Home Front delivers a series of 13 minute snippets of insight into the lives of those living during The Great War. The series plans to cover the entirety of the war over 600 episodes stretching from 1914 to 1918. The show emphasises the social impact of the war, and focuses particularly on the plight of individuals during this time.
This episode dating to September 23 1914 covers the search for a secure home for two displaced Belgian refugees in Folkestone. The Lamberts arrive in Britain after the war tears apart their country, and after living on the church floor they are offered accommodation at a pub by Mr Pankhurst (not a suffragette he stresses). Ottoline Lambert finds it difficult to adjust to his new life during the war and is scared by the raucous of the public house. Notably, Ottoline does not speak and Isabel, his wife, reveals how the German army seized Ottoline and their sons, who later died, and how this affected him to the point of silence. By presenting this individual story the show portrays the scale of destruction caused by the war, the physical wounds alongside the psychological fracturing of society.
The previous episode, covering September 22 1914, tells the story of a Kitty who is led to believe that her fiancé’s body was found washed up, confirming her worst fears after weeks of uncertainty. This addresses a widespread problem during the war when families lived in a time of anxiety yet hopefulness too, their husbands, sons, and brothers missing in action – many bodies never found.
The show makes the audience wonder whether they would prefer to know the reality, or live unknowing but with hope. This storyline continues into the next episode, whilst Kitty still does not know the truth, many in the village do and there is hushed discussion of whether it is best to end her uncertainty, even if one day he returns, or allow her to keep waiting, even if bad news eventually arrives.