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Title:LETTERS FROM HOME : the work of the Postal Department at the Front [Main Title]
Film Number:IWM 214
Other titles:OFFICIAL PICTURES OF THE BRITISH ARMY IN FRANCE - FOURTH SERIES [Series Title]
Summary: Partially dramatised account of a letter being sent from a mother in Britain to her son serving in a trench on the Western Front, early 1916.
Description: The young 'mother', at a table, begins her letter, "dear son" (acted). British troops unload sacks of mail for France at one of the Channel ports. The mail is taken across the Channel by ship and unloaded at a French port. A special "express" lorry is loaded with mail for headquarters, while British troops and French officials load other mail into goods trains. The express lorry arrives at GHQ Army Post Office at Saint Omer where the mail is unloaded and sorted. At the railhead the sacks of letters for the troops are unloaded from the train onto lorries. At a "refilling point" soldiers crowd round the lorry, the sacks are distributed and battalion orderlies sort the mail. At a field post office, a brick building beyond German shell range, soldiers queue to collect mail from pigeon holes. In a final scene (acted) letters are distributed to Highland troops in a front line trench while under shellfire.
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, Postal Service (regiment/service)
Keywords: communications, British military - postal: [+] (object name)
buildings, British - military: post office (object name)
combat [simulated], British - artillery bombardment [i] (object name)
society, British military - domestic (object name)
Saint Omer, Pas-de-Calais, France (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: 1
Footage: 537 ft; Running time: 9 mins
Notes: Production: in this film the BTCFWF symbol appears only as a single flashframe.
Cameraman: this was either Malins or Tong.
Remarks: the British made an important point, for morale reasons among the troops, of having postal deliveries even in the very front lines. However, most of this film, particularly the last scene, has either been staged or acted in training camps.