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Geoffrey Malins was a British film maker, most famed for his work on the 1916 film The Battle of the Somme.
Malins’ work was a combination of documentary and propaganda, which both shocked and moved audiences around the country.
Today, The Battle of the Somme provides a valuable insight into an important historical event, immortalising in film one of the First World War’s most infamous battles.
1. Geoffrey Malins’ real name was Arthur Herbert Malins
Geoffrey Malins was born Arthur Herbert Malins in Hastings, Sussex. The son of a hairdresser, little else is known about the early life of Malins, who resisted discussing his childhood.
Details of his origins were even omitted from his memoirs, and it has been speculated that this was an attempt to separate himself from his past and make his mark free from judgement.
On the eve of the Battle of the Somme, cameraman Geoffrey Malins visited the front lines near Beaumont-Hamel to film footage of the troops as they prepared for the supposed, decisive offensive. He went on to film some of the most iconic footage of the battle. This short drama follows in the footsteps of Malins that fateful morning in 1916.Watch Now
2. The Battle of the Somme was not Malins’ first experience of the battlefield
Malins began his career as a portrait photographer before securing a role at the Clarendon Film Company.
Before the outbreak of the First World War, Malins joined French based Gaumont Film Company who sent him to Belgium. Here, Malins was tasked with filming the Belgian army in action.
This experience was to provide a small insight into what was to come.
The explosion of the mine under Hawthorn Ridge Redoubt at 7.20am on 1 July 1916. Malins famously filmed the explosion from his position on the old British front line.
3. The Battle of the Somme was watched by an estimated 20 million people
In 1915 Malins received a War Office appointment to act as an official camera man for the British Army. Given the rank of Lieutenant, Malins was sent to the Front to begin filming. By June 1916 Malins had made 16 films.
In June 1916 Malins was assigned to film the upcoming Somme Offensive, with fellow film maker John McDowell. Malins returned to London in July 1916 armed with 8,000 feet of film.
The completed film, 77 minutes long, premiered on 7 August 1916. In the coming weeks, an astounding 20 million people went to see the film.
Despite its reception, some considered the film’s depiction of death too graphic for British audiences. Malins acknowledged this, arguing that it was the public’s “duty to see for themselves”.
Whilst some scenes in the film were staged or recreated, the footage remains a rich source for historical study.
4. Malins was badly injured whilst filming The Battle of the Somme
Despite his non-combative role as camera man, Malins did not escape the horrors of war. His position was a dangerous one, not without risk.
During his first year of filming Malins was wounded twice. He was also deafened, gassed, and shaken by explosions.
His declining health eventually meant he was discharged from duty.
Geoffrey Malins with an aeroscope camera during World War One.
5. Malins went on to write and direct a number of films
After the war, Malins’ film career went in a different direction, understandably preferring film sets to the battlefield.
In 1919 Malins founded the Garrick Film Company. The company produced several films directed by Malins including: The Greater Love, The Scourge and The Golden Web.
Although the company went into liquidation soon after, Malins went on to make at least a dozen more feature films.
6. In 1920 Malins published an autobiography about his wartime filming
In 1920 Malins published How I filmed the War, an autobiography about the filming of The Battle of the Somme and his wartime career as a camera man. The autobiography describes the harsh conditions under which Malins had to work.
However, despite being described as an “entertaining read”, Malins’ account seems to ignore some important truths. His colleague McDowell is not mentioned once.
7. In 1918 Malins was awarded an OBE
Malins’ efforts were officially recognised when he was awarded an OBE in 1918.
Malins was commended for the work he undertook “in circumstances of extreme difficulty”.
Historian Richard van Emden, explains why we should give more attention to 1918 when studying the First World War. How close did Germany come to winning the war in early 1918 and how did the soldiers feel who faced their final onslaught?Listen Now
8. Malins was a keen adventurer and traveller
Malins was an avid traveller, with a taste for adventure. In the years after the war, he often traveled the world on various expeditions.
In 1922 Malins was part of an ambitious team that attempted to fly across the world. The group flew as far as India, but unfortunately no further.
9. Malins went on to write a second book, Going Further, documenting his adventures
In November 1926 Malins took part in another attempt to journey across the world — this time in a motorcycle and sidecar with Charles Oliver.
