This film is part of Free

John Bull's Sketch Book

This WWI cartoon rouses the British lion, bringing to life the December 1914 German Naval raid on Scarborough with visual flourishes.

Animation & Artists Moving Image 1915 4 mins


Watch very closely: while many of the effects in this film seem basic to modern eyes, some subtle visual flourishes are ready to impress. Watch the lion as the "scrap of paper" (the 1839 Treaty of London) is torn in half. Look out for the torpedo and the cheeky wink from Admiral John Jellicoe. But most importantly, watch the mother and her children witnessing the German raid on Scarborough.

On the morning of 16 December 1914, the Imperial Navy fired over 1,000 shells on the Northeast towns of Hartlepool, Scarborough and Whitby. With over 130 lives lost and nearly 600 casualties, including many civilians, the event sent a strong propaganda message to the British. The attack on Scarborough provoked particular outrage because of its reputation as a seaside holiday town rather than any kind of military target. Dudley Buxton's 15 frames of character animation of the young family perfect raise the emotional impact of his film.