1918 on Film
The final year of the war was a tough one for British film, but the industry did its patriotic best.
1918 in British cinema inevitably centred on the war. With shortages of personnel and materiel, production dwindled to a trickle of feature length dramas and the usual mix of newsreels, interest films and comedies. These were increasingly influenced by Government propaganda, which had got into its stride just as the war was coming to a close. There was even an attempt to make an officially sanctioned morale-boosting feature film - known for a time as 'The National Film' but surviving only as a fragment called Victory and Peace. Meanwhile, even some non-official films - like Maurice Elvey's Nelson, the Story of an Immortal Hero - focused on patriotic subjects.
Comedies, too, reflected the times. One of the best is Trips and Tribunals, in which Lupino Lane plays a succession of reluctant conscripts begging for exemption from war service. Also in a comic vein were a charming series of films made by and starring celebrity couple Henry Edwards and Chrissie White, exhorting citizens to recycle and save food. Other stars, including Alma Taylor, Ivy Close and Violet Hopson, also played parts in recruiting films for the Land Girls, which make fascinating to compare with similar drives during the Second World War.
This collection is generously supported by the Charles Skey Charitable Trust.
Trips and Tribunals (The Blunders of Mr. Butterbun)
Mr Butterbun presides over a tribunal dealing with cases of men presenting excuses to avoid the First World War draft.
Women's Work in Wartime
Industry sponsored film19188 mins
Who wears the trousers while the men are at war? The women of Britain, who pick up a surprisingly wide range of jobs
Battle Front in Britain
Growing potatoes in Green Park plus some handy uses for your old tin cans – it’s all part of the war effort on the home front.
Airship Leaves Hangar and Starts a Flight
A military airship of the S.S.T. series is pulled out of a hangar and prepared for take-off.
World's Largest Photograph
Shot, blown up and stitched back together, wartime’s biggest and most colourful piece of propaganda is squeezed into Mayfair in this 1918 newsreel.
Surrender of the German Fleet
Non-Fiction191815 mins Location: Rosyth
The surrender of the German fleet at the end of WW1 and the visit of King George V and the Prince of Wales to USS New York at Rosyth.
Helping the Food Controller in 1000 Home Gardens at Bournville
Self-sufficiency in a Midlands garden suburb supports national resilience during WWI
General Allenby's Entry into Jerusalem
A legend in the making: the first film glimpse of the man who would become Lawrence of Arabia
E.R. Calthrop's Patent Safety Guardian Angel Parachute: Tests and Dem
Brave Royal Flying Corps (later RAF) pilots put early parachute designs to the test. It’s hair-raising stuff!
British Naval Activities after the Great British Victory of Jutland
Even HMS Victory makes a cameo in a propaganda piece made after the British Navy’s bloodiest day of WWI.
Life at Iwerne Minster in Wartime, August 7th & 8th 1918.
Documentary191818 mins Location: Iwerne Minster
These vignettes of village life during WWI in Iwerne Minster, Dorset, are testament to the industriousness of its inhabitants.
Surrender of the German High Seas Fleet
Non-Fiction19181 mins Location: Isle of May
Dramatic aerial footage of the German surrender captured by the RAF.
Deliverance of Lille by Haig's Men
Bashful British soldiers are mobbed by French citizens after Lille is freed from the Germans in WWI.
Camberwell - Dedication of the Borough Mace at the Licensed Victuallers Asylum Chapel, Asylum Road, S.E.
Non-Fiction19183 mins Location: Camberwell
Mayors, bishops and clergymen march through Camberwell to the asylum, better known today as Caroline Gardens.
Hoylake and West Kirby's Tribute to Local V.C
The people of Hoylake and West Kirby welcome their returning hero Sergeant Cyril Gourley V.C. of the Royal Field Artillery.
Aircraft Film of Lady Sybil Grant
Life in the Royal Flying Corps. A series of unedited shots give us an insight into the military and social life of the early years of the RAF.
Topical Budget 378-1
Non-Fiction19185 mins Location: Royal Albert Hall
Topical Budget salutes Britain's top brass in this gleefully patriotic newsreel edition, released just weeks after the First World War was won.
Floods at Rhyl, October 1918
Non-Fiction19182 mins Location: Rhyl
Having survived the menace of the First World War, Rhyl is assaulted by the watery forces of nature
Tank Bank's Tour through Scotland
Non-Fiction191815 mins Location: Glasgow
The 'Tank Bank' tours through Scotland, selling War Bonds, raising money for the war effort and boosting morale
Building and Launch of the "Crepath" at Barnstaple
Non-Fiction19185 mins Location: Barnstaple
Barnstaple's experimental concrete-hulled ship gets a visit from a jolly Italian admiral.
Our Glorious Mystery Ships
Q Ship ‘Suffolk Coast’, which trapped and sank many U-boats, arrives in the Thames for display in St. Katherine’s Dock.
Lewis Gun Care and Cleaning: Part A, Laying out Kit
Drills for Lewis Gun operators, the laying out and inspection of components for a Lewis Gun.
War Office Official Topical Budget and Pictorial News 343-1
Proud servicemen accept awards for valour in a morale boosting late-war newsreel
Pemberton Billing and the 'Vigilantes'
This curious silent film offers a glimpse inside the mind, and the country home, of a notorious politician and inventor
Freed from Turkish Bondage
“Mosque and picturesque scenes in Palestine now occupied by the British" – the Mosque of Omar, or Dome of the Rock, has been “freed” by British troops.
Tank 'Julian' in Merthyr
Non-Fiction19185 mins Location: Merthyr Tydfil
Julian', a battle-scarred tank, is the toast of Merthyr in June 1918. Spot 3 women without hats in the crowd that greets the monster guest.