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  • Short Summary

    Some excellent footage showing British Army recruitment and training during WW1.

  • Description

    British Army recruiting and training soldiers for World War One.

    First part staged: man is standing idly on street corner, a recruiting officer strides across square to him and they have a brief conversation, they then go off together. Shot of building with poster on wall: "This way to the RECRUITING OFFICE/ CALL TO ARMS!" The man and the recruiting officer enter.

    Young men march past in 2 lines, carrying bundles, most wear civilian clothes, a few are in uniform. Recruits at basic training do callisthenics: men doing arm exercises, then squats. CU list of daily activities, including alternating exercise, air, rest and meals etc.

    Recruits (still in civvies) drill in courtyard, practising pivot turns with officers instructing. Recruits (most now in uniforms) practice marching with rifles. Men (all uniformed) stand in line practising rifle drill, drill instructors walk along adjusting position of the rifles. Wide shot men running, scattering and then forming rows as they continue running.

    Cavalry? Several soldiers drill with horses, bridling & mounting the horse. Closer shot of soldier standing by horse watching as instructor demonstrates, he then performs the same movements. Men riding horses single file.

    Fencing instruction. Recruits (civilian dress) strike a pose holding swords and stay frozen in position while instructor goes round examining them. Continues like this. Instructor demonstrates sequence of movements and recruits repeat them in slow motion. Several uniformed men doing a faster sword drill.

    Equestrian training: MS man seated on horse, officer stands beside and arranges his posture. Officer pushes him so that he is standing in stirrups & leaning forward. Row of trainees practice same exercise. Officer watches horses & riders jumping. Man on horse gallops alone across field toward a scaffold with bag hanging from it, rider stabs bag as he rides beneath it.

    Artillery training: soldiers practice loading & adjusting field guns. Good shots from beside and behind gun of team in action, with one soldier taking the lead. Good MS instructor demonstrating unlocking & opening door on back of gun, one of the new men tries it.

    Panning shot of men, horses & wagons spread out over large field like horse artillery stopped during a long trip. Horses are unhitched and the men are grooming them.

    Note: item originally divided into 3 ONs - ON 456 A, ON 456 B and ON 456 C.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    Media URN:
    Old negatives
    British Pathé
    Issue Date:
    1914 - 1918
    hd format:
    2K at Filmfinity
    Black & White
    Time in/Out:
    01:00:02:00 / 01:13:11:00
    ON 456 A

Comments (1)

  1. Unknown user says

    The film starts in City Square, Leeds.

    I'm almost certain the entrance to the recruiting centre, to which the hapless pedestrian is taken, is the doorway of the old Leeds tram depot in Swinegate.

    I think the drilling of recruits is filmed at the Leeds Rifles' Carlton Barracks, but have no idea where the training of horsemen is taking place.

    This is an absolutely wonderful record - many thanks for making it available!

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