The Yorkshire Film Archive collects, preserves, and shows film made in, or about Yorkshire. Our collections are non-fiction, dating from the 1890s to the present day, and providing a rich and visually compelling record of all aspects of lives, cultures, landscape, industries, major events and everyday activities, many of which are available to watch, free of charge, on our website.
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A fascinating glimpse into the training of the Home Guard –learning how to hide from enemy invaders – showing that they were far from being the farcical shambles of Dad’s Army.
Training film/TV programme 1942 10 mins Silent
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This training film reveals that, rather than being a bumbling ‘Dad’s Army’, the Home Guard were fully prepared in the eventuality of any invading German army. Here, hidden in a wood in the East Riding of Yorkshire in the summer of 1942, members of the Home Guard show their various, somewhat comical, skills in the art of camouflage.
This is one of three films showing the full scope of Home Guard training in the East Riding of Yorkshire. The Home Guard – formerly the Local Defence Volunteers (LDV, appropriately nicknamed ‘Look, Duck and Vanish’) – were formed in mid May 1940, when the government were concerned that citizens were arming themselves. At first there was no training, and it fell to Grimsby born Tom Wintringham to kick-start this in June 1940, applying what he learnt from fighting for the Republic in the Spanish Civil War. There was also an unofficial Women's Home Defence League established illegally by Edith Summerskill MP in 1940, which trained 20,000 women to use arms. At its peak the HG numbered 1,793,000.
Ready for the Enemy
Amateur film 1938 10 mins Silent Location: Woking
Woking gears up for war in this remarkable film about the Home Guard and its contribution to the town.
Amateur film 1939 9 mins Silent Location: Gospel Oak
Adorable amateur film showing the work of the Auxiliary Fire Service in Finchley with a mixture of pride and self-deprecation.
Instructional film/TV programme 1941 15 mins Silent Location: West Sussex
Should you ever need to set up a roadblock then watch this film as the West Sussex Home Guard reveal the right and the wrong way to stop the Hun in his tracks.
Home movie 1940 9 mins Silent Location: Sandiacre
From their sandbagged headquarters, the Sandiacre ARP and Red Cross await their call to action.
ARP: A Practical Demonstration of Nottingham Precautions ARP: A Practical Demonstration of Nottingham Precautions
Amateur film 1938 10 mins Silent Location: Nottingham
As the nation slides into conflict, Nottingham prepares for a new type of warfare: the horrors of aerial bombardment and mustard gas attacks.
Government sponsored film 1942 23 mins Location: Bristol
A behind the scenes look at civil defence work during and after a Luftwaffe bombing raid on Bristol during the Second World War.
Amateur film 1975 7 mins Silent Location: Beverley
An atmospheric film of a dry dock, the welding of the hull, primitively held by timber supports, before the ship plunges sideways into a river.
Historical Pageant Procession, Beverley through the Ages; July 10th 1 Historical Pageant Procession, Beverley through the Ages; July 10th 1
Documentary 1937 24 mins Silent Location: Beverley
An elaborate vision of Beverley, in Yorkshire's East Riding, from ancient times through to the 1930s.
1941 4 mins Silent Location: Beverley
The Battle of Britain may be over but the war over the skies continues, and so the people of Beverly crowd the Market Square and dig deep to buy one of Britain’s greatest war assets.
Non-Fiction 1942 3 mins Silent Location: Beverley
New young recruits are seen here showing their colours at the height of the war, marching through the town of Beverley, preparing for the battles ahead.
Non-Fiction 1944 2 mins Silent Location: Beverley
Lines of children laden with books deliver them to bespectacled gentlemen granted the right to select those to be sent to forces abroad, and those to be pulped for recycling.
Training film/TV programme 1942 15 mins Silent Location: Beverley
Doubtless civilians would have been re-assured in 1942 had they seen this training film for the Home Guard, learning fieldcraft, positioning and close quarters combat.
Industry sponsored film 1957 9 mins
A 1957 film examining the future for British Railways, and some of the opportunities provided by a new modernisation plan.
Industry sponsored film 1957 20 mins
Illustrating the efficiency of express freight trains, and how they link manufacturers with their customers at the other end of Britain.
Documentary 1952 30 mins
Examining a day in the life of what was then the busiest railway system in the world – British Railways.
Travelogue 1953 21 mins Location: York
The Stationmaster at York guides us through a typical day, from dawn to dusk.
Industry sponsored film 1960 24 mins
A new luxury express is put through its paces. This film looks over the shoulders of the select band of craftsmen, engineers and operators, whose combined skills try to ensure that a train journey is a delightful experience.
Documentary 1973 15 mins
British Transport Films record the varied daily lives of their neighbours as seen from the high roof of their building in London’s Marylebone.
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