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Great War Living History Committee shares arms demo video as commemoration

An interpreter during the First World War arms demonstration video.
An interpreter during the First World War arms demonstration video. - Contributed

ELLISTON, N.L. — This Saturday is Remembrance Day, a time to honour veterans—both past and present. For the Great War Living History Committee of Elliston, honouring veterans is nothing new, but now they have included some of their work as an online video for others to watch.

Filmed during the summer, the group of interpreters put together the video at a replica trench at the local firing range which shows re-enactment of soldiers in Royal Newfoundland Regiment uniforms, and one German uniform, using various arms prevalent during the First World War in 1917.

The committee is made up of volunteers, including substitute teacher Neal Tucker, Memorial student Daniel Tucker, municipal enforcement officer Jason Pike, and EMT Ron Warren.

Normally the group goes to various events in the region to explain and educate about the history of the First World War and the Royal Newfoundland Regiment. However, the plan to film a video seemed a good way to showcase some of the group’s firearms.

“Initially we had planned to film everyone firing their personal .303 rifles from the trench at the Discovery Shooting Club to demonstrate a “Mad Minute” — 15 aimed rounds in 60 seconds per soldier,” Tucker told The Packet in an email.

Ultimately, to make a more interesting video, the group decided to incorporate several different types of firearms — the Webley revolver, 1911 pistol, Lee Enfield rifle and Luger pistol — all of which are functional. Even the grenades in the video are real but deactivated.

“The best part about making this short video is that it gave us an opportunity to demonstrate weapons systems that could never be used at public events,” he says.

In the video, the group also showcases a Lewis gun and mortar. Both are mock-ups, but the mortar can fire a light blank, adds Tucker.

He says the filming took place in August in sweltering temperatures reaching 30 C and no wind. They two-minute video actually took several hours to film and the reproduction uniforms, made from real wool, almost made the experience unbearable, but certainly worth it.

The group even added an unplanned segment near the end. For fun, Tucker decided at the last minute to try and recreate a capture sequence.

They even used short pieces of German dialogue to make the scene as authentic as they could, saying, “nicht schießen! (Don’t Shoot!)” and “Hände hoch! (Hands Up!)”

Most recently, the Great War Living History Committee were able to acquire a few sets of new old stock and blue puttees, still in the wrapper. The group will be sure to wear them this Saturday at the Remembrance Day service in Trinity Bay North.

If you’d like to see the video made by the committee, go to www.thepacket.ca or the link www.youtube.com/watch?v=kU6UjwgWQS0.

 

jonathan.parsons@thepacket.ca

Twitter: @jejparsons

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