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Experiences of the Great War

Films in National Library collections

Scotland's First World War film collection is preserved at the National Library of Scotland in the Moving Image Archive.

These films, often made by local cinema managers, provide an insight into the war effort at home. Footage focuses on troops training for combat, fundraising, propaganda and military display.

Here is a selection of ones that you can watch in the Moving Image Archive catalogue:

  • Response of Glasgow Tramway men to the country's 'call to arms':
    The march past the City Chambers of Glasgow by Glasgow tramway men to form the 1st Battalion on 7 September 1914.
  • Scottish Troops for the Front:
    Footage from 1914 of the 5th Royal Scots involved in training before going to the front line. J L Dewar, 4th Royal Scots winner of the King's Prize, is seen entering Hawick camp in the Borders. Scouts demonstrate their skills. [Incomplete]
  • Arrival at Whitehart Hotel, Campbeltown:
    Soldiers bound for camp arriving at Campbeltown, together with their supplies in horse-drawn carts and wagons.
  • 4th Cameron Highlanders at Bedford:
    Never issued as a newsreel by Gaumont, probably commissioned around 1915 for the local cinema, the film shows the 4th Cameron Highlanders wearing battle kilts and marching during training at Bedford.
  • His Majesty's Visit to the Clyde:
    Visit to Clydeside by King George V between September 17th and 20th, 1917. A shipyard in Port Glasgow and Colville's steel works in Motherwell are on his ports of call.
  • Route March, 1st Battalion Lanarkshire Volunteer Regiment:
    1st Battalion Lanarkshire Volunteer Regiment march through Coatbridge, March 1917, in furtherance of the National Service scheme.
  • Funeral of Lieutenant George Dinwoodie:
    Funeral of a young Glasgow Airman, Lieutenant George Dinwoodie, RAF, killed in an accident in 1917. Shots of bearers carrying the coffin on to the horse-drawn hearse which moves off followed by a carriage filled with flowers.
  • Scottish Women's Hospitals:
    Daily life (in 1917) in one of 14 field hospitals set up by the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies in European theatres of war, entirely staffed by women.
  • Patriotic Porkers:
    A wartime propaganda film on the benefits of saving household refuse to feed pigs and provide cheap food in 1918.
  • Scottish Moving Picture News no 32:
    Footage of 'Julian the Tank Bank in Edinburgh, Dundee and Aberdeen to raise money for the war effort in 1918.
  • Return of the interned:
    Taken at Leith in 1918, the film shows the arrival by ship of internees returning from Europe, with the request: 'Watch the picture carefully, and see if you can identify anyone'.
  • Tank Bank Aberdeen, Aerial Display Edinburgh:
    The 'tank bank' campaign in Aberdeen, and an aerial display and sports at Powderhall, Edinburgh, in 1918
  • Royal Visit to Edinburgh:
    Armistice Royal visit of George V, Queen Mary and the Prince of Wales to Edinburgh, 21 November 1918.
  • Wedding of John Glaister and Isobel Lindsay:
    The wedding of Captain John Glaister and Isobel Lindsay at Glasgow Cathedral on 25 May 1918.

This list covers films made after 1918, but still relevant to the war:

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