The King visits his troops in the Great Advance

E15 of Collected Articles

The King Visits His Armies in the Great Advance

The Viewing Guide for the cinema film released in October 1916, prepared by Dr. George Bailey OBE.

This film, of some 40 minutes duration, has two Parts.

Sponsor – War Office
Production Company – British Topical Committee for War Films
Producer – William F Jury
Editors – Charles A Urban and Geoffrey H Malins
Cameraman – Geoffrey H Malins

The King Visits His Armies in the Great Advance. Part One

(IWM 192/01 P1 A35 1380 feet Print Acetate)

Another Viewing Guide (ISBN 1 898916 004) covering the Battle of the Somme and the Battle of the Ancre between June 1916 and the autumn of 1916 was prepared by Roger Smither and the Department of Film, the Imperial War Museum. This identified sequences by the counting of hours, minutes and seconds. This film’s Viewing Guide has used the frames exposed for each sequence that is described. This is considered as an aid to further analysis of the film by scholars and avoids any differences between the speed at which the film was projected in 1916 and could be in 2007.

As an approximate guide one foot of film is projected every second and covers 16 frames. Hence the 1,374 feet of film in Part One is made up of 21,989 frames and will have taken some 23 minutes to project.

0 – 128 frames: The title – “The King Visits His Armies in the Great Advance. Part One”

129 – 279 frames: Caption 1 – “The arrival in France. His Majesty is received by the representatives of the French Army.”

Tuesday, 08 August 1916, at the port of Boulogne:

280 – 454 frames: At the port of Boulogne, between 0730 and 0930 hours, two French senior officers in blue uniforms, long boots and swords 2 in dark uniforms without boots, one wearing a sword, are led up the gangway of S.S. Invicta by a British officer with cavalry boots. Army and navy officers and a top hatted man stand on the deck, together with Detective Superintendent Quinn with some of his Scotland Yard team. Salutes are exchanged.

455 – 702 frames: King seen chatting to the three senior French officers. A British senior cavalryman, wearing spurs, waits nearby.

703 – 841 frames: Caption 2 – “Scenes on the Quay. The King inspects the Guard of Honour (the North Staffordshire Regiment.)”

Tuesday, 08 August 1916, at Boulogne railway station:

842 – 935 frames: The Regiment stands at attention in two lines along a low railway platform signed 2 and 3 between two lines with large freight wagons behind them on line 3. An officer stands in front.

936 – 976 frames: The regiment moves to ‘At Ease’. Heads turn to look at the King approaching who is not seen.

977 – 1,040 frames: Bayonets are fixed on to the rifles.

1,041 – 1,102 frames: The Regiment goes back to Attention whilst the cameraman pans his camera along the front of them.

1,103 – 1,207 frames: A senior officer walks on from the right, in front of an ‘NCO’ at attention. He is wearing leather gloves, cavalry boots and a sword. He steps on to the platform and turns to stand at attention.

1,208 – 1,234 frames: The Regiment slopes arms.

1,235 – 1,286 frames: The Regiment is at attention, whilst the officer turns his head towards the King who is not seen.

1,287 –1,615 frames: The King, wearing leather gloves, cavalry boots and spurs, carrying a stick and accompanied by 3 British officers, disembarks down the gangway at 0930 hours, turns towards the cameraman, then towards his left to salute those on board. Both French and the other British officers descend the gangway. The King looks up into the camera before passing in front of it followed by the British officers.

1,616 – 1641 frames: The King looks at the Guard of Honour which is at ‘Present Arms’, with a junior officer in front saluting.

1,642 – 1,740 frames: The senior officer salutes the King who is not seen.

1,741 – 1,840 frames: The King acknowledges the salute. He then walks with his officers along the front line of the Regiment to its far end on its left.

1,841 – 1,965 frames: The King talks to one of the officers with the other two walking behind as he walks along the front rank without looking at the soldiers.

1,966 – 2,155 frames: The King returns walking between the ranks with his six officers. French officers are seen partly obscured.

2,156 – 2,335 frames: A French officer salutes the King who touches his hat, showing a slight smile before walking in front of the regiment, looking down. Guided by his officers, he turns, looks around and again touches his hat.

2,336 – 3,070 frames: The rear door of a car stands open with a Naval attendant holding a raincoat. Behind the car stands a Frenchman. The car is in front of a freight wagon. The King and the British officers walk in front of the Rolls-Royce car. At the one in front, he chats with one of the officers, they shake hands and exchange salutes. He says farewell to the other officers and lightly shakes hands with one before climbing into the car accompanied by Major-General W.E. Peyton (Military Secretary to the Commander-in-Chief) carrying a large folder briefcase. The Lance-Corporal chauffeur closes the door, then climbs into the driver’s seat from the nearside, being followed by Major E.G.Thompson (A.D.C. attached to British General Headquarters). The car drives away and as it does so French officers and civilians as well as British soldiers are seen watching. The second car then follows behind.

