This film is part of Free

How Kitchener Was Betrayed

Dramatisation of the popular conspiracy theory surrounding the mid-WWI death of Lord Kitchener.

War 1921 13 mins Silent


This film exploiting rumours surrounding the death of Lord Kitchener was banned by the authorities on its release. Only reel one survives, showing the setting up of the story with the sensationalist premise that Kitchener was betrayed by a German spy and his ship, the HMS Hampshire, sunk deliberately. Unfortunately we never get to the exciting part, but it appears well-made with Fred Paul a convincing Kitchener.

The death of Lord Kitchener, one of the most capable and popular British Army commanders, amounted to a national tragedy. He had raised a massive volunteer army in 1914 on pure charisma, and the famous poster with the slogan 'Lord Kitchener Wants You' is one of the enduring images of the Great War. His biographer Sir George Arthur even said that "the men came because Kitchener asked them". The conspiracy theory turned out to be just that: the Hampshire really sank because she hit a mine in a force nine gale off the coast of Orkney.