During the last two film shoots we had few members of the Royal Photographic Society as guest photographers: Stewart Wall, Mark Graham, Jazz Hayer and David Jones. They created some memorable images.
Just as we were about to film Thimbleby village celebrating the moment of the Armistice, with all cast in place and costuming done, our researcher chanced upon an article in a 1917 edition of the Horncastle News about Walter Barlow. Walter was the son of John and Elizabeth Barlow, Thimbleby’s baker and shopkeeper. We knew that Walter had survived the war, and had taken over Robert Crowder’s role as Thimbleby church organist, but we knew little else. However, the newspaper article shed light on his story and caused a last minute flurry of casting. Walter had been severely injured, spending months in hospital, and probably never returned to the front. So we quickly cast an actor to play Walter and borrowed vintage crutches from the Red Cross. You can just pick out Walter in the group scene below and beneath that a transcription of the Horncatle News article which includes a letter from Walter describing the battle in which he was injured.
Article from Horncastle News, September 1917 :
Pte. W Barlow, Thimbleby
Pte. Walter Barlow, Lincolnshire Regiment, son of Mr Barlow, baker, Thimbleby, has been seriously injured in the left leg, and is now in Warrington Hospital. Prior to enlisting in March last year he worked for his father, and after training was sent to France, but returned soon after suffering from a bad knee. He returned to France in November, and had many exciting experiences, but none more than on April 28th, when he was wounded, and which he relates in the following letter: “We were given our orders to advance 1,000 yards, which meant we should have too take the village and 500 yards beyond that. Owing to the enemy’s heavy machine gun fire we were to make little progress, only getting three hundred yards, when we had to dig ourselves in. We had had this position about three hours when the enemy counter attacked us heavily, and managed to surround us. They took quite a lot of our men prisoners. I tried, like a lot of our boys, to get back to our lines. I ran like a hare, but not too far, for a bullet hit me in the leg, soon steadying me, and I was obliged to drop. By this time the Boches had got up to me. They said, in fairly good English ‘Would I surrender’. I knew if I did not say ‘Yes’, they would kill me, so then they told me to go to the village they had occupied. I said I would, but soon found that I couldn’t as it was too much for me as I was quite helpless in my leg. I managed, after a struggle, in rolling into a shell hole, and when I saw any Boches coming past me I lay as though I was dead, for I quite expected they would finish me off all together if they saw I couldn’t walk. So I lay in that shell hole for 12 hours, I was hit at 10 o’clock in the morning and it was ten at night before I dare make any attempt to get back to our lines. I really don’t know how I managed to get back, for shells were bursting all around me, independent of me being unable to walk. Anyhow, I made my mind up to try and get back somehow. It took me nearly two hours trying to get out of that shell hole. After strenuous efforts I managed to succeed, but, oh, what a job, for the pain it caused me was awful. I really thought I would have to give it up as a bad job, then something in me said “Try again”, and so I tried and, thank god, I did it. How long it took me in getting back to our trenches I don’t know, but it must have taken me a long while for I had to trail myself on my body and right leg for 300 yards. When at last I did manage to draw the attention of some stretcher bearers who were about they soon had me on a stretcher down to the dressing station.I shall never forget what I went through that day, 28th April.
The making of the WW1 film ‘Tell Them of Us’ is taking us in ever more extraordinary directions. Although we are making the film from a home front perspective, and on a shoe-string budget, we knew that we wanted to briefly reproduce some stylized front-line action.
By a succession of extraordinary opportunities we found ourselves being supported in this by HDFL, the HILT disability foundation in Lincolnshire. We in turn were able to set up a photoshoot and create a small amount of video for them to illustrate the problems of PTSD, post traumatic stress disorder or combat stress. By providing the pyrotechnic expertise HDFL were able to help us achieve what we wanted within our small budget.
We created a short video for HILT (above) which included soldiers from WW2, the Faulklands and Afghanistan. We then finally used up the last bit of our explosives to create a short piece for one of our actors’ showreel (below):
If anyone wants to support the HDFL charity or would like to approach them for pyrotechnic support for battle-field filming, you can contact them on 01522 514286. They are based in Lincoln and are there to support any former Forces individuals in need of help.
