Ypres - The Immortal Salient Part 1 (Film) Review

Ypres - The Immortal Salient Part 1

Released: 6th February 2012
RRP: £16.99
Director: Ed Skelding
Starring: Ed Skelding, Nigel Cave
Rating: Exempt
Running Time: 70:00

This film is presented by historian and film-maker Ed Skelding who takes us on a chronological journey through the first two years of fighting in the salient. He is joined by renowned military historian and author Nigel Cave who will join Ed at some key locations where decisive actions took place. Nigel is well known for his contributions to the Battleground Europe series of guide books published by Pen & Sword.

This film features locations associated with the first two battles of Ypres, including Hooge Chateau, Langemark and Gheluvelt where the first encounters between the opposing armies took place. The story of the 1914 Christmas truce will be explained by Nigel and the nearby locations where the artist Bruce Bairnsfather drew the cartoons that were to establish the character of Old Bill.

Nigel is also interviewed at the notorious location of Hill 60, where he reads from his Battleground Europe book, and explains why this was such a dreaded place, even for the Salient.

The second part of this film then switches to the Second Battle of Ypres in April 1915. This became notorious for the first real gas attack of the war and was to change the attitude of the British soldiers towards the Germans. Gone forever was any notion of chivalry. Nigel is interviewed at Vancouver Corner - where an impressive memorial to the Canadians who died defending the line despite suffering many casualties from the gas – now stands. He also takes us to the nearby Totemuhle or Death Windmill to explain where the gas attack came from and the resulting lost opportunity for the Germans.

This film also tells the story of the Royal Army Medical Corps and the doctors who did so much often in the most desperate circumstances. Nigel is interviewed at Essex Farm, forever to be associated and immortalized by the poem of the Canadian Colonel John McCrae – In Flanders Fields.

An inspiring, heartfelt film which will leave you longing for more.


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