Often faster than letters sent by ship, WWII soldiers stationed in South East Asia would send heartfelt and humorous video messages to their loved ones who'd gather in cinemas across Britain. Using the revolutionary technology of the time the men spoke directly to the camera, addressing their families and partners watching back home in Britain, it was a way the government ensured those fighting further away weren't forgotten.
For Remembrance Day, Dan takes a trip to South Yorkshire to the Penistone Paramount cinema, a red plush auditorium with an original Compton cinema organ, for a special screening of these moving films from the front line. Professor Steve Hawley came across the films gathering dust in archives up and down the country and decided to track down the descendants of the personnel in the films for a special screening. In this episode, Dan goes along and meets Vanessa and Richard Barnes who have no idea a film of their father exists.
Professor Steve Hawley's book is called 'Men, War and Film'
Find out more about the Penistone Paramount here: https://www.penistoneparamount.co.uk/
Archive audio heard in this episode is held by the BFI.
Produced by Mariana Des Forges and mixed by Dougal Patmore