This film is part of Free

Military Parade

An enigmatic bit of film rescued from history's dustbin

Non-Fiction 1900 1 mins Silent


This mysterious little clip was among a very significant discovery of early film. But what does it show? The soldiers appear French, and is that a film company showman pushing his way into view on the left hand side? It was among a job lot of films bought at auction by Ray Henville, a vintage radio collector, in the early 1990s. Among the trove were some of the earliest films ever to be shot in the UK... and this mysterious little piece of footage. Is it British? French?

Worried about the flammable nature of nitrate film, Henville stored it behind his garden shed. He ultimately abandoned his plan to burn the films on bonfire night, and sent it instead to the BFI for inspection - thankfully for us (and him; burning nitrate is definitely not recommended!).