With Heart and Hand: Source Interviews I

With Heart and Hand: Source Interviews I

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Belfast, France, Hauts-de-France




Production 13/05/1966


23min 02sec




black and white


Digitised as part of the UTV Archive Partnership Project (ITV, Northern Ireland Screen and PRONI)


Department for Communities, ITV, Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, UTV Archive

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The first in the series of interview rushes conducted as part of With Heart and Hand: Battle of the Somme, a programme commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme. The compilation features interviews with people who experienced the hardships of the First World War in the battlefield or at home waiting to hear from their loved ones. The interviewees include ex-servicemen and a German captain as well as a mail sorter and others whose relatives fought in the war.

Ex-serviceman Bobby of the 29th Division remembers his time in the battle and the listening posts, positions very close to the enemy lines used to monitor enemy activity and to gather intelligence. He also shares his memories of moments just before going over the top and returning home two days before the Armistice. The second interview describes the tragic events on the night before the 1st of July where a shell attack on the 13th Battalion of 36th Ulster Division (of around 70 men) killed 24 and left the rest wounded. The next interviewee, a clergyman, recalls his memories of being in Dublin in 1916 and finding it almost as unhealthy as the French frontlines. A veteran called Len describes the horrors of trench warfare day in, day out and how he was captured as a prisoner of war by the Germans in the last year of the war. The interviews also feature a 16th Irish Division veteran whose Division joined the battle in September 1916 and endured heavy losses at Guillemont and Ginchy, and a German captain who recalls his experiences of the war and the impossibility of describing the destruction and death in the aftermath of the First World War.

Back in Northern Ireland, Mr Donaldson shares memories of his brothers who joined Ulster Volunteers and never returned home. Mr Beattiem a postman who sorted the letters talks about the feeling among the sorters aware of the bad news from the army and the grief of people waiting for news on the Oldpark Road.


 Mr Donalidson was most likely Robert Donaldson, younger brother of John, James and Samuel Donaldson from Comber. The brothers were part of the 13th Battalion of the Royal Irish Rangers -the same battalion that is mentioned in an earlier part of this clip. Samuel, James and John died on 1st July and are commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.


Interviewees: Mr. Donaldson, Mr Beattie, Bobby and Len, General Sir James Steele (16th Irish Division veteran)

Ulster Television 


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