Forest Arts



Forest Arts.  Old Milton Road.  New Milton.  BH25 6DS

Wednesday 14th November @ 2.00 p.m. or 7.30 p.m.

The Battle of the Ancre and Advance of the Tanks is the sequel to The Battle of the Somme and records the Somme campaign as it ground on into the autumn and winter of 1916. 

Lieutenant Geoffrey H Malins was responsible for the majority of the filming for Battle of the Ancre, along with Lieutenant John Benjamin MacDowell (with whom he had filmed Battle of the Somme) and the Canadian Lieutenant Frederick Oscar Bovill. Unlike the filming of the opening of the Somme campaign which had been conducted on a daily basis over 10 to 13 days, coverage of Battle of the Ancre was much more episodic, and the final film is dominated by only two of its battles: Flers-Courcelette, and the related action at Martinpuich, when tanks were first used (15-22 September); and the capture of the fortified village of Beaumont-Hamel, during Battle of the Ancre (13-18 November).  Other scenes were filmed at various times from 13 September to 28 November 1916.

The film was edited by Malins, under the supervision of Captain John Faunthorpe of Military Intelligence (Military Director of Kinematograph Operations). When editing, the filmmakers seem to have had two intentions. Firstly, they aimed to capitalise on the success of the Battle of the Somme, the second objective was to improve on the Battle of the Somme in a cinematic sense. To achieve this (and also to replicate the structure of Battle of the Somme) the editors abandoned the idea of producing an accurate report of the campaign, which they did not have the footage to produce anyway, and instead tried to convey the sense of the fighting on the Western Front by drawing on the best footage shot over three months. As a result, the actual chronology of the campaign is not followed.

Film: Battle of the Ancre

Aware of the rumours circulating GHQ that Battle of the Somme had been faked due to the ‘staged’ ‘over the top’ sequence, and anxious to protect Battle of the Ancre from any such negative associations, the military issued a guarantee of authenticity for Battle of the Ancre that was widely published.

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