The duo, on bikes nicknamed ‘Pip’ and ‘Squeak’, rode through Europe, the Middle and Far East, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Hawaii, San Francisco and New York, before returning to London in December 1927.
During his journey, Malins continued to satisfy his love of film. He gave evidence to the Royal Commission of the Moving Picture Industry in Australia and shot extensive footage documenting his own journey.
The trip was the subject of his second book, published in 1931, entitled Going Further.
10. Malins eventually settled in South Africa
After a successful career and colourful life, in the 1930s Malins settled in South Africa. Malins passed away in 1940 at the age of 54.
The Battle of the Somme (film)
The Battle of the Somme (US title, Kitchener's Great Army in the Battle of the Somme), is a 1916 British documentary and propaganda war film, shot by two official cinematographers, Geoffrey Malins and John McDowell. The film depicts the British Expeditionary Force in the preliminaries and early days of the Battle of the Somme (1 July – 18 November 1916). The film premièred in London on 10 August 1916 and was released generally on 21 August. The film depicts trench warfare, marching infantry, artillery firing on German positions, British troops waiting to attack on 1 July, treatment of wounded British and German soldiers, British and German dead and captured German equipment and positions. A scene during which British troops crouch in a ditch then "go over the top" was staged for the camera behind the lines.
The film was a great success, watched by about 20 million people in Britain in the first six weeks of exhibition and distributed in eighteen other countries. A second film, covering a later phase of the battle, was released in 1917 as The Battle of the Ancre and the Advance of the Tanks. In 1920 the film was preserved in the film archive of the Imperial War Museum. In 2005 it was inscribed on UNESCO's Memory of the World Register and digitally restored, and in 2008, was released on DVD. The Battle of the Somme is significant as an early example of film propaganda, an historical record of the battle and as a popular source of footage illustrating the First World War.
By the time of the Battle, the front lines in the area had been stable for over a year. The Germans, who were taking a more defensive approach to the Western Front, made good use of the time. They had three layers of trench lines concrete bunkers dug deep into the ground, and extensive maps of the local terrain. They understood where an attack was likely to come against them and therefore where a British bombardment would fall.
Young British soldiers with Officers, 1916
They Shall Not Grow Old
New Zealander Peter Jackson is known to cinema-goers for the lavish spectacles in which he specialises in breathtaking digital effects, including The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-2003) and The Hobbit trilogy (2012-14), both adapted from the novels of J R R Tolkien.
He has now just released a remarkable 90-minute documentary They Shall Not Grow Old, in which he and his team have used extraordinary digital technology to both colourise and turn into 3D authentic First World War archive film, mostly from the Imperial War Museum.
The effect is a stunning exploration of life in the trenches, from the dull drudgery of everyday existence to the sheer terror of an artillery bombardment and going over the top. Aficionados of the Great War will be amazed to see the visual and audio trench experience he has created. One hundred years on, They Shall Not Grow Old is a fitting commemoration of the lives of those who fought in this most bloody of conflicts.
Jackson’s paternal grandfather fought on the Western Front and was wounded by a German machine-gunner on the first day of the battle of the Somme, 1 July 1916. He was taken back to a hospital in England, where he recovered. In his youth, Jackson became obsessed with the Great War and read widely on the subject.
Jackson is also an aviation enthusiast who owns a set of First World War replica aircra . He has been planning to remake the legendary movie The Dam Busters (dir: Michael Anderson, 1955) for some years. Stephen Fry has written a new script, and ten large models have been built of the Lancasters of 617 Squadron. But other projects have got in the way and production has been repeatedly put on hold over the last decade.
They Shall Not Grow Old brings together Jackson’s various obsessions. What interests him is not the chronology of the Great War, or the narratives of the epic battles that define the war, like those of the Somme and Ypres, but the human story of the men who fought in the war.
So Jackson’s documentary does not include dates or names of battles, and there is no commentary. Instead, he uses interview material with First World War veterans to provide a voice for the long dead soldiers of the war.
Some of this was recorded by the BBC for use in their groundbreaking series, The Great War. Some is taken from the long-running oral history project in which curators from the Imperial War Museum conducted interviews with hundreds of veterans from the 1960s to the 2000s.
