And [“here you are”:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=52J5_Es8O60]. It has no soundtrack and no colour. Courtesy of TNH, it is newsreel footage from the last twenty minutes of life in the trenches at the Somme, before the men go over the top, which they do right at the end. One man slips climbing out and lies motionless on the front of the trench as the others scramble on around him. I was just wondering why he did that when I noticed two more of the walking men drop with the same irrelevant speed as they approach the wire. Then the film cuts out.
The other thing one remembers is the face of the young man nearest the camera in the slow shots of the men waiting in the trenches for the order to go over. He knows his last few minutes will be watched soon in cinemas where everyone is warm, safe, and, strangest of all, alive.