Documentary Film Review: Britain’s Forgotten Frontier

As an A Level history student, when I heard about Mirek Gosney’s new short (about 13 minutes) documentary “Britains Forgotten Frontier” exploring the history of the Ironside Line, one of Britain’s hugely important defenses, I was instantly intrigued as WW2 is a huge part of my subject course.

Gosney recounts the history of the second world war through his understanding of British defence, while giving an in depth view of the history of the pill box from a local perspective. He explains in detail the structure and use of the pill box including their different purposes as well as their effectiveness in active combat. Furthermore he dives into the enemy’s defensive strategies and their effectiveness when compared to Britain defence.

But what makes this documentary most interesting to me is the local context with photos and videos of pill boxes in our own West Berkshire area. Many of us have probably walked or driven past these structures countless times without actually noticing them or appreciating their relevance in the war. Dun Mill Lock in Hungerford is a site of one of these historical structures as well as multiple in Thatcham along the canal, all forming part of the Ironside Defence.

Gosney’s enthusiastic and detailed account of the history of these buildings is crucial in understanding the war effort as well as understanding our local area. Being further from the main cities many may believe that West Berkshire was perhaps less affected by the horrors of war however theses structures are proof of the damage caused and the hardships faced. Mirek’s work has shed light on this fact and helped me not only to understand my local area but also further my knowledge on the war effort as a whole and the different ways in which many served.

Overall this was a hugely detailed documentary with lots of helpful imagery to further the knowledge of students or war enthusiasts as well as give people an insight into the affects of war in our local area. I highly recommend this to anyone invested in WW2 or our local area as this in-depth documentary is hugely valuable in furthering your understanding. There is a lot of information in here and I actually watched it twice to absorb it all.


Jenny Reilly


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