This film is held by the Imperial War Museum (ID: IWM 529).


Arrival of the editors of leading Indian newspapers, on a goodwill tour run by the Ministry of Information, at their London hotel, 11th October 1918.

The party of five, with a guide, leave the front of the Hyde Park Hotel and go out into Hyde Park itself. The editors are J A Sandbrook of the newspaper ENGLISHMAN (Calcutta), Hemendra Prasad Ghose of the BASUMATI (Calcutta), Kasturiranga Iyengar of the HINDU (Madras) and Gopal Krishna Devadlar of the DNYANPRAKASH (Poona City). They talk to a policeman in the park. They pose individually for portrait shots and then for a group shot together. A final shot of them getting out of their car back at the hotel.


Title: this is taken from the shotsheet



In 1918 Lord Beaverbrook, the British Minister of Information, invited members of the Press in the British Dominions, the United States and India to visit Britain and the Western Front in order to report on the progress of the War and to influence public opinion back home. Newspaper editors from the Dominions had visited during the summer, followed by twelve American editors in September, while the selected party of five Indian editors finally arrived in Britain on 10 October, having left Bombay on 26 August. During the trip, the editors visited the Ministry of Information, the India Office, met representatives of the Press and, on 19 October, were received individually by King George V and Queen Mary at Buckingham Palace. They visited the battlefronts in France and Belgium for six days at the start of November, and were back in London when the War ended, finally leaving on 10 December (Basu, 1979, 353-354).

The Ministry undertook all expenses for the trip, but the selection process involved ‘protracted negotiations’ as Edwin Montagu, the Secretary of State for India, sought editors of the ‘highest standing and repute’. Historian Chandrika Kaul argued that the selection procedure highlighted ‘the underlying judgements on the nature of the Indian press and the propaganda imperatives of war’ (Kaul, 2003, 129). The chosen five included Mahlub Alam, editor of the Paisa Akhbar, ‘representing the “Mohammedan” vernacular press of the Punjab’; Gopal Krishna Deodhar, editor of the Dnyan Prakash, representing the ‘”moderate” vernacular press of Bombay’; and J. A. Sandbrook, editor of The Englishman, a newspaper described by Montagu as ‘not always in sympathy with Indian aspirations’. However, Kaul argued that the selection was ‘not altogether to the government’s satisfaction’, as a paucity of European editors and a reluctance of some Indian journalists to leave India during the War, restricted the choices. Indeed, the party included two editors deemed by Montagu as ‘anti-government’. The first, Hemendra Prasad Ghosh, ‘a registered suspect’, was editor of the Danaik Basumati, a paper that ‘takes a special interest in war and home rule matters’, while the other was Kasturi Ranga Iyengar, the editor of The Hindu, a paper described as ‘sometimes objectionable and generally anti-government’ (Kaul, 2003, 129). Despite Iyengar’s appearance, The Hindu was one of a number of nationalist Indian newspapers – others included New India, the Bombay Chronicle and the Amrita Bazar Patrika – banned in Britain at this time.

Kasturi Ranga Iyengar, who effectively led the party of editors, had spoken out against the reforms proposed in the Montagu-Chelmsford Report of July 1918, which The Hindu argued gave ‘an insulting response to the Indian national demand’. Iyengar joined leading national workers in Madras in issuing a manifesto opposing the proposals and he was intending to address this subject at a Special Congress in Bombay when he received the invitation to visit England (Narasimhan, 1963, 134, 135). His biographer V. K. Narasimhan, writing extensively on his trip, suggested that Iyengar recognised that the visit ‘might be helpful to the Indian nationalist cause’, enabling him to address influential leaders, meet supportive figures (for example, he regularly met Lokamanya Tilak during the trip) and ‘create public opinion in Britain in favour of progressive reforms for India’ (Narasimhan, 1963, 137). Annie Besant’s newspaper, New India, wrote before his trip that ‘though the mission on which he goes is not primarily connected with Indian imperial politics, we have no doubt that he will be consulted in England on Indian matters, especially about the reforms now before the country’ (Narasimhan, 1963, 138). Throughout the trip Iyengar spoke about conditions and demands in India and his efforts were noted within the Indian Press. For example, the nationalist Mahratta, in reference to the restrictions on Iyengar’s paper, The Hindu, commented that ‘Kasturi Ranga Iyengar’s writings were banned entry into England, though his speeches were allowed. They have thus barred the cage and let go the lion!’ (Narasimhan, 1963, 138). Indeed, one Tory MP, William Joynson-Hicks, a future Home Secretary, asked in the House of Commons in October 1918 whether any restrictions had been ‘imposed on the Indian newspaper representatives now visiting this country at the expense of the State?’ (House of Commons, 28 October 1918). Although Montagu dismissed this suggestion, a plan for the editors to visit the United States on their return to India was ‘vetoed by the Indian government, more concerned at the harm these journalists might do if they had access to the US press and public opinion’ (Kaul, 2003, 129).

