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Will hold up the photograph

Description of film

Henry explains what to do if your trench is taken and you are taken prisoner. He tells us that it is often not clear that an enemy is surrendering so surrendering prisoners might be killed. The thing to do is to hold up a photograph of family or sweetheart. He talks of rumours of false surrenders. He tells us that many German prisoners spoke good English and that often they had friendly conversations. He points out that attitudes towards the Germans changed. When it was quiet, they did feel too bad towards the Germans. On the other hand, after an attack by canister bombs, Henry's unit caught a German patrol and wiped it out. By contrast, he says that British troops were very sad about the death of one young German on one occasion.


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 being taken prisoner and attitudes towards the enemy in general.

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
FilmWill hold up the photograph
ProducerThe National Archives
Year1917 / 2006
DateNot known