The Western Heights is a beautiful and terrible place. Silent, brooding, thought provoking and rugged; resonating with layers of history. It was a locus of military activity in World War 1; it was a significant through point for troops going out to France.
Thinking about this traffic, evident in the graffiti and remnants around the Drop Redoubt I read Phil Eyden’s (Western Heights Preservation Society) history of the Western Heights in WW1. An account of the Battle of Le Cateau in 1914 caught my eye and I began to see the possibility of an animation as my response to the Western Heights.
The account, by a lieutenant from the Kings Own Royal Lancaster Regiment formerly stationed at the Heights, had at its core an injustice; an animation could bring this story alive and be a resource the WHPS could draw on in the future.
I wrote a script, culled from Phil’s book and online accounts. Finding visual imagery to work from was difficult; Pathé or the Imperial War Museum owns much of what is available. With permission from both I started to make sections of the film allocated from the script.
I recorded the script and edited the sound to about 2 minutes. In the edit, piecing the sections together, I could see gaps and added footage using more experimental imagery from the start of the project. I made animated title sequences giving introductory information and created a more textured soundscape to finish the film.
Battle of Le Cateau : Film by John Dargan