31st July 2014
Thank you all for your support in our fundraising appeal:
Robert Crowder, Ian Whitfield, Robert Holland, Gordon Macfarlane, Jerry Parker, Clarksons Edinburgh, Melvyn Kay, Sandy Mae, Judith Brodnicki, Revek, Karen Henderson, Horncastle Civic Society, Andrew Fielding, Bente Wilson, Patrick Kay, Allan Rothwell, Keith Loven, Mark Randall, Thomas Baker, Sue Morris, Barbara Smith, Mari Roberts, Julie Gibson, Andrew Burn, Alison Hinckley, Nick Tyler, Nick Loven, Peter Ellis, Karen L King, Katherine Grant, Mike Bonner, Laura-Jane Mabon, John Males, Angela Myles, Judith Rolfe, Mara Acoma, Kevin Lee Loader, Julie Francis, Justin Wood, Sharon McKay, Verity Kay, Gabriel Morgan, Lydia Staniaszek, Debbie Orr, Alison Farmer, Louise Farr.
You have all made a huge difference to this film project!
June 24th 2014
Please support us if you can with our first Production Kickstarter campaign for Tell Them of Us
Our costumier and producer has committed herself to two years unpaid work to help make this precious film happen and she is supported in this by some amazing people, from vintage vehicle owners to graphic designers, who are also committing their time and resources (often covering their own costs), which is helping us achieve high production values on a shoestring. We do a lot of bartering of skills too! We have been incredibly moved by the number of people who want to help us make this film as their way of paying their respects to the past. The making of this film has proved to be an extraordinary journey for all concerned.
However we still face costs, travel and food for volunteers, location fees, fees for musicians and our composer etc so please support us if you can. Thank you 🙂
As part of our ‘Tell Them of Us’ community knitting project our volunteer knitters, inspired and led by Julie Speed, have created a canopy-art installation for the Woollen Woods project. Held at Sizergh Castle NT, the woollen woodland contains diverse knitted works of art in support of the Campaign for Wool.
A big thank you to all the supporters who helped make our campaign successful!
Thank you Robert Holland, Richard, Julie and Kieran Speed, Debra Ann Ashkar, Patricia Roberts, Patricia Helen Basham, Blair Kudrow, Jennifer Howlett, Joanne Allen, Anne Brooker, Jane Lawrence, Paul, Jane Emson, Kay Gardiner, Denise Bresette, Caitlin O’Brian, Colleen Hudson, Judith Brodnicki, Jacqui Mercer, A Louise Weston, Becca Tansley, Remley Mann, Steve Atkinson, Andrea Atkinson, Yvonne Davies, Erin Farley, Barbara Smith, Norma Pycha, Angela Kim Bannister, Yvonne Philippa, Adam King, Emile Jochem, Andy Baker, Katherine Grant, Mary Lou Egan, Sally Kentfield, Geraldine Isherwood, Jessica Speir, Patrick Kay, Barbara Kolator, Rebecca Reid, Ina Koenig, Sean Redmond, Jane Nieminska, Ty Corcoran, Norma Bennett, Ros Martin, Gabriel Morgan, Laur Weinstock, Karen Caulfield and Nicola Jennings. A special thank you to Kathleen T Oakes and Ms D L Condon (Lucy).
Our extraordinary knitting group (tagged Orkney to Omaha as that is how far they are spread) are doing some fantastic work. Not only are First World War knitting patterns being followed (both military and domestic), but one specialist (Liz Lovick) is even knitting a cardigan from one of the family photographs. We have wool yarn donations from wool companies, Rowan Wool, Texere, Jamiesons of Shetland, Frangipani aka Guernseywool.co.uk and Blacker – a big thank you to them – but cost of postage alone is pretty massive, and we need yet more yarn. So we have created a crowd-funding campaign with Kickstarter to help with our costs and we hope very much that you will be able to support us. Thank you in advance! We would also like to thank the Knitting and Crochet Guild for their help in sourcing (from their extensive library of vintage patterns) the British WW1 era patterns that we require and are using for the project.