VIDEO: Musket and drumming display marks town’s anniversary

Re-enactors from the 44th East Essex Regiment of Foot helped Irthlingborough celebrate its connection to the Battle of Waterloo on Sunday, June 9.

Countryside near Irthlingborough was used as the backdrop for a 1913 film about the decisive battle in the Napoleonic Wars, and Sunday marked the 100 year anniversary of the first day of filming.

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Hundreds of people from the town were used as extras in the film, which was made by American Charles Weston.

To commemorate Irthlingborough’s part in the film, members of the Waterloo drummers marched along the town’s High Street before re-enactors from the 44th East Essex Regiment gave visitors a colourful (and very loud) musket drill demonstration.

The event was organised by Irthlingborough History Society (IHS).

Susan Panter, whose great aunt Alice Weston was wife of the film’s producer, and whose grandfather Jack Inward appeared in the film, said: “I grew up with tales of the making of the film and my family took great pride in their links to it.

“It had great impact on the people of the town, many of whom were extras.

“It placed Irthlingborough on the map and the town was famous for a brief period.”

The 1913 film was lost for many years until an IHS member saw some of it at an Italian film festival in 2002.

It turned out that about 22 minutes of it was still in existence at the British Film Institute (BFI) in London.

The above video shows some of the Waterloo Drummers and Colour Guard display and the musket drills, including a challenge to load and fire three musket shots in a minute.

The Telegraph published a Retro piece about Irthlingborough’s involvement in the film, which can be found here.