3,071 – 3,270 frames: Caption 3 – “His Majesty is met at Headquarters by H.R.H.the Prince of Wales. His Majesty visits some of the military offices with General Sir Douglas Haig.”

Tuesday, 08 August 196:

3,271 – 3,299 frames: An officer waits outside the British General Headquarters at Montreuil as a sentry presents arms.

3,300 – 3,539 frames: The car draws up at 1215 hours as the Prince begins to emerge through the house’s door. The officer followed by the Prince and another (partly obscured) officer salute the King. As the first officer opens the door, the Prince walks on to the street accompanied by another officer. The first officer steps back as the King descends. The King shakes hands with that officer before turning to shake hands with the other officer.

3,540 – 3,763 frames: The King turns towards his son. The Prince salutes then lifts his hat and they then exchange kisses. There is a jump of one frame. The officer between the King and the cameraman makes a slight side step to his left which suggests that this is not an attempt to block the view of the exchange of kisses. The Prince replaces his hat as the King enters the house. Meanwhile the Prince shakes hands with one of the officers from the cars. He steps back as the various officers greet each other before entering the house. He then enters the house.

3,764 – 4,245 frames: At 1615 hours the car reaches Val Vion, the Advanced General Headquarters residence of the Commander-in-Chief at Beauguesne. General Sir Douglas Haig greets the King as he descends from the Rolls-Royce. They shake hands. After shaking hands with another officer, the King climbs the five steps with that officer to enter the house whilst General Haig hangs back to thank the chauffeur. He then guides another officer in before following him, with the other officers coming behind.

4,246 – 4,447 frames: The King and General Haig walk across open ground accompanied by two officers. A fourth officer leaps down the four steps and runs a few yards to catch up as another four other officers join the party.

4,448 – 4,682 frames: Caption 4 – “A great conference is held at the Commander-in-Chief’s house attended by the French Premier and Minister of War, General Joffre, General Foch, and others.”

Saturday, 12 August 1916, at Val Vion, Beauguesne:

4,683 – 4,736 frames: The King arrives at the Advanced General Headquarters at 1300 hours. He and General Haig pass through the gates to the house and the Guard of Honour made up of dismounted soldiers of the 17th Lancers stand at attention with their lances.

4,737 – 4,844 frames: A small French girl aged about 8, with ringlets, gumboots and a knee-length dress, carrying a small bouquet of flowers walks forwards as the King turns towards her and walks towards her. He takes the flowers in his right hand, transfers them to his left hand holding his cane, then shakes the little girl’s left hand with his right hand. Both smile at each other as she turns away to run back laughing.

4,845 – 5,028 frames: The King and General Haig walk along the line of soldiers, followed by other officers and the Prince of Wales.

5,029 – 5,127 frames: Caption 5 – “His Majesty receives M. Poincare and General Joffre.”

Saturday, 12 August 1916, at Val Vion, Beauguesne:

5,128 – 5,763 frames: At the gates of the house, the French President enters as the little girl walks towards General Joffre carrying a bouquet of flowers. The King comes down the drive to meet President Poincare. Whilst the President shakes hands with the King, the girl tries to hand the flowers to General Joffre. The President then shakes hands with General Haig and General Joffre guides the girl towards the President. But the girl does not want to present the flowers to him and brushes a tear from her eye. As General Joffre salutes the King and they shake hands, the President greets the Prince of Wales. However the girl still tries to present the flowers to the General known to the French nation as “Papa” Joffre. General Joffre looks around for his aide de campe but General Haig, noticing his dilemma, comes forward and takes the girl by her right arm. Somewhat roughly he pulls the girl towards the President who takes the flowers, then leans forwards to kiss her on the forehead. She is delighted and runs away. The President then turns to General Joffre to seek his help with taking the flowers off him. A French officer comes forwards and collects them. Meanwhile the two Generals shake hands. The King introduces the President to General Sir Herbert Plumer, as the party passes up between the 17th Lancers who are presenting arms.

5,764 – 6,278 frames: At the entrance to the house, the 17th Lancers presenting arms, the King, the French President and General Haig climb the eight steps, then General Joffre leaps up them two at a time. They are followed by the French and British officers and the Prince of Wales.

6,279 – 6,323 frames: Caption 6 – “Mr. Lloyd George arrives late.”

Saturday, 12 August 1916, at Val Vion, Beauguesne:

6,324 – 6,598 frames: A British officer precedes Mr. Lloyd George out of the car in front of the steps. He then follows the British Prime Minister carrying a raincoat and a briefcase.

6,599 – 6,650 frames: Caption 7 – “A Historic Meeting.”

