Remastered Somme film to be shown for centenary

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A unique document of the horrors soldiers experienced in the trenches of the First World War is to be shown in Hawick this summer.

Imperial War Museums (IWM), Live Borders Archive service and Local History Centre, The Heritage Hub, are working together to show the UNESCO-listed film The Battle of the Somme, from 1916.

The film was the first feature-length documentary about war, and changed the way both cinema and film was perceived by the public.

In the year of its release around 20 million people, almost half the population of Britain at the time, watched The Battle of the Somme, many hoping to see the image of a loved-one, or friend captured on film.

One hundred years later, this unique film is being shown to commemorate the centenary of the battle.

The silent film will be accompanied by Laura Rossi’s score, which was commissioned to mark that 90th anniversary.

Archive manager Paul Brough says “Even in ‘a war to end all wars” the Battle of the Somme commands attention, epitomising the failure to learn which characterises the first half of the First World War. Though the Somme was not a key factor in the Scottish Borders’ war experience we believe that viewing this film from 1916 is essential to a proper understanding of the conflict.”

Screenings will take place at the Heritage Hub, Heart of Hawick, on Friday, July 8 from 7pm and on Saturday, July 9 from 2.30pm.

There will also be an opportunity to view an exhibition created by Gateways to the First World War entitled Cinema during the First World War, which will run from July 8-29.

The Heritage Hub, along with Live Borders Museum and Library Services, are currently engaged in a two-year project, Saving and Sharing Scottish Borders Stories of World War One, which will provide a lasting commemorative record of the First World War and its legacy for the Borders.

The project, which is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Armed Forces Covenant, aims to digitally preserve material relating to individual experiences of the war.

There will be a selection of Scottish Borders stories on display at the event and the project welcomes any further contributions of material from the public.

These screenings are free but space is limited.

To book your place, or for more information about the Saving and Sharing project, please contact the Heritage Hub on 01450 360699 or at: http://www.liveborders.org.uk/libraries_and_archives/archives