This film is part of Free

Train Load of C.I.V.s Leaving Southampton

Back in Blighty - after fighting in the Boer War, these volunteer soldiers are heading home to London and Middlesex

Non-Fiction 1900 1 mins


Cheerful faces emerge from the windows of a train decked with flags. The City of London Imperial Volunteers have finished their tour of duty in the Boer War and are on their way home to see their families. Cecil Hepworth had filmed these men shipping out for South Africa earlier in the year, and he returned months later to see their homecoming. Hepworth considered the Boer War a turning point in cinema history, demonstrating "the value of news to the films; the importance of films to the news".

After the Second Boer War broke out in 1899, volunteer corps were established across the country. There was no forced conscription in Britain until the later stages of WWI. Most of the City of London Imperial Volunteers left to assist with the relief of Kimberley in January and February 1900 and were back in October that year - with the unit disbanded in December. Films of trains leaving and entering stations were famously popular in the early years of cinema. It's obvious why when you see how many people and how much movement a static camera can catch from the train platform.