This film is part of Free

Ambulance Crossing the Modder

A surprisingly languid scene shot far from the Boer War battlefields.

Non-Fiction 1899 1 mins


In 1899, the river Modder was the scene of one of the fiercest battles of the second Boer War - but if the battle was raging while this film was shot, it was clearly on a different stretch. Despite the presence of uniformed soldiers and a Red Cross ambulance, it's an almost tranquil scene, with none of the frenzied urgency of the front - note the way the oxen pulling the ambulance are permitted to take a leisurely drink before making their way across the river. According to the RW Paul catalogue, the ambulance was carrying wounded Boer soldiers to Cape Town.

This was one of a number of despatches from what was Britain's first filmed conflict. One of several films made during the South African conflict using equipment provided by Paul, this particular example is believed to have been shot by an army doctor named Walter Beevor.