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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.

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Nelson; The Story of England's Immortal Naval HeroNelson; The Story of England's Immortal Naval Hero

Biopic1918126 minsSilent

Morale-boosting exploits intended to inspire war-weary citizens.

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Trips and Tribunals (The Blunders of Mr. Butterbun)Trips and Tribunals (The Blunders of Mr. Butterbun)

Comedy191825 minsSilent

Mr Butterbun presides over a tribunal dealing with cases of men presenting excuses to avoid the First World War draft.

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Women's Work in WartimeWomen's Work in Wartime

Industry sponsored film19188 minsSilent

Who wears the trousers while the men are at war? The women of Britain, who pick up a surprisingly wide range of jobs

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Battle Front in BritainBattle Front in Britain

Documentary191824 minsSilent

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.

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Scenes of the First World WarScenes of the First World War

War19185 minsSilent

Dramatic footage of Italian and British troops on the front line and airborne.

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Haunted HotelHaunted Hotel

Fantasy191817 minsSilent

Guests find things that go bump in the night.

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Australian Troops at the PyramidsAustralian Troops at the Pyramids

Non-Fiction19181 minsSilent

Shades of epic cinema as soldiers roam around the Sphinx and the Great Pyramid of Giza

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Adam BedeAdam Bede

Period drama191810 minsSilent

The surviving reel of what seems like an action-packed adaptation of George Eliot’s 1859 debut novel.

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Victory and PeaceVictory and Peace

War191816 minsSilent

One reel of a feature about a German invasion of Britain.

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Some War-time Types: The W.L.A. GirlSome War-time Types: The W.L.A. Girl

Documentary19182 minsSilent

Rural bliss down on the farm for a happy recruit to the Women's Land Army

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Notts Women's Great War RallyNotts Women's Great War Rally

19181 minsSilent

The capable women doing men's work on Nottinghamshire's farms attract a crowd - and perhaps some new recruits

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Women Farm WorkersWomen Farm Workers

19181 minsSilent

These Land Girls are firm friends - and just as good at farm work as the men they replaced during WWI

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Swan Upping on the Thames Swan Upping on the Thames

Non-Fiction19181 minsSilent Location: River Thames

The tricky task of tracking London's swans.

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Waiting and WatchfulWaiting and Watchful

Non-Fiction19182 minsSilent

Scenes from the Western Front

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Airship Leaves Hangar and Starts a FlightAirship Leaves Hangar and Starts a Flight

19183 minsSilent

A military airship of the S.S.T. series is pulled out of a hangar and prepared for take-off.

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Rilka: Or The Gypsy QueenRilka: Or The Gypsy Queen

Romance191859 minsSilent

A soldier scarred by torture at the hands of African natives is rescued by a gypsy

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World's Largest PhotographWorld's Largest Photograph

Non-Fiction19181 minsSilent

Shot, blown up and stitched back together, wartime’s biggest and most colourful piece of propaganda is squeezed into Mayfair in this 1918 newsreel.

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Home Coming of the BedfordsHome Coming of the Bedfords

19184 minsSilent

A heroes’ welcome for the Bedford regiment in their own hometown.

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Surrender of the German FleetSurrender of the German Fleet

Non-Fiction191815 minsSilent 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.

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KnocknagowKnocknagow

Period drama191890 minsSilent

One of the first Irish feature films, a heartwarming tale of Tipperary folk set during the land clearances of the 1840s

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Smallcombe Film CompilationSmallcombe Film Compilation

Amateur film191821 minsSilent

An unidentified – and intriguing – anthology of early amateur film.

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Allotment Holder's EnemiesAllotment Holder's Enemies

Advert19185 minsSilent

An instructional film offering tips on how to get rid of greenfly, caterpillars, snails, slugs, moths and sparrows.

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Buckingham Palace AllotmentBuckingham Palace Allotment

Non-Fiction19181 minsSilent

Who knew George V was growing vegetables in his back yard?

