Film ID:
YFA 748

BBC VISIT TO FRANCE AND BELGIUM

1974

Visitor Tabs

Description

This film is part of the Sharp collection and contains footage of a trip that `The Bradford Pals' made to the Somme to remember all who died there in 1916. BBC Yorkshire went with them and filmed the journey and the ceremonies that took place.

The film opens on a main street in Bradford where there are men and women standing around beside a coach; there is luggage lying about on the path. A Wallace Arnold office is visible across the road from the coach. A group of older men walk around on the path and they are joined by a BBC television crew who film them. One of the crew members holds the clapper board up to the camera and it reads `Bradford Pals' in the title section and the names P. Taggart and R. Massey.

In the next scene the coach has driven to another location and the older men and women get off the bus and walk off down the road. There is a brief shot of one of the men jokingly standing with his arms in wooden stocks.

There is a shot of a large building with a sign over the entrance for `Top Ranking Motorsport'. Some of the men and women from the coach group walk up the steps to the building. A sign on the front of the coach reads `Somme Pilgrimage'. Inside the restaurant the group are having lunch and one of the men slurps from a small plate. Outside of the building a few men stand around smoking and eating ice-cream.

There is a brief shot of the entrance to the `White Cliffs Hotel' and several men and women walk into the building. Following this is a shot taken from the road beside the sea; a harbour is visible.

The next shots are back at the coach where the luggage is being packed into the back of it. The shot cuts to a beach where there a lots of small sailing boats and people standing around talking. There is another brief shot of the `White Cliffs Hotel'.

The Somme pilgrims and the BBC crew are all packed into an area where a man gives a talk about the Battle of the Somme. There is a brief shot of the group on the deck on a ship.

In the next scene there are lots of people standing around in a village area. A voice over mentions some of the men present and says that they were soldiers at the Battle of the Somme. There are shots of many of the veterans/Somme Pilgrims talking to each other and to lots of people who have stopped in cars.

Next the group visit the Canadian National Vimy Monument near the French town of Vimy and Neuville-Saint-Vaast. There are shots of the veterans and their wives wandering across the grounds towards the monument. There are many skilfully carved statues of 'Mother Canada' and 'Mourning Parents' to mention but two. There are panning shots of the entire area and the surroundings landscape. The `Somme Pilgrims' stand and sit around near a little caf? area drinking and chatting.

In another town the BBC film the veterans as they walk in procession along a road. A crowd of locals have gathered to watch and are taking photographs. Two young women smile at the camera and talk to the cameraman, and then the camera pans across a group of older women who have gathered to watch.

Wine and snacks are being set up in a hall for the `Somme Pilgrims'. A group of children stand outside and sing and then the shot cuts to a few men bent over a car engine. One of the older men walks down the road past a sign which reads `Bezock-Salient Museum 1914-1918'.

Two men sit at tables at an outdoor caf? having a drink and chatting, and then they smile at the camera. Following this is a shot of the coach parked at the side of the road and the men and women from the group getting onto it.

In another village a group of the veterans walk down the road and across the traffic to war memorial; one of the men has a wreath in his hand. The men sit on the steps of the memorial and wait for the rest of the group to arrive. One of the men stands on the steps and makes a speech to the rest of the pilgrims and veterans who stand on the path. Then he is handed the wreath which he places at the monument and bows his head. He walks back to the group, says another few words and they all walk away.