Dramatic reconstruction of events during the Battle of Ypres in the First World War.
"At 3am on 7th June 1917 the sky is rent with the explosion of a million pounds of high explosive. L/S of large explosions - soldier's heads just seen in foreground of shot. They then go over the top. "Londoners, North Country and Midland troops vie with the men of Ireland, Australia and New Zealand for the honours of the race." Good footage of men running across a battlefield, shells exploding around them. Some fall. "The success, overwhelming and complete renders possible further attacks towards Passchendaele." Aerial map is used to show the location of Passchendaele. "Immense numbers of men and guns are crowded into the narrow angle of the Salient." "Never before had there been such a gathering of the clans." "That such a concentration should attract the enemy is inevitable, and his bombing planes exact heavy toll." Night shots of manoeuvres (very dark) M/Ss of battle, aircraft, etc. M/S of a group of men laying bets. "Lay it down, my lucky lads. If you don't speculate you can't accumulate. Who'll have a bet on Teddy's hat?" The men put down their coins. "PUT THAT LIGHT OUT!" shouts a soldier on patrol. The men in the dugout blow their candle out. Other men down below are singing "Keep the Home Fires Burning" (this is represented by a shot of men singing followed by a section of the sheet music for the song). Sergeant gets annoyed and yells "PUT THAT LIGHT OUT!" They blow their candle out. The all clear is given. Candles are relit, the betting game starts again, as does the singing. They sing "Old soldiers nev-er die - never die - NEVER DIE!"
"With the night the weather changes and the fighting is continued in heavy rain." Night shots of battle. "In spite of all handicaps a considerable advance is made, and over 6,000 prisoners taken." M/S of large numbers of prisoners of war marching past the camera. "The weather grows steadily worse, and despite super-human efforts the advance is laboriously slow." Aerial photograph is used to illustrate the advance.
"The Royal Engineers, the Royal Army Service Corps and the Royal Artillery perform miracles of endurance, that the men who hold the line may be provided with the means to fight and live." Horses drawer artillery guns amongst shell explosions. Various shots of troops advancing through shell fire. "The attack has by now degenerated into a series of local assaults. The Irish Guards are in the line near the Broembeck Stream, and Sergeant John Moyney commanding an advanced post finds himself cut off." M/S of group of troops sheltering in a wooded area. M/S of German troops preparing to fire a machine gun. British Sergeant begins to crawl across the ground towards a tree as his men cover him. Sergeant crawls through mud as the German snipers fire. Sergeant crawls back to his men. They fire at the enemy. "Surrounded, with little food and no water, they hold on until the fourth day, when the enemy send out to round them up." Shots of the Germans advancing and the British trying to fend them off. "Through the enemy they charge, heading for the duck board bridge across the Broembeck that leads back to their lines - covered only by the one rifle of their sergeant." M/S of the men advancing towards the bridge. The sergeant stands by the bridge firing his rifle at the enemy. Germans throw grenades and fire rifles. "Private Hilley is wounded and knocked into the stream. Private Woodcock returns and, under a hail of bombs and bullets rescues him." M/S of Hilley falling into the stream. Woodcock helps his friend to safety under fire. "That is all - save that Sergeant Moyney and Private Woodcock are awarded the Cross of Valour, and another chapter of heroism is added to the proud record of the Irish Guards." The men escape on the other side of the bridge.
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