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Summary: British forces in the Villers Bretonneux and Béthune areas, Western Front, about 8-10 April 1918.
Description: I. Open country, very flat with a few low woods and shells on the horizon moving closer. In the foreground a Red Cross ambulance moves down a road - probably Villers Bretonneux. Small parties of British troops move into the village itself, which has suffered some shell damage. They examine a child's stuffed toy. Two soldiers build a roadblock of wood and wire cheveux-de-frise. Other soldiers of 58th (2/1st London) Division rest by the side of a road, then move forward to enter a dugout in a railway embankment - probably close to Amiens. II. Refugees at Béthune being shepherded by British troops across the La Bassée Canal bridge. A column of men from 4th or 5th Battalion, the Kings Own Royal Lancasters, of 55th Division, march across the bridge in full kit, move in single file down the road and into the beginnings of a trench system. Four soldiers, one of them Scottish, watch while a limbered-up 18-pounder battery moves down the road. A small group of refugees with prams and handcarts comes into the village, and a boy asks directions of a British corporal. An 18-pounder battery moves along parallel to the canal so that its reflection shows in the water, and finally crosses over the bridge.
Production Details: Ministry of Information (Production sponsor)
Topical Film Company (Production company)
McDowell, J B (Production individual)
Personalities, Units and Organisations: British Army, Div 58 (regiment/service)
British Army, Lancaster Regiment, King's Own Royal, 4th Battalion (?) (regiment/service)
British Army, Div 55 (regiment/service)
British Army, Lancaster Regiment, King's Own Royal, 5th Battalion (?) (regiment/service)
Keywords: defences, British - emplacement: dugout (object name)
defences, British - passive: cheveux-de-frise (object name)
combat, German - artillery bombardment [i] (object name)
transport, British military - ambulance (object name)
refugees, French - flight (object name)
weapons, British - gun: 18-pounder field gun & [+] (object name)
Villers-Bretonneux, Somme, France (geography)
La Bassée Canal Bridge, Béthune, Pas-de Calais, France (geography)
La Bassée Canal, Nord, France (geography)
Amiens, Somme, France (geography)
Technical Details: Format: 35mm
Number of items/reels/tapes: 1
Footage: 553 ft; Running time: 9 mins
Notes: Title: this is taken from the shotsheet.
Summary: shot on about 8th-10th April, this film shows McDowell's move from Third to First Army front as the offensive spreads northward.
Remarks: the two scenes of the 18-pounder batteries in Béthune are extremely good and attractive examples of their type. The shells 'walking' towards the camera are also most impressive, if rather too far away to be frightening.