Saturday, 12 August 1916, at Val Vion, Beauguesne:

6,651 – 7,868 frames: The King and the French President stand on the balcony of the house. The King looks towards the camera, then strokes his nose and his moustache. He has the habit of plucking at his wedding ring. General Joffre then comes into view, stands on the President’s right with the King on the President’s left. The King then directs General Foch to his left. Finally General Haig stands on General Foch’s left. The King is the life and soul of the party. General Joffre’s ample stomach is just to be seen. General Haig is dour and rather out of it.

7,869 – 7,915 frames: Caption 8 – “The King leaves the Conference.”

Saturday, 12 August 1916, at Val Vion, Beauguesne:

7,916 – 8,248 frames: The King, the French President, Generals Haig and Joffre, followed by General Foch and the Prince of Wales walk down the eight steps, together with the escorting French and British officers.

8,249 – 8,476 frames: The French President leaves in his car, labelled Vehicle 6751 (perhaps a Renault) with the King, and Generals Haig and Joffre standing by.

8,477 – 8,770 frames: Generals Joffre, Haig and Foch walk down the drive, General Haig followed by the other two salute some one out of camera view, perhaps the King.

8,771 – 9,055 frames: At the gate, General Joffre then General Foch get into their car to leave, General Haig staying behind.

9,056 – 9,202 frames: Caption 9 – “On the road, Australian and New Zealand troops give His Majesty a hearty welcome.”

Thursday, 10 August 1916:

9,203 – 10,043 frames: The troops waving their hats are obviously playing up to the camera. A motor cycle combination passes in front of the camera followed by a horse.

10,044 – 10,139 frames: Caption 10 – “A visit to the wounded at a casualty clearing station.”

Friday, 11 August 1916:

10,140 – 10,561 frames: The King arrives at No. 18 Casualty Clearing Station, Lapugnoy, in the mid afternoon. He is filmed standing together with an officer (probably Colonel Ryan in charge of the CCS) and a nurse. The King then talks to a wounded patient who is with another patient on two beds outside a tent.

10,562 – 10,877 frames: The King and five officers leave a large white canvas tent, walking away from the camera position, followed by the Prince of Wales, carrying a ‘crooked’ walking stick talking to a sixth officer. The party walks down the path between the large tents before turning into a tent.

10,878 – 11,372 frames: The King and his party come walking towards the camera where a young nurse and an officer await them. The King shakes the officer’s hand. The nurse curtseys and then shakes hands with the King. He, the nurse and the officer followed by the others then enter the tent. The officer is seen smiling at the nurse.

11,373 – 11,489 frames: An officer shows the King a black puppy with its white nose, chest and front paws (possibly a collie-labrador type). The King strokes it.

11,490 – 11,822 frames: The men and women standing alongside the path cheer as the King (some 90 % out of camera view) leaves, with the Prince of Wales and the British officers behind, followed by an army chaplain bringing up the rear.

11,823 – 12,061 frames: At the car, the King and the Prince of Wales get in. French villagers, men, boys and girls, look on.

12,062 – 12,136 frames: Caption 11 – “His Majesty attends Divine Service in the Field.”

Sunday, 13 August 1916, at 2nd British Army Headquarters, Cassel:

12,137 – 12,857 frames: A squad of soldiers marches down the slope, with a horse standing chewing away in the background. They are followed by the King with Lieutenant-General Plumer and his senior officers, who then enter the church, with the Prince of Wales at the rear of the party. The church was converted from its peacetime use as a clubhouse for bowling and pigeon shooting when it was called “The Patronage”.

12,858 – 13,003 frames: Caption 12 – “A visit to a Canadian camp. Cheering lines of Canadian soldiers greet the King on his tour of inspection.”

Monday, 14 August 1916, at Reninghulst:

13,004 – 13,674 frames: In the background there is a wooden windmill with its vanes being turned by the wind. The King descends from his car to be greeted by Lieutenant-General Sir Julian Byng. General Sir Herbert Plumer then leaves the car. The King meets the Canadian officers including Arthur Currie (a very large man who dwarfs the King) and a chaplain, shaking their hands. He then moves along a line of officers shaking each one’s hand.

13,675 – 13,869 frames: The King and two officers walk towards a large group of soldiers, accompanied by a pug like small dog. General Plumer walks behind.

13,870 – 14,439 frames: The King and the two officers walk between lines of cheering soldiers with the dog walking between their legs. A cap perched on top of a rifle falls into the path of the party so one of the officers throw it back after it nearly rolls in front of the King. The Prince of Wales with other officers follow on behind.

14,440 – 14,567 frames: The Rolls-Royce cars leave, waved away by the Canadian soldiers.

14,568 – 14,668 frames: Caption 13 – “His Majesty visits the Belgian Headquarters. The Guard of Honour.”

