CAROLE CHAPMAN: Free screening of Battle of the Somme film

A soldier at the Battle of the Somme
A soldier at the Battle of the Somme
The Sunday of this year's Mutiny Festival was cancelled after the deaths of Tommy Cowan and Georgia Jones Picture: Malcolm Wells

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THIS year, the Imperial War Museum (IWM) and members of its First World War Centenary Partnership are working together to show the UNESCO listed film, The Battle of the Somme, to audiences across the world.

Shot and screened in 1916, it was the first feature length documentary about war and changed the way both cinema and film was perceived by the public.

In the year of its release, 20 million people, almost half the population of Britain at the time, watched The Battle of the Somme, many hoping to see the image of a loved one or friend caught on film. 

One hundred years later, this unique film from IWM’s collection is being shown to commemorate the anniversary of the Battle of the Somme, which lasted from July 1 to November 18, 1916.

Here in Portsmouth, what was then The Evening News advertised and reviewed the film throughout the autumn of 1916.

In those days, there were about 30 local halls licensed for film performances.

Now, in 2016, Portsdown U3A is offering two free performances of this historic film.

They will be at 2am and 7pm on Friday, November 11, at Portsmouth’s Anglican cathedral in High Street, Old Portsmouth.

There will be an organ accompaniment played by Jonathan Eyre.

To book tickets please call me on (023) 9269 7009 or e-mail me on

Readers may also be interested in Portsdown U3A’s free annual lecture.

This will be at 2pm on Wednesday, November 30, at Cosham Baptist Church, Havant Road, Cosham.

Astrobiologist Dr Lewis Dartnell will talk on The Knowledge: How to Rebuild Our World from Scratch.

Again, you need to book tickets from me.

Portsdown U3A is an organisation for people who are no longer in full-time employment and have an interest in learning.

To find out more, go to

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Carole Chapman is business secretary of Portsdown U3A.