The Battle of the Somme, is a 1916 British documentary and propaganda film, depicting the British Army in the preliminaries and early days of the Battle of the Somme (1 July – 18 November 1916). Colne Town Council is screening it to a new score to commemorate The Somme a century on. The film depicts trench warfare, showing marching infantry, artillery firing on German positions, British troops waiting to attack on 1 July, treatment of wounded British and German soldiers, British and German dead and captured German equipment and positions. A scene during which British troops crouch in a ditch then "go over the top" was staged for the camera behind the lines.
20 million British people watched it in the first six weeks of it being shown and was it distributed in 18 other countries.
In 1920, the film was preserved in the film archive of the Imperial War Museum and in 2005, was inscribed on UNESCO's Memory of the World Register. In 2005, the film was digitally restored and in 2008, was released on DVD. The Battle of the Somme is an early example of film propaganda, an historical record of the battle and a popular source of footage illustrating the First World War.