Sunday, 13 August 1916, at La Panne:

14,669 – 15,364 frames: The Guard of Honour is drawn up in two lines in front of the sand dunes at La Panne. Then a squad of Belgian buglers marches up, some playing, passing the King’s cavalcade, followed by two senior Belgian officers in front of an “escort” party, in number more of a battalion.

15,365 – 15,515 frames: Caption 14 – “The Royal Party. King George V., The Prince of Wales, The King and Queen of the Belgians and their two sons.”

Sunday, 13 August 1916, at La Panne:

15,516 – 15,866 frames: The King’s large party walks along the sand dunes, with one person dressed in military uniform carrying a large stills camera. King George and King Albert stand together whilst the Prince of Wales chats to Queen Elisabeth. Prince Leopold, Duke of Brabant, aged 14, is in uniform whilst his brother, Prince Charles-Theodore, aged 12, is in Boy Scout’s uniform. The Queen has her long black hair piled up and is wearing a full length white ‘silk’ dress with flowers pinned on and the insignia of the Royal Red Cross (First Class), conferred by the King that day, pinned above her left breast. Her white boots have sizeable heels.

The three Royal children are staying with their parents as this is the time of their holiday away from their schools in England.

See Appendix 1 for details of the Belgian Royal Family.

15,867 – 16,055 frames: Caption 15 – “Assisted by Prince Alexander of Teck, His Majesty distributes decorations to Belgian officers. The Belgian Royal Family are interested spectators.”

Sunday, 13 August 1916, at La Panne:

16,056 – 16,509 frames: Prince Charles-Theodore looks on. The decorations are in boxes. Three Belgian General Officers are decorated.

16,510 – 16,693 frames: Caption 16 – “The Salute. The Queen of the Belgians takes a photograph. H.R.H. The Prince of Wales chats with Belgian officers.”

Sunday, 13 August 1916, at La Panne:

16,694 – 18,279 frames: Queen Elisabeth looks towards the camera whilst others watch the ceremony taking place. King Albert stands besides her and they exchange comments. As it is windy her dress is ruffled. The North Sea is seen at a short distance behind the party. Meanwhile King George continues presenting medals taken out of the boxes.

The party stand around a stone circle, set into the ground, to salute. Prince Charles-Theodore is holding a camera. Prince Leopold is saluting. Their sister, Princess Marie Josephine, is now with them

18,280 – 18,396 frames: Queen Elisabeth takes photographs using this camera. Princess Marie Josephine, aged 10, with her unruly mop of black hair, is in a dress set above the knee, white bobby socks and black shoes. The Prince of Wales moves towards her.

18,397 – 18,565 frames: The Prince of Wales talks to a Belgian officer.

18,566 – 18,646 frames: Caption 17 – “His Majesty says “Au Revoir” to King Albert.”

Sunday, 13 August 1916, at La Panne:

18,647 – 19,523 frames: The Kings walk together over to the Belgian car. Prince Leopold walks past the Prince of Wales, followed by his brother and sister. Princess Marie Josephine, who is now holding the camera, runs a few steps to catch up with her brothers. The two Kings salute each other and shake hands, then King George enters the car. King Albert then makes a remark to his children as he walks past them.

19,524 – 19,689 frames: Caption 18 – “Batteries of heavy howitzers are visited on the road, and the King shows great interest in the dug-outs.”

Monday, 14 August 1916, near Locre:

19690 – 20,124 frames: The King walks down a sunken path leading to the 64th Siege Battery with its 12 inch howitzers and chats with officers outside a covered gun emplacement. As Ypres is being heavily bombarded it is too dangerous of the King to visit the ruined city.

20,125 – 21,175 frames: The King emerges from a gun emplacement with a board above the entrance labelled ‘Dolly’.

20,176 – 20,371 frames: He climbs down into a tunnel with a wooden board above the entrance labelled ‘…ITH VIEW’.

20,372 – 20,663 frames: He emerges from another tunnel followed by many officers.

20,664 – 21,031 frames: The King walks in front of the sentries who are presenting arms. He salutes them. The Prince of Wales is in the background. A gun emplacement with a concrete roof is also seen in the background.

21,032 – 21,532 frames: At the 117th Siege Battery with its 9.2 inch howitzers, the King stands in an open gun pit whilst a gunner explains the mechanism. The King listens, then glances towards the cameraman. He then jokes with his officers.

21,533 – 21,710 frames: The King is shown an underground store with its bags of gun cotton charges. The store’s roof is reinforced by concrete.

21,711 – 21,989 frames: The King and his party walk across a field in front of the howitzers. Gunners in a gun pit look on.

This is the end of Part One.

