Bristol’s Great War
This souvenir DVD was made to commemorate the centenary of the start of the First World War, by examining the contribution and sacrifices made by the people of Bristol, both at home and overseas. As a major city, and one of Britain’s two main Atlantic ports, Bristol’s role was significant: 55,000 of her men went to war, of whom 6,000 would never return, while her brave seamen defied U-Boats to bring in vital food supplies. Bristol also produced numerous vital products for the war effort, from cigarettes and chocolate to aircraft, munitions and mustard gas, and women began to take on what was previously seen as ‘men’s work’.
The city also looked after 2,000 Belgian refugees; it was home to seventeen war hospitals and more than 1,000 POWs were held at five camps in the area; it invented Red Cross Parcels; and Portishead-born Fred Weatherly wrote ‘Roses of Picardy’, one of the most famous songs of the conflict.
Bristol-born Sir Fabian Ware, founded what is now known as the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, which does so much excellent work to preserve the memory of fallen heroes. The DVD features a wide selection of memorials and war cemeteries, in Bristol and also in France and Belgium, where battlefields and sites of commemoration associated with the Gloucestershire Regiment are visited. Locations include the awe-inspiring Thiepval on the Somme, the biggest memorial to British soldiers in the world, and Menin Gate in Ypres, where a poignant ceremony has been held every evening since 1928, apart from during Nazi occupation.
A host of rare archive material includes an audio interview with an old soldier, who tells how he joined up at the Colston Hall Recruiting Centre, and high quality, previously unseen footage of Gloucestershire Territorials hastily returning to Temple Meads from a summer camp at Minehead, on August 3rd 1914, the day before the outbreak of war. The story is enhanced by Interviews with a host of specialist contributors, and superb modern location film, both in the Bristol area and on the continent.
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