Robert Gilson: Memoirs of an Infantry Officer

38min Documentary, 2016

Through letters written to his fiancée, explore the life of a 22 year old British officer who fought on the disastrous first day of the Battle of the Somme in July 1916.


The second of three documentary films commissioned by King Edward’s School, Birmingham as part of their 1914-1918 commemorations.

Over 1,400 former pupils of King Edward’s School served in the First World War and 245 lost their lives, 52 of which during the Somme campaign of 1916.

This film explores the disastrous first day of the Somme campaign through the beautifully written letters of one infantry officer, Robert Quilter Gilson, son of the school’s Headmaster and closest friend of J.R.R. Tolkien, who also fought in the war.

As an eloquent and sensitive observer of life, the words of 22 year old Robert Quilter Gilson preserve one very personal account among the vast and unfathomable story of the First World War - tragically, he was an eyewitness to history who simply never came back home.



Written, Directed & Produced by:
Elliot Weaver & Zander Weaver

John Garth
Paul Golightly

Special Thanks:
The Tolkien Estate
Julia Margretts
Susan Wood
Imperial War Museum
Alison Wheatley