The King Visits His Armies in the Great Advance. Part Two

(IWM 192/02 P1 A35 1017 feet Print Acetate)

0 – 73 frames: The title – “The King Visits His Armies in the Great Advance. Part Two”

74 – 221 frames: Caption 19 – “On the battlefield at Fricourt and Mametz. The army commander explains to His Majesty how the advance was made.”

Thursday, 10 August 1916, the Somme:

222 – 433 frames: Though raining heavily earlier, the rain has stopped. On a ridge later called King George’s Hill, Lieutenant-General Sir Walter Congreve VC, the 13th Army Corps Commander, explains the advance to the King with Lieutenant-General Sir Henry Rawlinson standing behind. A young Engineer lieutenant looks on. The party then walks on with the Prince of Wales. A stills photographer is with the party. The King is wearing spurs and has knee length black boots, well polished.

434 – 1,072 frames: The party look across a battered trench, then consult a trench map. A young equerry captain (3 ‘pips’) with the Prince of Wales is carrying the King’s telescope case.

Frame1,073: A mirror image title of 1 frame ‘inspecting the battlefield which is still under German shell fire.’

1,074 – 1,200 frames: The party with the Prince of Wales walk alongside a shattered trench.

1,201 – 1,272: Caption 20 – “Inspecting the battlefield which is still under German shell fire.”

Thursday, 10 August 1916, between Fricourt and Mametz, the Somme:

1,273 – 1,649 frames: The King and the party inspect a trench system from above then descend to walk along it.

Frame 1,650: ‘On the eve of departure His Majesty issues a message to all ranks. “I cannot share your trials, danger and success but with proud confidence and gratitude your fellow”’ – an uncompleted message.

1,651 – 1,654 frames: The party finish walking along the trench system.

1,655 – 1,910 frames: The Engineer lieutenant leads the King past the concrete entrance to an underground bunker.

1,911 – 1,996 frames: Caption 21 – “Crossing the mine craters. The King , in captured trenches and dug outs.”

Thursday, 10 August 1916, between Fricourt and Mametz, the Somme:

1,997 – 2,463 frames: The Engineer lieutenant continues to lead the party at a brisk walking pace across the devastated ground near Mametz village through a mine crater and past barbed wire entanglements.

2,464 –3,284 frames: The King’s group inspect a trench as the Prince of Wales, wearing spurs and a raincoat (the others are not wearing raincoats) climbs down into it. As the party walks on, he is seen carrying a binocular case and another raincoat (perhaps for his father) as he climbs back out of the trench.

Soldiers are seen in the background unreeling telephone wires from a reel being carried between two of them under the supervision of an officer carrying a walking stick.

The King then climbs down into the trench further on from where the Prince climbed out and guided by the Engineer lieutenant walks along it.

3,285 – 3,762 frames: The party stops outside the wooden entrance to a German dug out. The King smooths his moustache and is invited to go in, laughs with the officers then declines the offer. The dug out was some thirty feet deep and thought to contain a month-old corpse. The Engineer lieutenant then emerges from the dug out carrying an electric torch.

There is chalk writing on the wooden ‘hallway’ which includes ‘Otto, ‘MGSig’ and ‘C8:7’.

3,763 – 4,249 frames: The King tries to step up the side of the trench but steps back.

This was sensible as he was probably still recuperating from serious injuries sustained the year before. Visiting the British 1st Corps at Hesdigneul, commanded by General Herbert Gough, on 28 October 1915, General Haig gave the King a horse to ride which had been trained to withstand the noise of shellfire. Passing down the lines of the 1st Wing, Royal Flying Corps, at the nearby “flying ground”, unfortunately the airmen’s Three Cheers for His Majesty startled the horse. It reared up and fell backwards. The King was crushed beneath, sustaining three cracked ribs among other injuries, as later confirmed by his doctors, Sir Antony Bowlby and Sir Bertram Dawson. He was ‘hospitalized’ during his journey back to London .

An officer attempts to climb up taking the hand of another officer on top of the side of the trench side. Then Lieutenant-General Rawlinson grips the officer firmly by his buttocks and gives him an upward shove – meanwhile the King is laughing greatly. The Prince of Wales and the Engineer lieutenant complete the officer’s climb. Then the Prince and another officer offer their hands to the King and pull him up. The equerry gives Lieutenant-General Rawlinson his hand which he takes with his gloved right hand before nearly tipping over backwards. Fortunately the last officer in the trench puts out his right hand to save him before the Prince takes his left hand with its cane and Lieutenant-General Rawlinson is brought safely up. The Prince pulls up the last officer, throughout the King is laughing as he enjoys the spectacle. The party now all safely up then move on.

4,250 – 4,513 frames: The King takes a cigarette out of a silver case. He lights it with a match from a box of matches before throwing the match behind him and taking a puff on the cigarette.

