In a tribute to Remembrance Day, a new independent film about the exploits of Britain’s first ‘ace’ pilot, Major Lanoe Hawker, will be released on the anniversary of his death on the 23rd November 2023. The 23-minute film tells the story of a pivotal few days in World War 1, when airmen were transformed into fighter pilots for the first time in history.
The films publication falls shortly after Remembrance Day, an important time for the UK in which the nation comes together to honour and remember the lives of the brave soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice during World War I.
The project has been a labour of love for the last three years for film director and actor Daniel Arbon. The film uses a mix of replica aircraft, hand-built miniatures, life-size cockpits and CGI to tell the story of the action on July 25th 1915, when Hawker downed three enemy aircraft in one sortie and won the first Victoria Cross for his achievements. Before this point, aircraft had largely only been used for reconnaissance or bombing missions.
The film has been funded on a budget of £20,000, raised through a combination of grants from The Great War Aviation Society, other sponsors, and crowdfunding. As well as writing and directing the film, Daniel plays the role of Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Burke and has built many of the sets himself, including the cockpits.
Much of the flying footage was filmed using a replica Bristol Scout, owned and operated by David Bremner and Theo Willford to recreate the aircraft flown by David’s grandfather, Capt. F.D.H. Bremner, in World War 1. For the filming, the replica aircraft was adapted with Hawker’s iconic side-mounted Lewis Gun, and the markings changed to match those employed by Hawker.
Daniel Arbon commented:
This project has been my life for the last three years, and I am so thankful to everyone who has supported us, either financially or by spreading the word, and to all the cast and crew who worked so hard. It has been an honour to lead this project and to have the support of the Hawker family and all the history enthusiasts; I really hope everyone enjoys the film.
Daneil Arbon, Film Director
The film has been supported by the Hawker family, and Hawker’s great-great-great-nephew, Lanoe Ertl, even appears in the film as a young farm boy who lives near the aerodrome and loves aeroplanes. The Hawker family commented:
As some of Lanoe’s living relatives, we are absolutely delighted to see his legacy honoured with this new film. It will help new generations to understand the bravery and sacrifice of all World War 1 aviators at a time when the average life expectancy of a pilot on active service was often measured in months, if not weeks.
The Hawker family
The film will be available on Vimeo, where it can be streamed for £0.99 or purchased for £1.99. Links will be posted on social media at Facebook /TheGreatWarAviationSociety and /Hawkerfilm or Twitter @GWAS1914_1918.
To view the trailer, read a history of Lanoe Hawker, and go behind the scenes of the film with an interview with Daniel Arbon, visit www.crossandcockade.com/Hawker
Looking for WW1 records?
For family history researchers looking for more information on records from World War I, please use the following URLs to help you uncover the history of your ancestors:
- National Archives (UK): The National Archives of the United Kingdom offers a variety of resources for researching British military personnel who served in World War I. You can start your search at https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/first-world-war/.
- The National Archives (USA): The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in the United States has extensive records related to World War I service members. You can access their resources at https://www.archives.gov/research/military/ww1.
- Commonwealth War Graves Commission: This organisation provides information about the burial and commemoration of Commonwealth service members who died during World War I. Visit their website at https://www.cwgc.org/.
- Ancestry is a popular genealogy website with a vast collection of military records, including World War I records. You may need a subscription to access some of the records, but they often offer free trials. Visit https://www.ancestry.com/ to explore their resources.
- Findmypast: Findmypast is another genealogy website that has a wide range of records, including World War I service records, casualty lists, and more. Visit https://www.findmypast.com/ for more information.
- Lanoe Hawker Photograph: The Hawker Family