Newton Mearns filmmaker honours grandfather’s sacrifice in new World War One drama series

The One Night in Flanders cast and crew
The One Night in Flanders cast and crew

A Newton Mearns filmmaker is planning to create a WW1 drama series early next year based on his grandfather’s harrowing real life war experiences.

Paul Darroch was inspired by his paternal grandfather’s war time experiences in Flanders, Belgium over the course of one night in August 1917.

Lance Corporal Henry James Darroch of the Royal Scots Fusiliers

Lance Corporal Henry James Darroch of the Royal Scots Fusiliers

He explained: “This was a story my father told me when I was a wee boy. The drama is basically inspired by what happened to my grandfather and how he tried various attempts to survive through one night.

“The story is not only a part of my family history, it also has an incredible cinematic quality.

“Another reason I wanted to pursue this project was partly due to a small part I had (playing alongside Johnny Lee Miller) in the WW1 drama from 1997, “Regeneration”. One of the day’s filming happened to be 11th of November 1996, where on the 11th hour all the cast and crew stopped whatever they were doing for 2 minutes and stood in silence – that really brought home to me for the first time both the sacrifice and horrors that these poor men had endure.”

Lance Corporal Henry James Darroch of the Royal Scots Fusiliers was shot just above his heart in 1917.

He was spotted lying badly wounded by a German patrol and, after being treated in a field hospital, was held as a prisoner of war in Germany.

It was 1919 before he was finally returned home to Glasgow.

“It was really quite dramatic,” Paul continued. “He spent the evening in no man’s land where snipers took shots at him. He tried to protect himself with helmets.

“The drama tells both sides of the story, as it was essentially the Germans that saved his life. It shows that the conflict wasn’t all black and white.”

Filming has already taken place in replica trenches in Pollok Country Park, which were recreated for the centenary of the Armistice.

A trailer for One Night in Flanders was released last November on the 100th anniversary of the Armistice.

And now Paul is holding a Fundraiser Evening next week to help towards funding the project.

He said: “There will be screening of One Night in Flanders short film, which has recently received successful screenings at both The Loch Ness Film Festival, Inverness and Direct Monthly Film Festival in the States. There will also be readings of poetry and diary excerpts from actual World war One soldiers, plus music and a raffle. It will be a good night and we look forward to welcoming as many people as possible on the night.”

The fundraising event takes place on Friday, November 15 at the Pollok Ex-Servicemen’s Club, Crossmyloof. Doors open 7.30pm. Tickets £8 on the door.

Click here for more details.