This film is part of Free

Sussex 1939

The Sussex Communist Party presents its review of events and activities during the final months before the outbreak of war in this remarkable film from 1939.

Amateur film 1939 19 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for Screen Archive South East


This record of the Sussex Communist Party's activities in 1939 provides an unusual perspective on the last months of peace. We start with demonstrations and arrests outside Brighton's Employment Exchange followed by the Party's 2nd County Congress, where speakers include the filmmaker, Ernie Trory. May Day in Hastings follows while in Brighton, Labour members defect to the CPGB. Finally, we’re marching in Eastbourne and listening to fiery speeches on the seafront.

Ernie Trory filmed a number of political events as part of his work as organiser for the Sussex Communist Party, which was founded on championing workers rights, rallying against unemployment and promoting the Soviet regime. It was also a vociferous opponent of fascism, both in the UK and abroad, which included fighting in the Spanish Civil War. Evidence of these activities can be observed through Ernie Trory's self styled 'scrap-book' style filmic review of the regional Party's activities. Ernie Trory's films capture these key moments in the Party's history and in the social history of the South East. Interestingly, this film's content ends in summer, presumably before the Nazi-Soviet Pact was signed.