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Helping the Food Controller in 1000 Home Gardens at BournvilleHelping the Food Controller in 1000 Home Gardens at Bournville

19186 minsSilent

Self-sufficiency in a Midlands garden suburb supports national resilience during WWI

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General Allenby's Entry into JerusalemGeneral Allenby's Entry into Jerusalem

Non-Fiction19185 minsSilent

A legend in the making: the first film glimpse of the man who would become Lawrence of Arabia

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E.R. Calthrop's Patent Safety Guardian Angel Parachute: Tests and DemE.R. Calthrop's Patent Safety Guardian Angel Parachute: Tests and Dem

191814 minsSilent

Brave Royal Flying Corps (later RAF) pilots put early parachute designs to the test. It’s hair-raising stuff!

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Parachute Descent from an AirshipParachute Descent from an Airship

19181 minsSilent

Parachute experiments shot from a bird’s-eye-view.

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British Naval Activities after the Great British Victory of JutlandBritish Naval Activities after the Great British Victory of Jutland

191816 minsSilent

Even HMS Victory makes a cameo in a propaganda piece made after the British Navy’s bloodiest day of WWI.

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The SecretThe Secret

Government sponsored film19182 minsSilent

Covert operations on the home front find solutions to shortages just next door

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Life at Iwerne Minster in Wartime, August 7th & 8th 1918.Life at Iwerne Minster in Wartime, August 7th & 8th 1918.

Documentary191818 minsSilent Location: Iwerne Minster

These vignettes of village life during WWI in Iwerne Minster, Dorset, are testament to the industriousness of its inhabitants.

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Royal Visit to Messrs. Horrockses FactoryRoyal Visit to Messrs. Horrockses Factory

19133 minsSilent Location: Preston

Red letter day in Preston

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Surrender of the German High Seas FleetSurrender of the German High Seas Fleet

Non-Fiction19181 minsSilent Location: Isle of May

Dramatic aerial footage of the German surrender captured by the RAF.

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Against the GrainAgainst the Grain

War19182 minsSilent

Defence of the realm diverts cereal feeds from hungry hens and leaves their owners with a dilemma

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Rescue Work in No Man's LandRescue Work in No Man's Land

Non-Fiction19181 minsSilent

The heroic dogs trained to aid wounded WWI soldiers caught between the lines.

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The Warrior's May QueenThe Warrior's May Queen

Non-Fiction19181 minsSilent

May I shake your hand, ma'am? Back in Blighty, a soldier finds the proper way to address a queen

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Deliverance of Lille by Haig's MenDeliverance of Lille by Haig's Men

Non-Fiction19182 minsSilent

Bashful British soldiers are mobbed by French citizens after Lille is freed from the Germans in WWI.

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Battle South of ArrasBattle South of Arras

Non-Fiction19182 minsSilent

You can virtually hear the explosions and smell the smoke in this rare close-up of a WWI battlefield.

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Camberwell - Dedication of the Borough Mace at the Licensed Victuallers Asylum Chapel, Asylum Road, S.E.Camberwell - Dedication of the Borough Mace at the Licensed Victuallers Asylum Chapel, Asylum Road, S.E.

Non-Fiction19183 minsSilent Location: Camberwell

Mayors, bishops and clergymen march through Camberwell to the asylum, better known today as Caroline Gardens.

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Prince Of Wales As MinerPrince Of Wales As Miner

Non-Fiction19181 minsSilent

The future King Edward VIII gets down and dirty on a visit to an Ebbw Vale pit in South Wales

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Hoylake and West Kirby's Tribute to Local V.CHoylake and West Kirby's Tribute to Local V.C

191810 minsSilent

The people of Hoylake and West Kirby welcome their returning hero Sergeant Cyril Gourley V.C. of the Royal Field Artillery.

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Record Breaking RivetersRecord Breaking Riveters

Non-Fiction19180 minsSilent

A little healthy competition in the shipyard – who can fasten the most rivets in a nine-hour stretch?

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Pirate Boats at WestminsterPirate Boats at Westminster

Non-Fiction19181 minsSilent

A surrendered German U-boat travels up the Thames

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Drocourt-Queant 'Switch Line' StormedDrocourt-Queant 'Switch Line' Stormed

Non-Fiction19181 minsSilent

Northumberland Fusiliers in action.

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Cheese Making at HomeCheese Making at Home

Non-Fiction19184 minsSilent

Handy hints for would-be fromagers

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Aircraft Film of Lady Sybil GrantAircraft Film of Lady Sybil Grant

191838 minsSilent

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.

