This film is part of Free
A Hero of the Trenches
The first reel of a short film about two lonely people, a seamstress and a soldier, finding love over a shirt.
This extract from a mid-WWI is likely the first of two reels, setting up a romantic story of the seamstress Susie making a shirt and impulsively addressing the package “For a lonely soldier, B.E.F. [British Expeditionary Force], France”. The reel ends shortly after the shirt has reached its destination and the soldier has replied, but we’re not told how he responds - although Denis Gifford’s British Film Catalogue says that the film concluded with a happy marriage.
A quirky mid-point touch comes when Susie, after having written a letter beginning “Dear lonely soldier”, impulsively adds the postscript “PS. But don’t come back till you done your bit.” In 1915, women had been asked for the first time en masse to “Do Your Bit: Replace a Man for the Front”, and seamstresses were part of the wartime workforce (heroines of the trenches), making shirts and other garments for the front. There had already been actual cases of lonely seamstresses incorporating optimistically romantic messages into their work, and these may have inspired Rowland Talbot’s script.