These IWM interviews were long, sometimes up to eight hours or so, conducted over two or three days so as not to exhaust the elderly veterans. They o en covered details of military life, like eating at the front, the constant task of maintaining and renewing the trenches, the camaraderie between the men, and so on, as well as the story of specific moments of action or trauma.
The title of the documentary comes from the famous Laurence Binyon poem, ‘For the Fallen’, which became a sort of universal tribute to those lost in the Great War. But the title has a specific meaning here: by colourising the black and white images, Jackson has metaphorically brought the men back to life.
OLD FOOTAGE, NEW TWISTSThe documentary begins and ends with black and white archive film inset in a frame inside the screen. Curiously, despite all the effects, he has chosen to run this footage at the wrong speed and has not slowed it down from 18 frames per second, as it was shot, to 24 fps as it is usually run today.
The system for doing this was pioneered more than 50 years ago and is today a very simple process. The result is that men strut and march in a comic fashion. I found this very disconcerting and a pretence that all old film looks scratchy and funny – which it certainly doesn’t.
The film begins with well-known stories of the declaration of war, the enthusiasm for joining up, exaggerating one’s age in order to be accepted, and of the discipline men discovered in army routine. After weeks of intense exercise and regular food, many soldiers from the most deprived areas of Britain had put on a stone in weight and had grown an inch in height.
Throughout the film, audio is as important as the visuals, and the documentary relies on the chorus of voices to portray the men’s reactions to what happens to them. There are surprises here with many veterans recalling that ‘I wouldn’t have missed it for the world’ and ‘I’ve never been so excited in my life.’
About 20 minutes in to what is turning out to be a pretty conventional account of recruitment and training for war in 1914-1915, the men depart for France. As they march towards the Western Front and approach the trenches, the documentary dramatically transitions into 3D colour.
As it is for the men, our first view of the trenches is breathtaking: expanses of mud, sandbags, barbed wire, and chaos. As well as the genuine archive film, photos are also turned into 3D and in places animated.
Men trail through zigzag trenches, constantly toil to maintain the defences, eat and sleep where they can, and even in the most extreme circumstances carry out the normal bodily functions of urinating and defecating.
The film is constantly punctuated with Bruce Bairnsfather’s Old Bill cartoons, and humour is never far away. Lipreaders have studied the original film and picked out what the men are saying. We repeatedly see laughing and joking in front of the camera. ‘Smile! You’re in the pictures,’ one man tells his mates. This is in line with contemporary accounts.
Cameraman Geoffrey Malins, who shot much of the Battle of the Somme film, recounted that every time he set up his camera the men would cheer and wave. The big close-ups of men’s beaming faces also reveal the dreadful state of dental health 100 years ago, something that is rarely depicted in modern dramas.
And throughout there is the roar of the guns, recreated very powerfully. With modern audio effects, the crashing sound of incoming shells is truly terrifying. And the carumph of the British artillery fire is equally impressive. At one point, a field howitzer fires and creates such a bang that the slate tiles on a nearby farmhouse fall off the roof!
While trench life is boring for some, it becomes dreadful for others. The colourised images of men suffering from trench foot is gruesome. ‘There was no choice but to hack their legs off.’ And everywhere there are corpses – horribly mutilated, lying in terrible shapes, acting as props for trench supports, and a hand emerging from the mud. Dead horses are ever present, the poor dumb victims of war.
Slowly, the pace of the film hastens. A trench raid returns with prisoners. ‘It was the first time I saw a German,’ says one veteran, and it is the first time we see Germans in their field grey. And they are a pitiable bunch – not the demonic super men that British propaganda had made them into.
Finally, there is the build up to ‘the Push’. The guns roar and thunder. Anxious faces stare out at us. Then the moment comes when the offi cers blow their whistles and the men go over the top. At this point the documentary fades to black.
OVER THE TOP
There is no authentic film record of what happened next. It was impossible to film using the heavy and cumbersome cameras of the day. Unlike most documentaries that easily slide into the use of staged feature-film footage, Jackson is more honest.
He evokes the inferno of battle by using dramatic drawings from War Illustrated and contrasts images of corpses piling up, each one stained blood red, with the smiling, innocent faces of the men before battle. ‘My romantic ideals of war soon vanished,’ recalls one veteran.