4,514 – 5,466 frames: With the cigarette held between his fingers, the King looks ahead through his binoculars. Soldiers are wandering around in the background. The Engineer lieutenant looks towards the camera then quickly away. He then leads the King to a shelter, standing above it to look towards and possibly over a ridge.

5,467 – 5,512 frames: Caption 22 – “Watching the bombardment of Pozieres.”

Thursday, 10 August 1916, between Fricourt and Mametz, the Somme:

5,513 – 5,743 frames: The King holds his telescope against the trunk of a thin tree, stripped of all leaves and small branches, and looks towards Pozieres. He now has the telescope case, taken from the equerry, around his chest.

5,744 – 5,917 frames: Shrapnel and high explosive shells are seen bursting over Pozieres behind a screen of shattered tree trunks.

5,918 – 5,985 frames: The King continues to observe the scene through the telescope.

5,986 – 6,246 frames: The shells continue to burst over Pozieres.

6,247 – 6,778 frames: Lieutenant-General Rawlinson points out the line of attack before the party moves on.

6,779 – 6,914 frames: Caption 23 – “Passing the grave of an unknown hero. His Majesty continues his tour of the captured German positions.”

Thursday, 10 August 1916, between Fricourt and Mametz, the Somme:

6,915 – 8,732 frames: The King stands with the Prince who has a cigarette in his mouth. The British grave has a rough wooden cross and a helmet which appears to be a painted white and with a large piece out of its rim. The King picks up a piece of shrapnel and examines it. Lieutenant-General Rawlinson does the same, to be followed by the other officers. The Engineer lieutenant looks on concerned in case the bits are dangerous.

The party continues its inspection. Meanwhile the Engineer lieutenant walks on ahead down a path lined by stones painted white. After talking to an Australian soldier, he turns back. The party returns the way it came.

8,733 – 9,001 frames: As the party walks on, the Prince of Wales leaves the track looking for souvenirs, poking stones and detritus with his walking stick.

9,002 – 9,219 frames: The party passes a shattered concrete redoubt, probably part of the Citadel, a major German defensive position, at Fricourt.

Frame 9,200: A mirror image message of 1 frame ‘Box 23, Part 2’

9,221 – 9,923 frames: The party then walks past concrete bunkers and tangled barbed wire.

9,923 – 10,323 frames: The party numbering some 30 officers and soldiers walk across the battlefield towards the cameraman, following safe paths lined with stones painted white.

10,324 – 10,648: The party stops at a grave covered with flowers. At the foot of it is planted a barbed wire support metal stake. Soldiers come up to watch the King.

10,649 – 10,775 frames: Caption 24 – “The King talks to little Joseph Lefebre, a Belgian orphan refugee, adopted by the Northamptonshire Regiment.”

Thursday, 10 August 1916, between Fricourt and Mametz, the Somme:

10,776 – 11,476: A soldier pulls back two others to allow the cameraman a better view of the meeting. He then pulls back another who has moved forward. The boy, aged 12, is dressed in a soldier’s uniform and has been given the rank of Lance-Corporal. Lieutenant-General Rawlinson checks his wrist watch with the King looking down at it. The little boy then salutes the camera.

11,477 – 11,550 frames: Caption 25 – “The men cheer their King as he leaves the battlefield.”

Thursday, 10 August 1916, between Fricourt and Mametz, the Somme:

11,551 – 11,554 frames: The King shakes hands with the Engineer lieutenant who steps back to salute him. The King is holding a German bullet clip filled with six bullets.

Frame 11,555: ‘Message to all ranks. “I cannot share your trials, danger and success but with proud confidence and gratitude your fellow/countrymen and I will follow you in our thoughts on your”’ – an uncompleted message.

11,556 – 12,242 frames: The Engineer lieutenant leads the soldiers in cheering the King as the four cars, the first a Rolls-Royce begin to drive away.

12,243 – 12,289 frames: Caption 26 – “Departure from a French port.”

Tuesday, 15 August 1916, at the port of Calais:

12,290 – 12,629 frames: French soldiers including General Ditte, the Governor of Calais, and French civic leaders, including Monsieur Morieux, the Mayor of Calais, together with British officers, on board S.S. Invicta await the King who is thanking the port’s manager and greeting Admiral Sir Reginald Bacon.

12,630 – 12,854 frames: On top of the gangway the Prince of Wales says his goodbyes to his father, the British officers, then he salutes the King before walking down the gangway.

12,855 – 13,331 frames: The men on the quayside salute the King as the camera is panned across them. As Invicta begins to pull away at 12.10 hours the Prince stands quietly on the quay with the Rolls-Royce parked behind him. The chauffeur is perched on the tool box set into the nearside running board.

13,332 – 13,396 frames: Caption 27 – “His Majesty salutes the shores of France.”

