Old Emanuel Sir Alfred Butt; Director Peter Jackson and Great War footage history – With the Dardanelles Expedition: heroes of Gallipoli (‘Heroes’)

Sir Alfred Butt

Sir Alfred Butt (1878-1962) attended Emanuel School (shortly after its move to Battersea, South West London) in the 1890s. Having built a theatre empire in the Edwardian period he became Director of Food Rationing at the Ministry of Food in the Great War. In 1918 he was knighted for both this role and work with war charities. Many years later, Mrs. G. S. Peel remembered Alfred making a trip to the Westminster Bridge Kitchen, ‘where I was greatly struck with his evident love for children, his interest in those who were buying their dinners, and his delight that instead of being obliged to dine off pieces of bread they could now go to the public kitchen and buy for a few pence a nourish-ing substantial meal’. He was a generous benefactor to Emanuel’s Scholarships and War Memorial Fund and was elected MP for Balham and Tooting. In the 1930s his political career ended after he benefited from leaked Budget proposals, while playing golf with J. H. Thomas, the Colonial Secretary.

He is remembered here as being the financier for the only known footage of parts of the Gallipoli Campaign of 1915. The film is held in the Australian War Memorial and it has been suggested that it is perhaps, ‘the single most important film footage in the Australian War Memorial’s collection’. The film was digitally restored by, Lord of The Rings Director, Peter Jackson, in 2005.

With Sir Alfred’s financial backing the British war correspondent, Ellis Ashmead-Bartlett travelled to Gallipoli with a cinecamera and shot the only footage of scenes depicting various aspects of the Gallipoli Campaign. The footage includes scenes of Australian, British, Turkish and possibly New Zealand and Irish troops.

A short section of the restored footage can be viewed here With the Dardanelles Expedition: heroes of Gallipoli http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gs6O_eIQPBI

Longer sections of the film can be viewed here http://aso.gov.au/titles/historical/with-the-dardanelles/

With the Dardanelles Still Photo signallers laying telephone wire

A still image from the film With the Dardanelles: heroes of Gallipoli of signallers laying telephone wire

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