The wounded come in and again the colour creates a truly shocking effect of the bloody horror of war. The bodies are piled so thick in places that survivors have to walk over them. One veteran weeps as he recounts finding a man so horribly wounded that he shot him to end his suffering.
Although other veterans describe how they occasionally killed prisoners trying to surrender, the pictures show Tommies joking with Fritz, exchanging helmets and cigarettes. This was the version of events preferred on the home front.
Finally, the fighting winds down, an Armistice is signed, and on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day, the guns stop firing. The audio quietens to silence. There are no celebrations in the trenches just relief at having survived.
The documentary returns to black and white and Jackson ends with soldiers returning to civilian life but finding that no one could really understand what they had been through. ‘We were a race apart,’ remembers one vet. No one wanted to talk about it anymore.
At the time of writing, detailed information about the technical effects used by Jackson and his team has not been revealed. But it is clear that authentic 35mm film images have been used in a variety of ways. Some are shown as they were shot but turned into 3D colour. Others have had details, often of faces, extracted from them.
The famous Sunken Road shots of the Lancashire Fusiliers waiting to go over the top in the morning of 1 July 1916 taken by Geoffrey Malins have been used to draw out the anxiety that preceded battle.
Elsewhere, landscape shots taken today have been matted in to create depth. The long lists of compositors, foley artists, and AVR technicians in the credits bear witness to the huge pool of talent drawn upon.
Overall, They Shall Not Grow Old tells a conventional story of the First World War in an entirely new and modern format. The voices of the veterans, the horror of the scenes men faced, the terrific thunder of the guns, the blood and gore of corpses piling up, are all conveyed as though in a feature film.
Some people will react against this, seeing it as a distortion of the use of real images. But it will be a hard-hearted viewer who is not moved by this impression of trench life. Peter Jackson is to be wholeheartedly congratulated for bringing the creativity he has developed in presenting fiction on the big screen to this novel treatment of the Great War.
This is an extract from a review in the December issue of MHM.
3. Toys "R" Us was the first big-box toy store.According to some estimates, Toys "R" Us stocked around 18,000 different toys during its heyday. Mike Kalasnik, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0
In 1957, Lazarus opened the first Toys "R" Us as a dedicated toy store in Rockville, Maryland. In addition to the change in products, Lazarus stocked his shelves with thousands of different toys and novelties from nearly every brand customers could imagine (and plenty more they probably never heard of). The end result was more like a supermarket for toys, and it was a far cry from the small, family-run toy shops most people found in their communities. As a result, Toys "R" Us became the first big-box toy store in the United States.
7 He Committed His First Murder at 18 Years Old
In 1978, Dahmer&rsquos parents were granted a divorce, following each accusing the other of extreme cruelty and gross neglect of duty. A former neighbour, Susan Lehr, said of Dahmer&rsquos childhood, &ldquoThe police were out several times. When I knew him, there was something devastating going on in his life, and there wasn&rsquot anybody there to help him. I feel bad about that.&rdquo
Following the divorce, his mother moved out of town with his younger brother, and his father also left the family home. Dahmer was left alone. He began drinking heavily, and at the age of 18, he committed his first murder.
On June 18, 1978, he brought a hitchhiker named Steven Hicks back to the house where he choked and bludgeoned him to death with a sledgehammer. Dahmer said, &ldquoThe guy wanted to leave, and I didn&rsquot want him to leave.&rdquo He then scattered the bones in his yard, and more than a decade later, police were able to recover more than 500 pieces of bone. 
British tactics at the Somme were a compromise.
By 1916, the British had adopted a French tactic. Troops moved forward in waves, each one moving through its predecessors while they consolidated their hold on the ground that had been taken. In this way, each advance was made by fresh troops. General Sir Henry Rawlinson, whose Fourth Army formed the heart of the British advance, believed the tactic was too sophisticated for his inexperienced troops. He advocated a simpler advance.
Rawlinson differed from Field Marshal Haig, the overall British Commander, in two other aspects of the plan. Firstly, Rawlinson promoted a “bite and hold” approach, making and consolidating small advances. Haig, by contrast, sought a large advance to make a breakthrough. Rawlinson wanted a massive bombardment to soften up the Germans, while Haig thought that would remove any element of surprise.
