New film footage of Larne gun-running

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Remarkable new film footage has just been made available which shows Larne’s important role in the gun-running of April 1914.

Britain on Film is a new National Lottery-funded project from the British Film Institute that reveals hidden histories and forgotten stories of people and places from the UK’s key film and TV archives.

By 2017, thanks to National Lottery funding and the support of the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, 10,000 film and TV titles from 1895 to the present day will be digitised.

The project has uncovered extraordinary footage of ordinary people at work and play in Northern Ireland, as well as a fascinating piece of political footage called ‘Machine Guns Ready: Sir Edward Carson watches machine gun drill and presents Colours at Drumalis, Larne 1914’.

The Larne gun-running was a major operation that took place on the night of April 24, 1914. In the footage viewers can see Ulster Volunteers demonstrate their freshly-smuggled bounty, one man proudly displaying a machine gun mounted in the back of a motorcar.

A detachment of men with rifles and ammunition belts drill in a field. At the close, Edward Carson presents colours in front of a large gathering.

Drumalis House was central to the attempt to bring guns to ‘Carson’s army’, the Ulster Volunteer Force, with around 25,000 rifles smuggled from the German Empire.

Richard Williams, Chief Executive of Northern Ireland Screen said:“Our digital film archive team has worked closely with partners including National Museums Northern Ireland to make accessible for the first time in a long time so much illuminating archive material.

“Thanks to the advances in technology, archive material can now by enjoyed by everyone, and there is no shortage of footage from Northern Ireland spanning politics, sport, industry, tourism, Royal visits, and people at play.”

If you want to know more about your past, begin your search for Britain on Film today at player.bfi.org.uk/britain-on-film