This film is part of Free

Deliverance of Lille by Haig's Men

Bashful British soldiers are mobbed by French citizens after Lille is freed from the Germans in WWI.

Non-Fiction 1918 2 mins


“Vivent les anglais!” The ecstasy of the liberated Lille townsfolk is matched by an enthusiastic use of intertitles in this silent newsreel, which attempts to relay the hubbub of the crowd through written descriptions. An infectiously joyous film, it sees the French Tricolore and Union Flag flown side by side as women crowd round the British heroes, and jostle to get on camera.

Lille fell into enemy hands early in the First World War, and was only liberated by the Allies at the very end of the conflict. Behind the relieved crowds are glimpses of decimated buildings: physical inscriptions of the toll which the four-year occupation took on the northern French town. This film, a British propaganda item, has no hesitation in referencing the “brutality and plunder” of the German regime there.