The British Film Institute presents the best global cinema on-demand:
From classic and contemporary films to the best of the BFI National Archive.

Gallant Defenders
Gallant Defenders

Gallant Defenders 1914


This film is certified

Please confirm that you accept our terms of use.


Gallant Defenders 1914

1 mins United Kingdom

The Topical Budget newsreel defined itself in WWI, and its cameras arrived early in Belgium to document the German occupation, sending back prime images as the situation unfolded. This item was filmed shortly after the week-long Attack on Antwerp, and catches the retreating Belgian troops as they arrive, war-weary, at Ostend. One or two men manage a smile for the camera as they shuffle past.

The British Government had supported Belgium's defence of her territories, and the newsreels, like the press, applauded the efforts of 'plucky little Belgium' in resisting German invasion. The title of this item reinforces the message that, having lost Antwerp, the Belgian army deserved sympathy and respect - and that they weren't beaten yet.




World War I Antwerp Ostend


1914 on Film




United Kingdom



Production company

Topical Film Company

Read lessRead more

Explore further

View Attack on Antwerp
Attack on Antwerp
Watch for free 1 mins

Attack on Antwerp 1914

Belgian infantry and artillery defend Antwerp against the besieging German army in an early battle of World War I.

1 mins United Kingdom

View Battle of Lebbeke
Battle of Lebbeke
Watch for free 10 mins

Battle of Lebbeke 1914

Extraordinary early WWI footage of Belgian army delaying the German advance - aided by bicycles, armoured cars and machine-gun pulling dogs.

10 mins United Kingdom

View From Antwerp to Ostend
From Antwerp to Ostend
Watch for free 7 mins

From Antwerp to Ostend 1914

On the brink of invasion, holidaymakers promenade while refugees shelter in beach huts on the Belgian coastline in 1914.

7 mins United Kingdom

View Ostend in War-Time
Ostend in War-Time
Watch for free 1 mins

Ostend in War-Time 1914

Belgian soldiers and civilian refugees gather in Ostend in early WWI, before evacuating to England.

1 mins United Kingdom


View All

Welcome to a new subscription service like no other.

>100s of hand-picked classics and critically-acclaimed films

>Critic Mark Kermode picks a must-see film every week

>No contract, cancel anytime

Cookies Policy

This website uses cookies, as explained in our Cookies Policy.

To accept the terms and hide this message please click 'I accept'.

I accept

Passionate about film? So are we…

Don't miss the email made for the in-the-know film fan:

New releases — on the same day as in cinemas Special collections & unheralded classics Exclusive news on discounts

Never ask | Ask me later