This film is part of Free

Gledhill Collection 5

Life in an army training camp as new squaddies, learning to drill and use a rifle, are joined by evacuees from Dunkirk, having a haircut and mixing up handball with football.

Home movie 1940 12 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for Yorkshire Film Archive


Beginning with icicles and scenes of the large snowfall of January 1940 (the coldest for 45 years), this film moves on to show evacuees from Dunkirk billeting in Halifax and helping to train new recruits, still somewhat rusty with their rifle drill. It shows the typical personalities that were characteristic of that irreverent age, with the army humour, also shown by the filmmaker, that gave rise to the likes of Spike Milligan and Harry Secombe.

This film was probably made by a young (c.19 yrs old) Gordon Gledhill, later of Halifax Cine Club. His father, Arthur Henry Gledhill, a former Mayor of Halifax and governing director of Gledhill-Brook Time Recorders Ltd., was the first President of the Cine Club and also made many films in the 1930s and ‘40s (he built his own cinema at home). Gordon was the grandson of George H Gledhill, who set up the company in 1886, and the last family member of the company (sold off in 1964). During the War the company produced various military items, such as sun compasses for desert operations and map measurers. The place of billeting, The Gleddings, passed from Lady Fisher-Smith to be used for army training during the war.