The visits of the foreign newspaper editors were filmed by Ministry of Information cameramen. Film historian Stephen Badsey noted that Beaverbrook diverted ‘one of the official cameramen [J. B. McDowell] to record for posterity the visit to France of a number of leading newspapermen from the various dominions, as part of an MOI publicity exercise, in the first week of September. This followed hard on the heels of an original tour for Canadian newspapermen at the end of July, also filmed by official cameramen’. Badsey concluded that ‘as a result of this the “Advance Victory” of 1918, a far greater battle than the Somme in 1916, has no comparable film tribute’ (Badsey, 1981, 43). 



Although only a relatively short film, comprised predominantly of staged shots of the Indian editors, the film highlights the Ministry of Information’s growing emphasis on imperial publicity. First, the event of the editor’s visit itself reflects a desire, particularly on the part of Lord Beaverbrook, to promote the British war effort overseas and to foster imperial support for the war. Secondly, the filming of the event illustrates the increasing role afforded to film in promoting imperial solidarity, as the film records the Indians as statesmen, watched by crowds, embraced by London, and working and collaborating with the British government. The lack of official cameramen for the “Advance Victory” of 1918, noted by Stephen Badsey, shows how important publicity, prioritising this promotion of imperial solidarity, was to the government.

However, the agenda of Beaverbrook, Montagu and the India Office was certainly very different from that of some of the editors – most notably Ghosh and Iyengar – who saw the trip as an opportunity to impress the Indian point of view on influential leaders, and the broader public, within Britain. Iyengar complained to Montagu of the ‘political phenomenon’ that his, and other newspapers, were not allowed free circulation in Britain, but he spoke regularly of the nationalist aims of his country and concluded, on his return, that a trip to Europe is ‘bound to kindle the fire of patriotism in the breast of the most indifferent Indian’ (Narasimhan, 1963, 158). In commenting on the trip, The Times stated that the editors ‘represent varied schools of thought in Indian domestic policy’, but are ‘united in eager attachment to the allied cause’ (The Times, 14 October 1918, 3). While this was certainly the intended aim and official view, there was evidently a polarity between the political agendas of the participants, which was inevitably not addressed within the film.

Tom Rice (September 2009) 


Works Cited

Badsey, S.D., ‘British Official Film in the First World War’, Unpublished Manuscript, 1981, accessed at IWM.

Basu, Jitendra Nath, Romance of Indian Journalism (Calcutta: Calcutta University, 1979).

‘Propaganda Work (Indian Newspaper Representatives)’, House of Commons, 28 October 1918, Volume 110 c1089, accessed through Hansard.

Kaul, Chandrika, Reporting the Raj: The British Press and India, c.1880-1922 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2003).

Narasimhan, V.K., Kasturi Ranga Iyengar (Delhi: Publications Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India, 1963).

‘Indian Editors’ Visit’, The Times, 14 October 1918, 3. 




Technical Data

Running Time:
4 minutes
Film Gauge (Format):
189 ft

Production Credits

Production Countries:
Ministry of Information
Davis, W



Production Organisations