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.
This film is part of Free
Still haunted by the Cuban missile crisis, the folk of Keighley are reassured that local authorities are well prepared for any nuclear attack.
From the collection of:
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.