This film is part of Free
Blinded Soldiers Playing Push Ball
This moving scene of wounded WWI fighters in a London park reminds us of the real costs of combat.
When cameras were banned from the WWI frontline by the Government, filmgoers sometimes had to make do with wartime reporting which was composed entirely of domestic scenes. Newsreels were on hand to offer light stories that simply implied foreign events. These blinded soldiers have suffered a horrific fate - but when they're seen cheerfully at play, could the war have seemed any further away?
Newsreels like Topical Budget wanted to please big audiences. It was not their usual business to challenge the status quo - so rather than question the conflict of World War I, they simply documented it. Even though the content is relatively plain, there is action and drama underlying this footage - perhaps the soldiers' contest suggests overseas struggles. The sport of pushball may not have stood the test of time, but the charitable work of St Dunstan's has - under the name of Blind Veterans UK.