This film is part of Free

Civilians in Uniform

Leatherhead applauds and thanks its Civil Defence Service volunteers for their sterling efforts, in this fascinating film made during the last months of the Second World War.

Amateur film 1946 21 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for Screen Archive South East


A narrative film record from war-time Leatherhead showing the organisation of local Civil Defence. Starting with a call for volunteers we see various aspects of civil defence in operation; from assembling gas-masks to rescuing air-raid casualties. Dramatised scenes, set in an actual Control Room, show how the wide range of defence activity was coordinated. The film also shows a series of valedictory parades featuring men and women from all the volunteer services.

Leatherhead was first bombed on 27th August 1940, with aerial bombardment increasing throughout early 1941 so the recruitment of local ARP volunteers became an important activity. As the conflict was nearing its end, Mr H.G. Prickett, the manager of the Crescent Cinema in Leatherhead, presented the Air Raid Precautions (ARP) Committee with a proposal, in January 1945, to make a film showing the work of local Civil Defence organisations as a tribute to the town’s civilian volunteers. By March good progress had been made on the film, which now included the reconstruction of a Doodlebug attack and the efforts to rescue the, at times, rather demanding 'casualties'.