Haig believed in letting officers on the ground take responsibility for their area. As a result, the Somme tactics were a mixture of Haig’s grand objectives and Rawlinson’s more cautious approach.
On the morning of July 1, 1916, the British detonated massive explosions under key German positions. When the fallout cleared, British troops emerged from their trenches, ready to advance.
Knowing from previous bombardments that an attack was coming, the Germans recognized the silence of the artillery as a signal that the time had come. They hurried from their bunkers and took up positions to fight.
Explosion of the Hawthorne ridge mine, 1 July 1916.
Key models and details in Mamod history
Aug 03, 2012 #1 2012-08-03T17:17
The company was started in 1937, incorporated in 1939.
Pre-war engines initially used a lighter paint colour scheme of red and green to differentiate them from the darker colours of Hobbies. Undersides of some bases remained in the darker Hobbie colour, this also applies to the FB linehsafts.
The pre-war SE1 had no exhaust to the base-mounted chimney.
Pre-war engines had no Mamod logotype on the brass engine frames.
Early Hobbies SE4s had cast cylinders.
Some early SE4 engines had the whistle opening blanked off on the boiler.
SC series engines could be found without linehsafts, this applies to all three engine types in this series.
All pre-war engines had no superheating. This was not introduced until 1949.
The earliest Hobbies SE4 engines had no inline displacement lubricator.
The rare Minor 2 twin can be found with larger and smaller baseplates. Some have evidence of two wick lamps. Two con-rod/engine frame configurations are known.
Pre-war Minors had bare brass engine frames. Disc cranks were silver.
It is possible pre-war engines such as the SC2 did appear immediately after the war to use up parts.
The pre-war blue oval decal was still being used after the war up to c1948.
The first commercial premises used by Mamod were Geoffrey Malins back garden shed, then they were based at Price Street, Birmingham. They moved to St Mary’s Row just before WW2.
Pre-war linehsafts came in two sizes the C1 and Larger C2. (4 and 6 PTOs)
Immediate post SE1 and SE2 engines had base mounted chimneys.
The logotype of the company appeared on the engine frames c1946.
SE4 prototypes (there were two ) made c1946/7. Put together by G Malins
Hot stamped brass flywheels appeared in 1948.
Blue oval decal (block type) c1948.
Long pressed steel engine frames appeared in 1949.
Superheating appeared at the same times with the above feature.
Malins Engineers moved to Camden Street in 1949.
Post war Minor 1 engines had gold, green and finally red disc cranks.
Engine frames were painted Mamod green.
Mamod move to Camden Street, autumn 1949.
The Meteor pond yacht appeared in 1949, it had an SE1 drawn tube boiler.
Post war Minor 1 had a raised base from 1949.
Early post war tools used cast iron bodies. All had raised bases from 1948/9.
The grinder appeared sometime around 1948/9.
Conqueror electric powered yacht appears in 1952. 200 or so made.
Mazak flywheels replaced the hot brass types wheels from 1953.
Tool bodies were Mazak from roughly this date.
Raised bases on the SE1, SE2 and MM2 appeared in 1954.
Early raised based engine have the thick rimmed type Mazak flywheel.
The raised base lineshaft appeared in 1954.
The Mamod SE3 appeared in 1957. Early versions have larger nickel plated steel lamps and one-piece (barrel) type cylinders.
A wider and more substantial firebox was introduced in 1958 to the SE1, SE2 and MM2. This gives rise to the 'transitional' engines whereby parts from the earlier engine design -
reservoir wick lamps and associated base plate mixed with the newer firebox and wire boiler retainer.
Turned brass whistles appeared in 1957, they replaced a number of different long and short arm designs.
Note there are examples of the very shorted lived variant of this as seen on the SE3 box. Unknown as to why and how many were made.
The SE1, SE2 and MM2 had vapourising spirits lamps from 1958.
Large rectangular decal 1957/8.
Two part/soldered cylinders appear in the late 1950s.
Transitional engines from c1958 have new firebox coupled to old wick type burners. (SE1, SE2 and MM2).
The ME1 and ME2 marine engines appear. Early engines have oilers incorporated into the engine frame.
