This film is part of Free

The End

Still haunted by the Cuban missile crisis, the folk of Keighley are reassured that local authorities are well prepared for any nuclear attack.

Non-Fiction 1965 7 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for Yorkshire Film Archive


It’s the night of 13/14th March 1965, and Keighley has just suffered an airburst nuclear attack, between a megaton and a kiloton. Amateur filmmaker Michael Lockwood is on hand to witness the Civil Defence go into action to deal with some hundred casualties; an operation involving 350 in total. The injured are rescued from the upper floors of half demolished houses on makeshift stretchers, put in ambulances and whisked away to hot soup cooked outdoors in great pots.

Civil Defence exercises of this kind were not uncommon at the time, this one taking place around Aireworth Street, Keighley. The place where survivors are taken for medical attention and food is Holden Hall, Oakworth. Rescuers included 40 young men from Eastmoor Approved School, Leeds; casualties were from the Army Apprentice School, Harrogate, and Tong Park House School, Baildon. Michael Lockwood was just 20 when he filmed this exercise being carried out by West Riding Civil Defence, having recently seen Peter Watkins' powerful 1965 documentary The War Game, although the BBC banned it from TV. Michael a was a member of Keighley Cine Circle, but soon moved to Preston, joining Preston Cine Club.