The IWM Film Archive is the oldest film archive in the UK, holding over 20,000 hours of film, video and digital material and covering the two World Wars and all conflicts involving British or Commonwealth Forces since the start of the Twentieth Century to the present. Our collection also reflects aspects of civilian life in wartime, military life in peacetime, military exercises and operations.
This film is part of Free
Ordinary men from all trades and professions lead double lives to hone their soldiering skills in Britain during the Second World War.
Documentary 1941 10 mins
From the collection of:
‘Citizen’s Army’ is an insight into the training of the Home Guard; a volunteer force established to help defend Britain against a much feared Nazi invasion. Many of these men would have been kept back from the armed forces due to their age, and instead of going to the front, volunteered in large numbers to receive military training in anticipation of one day being called to action.
This propaganda film shows how new recruits were drilled in skills such as grenade throwing and enemy evasion, often by men with experience of fighting in previous conflicts. The Home Guard also undertook guard and observation duties, helping to relieve some of the burden from the British Army, who were stretched by their commitments overseas.
The Home Front
West Sussex Home Guard 1
Instructional film/TV programme 1941 4 mins Silent Location: West Sussex
There's a wrong way and a right way to deal with Nazi spies and fifth-columnists - as you'll see in this this hilarious colour film starring the Home Guard and various Nazi rotters.
Documentary 1943 33 mins Location: Guildford
The Secret Life of 4 Year Olds (1940s-style) at a nursery in Guildford.
Victory Day Scenes
Amateur film 1945 14 mins Silent Location: Cardiff/Caerdydd
It’s all over, for Britain at least – the dreaded telegrams, the bombings, the blackouts - and Cardiffians celebrate the end of the war with tea and cake, fancy dress and bonfires.
V.E. Celebrations at Newport May 1945
Amateur film 1945 9 mins Silent Location: Newport/Casnewydd
Beautifully presented production from The Newport and District Amateur Film Society which gives a real flavour of city celebrations on Victory in Europe Day (8th May 1945).
Documentary 1943 10 mins Location: London
Whilst some cultural treasures were stowed away in wartime, there was still an array of objects, artworks and experiences on offer to the public.
Peace returns to the garden
Amateur film 1945 5 mins Silent Location: West Wickham
The War might be over but there's work to be done in the Lauste family's garden. So their son, Leslie, now back from active duty, helps his mum with the apples and the hollyhocks.
Drama-documentary 1937 26 mins Silent Location: London
And… Action! Workers become filmmakers in this realist drama steeped in period detail.
Pa Puts His Foot Down
Advert 1934 16 mins Location: London
Romance blossoms over a discussion of fluid flywheels in this cinema ad for BSA cars directed by Zoltan Korda.
Havant By-Pass construction, Langstone and Pook Lane
Amateur film 1964 4 mins Silent Location: Havant
Watch as the countryside around Havant disappears under the tarmac of the future M27 - with nostaligic shots of Langstone Harbour and a very leafy Pook Lane
Unveiling Eros and West End cinemas
Amateur film 1985 3 mins Location: London
Relive the 1980s in this nostalgic film from Alan Stingemore - featuring a variety of flagship cinemas, the relocation of Eros as well as a few cinemas that have since disappeared
Brighton Seaside - Airshow & Silver Jubilee in Bromley
Amateur film 1977 11 mins Silent Location: Brighton
Tony Mitchell captures a variety of events during Jubilee year - including day trips to Brighton and a bunting covered London as well as an accident at an airshow
St Faith's go to Kew for tea
Amateur film 1936 20 mins Silent Location: Brentford
Enjoy a nostalgic trip down river with members of the St Faith community - with tea at Kew, feeding penguins at London Zoo and lots of chatter - all in sign language!
Comedy 1919 35 mins Silent
A protective father masquerades as an automatic doll in this bonkers interwar comedy.
Spirit of Mayday
1937 11 mins Silent
May Day – a significant day for the labour movement – is covered by the cameras of the Film and Photograph League.
Cornelius Cardew 1936-1981
Performance 1986 55 mins
An exploration of the life and work of the controversial British composer.
1935 9 mins
Let it bleed? This exemplary education film gets to the heart of the matter.
U.A.B. (Workers Newsreel No.3)
Non-Fiction 1935 12 mins Silent
Punchy political film capturing mass protests against unemployment.
The Merry Month of May
1937 15 mins Silent
A spirited satire on the coronation of George VI made by members of the Film and Photograph League.