Wire boiler securing loops were introduced in 1958. They disappeared sometime in the early 1960s. Replaced by wide bands as before.
The oiling holes on the lineshaft and tools gradually disappeared in 1960s.
The SR1 roller appeared in 1961. It had a one-piece scuttle/burner.
Malins Engineers move to Thorns Work, Brierley Hill, 1962.
The TE1 tractor appeared in 1963, the very first version had smooth canopies. Early versions also exhibit poor machining in the form of ‘grooves’ on the rear wheels.
Nearly all screw fixings are dropped in 1965. Pop rivets being used instead.
Compressed scalloped edge decal and long version 1965.
The MEC1 in introduced, the design is based on the 1929 vertical boilered engine.
The ME2 is replaced by the SEL 1560 engined ME3 in 1965.
Reversible cylinders appeared in 1965 with the MEC1.
The SE1a and SE2a appear in 1967. SE1 and SE2 dropped.
The SR1a and TE1a appear. Early version have long arm control lever.
The roller gets Mazak wheels in 1968.
The short-lived ‘push-button’ whistle appears about 1967. This was used as a stand in for when production of the spring reset whistle and turned brass whistle were changing.
The initial TE1a tractors, c 400 or so, had TE1 smokboxes. Later smokeboxes were cast in two parts.
Hammered green paint is used on all stationaries bar the Minors for the next 2-3 years from 1967, possibly 1965, see blue box SE1 thread for reference.
1969 the Griffin and George SE3 appears, made in batches up to approx. 72-73. 2,000 made. The first silver soldered Mamod.
The OW1 open wagon and LW1 log wagon appear in 1969.
The Minor 1 gets a vapourising burner in 1970.
The SW1 Steam Wagon appears in 1972 along with the spring reset whistle.
The Minors get overflow plugs in 1975.
The SA1 roadster goes on sale in 1976, early models have meths burner and 6-spoke artillery wheels.
Mamod start to export engines with solid fuel burners (1976).
1977 solid fuel burners introduced for the home market.
1978 sight glasses replace all overflow plugs, bar the Minor 1.
Revised Roadster appears with updated wheels and boiler sight glass. Split rear drive is replaced by a simpler drive side set up.
The SP range of engines is introduced in 1979.
The RS1 and RS2 railway sets go on sale.
Malins Engineers in receivership January 1980.
Brass roadster appears in 1981. 1,170 examples are made.
The first Mamod kit, the TWK1 appears in 1982.
TWS1 appears in 1982 a rare non-kit version of the TWK1.
Large hub/redesigned wheels on the TE appear early 1980s.
Limousine introduced in 1984.
FE1 fire engine appears in 1985.
1985 and the SP1, SP3 and SP5 dropped from the range along with the ME1 and separate tools.
DV1 (green) and DV2 (blue) delivery van appear in 1989, along with the LB1 bus.
Terry family takes over Mamod 1992.
1996 and the SR1AK kit appears.
The Post Office van appears in 2000.
Le Mans racer appears c2001 available in blue and red. Two radiator designs known.
The revived SP5 appears 2001 with and without dynamo.
The SP2D appears c2002 complete with clear or red Led light on chimney.
Long boilered SR1a appears 2002.
The short boilered, ‘stubby’ TE appears 2002.
2006 the SP6 appears, complete with first piston valve engine for Mamod.
TE1V piston valve tractor appears 2006.
TE1AC Centurion variation of the tractor appears in 2007.
SR1AC piston valve roller appears in 2007.
SP7 twin cylinder piston valved engine appears c2009.
SP8 James Watt beam engine appears May 2013
c2013 Production of Le Mans racers ends, due to problems sourcing the metal bodies.
Much more detailed information on all the models can be found in our extensive, unrivalled, members-only reference areas for mobile and stationary engines.
Chaucer was known not only as an author but also as an astronomer and philosopher. He was also involved in the civil service as a diplomat, courtier and bureaucrat.
Facts about Geoffrey Chaucer 2: the famous works of Chaucer
Can you tell me the notable works written by Chaucer? They include The Canterbury Tales, The House of Fame, The Books of the Duchess, and the Legend of Good Women.
Facts about Geoffrey Chaucer