FOOTAGE of the funeral of a Cwmbran military hero more than 80 years ago is available for public viewing through the release of more than 85,000 historic films by the British Pathe newsreel archive.
The last journey of Rorke’s Drift veteran John Fielding to his resting place at St Michael and All Angels Church in Llantarnam, Cwmbran, on November 29 1932, is captured on 79 seconds of British Pathe film, headlined 'Britain’s Oldest VC'.
Abergavenny-born Mr Fielding joined the British Army in 1877 aged 20 under the assumed name of John Williams.
He earned the Victoria Cross along with 11 others for his bravery in defending the tiny outpost of Rorke’s Drift from thousands of rampaging Zulus on January 22-23 1879.
He later settled in Cwmbran, his death decades later bringing people onto the streets in huge numbers.
The film can be viewed at southwalesargus.co.uk
British Pathe’s YouTube channel now hosts its entire collection of films, comprising vintage news reports and cinemagazines.
“Our hope is that everyone, everywhere, who has a computer will see these films and enjoy them,” said British Pathe general manager Alastair White, who called the archive “a treasure trove unrivalled in historical and cultural significance.”
British Pathé was once a dominant feature of the British cinema experience, renowned for first-class reporting and an informative yet uniquely entertaining style.
Other Gwent-related films on the archive include: Lord Allenby unveiling Abertillery’s war memorial in the 1920s; the then Prince of Wales at the National Esiteddfod at Pontypool in 1924; the aftermath of a rain-triggered landslide that destroyed homes in Ebbw Vale almost 100 years ago; and Newport carnivals in aid of the pre-NHS Royal Gwent Hospital in the 1920s and 1930s.