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What's the Use of Grumblin'?What's the Use of Grumblin'?

Government sponsored film19183 minsSilent

Mrs Grousin’-Jones can’t stop complaining about the inconvenience of the war

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A Chinese Baby ShowA Chinese Baby Show

Non-Fiction19180 minsSilent

Chinese children toddle to traditional music in this intriguing Gaumont newsreel.

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The Leopard's SpotsThe Leopard's Spots

Drama19182 minsSilent

A chilling message for a nation at war: don't trust the enemy, even after the fighting stops

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Lady FootballersLady Footballers

Sport19180 minsSilent Location: Southend-on-Sea

Women munitions workers from the Kynoch and Vickers Maxim factories take to the pitch in Southend during WWI.

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Topical Budget 378-1Topical Budget 378-1

Non-Fiction19185 minsSilent 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.

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Floods at Rhyl, October 1918Floods at Rhyl, October 1918

Non-Fiction19182 minsSilent Location: Rhyl

Having survived the menace of the First World War, Rhyl is assaulted by the watery forces of nature

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The Premier at Neath The Premier at Neath

Non-Fiction19184 minsSilent Location: Neath/Castell-Nedd

The sun shines down when PM Lloyd George is in town.

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Fallen HeroesFallen Heroes

Non-Fiction19181 minsSilent Location: Hillingdon

A war shrine is unveiled in Hillingdon by one of Britain’s leading wartime politicians

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Tank Bank's Tour through ScotlandTank Bank's Tour through Scotland

Non-Fiction191815 minsSilent Location: Glasgow

The 'Tank Bank' tours through Scotland, selling War Bonds, raising money for the war effort and boosting morale

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Building and Launch of the "Crepath" at BarnstapleBuilding and Launch of the "Crepath" at Barnstaple

Non-Fiction19185 minsSilent Location: Barnstaple

Barnstaple's experimental concrete-hulled ship gets a visit from a jolly Italian admiral.

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Our Glorious Mystery ShipsOur Glorious Mystery Ships

Non-Fiction19181 minsSilent

Q Ship ‘Suffolk Coast’, which trapped and sank many U-boats, arrives in the Thames for display in St. Katherine’s Dock.

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King George Takes the SaluteKing George Takes the Salute

Non-Fiction19181 minsSilent

American troops march through London and salute King George V in this late-WWI newsreel item

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Lewis Gun DrillLewis Gun Drill

19186 minsSilent

Essential training. A demonstration of the loading and unloading of a Lewis Gun.

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Lewis Gun Care and Cleaning: Part A, Laying out KitLewis Gun Care and Cleaning: Part A, Laying out Kit

19184 minsSilent

Drills for Lewis Gun operators, the laying out and inspection of components for a Lewis Gun.

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Broken in the WarsBroken in the Wars

War19188 minsSilent

Film pioneer Cecil Hepworth raises awareness of a royal fund to support servicemen wounded in WWI

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Give 'em BeansGive 'em Beans

Documentary19182 minsSilent

Take a tip from Canada and feed your hard-working man beans and pork to give him a high-speed productivity boost

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A New VersionA New Version

War19182 minsSilent

Idleness is for peacetime. During a war, everybody - and every plot of land - must do their part

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Great S.O.S. CampaignGreat S.O.S. Campaign

Non-Fiction19181 minsSilent

Newsreel footage of the great food saver Arthur Yapp speaking in Trafalgar Square during WW1.

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War Office Official Topical Budget and Pictorial News 343-1War Office Official Topical Budget and Pictorial News 343-1

19187 minsSilent

Proud servicemen accept awards for valour in a morale boosting late-war newsreel

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Cure for Potato BlightCure for Potato Blight

Gardening show19182 minsSilent

Battling biology with a Burgundy mixture, protecting potatoes by the application of science

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Pemberton Billing and the 'Vigilantes'Pemberton Billing and the 'Vigilantes'

191812 minsSilent

This curious silent film offers a glimpse inside the mind, and the country home, of a notorious politician and inventor

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Freed from Turkish BondageFreed from Turkish Bondage

Non-Fiction19181 minsSilent

“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.

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Tank 'Julian' in MerthyrTank 'Julian' in Merthyr

Non-Fiction19185 minsSilent 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.