraternise with the locals (actually Arras area, spring 1917). German troops surrender. Refugees return to Cambrai after its liberation. German dead are laid out by British soldiers. Various ruins and damaged buildings, including churches and Arras Cathedral (?). British soldiers mix with Frenchmen. (Reel 30) The formal British entry into Cologne across the Hohenzollern Bridge on 12th-13th December 1918. General Sir Herbert Plumer, commanding the Army of Occupation, takes the salute beneath the statue of Kaiser Wilhelm I. The British victory parade in London on 19th July 1919. The parade marches past the King's temporary pavilion set up in front of Buckingham Palace, and past the temporary wooden mock-up of the Cenotaph in Whitehall. The parade starts with the Royal Navy led by Admiral Sir David Beatty, Royal Marines, WAACs and WRNS, and Sea Scouts. The Army contingent is led by Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig, "when Field Marshal Haig passed in lordly dignity, the welkin rang with the loud shouts of a myriad lusty voices". Passing beneath Admiralty Arch, the contingent includes men of the ASC, Scottish troops, Highlanders, the massed colours of the Guards, Australians, British line regiments, and Royal Artillery limbers towing 60-pounders. The King and Queen take the salute at the pavilion as the Australians march past, followed by Canadians. American troops march past the Cenotaph, led by General John J Pershing and a mounted contingent. These are followed by Belgian, Japanese, Italian naval and more Japanese troops. A pair of Medium D tanks passes very close to the camera past the King's pavilion. The series ends with crowds around the Cenotaph. "Our story, in its complete form, stands as an incomparable tribute to the men and women of our Empire who, in the time of fierce national stress, made the willing offering of their lives for the preservation of the Motherland."
Personalities, Units and Organisations: British Army (regiment/service)
Keywords: propaganda, British - inspirational (object name)
First World War, Armistice & 1918 (event)
Germany & Cologne, North Rhine Westphalia (geography)
London, England, UK (geography)
Physical Characteristics: Colour format: B&W
Sound format: Silent
Soundtrack language: None
Title language: English
Subtitle language: English
Technical Details: Format: 35mm
Number of items/reels/tapes: 2
Footage: 1841 ft; Running time: 31 mins
Notes: Production etc: see Notes to Episode 1, IWM 420/01+02
Summary: for the material in the first reel see the series AUGUST OFFENSIVE and SEPTEMBER OFFENSIVE. See in particular IWM 113, IWM 116, IWM 185, IWM 253, IWM 314 and IWM 345. The scenes of Cologne come from IWM 376. The scenes of London come from IWM 439
Technical: this episode is held on reels IWM 420-29 and IWM 420-30