This film is part of Free

War Balloon and Transport Crossing the Vaal River

A Boer War poser: how do you get a balloon and a train of carts drawn by mules and oxen across a river with no bridge?

Non-Fiction 1900 2 mins Silent


Shot just a few days after the relief of Mafeking, this film captures the progress of British military personnel across the Vaal River in South Africa during the Boer War. Fording the river takes time, with so many ox- and mule-drawn wagons and an unwieldy observation balloon to boot. This footage was shot by London-born Joseph Rosenthal for the Warwick Trading Company - one of many films he made during the conflict.

The Warwick Trading Company was an early American film production company, run by Charles Urban until 1903 and operating principally out of London. As well as distributing films by other producers, Warwick shot many actuality and reportage films, not just in Britain but in South Africa during the Boer War and in the Far East too.