Tuesday, 15 August 191, at the port of Calais:

13,397 – 13,526 frames: The King stands on the deck looking towards the quay.

13,527 – 13,613: Caption 28 – “Homeward bound, escorted by destroyers, the British Navy holds the sea secure.”

Tuesday, 15 August 191, crossing the English Channel:

13,614 – 13,942 frames: Five destroyers are seen on the Invicta’s starboard side. The weather is overcast and the sea is slightly choppy.

13,943 – 13,989 frames: Caption 29 – “On the bridge with the Captain.”

Tuesday, 15 August 1916, crossing the English Channel:

13,990 – 14,916 frames: The King stands Admiral Bacon, chatting and pointing out sights as the sea becomes choppier. The destroyer, D2, close by on the starboard side has three funnels in line. The Admiral wears four bands of rank on his sleeve.

14,917 – 14,975 frames: Caption 30 – “Signalling to one of the attendant destroyers.”

Tuesday, 15 August 1916, crossing the English Channel:

14,976 – 15,791 frames: Flags are attached to the line which is then run up to signal to the destroyer D2.

15,792 – frame to be confirmed: Caption 31 – “The white walls of England.”

Tuesday, 15 August 1916, approaching Dover harbour:

Frame to be confirmed – 15,957: Dover castle is seen on the top of the cliffs with houses at their feet. There are many ships at anchor in the roadsteads.

15,958 – 16,080 frames: Caption 32 – “After a memorable and historic tour His Majesty sets foot once more on British soil.”

Tuesday, 15 August 1916, disembarking from the Invicta:

16,081 – 16,435 frames: At 13.30 hours, the King walks down the gangway with soldiers and sailors saluting him. He chats to officers standing on the quay.

16,436 – 16,469 frames: Caption 33 – “God Save the King.”

This is the end of Part Two.

A ‘forgotten’ spool of film has been found to contain sequences of frames filmed in both August 1916 and July 1917. The analysis of the sequences filmed in 1916 is shown in Appendix 2.

Appendix 1: Short biographies of the Belgian Royal Family

King Albert 1: born in 1875, he married Elisabeth of Bavaria in 1900, she being a year younger than him. He became King in 1909. After a gallant stand against overwhelming German forces in 1914, Albert and his army retreated to the Yser where his family lived at La Panne. In 1918, he led the Belgium Army back, pushing the German forces in front of them. He entered Brussels to a hero’s welcome. Tragfically he was killed in a climbing accident at Marche-les-Dames in the Belgian Ardennes in 1934.

Queen Elisabeth: born in 1876, she bore Albert three children. As Queen she earned the love of her country by visiting Belgian troops in forward positions and, with scorn, facing shell fire and bullets. She sponsored a nursing unit and was awarded the Order of the Royal Red Cross by King George V in 1916.

From 1934, as the Dowager Queen, she became a patron of the arts and scientists such as Albert Einstein. In the Second World War her German connections helped her save hundreds of Jewish children from transportation. During the 1950s her visits to Communist countries earned her American disapproval, with her becoming known as the “Red Queen”. She died in 1965 aged 89.

Leopold III: born in 1902, he was 14 at the time of the Malins’ filming. He fought as a private in the 12th Belgian Regiment. Becoming King on the death of his father he remained in Belgium during the German occupation from 1940, unfairly being heavily criticised for this. From 1944 and 1950 he lived outside Belgium before returning but in 1951 the continuing anger at his wartime experience led him to abdicate in favour of his son, Baudouin. He died in 1983.

Prince Charles-Theodore: born in 1904, he became Regent after the liberation of Belgium in 1944, managing the economic recovery of the country with the aid provided by the American Marshall Plan. Once his Regency ended, Charles devoted his remaining 33 years to his painting and artistic pursuits, dying just a few months before his brother.

Princess Marie Josephine; she was born in 1906 and aged 23 married Prince Umberto, the Crown-Prince of Italy, bearing him three daughters and one son. Queen Consort to Umberto II of Italy in his short reign from 9 May to 12 June 1946, she earned the affectionate title ‘the May Queen’. After the abolition of the Monarchy, she separated from Umberto due to his bisexuality and adultery although they never divorced because of their strong Catholic beliefs and for political reasons. Spending most of the rest of her life in Switzerland, she died in 2001 at the age of 94.

Appendix 2: Sequences filmed in August 1916

The frame numbers have been recorded as with the cinema film. There are no captions so the dates have been found from the King’s Diaries in the Royal Archives, Windsor Castle, from General Haig’s Diaries and his letters to Lady Haig, microfiche copies of which are stored at King’s College London, and from The Great War, the volumes of which were first published during and shortly after that war.

