On Saturday 3rd October, I shot a short film with Actor and Living Historian Dan Elliot. Based on research on Major General Ivor Maxse and through discussion with Dan, we collaborated on a dramatisation of Maxse’s relationship to his men. Dan had written a script from the point of view of an NCO that had re-enlisted at the start of the war and found himself under Maxse at Trones Wood. Dan has researched many aspects of World War 1 and, in my opinion, has an excellent understanding of the mindset of a regular soldier. He had a very strong desire to make an authentic portrayal, hence the portrayal of the older NCO, and made sure his kit was identical to his status and rank, even making sure it was as heavy as a real soldiers.
Once we had arrived, Dan’s friend Al Webb, suggested that we film on the rubble in the casemates, which was an excellent idea. Dan did his speech in 2 takes, improvising around the script; the second take being much more complex and subtle and we moved onto how a soldier might prepare for going back ‘up the line’. After this we filmed Dan ‘patrolling’ the caponiers. This worked well and gave me some options for other short films or sound pieces as well as the main piece.
Throughout the afternoon, Phil Eyden was facilitating our project by opening up the Redoubt, moving equipment around and making helpful suggestions. A big thank you to Phil once again for the generous use of his time and help.
Many thanks also to Dan Elliot and Al Webb. Dan has been very generous with his help and time and refused any payment, just that a contribution to the charity Rock 2 Recovery be made; a charity aimed at helping soldiers with PTSD. The images at the top of the page are by Al Webb.