This film is part of Free

German Prisoners

Striking WWI scenes demonstrating a wary Belgian army's treatment of German prisoners - and newsreel cameramen...

Non-Fiction 1914 1 mins Silent


The first scene of this WWI newsreel item shows a Belgian soldier staring directly out at us, clearly unnerved by the presence of a foreign cameraman. Newsreel crews contended with many obstacles in their efforts to secure footage of the Front: cumbersome equipment, limited access and, not least, the threat of attack from suspicious Belgians, who feared they may be spies.

In August 1914 the film journal The Bioscope described the plight of a cameraman in Belgium: "For days it was death to venture in the streets of Brussels with a camera... The camera was the badge of a spy, and the mob would tear a suspect limb from limb if the guards did not arrest him first". But film they did. Frederick Walderman Engholm, who shot this film, was one of three Topical Budget photographers despatched to the Front by the newsreel’s founder William Jeapes. Engholm was a very proficient operator who shot medium-length official films for the Admiralty as well as newsreel items.