Whatever happened to Sandringham company at Gallipoli in 1915?
Were they really swallowed up by a giant cloud? Was there really a mist so dense that they could have disappeared in it? Did angels lead them to more heavenly grounds? Many tales like these are reported from many a battle field. Angels descending, mists forming, whatever not.
This is a true story. The Sandringham company did disappear. One of the versions that is told in All The King´s Men of the vanishing of over a hundred men is quite spooky. It has been for a very long time the preferred version and was definitely the one that the king was meant to believe. I really do not want to spoil this movie for you and will therefore not even hint at the true explanation. It should suffice to say that it was far more tragic than miraculous.
Sandringahm was one of the residences the Royal Family liked to stay at in summer. The 150 men that formed the company were headed by the king´s Estate Manager Capt. Beck. They were servants, grooms and gardeners. The idyllic setting of Sandringham was referred to as paradise. What a stark contrast to the burning hot plains of Turkey.
The moment the company sets foot on Turkish ground it is obvious what an ill-fated campaign this is. The maps are wrong, the terrain is too hard to handle, the enemy has been totally underestimated. With hindsight historians say that Gallipoli was one of the most futile battles of WWI that was full of senseless battles.
WWI cost over 1 million of British and Commonwealth soldier´s lives. Half of them never got a proper grave. Compared to that the disappearance of some 150 men seems little. But to the estate and the little village who lost all their young men in one moment this was a catastrophe.
The BBC has done a good job with this movie. The actors, in particular David Jason and Maggie Smith, are excellent. The first parts achieve to create a very spooky atmosphere that only vanishes when the true reasons are revealed.