The interactive parts of this resource no longer work, but it has been archived so you can continue using the rest of it.

Focus on Film Focus on Series

Like a great sea rolling

Description of film

Henry talks about how his unit's attack had been stopped and his mates decimated. He then explains how he waited until dark to get back to his lines. He crawled across no man's land, like many others. He crawled over bodies and his uniform was covered in blood and guts. He says that the number of casualties was over 50%. He regrets the fact that the dead were ordinary men and that Barnsley would be devastated to lose so many at one time.


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 describes some of his experiences at the first day of the Battle of the Somme in 1916.

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.

To view this film, you will require Adobe Flash 8 or higher and must have Javascript enabled.

View this film without Javascript in a new window.

Further information
Sub categoryThe Great War
FilmLike a great sea rolling
ProducerThe National Archives
Year1917 / 2006
DateNot known