At the Queen Elizabeth Hall, London

The BFI National Archive is pleased to announce that the world premiere of a new restoration of a major British silent film, The Battles of Coronel and Falkland Islands (1927) will be unveiled as the BFI London Film Festival Archive gala screening, presented in in partnership with American Express®, on 16th October 2014, at the Queen Elizabeth Hall followed by a nationwide release in cinemas, with a simultaneous release on BFI Player and later issued on BFI DVD. This virtually unknown film offers a stunning recreation of two key battles faced by the Royal Navy in the early days of World War One,

The first major engagement between German and British ships at Coronel was a terrible defeat for Britain with the loss of two warships achieved by Admiral Graf von Spee. Six weeks later British honour was ready to be salvaged in a battle which changed the course of the war at sea.

The film will have a stirring new score, commissioned from award-winning composer, Simon Dobson, whose previous work includes a musical commemoration of the Penlee lifeboat tragedy. The score will be performed, appropriately, by 24 members of the Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines in honour of the 24 members of the band who lost their lives with the sinking of HMS Monmouth at the battle of Coronel.


Composer Simon Dobson was born in 1981 in Cornwall into a family which was deeply involved in music-making. He began composing while still at school and won a place at the Royal College of Music. His best known composition is Penlee, a musical commemoration of the Penlee lifeboat disaster which happened just before he was born and it was shortlisted for a British Composer Award in the Wind Band or Brass Band category in 2009. He went on to win in this category in 2012 with A Symphony of Colours. He is one of the most interesting composers currently working in contemporary music. He lives in Plymouth and performs with a number of different bands including 'Antimatador and Lazy Habits’. See more on Wikipedia:

Simon Dobson said, “I am thrilled to have been able to work on this extraordinary film. My music has often been described as cinematic but this is my first film score and it’s been great working with the Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines. I have created a musical accompaniment inspired by the popular tradition of military brass which takes the viewer on an exciting but respectful journey through the dramatic and dark events of the two battles with a suitably engaging and occasionally dissonant score. I have tried to use the full extent of the brass ensemble with a particularly strong use of percussion, bells, and struck metal to create something of the brutality of the sounds of war. I have also used some traditional themes including navy bugle calls but incorporated them in a work which I hope supports the story in a fresh and original way. “