Machine Guns Ready




Drumalis House, Larne




24 April 1914 (of events)







black and white


British Film Institute


British Film Institute

Rights Holder

British Film Institute

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Sir Edward Carson watches a machine gun drill and presents colours at Drumalis, Larne.

This fascinating newsreel depicts events around the infamous Larne gun-running episode. This was a major operation that took place on the night of 24 April, 1914. Here we see Ulster Volunteers demonstrate their freshly-smuggled bounty, one man proudly displaying a machine gun mounted in the back of a motorcar. A detachment of men with rifles and ammunition belts drill in a field. At the close, Edward Carson presents colours in front of a large gathering.

Drumalis House in Larne was central to the attempt to bring guns to ‘Carson’s army’, the Ulster Volunteer Force. The operation involved the smuggling of almost 25,000 rifles from the German Empire, with the shipments landing in Larne, Donaghadee, and Bangor in the early hours between Friday 24 and Saturday 25 April 1914. In its scale and ambition, the Larne gun-running represented the high-point of the Ulster Volunteer Force's activities and is notable as perhaps the first time in history that motor-vehicles were used "on a large scale for a military-purpose, and with striking success".

This film was digitised as part of the BFI's Unlocking Film Heritage project.


This film was digitised as part of the BFI's Unlocking Film Heritage Project  

Shot List

0:00-0:10 Intertitle, Machine guns ready. Sir Edward Carson watches machine gun drill and presents colours at Drumalis Larne. 0:11-0:30 Presumed soldier leans over seat of open back vehicle and pivots machine gun on tripod towards camera, man with photographic camera stands on other side of machine gun, onlookers stand behind fence in distance, soldier spins hand crank demonstrating tilt of gun. 0:31-0:36 Possible soldiers fill shot move to attention hoisting guns to their shoulders. 0:37-0:48 Many possible soldiers stand in rows stretching into distance, perform drills with guns on their shoulders. 0:49-0:57 Sir Edward Carson stands beside stacked drums, back to camera, and hands flag to kneeling soldier, well dressed woman moves out of shot, Sir Carson walks away from soldier. 0:57 Film ends.



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