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Comes the order to fix bayonets

Description of film

Henry opens by explaining how the soldiers often worried about being killed or injured. Soldiers often gambled, partly because death could be sudden and instant. Before attacking, soldiers were told to keep their valuables somewhere safe so that family can pick up possessions. He describes the fear in soldiers as the attack comes nearer and the order to fix bayonets. Soldiers get a shot of rum to encourage them to attack. He expresses his dislike of the fact that military police were in his trench to make sure everyone did go over the top.


This clip is one of fourteen clips in which actor John Gregor recreates a Great War soldier called Henry Fairhurst of the Barnsley Pals. In this clip he talks about how soldiers felt before they went over the top.

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
FilmComes the order to fix bayonets
ProducerThe National Archives
Year1917 / 2006
DateNot known