University of Oxford
53812eb3556790cf1e71dec70cd088e0d2ce1f57.mp4 (27.69 MB)

51394: Mining Activity on the British Front, Official Pictures of the British Army in France

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posted on 2024-05-09, 09:49 authored by First World War Poetry Digital Archive Project Team

Largely dramatised account of a tunneling Company of Royal Engineers planting and exploding a mine under a German position on the Western Front, early 1916. The tunneling Company loads itself and its equipment into lorries, unloads at the end of the journey, and enters the trench system. At the minehead shaft one man wearing breathing apparatus checks for gas. The men dig at the tunnel face until the captain in charge hears, through a tube, German countermining going on. Explosive charges are brought down the shaft, set in position, the men retire to the surface and a young second-lieutenant checks the electric firing circuit. Highlanders close by take cover in the crater of "the Hohenzollern redoubt". The mine is exploded, followed by two more scenes of mine or shell explosions. The Highlanders run forward to take the crater. Other British troops run forward through a trench system and a machine gun opens fire. Two more mines explode by a treeline. II. At this point the film breaks up into random scenes. A party of British soldiers walks down a shallow trench as if on patrol when suddenly it is pelted with mud from off-camera, exposing the fake. Canadian sappers with a detonator fire another charge and then go forward to inspect the recently-blown craters by the treeline. The extra length of this film and the inclusion of scenes from IWM 191 BATTLE OF THE SOMME, released August 1916, suggest that this is not the original release version.



5741.mp4 | IWMFILM219-low.mp4


Allied Forces | Trench | Western Front


War Office


24th July 1916

Date Created



Somme, France


DVD copy of original film


DVD copy of original film




Alisa Miller


The Imperial War Museum

Collection ID

IWM 219

Repository Name

Imperial War Museum Film and Video Archive

Repository Address

Imperial War Museum, Lambeth Road, London, SE1 6HZ, UK


The First World War Poetry Digital Archive


The British Topical Committee for War Films