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Malins film


Trinovantes
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Dear all,

I have again just returned from another visit to the Somme and was wondering if anyone can confirm the exact position where Geoffrey Malins filmed the Hawthorn mine go up followed by the alleged first combat footage of men advancing and falling.

Would the position be close to the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders memorial at the Sunken Lane as this does appear to be the case when I watched the documentary, "Somme the true story" ( to be repeated this coming remembrance weekend ) and showed Andy Robertshaw investigating.

Also when Malins filmed the Fusiliers in the Sunken Lane was he filming up the Lane or down the Lane facing Hawthorn ?

Best regards,

John.

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Hi John,

My understanding is that he filmed the mine going up from a position approx 50 metres back towards Auchonvillers. You come out of the sunken road (walking down towards Hawthorn), turn right and follow the bank around - keeping parallel with the road, and approx. 50 metres later, the track turns right again, going up the field (towards White City?). I believe he was near this corner - although I stand to be corrected as I have heard other versions. Either way, I'm pretty sure he was not on the position of today's memorial when the mine went up (actually, I've always wondered how he managed to keep the camera steady. I know it was on a tripod - but you'd think the blast would have shaken the ground somewhat)

As to his position when he filmed the Fusiliers in the Sunken Road - I've never read an account to support my theory - but have always assumed that he was he filming down the road facing Hawthorn - as the fusiliers are on the left of the picture (i.e. the side nearest the German lines) as this would have given them better cover and protection.

I look forward to reading other replies. I'll be there myself next weekend.

David

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Some time ago we were chatting to the Renshaws (the owner of the B&B, I hope I have the name right) and they placed the camera position on the bank half way between the Scottish memorial and the track that leads to White City. And as a Pal pointed out; why didn't the camera on a tripod not shake? Maybe he 'cut' the filming before the tremors hit him and his crew? In any case he was very brave to be so close to the action.

Stu

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And as a Pal pointed out; why didn't the camera on a tripod not shake? Maybe he 'cut' the filming before the tremors hit him and his crew? In any case he was very brave to be so close to the action.

Recent work on the propogation of shockwaves from large underground explosions (part of various nuclear test detection exercises) suggest a propogation speed through earth in the order of 7 kilometers per second which would suggest he probably wouldn't have time to have cut the filming.

The cine cameras of the day were heavy beasts and the tripods also heavy and sturdy. Maybe this would have damped out any camera shake.

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just read a part of Malins book -' HOW I FILMED THE WAR' and he states the soldiers on the photage are on the German side of the bank.

This would mean the photage is shot looking downhill.

Mick D

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Regret this is a bit late but last Sunday Remembrance Day betwen 1700 and 1830 there was a programme on the History Channel which looked at the official Somme film and Mr Robertshaw from the NAM with some of his team tried to work out exactly where some of this film was shot and if it was actual footage or reenacted.

They did the Hawthorn mine and using photos from the film plus the shots of the troops on the right advancing which follows the explosion worked out almost to the inch where he was standing!

Regretfully I didn't tape hte programme but from memory it was on a hillside in a bit of cover virtually opposite the crater.....

I can't recall exactly what the programme was called but something like the Battle of the Somme. The truth about the film.....

Perhaps another Pal can help....it was a very good programme and amongst other things got a lip reader to work out what some people were saying and tried to identify people filmed......well worth seeing if it's repeated!

NC

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yep, Battle Of The Somme: The True Story (I think). I believe there are entries regarding this on youtube. Very interesting, although the efforts to identify people fell a bit flat. The lipreader was excellent value - one of the Lancs clearly showing his unhappiness in the sunken road! Also, the footage of the attack on Hawthorn Redoubt was very poignant given their conclusions (something I've always thought was authentic). Wasn't too keen on the re-enacting Newfoundlanders...I'm sure they could've told the story without the uniforms...but it seems it was their wish.

I wonder how much further the research was taken by AR and the team. A more comprehensive investigation would make an excellent book and DVD to accompany the film (also Battle Of Ancre?).

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They did the Hawthorn mine and using photos from the film plus the shots of the troops on the right advancing which follows the explosion worked out almost to the inch where he was standing!

I've done that, too - it's quite easy to identify the spot to within a couple of metres. I thought they made a bit of a performance out of that bit that wasn't necessary, but I really enjoyed the lipreader's input.

Ken

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Ken,

Long time no speak....trust you are well.

The problem I feel with a lot of Tv programmes is making it interesting for the masses so much better to have a

load of white tape across the fields etc but was interesting to illustrate how the trenches went up slopes etc....

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I agree, far better than being stood with arms outstretched pointing into the distance saying 'trenches went this way and that way'.

Mick

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I recorded the programme on to DVD if you want a copy PM me with your name and address and I will send it.

John

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I took this one up on the embakment where the fim was shot this summer, my lad is in the foreground and the cluster of trees in the background is hawthorn crator.i have super imposed this picture of others taken from the film, and the results are quiet striking.

Picture1080.jpg

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The post above pretty much has it. Some maps will help, I hope.

First trench map from April 1916 showing positions. Malins was to the left of where it says Jacobs Ladder.

post-6-1195081128.jpg

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Forum seemed to crash to a halt earlier so I couldn't post this one; aerial with trench overlay.

Good comparison photo/overlay!

post-6-1195084223.jpg

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HUDSONSWHISTLE , Now that is impressive ! "MO"

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The attached (link) image from the publication "Twenty Years After: The Battlefields of 1914 -1918 : Then and Now" Edited by Maj.Gen. Sir Ernest Swinton K.B.E.,C.B.

(published?1938?)

http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd161/d...h/today1938.jpg

Same gent and photo credit as image posted in 'White City Then and Now'. Which was this one:

http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd161/davidach/1938.jpg

David.

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i thought Andy Robertshaw got the wrong location for Malins. I am writing a biography of Malins, and have spent more than 60 hours in the Beaumont-Auchonvillers road area plotting the movements of various troops etc with compass, maps gps and so on, and of course surveying equipment and cameras. If anyone's interested, I could put up my findings.

Andy M

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