(IWM 192/01-02 P2 A35 645 feet Print Acetate)

Wednesday, 9 August 1916, 3rd Army Trench Mortar School, Ligny-St. Flochel:

10,092 – 10,333 frames: The King, the Prince of Wales and British officers inspect a large mortar set into the ground. Behind them a smoke screen is seen billowing in the background. Beside the mortar tube lie a mortar bomb and an explosive charge in a ‘canister’. The King touches the bomb with his stick. A photographer walks behind the group carrying what could be a relatively small cine camera.

Thursday, 10 August 1916, the road from Amiens to Albert at Franvillers:

4,417 – 5,301 frames: It is raining hard as the King chats to Lieutenant-General Sir Henry Rawlinson before the Prince of Wales comes up to shake his hand. The Prince, wearing a trench coat, then walks away with another officer as the King and the Lieutenant-General continue to talk. Major Thompson returns to hover around the two. Meanwhile a wagon pulled by 6 horses comes down the road and passes the stationary cars. The King climbs into one of them whilst the Prince walks past its front.

5,302 – 5304 frames: Handwritten on the frames ‘Arriving at the battlefield’.

Thursday, 10 August 1916, between Fricourt and Mametz, the Somme:

6,563 – 6,851 frames: The young Engineer lieutenant leads the King’s party along a track bordered by white stones, between Fricourt and Mametz on the Somme battlefield. The King uses his stick to touch the ground as he walks.

Thursday, 10 August 1916, at the Chateau of Querrieu:

6,852 – 7,267 frames: The King (wearing a black arm band), General Sir Douglas Haig and Lieutenant-General Rawlinson, chat at the bottom of a ten step stone staircase of the Commander of the 4th Army’s residence. Other British and French officers, including Genera Fayolle and General Balfourier, are called to make up a group photograph standing in front of and on the staircase, these two French General Officers having just received the G.C.M.G. from the King.

7,667 – 7,850 frames: This continues from frame 7,267 as the King, General Haig, Lieutenant-General Rawlinson and the other French and British officers, many of whom have just received honours, stand whilst Malins pans his camera too and fro.

Saturday, 12 August 1916, at Val Vion, Beauquesne:

1,211 – 2,450 frames: President Poincare walks out of the front door at the British Commander-in-Chief’s residence where the conference has been held. The King shakes hands with a senior French officer and then follows the French President out to stand together on the top step of the stone staircase. A stills photographer partly out of view (carrying a camera case hanging from his right shoulder) instructs them as he sets the scene. President Poincare looks directly at the cameraman, as does the officer, whilst the King looks towards the stills photographer before looking towards the cameraman. Meanwhile a second French officer has joined them on the top step. After a while, General Sir Douglas Haig comes out to stand behind them. Surprisingly his boots are not the music-hall ‘shiny’, more a matt black. The President continues to talk to the King and they shake hands warmly before he walks down to his car. The King and General Haig shake hands with the two French officers before they follow the President down. A third officer shakes hands with both then follows the other two into the car. The King and General Haig salute the President as his car draws away, then they chat as other senior officers join them.

2,451 – 3,345 frames: The cameraman, having moved his camera position, films the King and General Haig continuing to talk but with the King now on his left side. The King shakes his hand before chatting and shaking hands with the other officers including a Frenchman. The King leaves in his car accompanied by two British officers.

Saturday, 12 August 1916, at Val Vion, Beauquesne:

7,268 – 7,666 frames: Later on in the day, the British Prime Minister, Mr. David Lloyd George, with another politician and an officer (likely to be CRA Birch or HQMG Woodruffe) stand on the eight step stone staircase. General Haig comes out of the house and all walk down to the bottom step to pose for a stills photograph. A smiling General Haig then bids farewell to the two politicians as they walk down the path and he climbs back up the staircase.


Coombs, Rose E.B. (1976) Before Endeavours Fade, Battle of Britain Prints International.
The Keeper and his staff, Film and Photograph Archives, Imperial War Museum, Lambeth Road, London SE1 6HZ.
Sir Douglas Haig’s Diairies, copies at the Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives, King’s College London.
Sir Douglas Haig’s Letters to Lady Haig, copies at the Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives, King’s College London.
McKenzie, F.A. (1917) ‘The Crown and the Conflict’, Volume 10, Chapter CXCIII, pages 1 – 42, in Wilson, H.W. and Hammerton, J.A. (1914 to 1919) The Great War: the standard history of the all-Europe conflict, The Amalgamated Press Limited.
The Royal Archives, Windsor Castle, made available the King’s personal diairies. The Registrar, Miss Pamela Clark, also found the documents collected by the King’s Private Secretary planning the visit, the awarding of insignia, and recording the daily events during the visit contained in files RA/PS/GV/PS QQ 06/4503/WAR ‘The King’s Visit to his Army in the Field, August 1916’.

© GNA Bailey (13/08/2007)