This film is part of Free

Old Contemptibles' March

War veterans from the Old Contemptibles Association march through the streets of Winchester in this poignant 1947 film from W J Prall

Amateur film 1947 3 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for Wessex Film and Sound Archive


W J Prall's 1947 film begins with members of the Old Contemptibles Association assembling for their march through Winchester. With a military band leading the way the veterans march behind their association's flags. The flags line up outside Winchester Cathedral before entering for a commemorative service. The veterans march along the streets saluting to their commanding officer who stands on a small podium.

William J Prall was a Winchester based watchmaker and jeweller and also a keen photographer and film maker. Wounded during the First World War, he filmed many aspects of civic life in Winchester, recording mayoral events and, as an officer in the Army Cadet Force, many of that organisation’s activities. He was also a member of the Home Guard during World War Two. The Old Contemptibles Association, seen in this film, drew its membership from veterans of the original British Expeditionary Force who fought on the Western Front between August 1914 and the end of the First Battle of Ypres, in November of that year. The soubriquet 'contemptibles' derived from Kaiser Wilhelm’s dismissive remarks about the BEF.