Two Derry men have combined forces to make a film concentrating on the men from within the nationalist community in the city who fought for the British in World War I.
Local film maker Gavin Patton teamed up with Creggan man, Seamus Breslin to produce to 40 minute piece charting how many men joined the ranks of the British Army and Navy at the outset of hostilities in 1914.
A graduate of Ulster University, Seamus holds a B.A. in Irish History and Politics and a M.A. in Peace and Conflict Studies. His speclaist interest has for many years been those from Derry who fought in the ‘Great War’.
The unscripted film says Seamus “tells the story of of over 1,000 men from the catholic nationalist community who went to fight for the ‘rights of small nations’ and ‘poor little Catholic Belgium’ in World War I”.
Many Irish nationalists believed that Home Rule for Ireland would finally be implemented if they threw in their lot with Britain and fought against the axis powers of Germany, the Ottoman and the Austro-Hungarian empires.
Many of the Derry men had been active members of the Irish Volunteer Force before signing up to fight from Britain after a call came from Irish Parliamentary Party MP, John Redmond.
Seamus Breslin’s other activities based around this subject matter include conducting tours of Derry’s City Cemetery and revealing the stories behind the gravestones of those from Derry who fought in WWI. He also operates facebook sites called ‘History from the Headstones’ and ‘Derry City Nationalists And the First World War 1914-18’.
Speaking about the film Seamus said: “It was shot on an enormous budget of nothing but interest.”