Next of Kin commemorates the Battle of the Somme

Beginning on the 1 July 1916, the Battle of the Somme lasted for five months and ended with over one million dead or wounded on all sides. Next of Kin venues will be hosting a series of film screenings commemorating the anniversary of the battle, providing an insight into the experiences of soldiers on the front line.

During the battle both sides made extensive use of machine guns in defence and attack, like this British machine gun team firing near Ovillers in July. (©IWM Q 3996)

34th Division on the opening day of the Battle of the Somme. During 24 hours the British army lost almost 20,000 dead and 60,000 wounded. (©IWM Q 52)

Throughout the autumn of 1916, 20 million people flocked to see a silent film called ‘The Battle of the Somme’. At nearly half the population of Britain at the time, the film remains one of the most watched films in cinema history. Throughout the Somme 100 year anniversary the film will be screened at Next of Kin tour venues as part of the Imperial War Museum First World War Partnership, including Grampian Transport Museum and Perth Museum and Art Gallery.

Still from the 1916 film ‘The Battle of the Somme’. The cameramen captured as many faces as possible, often encouraging the men to turn and acknowledge the camera. (©IWM Q 079501)

Still from the 1916 film ‘The Battle of the Somme’. The cameramen captured as many faces as possible, often encouraging the men to turn and acknowledge the camera. (©IWM Q 079501)

The film consists of footage shot on behalf of the British Topical Committee for War Films, who had lobbied the War Office to allow cameramen into areas of the Western Front to see British soldiers in action. The pioneering movie focuses on how well equipped British soldiers were, the quality of weapons and the good treatment of the wounded and German prisoners. On a local level it had significant appeal because it featured and named particular regiments, offering the possibility that you could spot a loved one on screen. Screenings will include a contemporary orchestral soundtrack composed by Laura Rossi and an introduction from an Imperial War Museum film curator.

During the battle both sides made extensive use of machine guns in defence and attack, like this British machine gun team firing near Ovillers in July. (©IWM Q 3996)

During the battle both sides made extensive use of machine guns in defence and attack, like this British machine gun team firing near Ovillers in July. (©IWM Q 3996)

Grampian Transport Museum will be showing the film on the anniversary of the first day of the battle, Friday 1 July 2016. Screenings at 11am and then again at 2pm are open to all. Please email info@gtm.org.uk for more information.

Perth Museum and Art Gallery will be holding an evening screening at the museum as part of the opening of their Next of Kin exhibition on the anniversary of Armistice Day, Friday 11 November 2016. The next day the Perth and Kinross Remembers First World War Conference at St John’s Kirk will focus on the theme of the impact of the Great War, both abroad and at home on Perth and Kinross. The keynote lecture will be by renowned local historian and author, Trevor Royle. For bookings and enquiries contact localstudies@culturepk.org.uk.

short film produced by IWM  shares facts about the Battle of the Somme and images showing how the site has changed since 1916.

FWW_Centenary__Led_By_IWM_Red rgb

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