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Join the Barnsley Pals

Description of film

In this clip Private Henry Fairhurst describes what motivated him to join up. He talks about the setting up of Pals units. He then comments on how life in a Yorkshire mine might be good preparation for life in the trenches. He also reminds us that most people thought the war would soon be over. He then describes how speakers came to urge men to join. Henry then explains how he did not join up at first because he had a duty to look after his family. He reminds us that many youngsters joined up under age. He concludes by explaining how peer pressure and propaganda made him feel he had to join up to do his bit for his country.


This clip is one of fourteen clips in which actor John Gregor recreates a Great War soldier called Henry Fairhurst of the Barnsley Pals. Here he talks about why he joined up.

Interesting or important points about the film

In all of these clips of Henry Fairhurst it is important to be aware that the actor is reconstructing a character from the past. He is using original source material and other research to create what he thinks is a plausible reconstruction of the thoughts and views of a private in the Barnsley Pals. When watching each clip it is important that viewers consider whether they feel the information given is accurate, but much more importantly whether they feel the tone and emphasis the actor gives to particular issues is in line with their own reading of the evidence from the time.

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Further information
Sub categoryThe Great War
FilmJoin the Barnsley Pals
ProducerThe National Archives
Year1917 / 2006
DateNot known