This film is part of Free

Against the Grain

Defence of the realm diverts cereal feeds from hungry hens and leaves their owners with a dilemma

War 1918 2 mins Silent


Bucolic scenes belie the fact that there's a war on, but rationing hits even the productive gardener. It's all about your attitude at the allotment and one couple see solutions where another only sees problems. Sunflower seeds substitute for banned poultry food, and thrifty tips are shared over the hedge - but it's too late for the chickens facing the chop. Still, some adorable chicks save the day.

This film is one of a series of short patriotic stories known as Film Tags sponsored by the Ministry of Information during WWI and produced by the Hepworth Manufacturing Company. It features popular Hepworth film stars Chrissie White and Henry Edwards (who also directs). These propaganda items communicating advice to civilians were included in cinema newsreels. Britain's dependence on foreign food imports hit home when war broke out in 1914 and international trade reduced. By 1917 Germany was sinking one in four merchant ships and in 1918 voluntary food rationing was made compulsory.