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The story of what happened to an English town during World War One with almost all of its men fighting abroad and its women and children left behind. The North East was in the front line, thanks to its shipyards and munitions factories.
Using archive and contemporary footage and audio, this film collages the stories of people from Tyneside and Wearside to uncover just what life was like on the home front, with bombs falling on Britain for the first time, conscientious objectors sentenced to death, and women working as doctors, tram conductors and footballers. The narrative moves from an Edwardian golden era, in which sport grew in popularity and aircraft and cars pointed to a bright new future, to a war that horrifically reversed this progress. In the Battle of the Somme, British, French and German armies fought one of the most traumatic battles in military history. Over the course of just four months, more than one million soldiers were captured, wounded or killed in a confrontation of unimaginable horror.


Type of film
Running Time
72 mins
2K and Archive Film of Various Gauges
Esther Johnson
Esther Johnson
Executive Producer
14-18 NOW and Sunderland Cultural Partnership
Graham Taylor
Bob Stanley
Director of Photography
Mary Farbrother and Esther Johnson
Chu-Li Shewring
Principal Cast
Narrated by: Kate Adie, Alun Armstrong
Soundtrack by
Field Music and Warm Digits, performing with the Royal Northern Sinfonia and The Cornshed Sisters
Film Image
Courtesy of Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums

Production status


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Last updated 5th April 2017

Production Company

Blanche Pictures
Esther Johnson


Blanche Pictures
Esther Johnson