This nostalgic film shows how even in wartime, gathering in the harvest was of prime importance. However, there's little automation to be seen apart from the odd tractor and a reaper-binder machine in operation. Otherwise, the harvest is gathered in by hand. Men gather the sheaves and stack them on horse-drawn carts while children try to help. Then it's time for some family relaxation after which a barrage balloon is seen gently descending in the pastoral landscape.
This film from the late summer of 1944 shows harvesting scenes in Otford, Kent, which is close to the present-day M25. At that time, Otford would have been directly under the flightpath of the V1 flying bomb, one of Hitler's terror weapons. The V1 campaign began a week after D-Day, June 6th, and was countered by, amongst other things, hundreds of barrage balloons suspended above the Kent countryside. It is one of these balloons which can be seen floating down to earth in the film.
Screen Archive South East is a public sector moving image archive serving the South East of England. The archive's collections of magic lantern slides, films, videos and associated materials capture the many varied aspects of life, work and creativity from the early days of screen history to the present day and serve as a rich and invaluable historical resource.