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Title:MESOPOTAMIA - CTESIPHON AND SAMARRA [Allocated Title]
Film Number:IWM 63
Summary: Unedited film of British forces on the Mesopotamian Front, and of the Arch of Chosroess at Ctesiphon, 1917.
Description: I. (Reel 1) Mainly unrelated scenes. A British 6-inch 26cwt (?) howitzer. Turkish prisoners being searched by British troops. A dressing station with Indian orderlies, a motor ambulance and a doctor performing first aid. Observers on the ground signalling to an aeroplane by laying out large strips of cloth in the shape of letters. II. The main subject of the film is the architecture. First the Al Malwaiyah tower, ninth century, part of the Great Mosque of Samarra, contrasted with a British observation post built of sandbags. There is another unrelated scene of Rolls-Royce armoured cars recovering a damaged Martinsyde G 100 Elephant bomber of 72 Squadron RFC from the desert. A water supply column filling its trucks from the River Tigris by means of hand pumps and hoses. Then more architecture: detailed views of the Arch of Chosroess, built by Seleucus Nicator on the right bank of the River Tigris, 280 feet high, 300 feet in length, and 78 feet in breadth, it probably functioned as the royal presence chamber. III. The remaining film shows scenes of the area: observers in a captured Turkish post, Indian and British troops - along with the crew of a Rolls-Royce armoured car - inspecting and burying dead soldiers, collecting those still alive in stretchers, and a chaplain in vestments conducting a burial service outside a field dressing station. A second burial of an Indian soldier (the chaplain no longer in attendance - Reel 2 starts at this point). Indian troops on the march in the desert, Turkish prisoners of war, scenes in Baghdad and Samarra of pottery making, knife grinding, cotton separating and other crafts.
Production Details: War Office Cinema Committee (Production sponsor)
International Film Service (Production company)
Varges, Ariel L (Production individual)
Personalities, Units and Organisations: British Army, Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force (regiment/service)
Indian Army, Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force (regiment/service)
British Army, Royal Flying Corps, Squadron 72 (regiment/service)
Keywords: weapons, British - gun: 6-inch 26cwt howitzer (object name)
prisoners of war, Turkish - reception (object name)
medical, British military - emergency (object name)
transport, British military - ambulance (object name)
communications, British military - direct: ground-to-air panels (object name)
arts, Mesopotamian - architecture (object name)
society, Mesopotamian - history (object name)
buildings, Mesopotamian - historic: Great Mosque of Samarra (object name)
buildings, Mesopotamian - historic: Arch of Chosroess (object name)
aircraft, British - combat: Martinsyde Elephant & [damaged] (object name)
armour, British - armoured car: Rolls-Royce (object name)
defences, Turkish - emplacement: [captured] (object name)
casualties, British dead - battlefield (object name)
religion, Christianity - military, British (object name)
society, Mesopotamian - ethnic (object name)
industry, Mesopotamian - craft (object name)
arts, Mesopotamian - ethnic (object name)
Turkey & Samarra, Mesopotamia (geography)
Turkey & Ctesiphon, Mesopotamia (geography)
Turkey & Baghdad, Mesopotamia (geography)
Technical Details: Format: 35mm
Number of items/reels/tapes: 2
Footage: 1557 ft; Running time: 26 mins
Notes: Title: the title as it appeared on the shotsheet was simply MESOPOTAMIA, which has been altered. The title in the store ledger is TIKRIT AND DEUR OPERATIONS, which does not match the film.
Summary: see also IWM 59, IWM 60, IWM 61, IWM 64, IWM 77, IWM 78 and IWM 80.