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Title:MINING ACTIVITY ON THE BRITISH FRONT [Main Title]
Film Number:IWM 219
Other titles:OFFICIAL PICTURES OF THE BRITISH ARMY IN FRANCE - SIXTH SERIES [Series Title]
Summary: Largely dramatised account of a tunnelling company of Royal Engineers planting and exploding a mine under a German position on the Western Front, early 1916.
Description: I. The tunnelling company loads itself and its equipment into lorries, unloads at the end of the journey, and enters the trench system. At the minehead shaft one man wearing breathing apparatus checks for gas. The men dig at the tunnel face until the captain in charge hears, through a tube, German countermining going on. Explosive charges are brought down the shaft, set in position, the men retire to the surface and a young second-lieutenant checks the electric firing circuit. Highlanders close by take cover in the crater of "the Hohenzollern redoubt" (?). The mine is exploded, followed by two more scenes of mine or shell explosions. The Highlanders run forward to take the crater. Other British troops run forward through a trench system and a machine gun opens fire. Two more mines explode by a treeline. II. At this point the film breaks up into random scenes. A party of British soldiers walks down a shallow trench as if on patrol when suddenly it is pelted with mud from off-camera, exposing the fake. Canadian (?) sappers with a detonator fire another charge and then go forward to inspect the recently-blown craters by the treeline.
Production Details: War Office (Production sponsor)
British Topical Committee for War Films (Production company)
Malins, Geoffrey H (Production individual)
Tong, Edward G (Production individual)
Personalities, Units and Organisations: British Army, Royal Engineers, Tunnelling Company (regiment/service)
British Army, Highlanders (regiment/service)
Canadian Army, Canadian Expeditionary Force (regiment/service)
Canadian Army, Engineers (regiment/service)
Keywords: operations, British military - mines: [+] (object name)
combat, British - mine explosion (object name)
equipment, British - engineering: detonator (object name)
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: 1
Footage: 764 ft; Running time: 13 mins
Notes: Production: the extra length of this film and the inclusion of scenes from IWM 191 BATTLE OF THE SOMME, released August 1916, suggest that this is not the original release version.
Cameraman: for the original version this was either Malins or Tong.
Remarks: the fake patrol scene, although brief, makes interesting viewing as a comparison with suspect, but not proven, fakes.