This film is part of Free

The King with his Fleet

The might of the Royal Navy on display during a battleship parade on the eve of WWI.

Non-Fiction 1914 1 mins Silent


This newsreel item capturing a review of Britain's battleships off Spithead was shot just three weeks after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the event which sparked WWI. An imposing patriotic spectacle and a show of naval strength, the review was an obvious choice for Topical Budget, whose camera lingers on the mighty 'King George V', one of the Navy's new super-dreadnoughts.

The Times newspaper described the “magnificent spectacle to those on shore”, as more than 200 warships paraded down the Solent in a symbolic display of British sea-power. But the mobilization exercise was also an important test of the Navy’s readiness for war, by then a fast approaching reality.