German film squad at the Western Front, June 1917. Photo from the Imperial War Museum
The Durborough film scenes were found in a five-reel Signal Corps collection which seems to have been assembled during the Great War. The U.S. Signal Corps apparently considered these films valuable enough to add to its archives, if only for military intelligence purposes. As a result, we were able to retrieve quite a number of pictures from Durborough's World War I film, notably scenes showing the Imperial German family, the American reporters at the Hotel Adlon in Berlin, prisoners of war at a POW camp in Doeberitz, Germany, and a substantial number of scenes that were shot by Durborough and his camera assistant Ries on the invasion of East Prussia by the Russian army.
Here is a synopsis of this Signal Corps film:
Reel 1, Crown Prince William reviews Army units. Gen. von Hindenburg poses. Cavalry, artillery, and wagon trains move through Berlin; troops entrain. Heavy artillery pounds Antwerp. Infantrymen don packs. Reel 2, supply trains enter an East Prussian town. Soldiers load refugees into wagons. Shows a German railroad gun. German trenches at Somme, France, are shelled. Fort Conde, near Soissons, is entered; cavalry units pursue the fleeing French. Reel 3 shows machine guns firing. Belgians surrender cows to German troops. An airplane is loaded with bombs, flies over trenches and Verdun, bombs a British G.H.Q., battles Allied planes, and lands at its base. Reel 4, German troops pass and the Kaiser inspects captured British tanks near Cambrai. Italian prisoners are captured in the Tyrol sector. Reel 5, French prisoners are taken to the rear. Prisoners march, bale hay, and dig rocks in a prison camp. Turkish troops place their wounded on camels. Camels and horses are watered in Turkey.
We have uploaded these German war films on our YouTube channel.