This film is part of Free

Wartime harvesting

World War II's Food Front is seen here in the fields of Kent as farmers labour to get the harvest in on time. By way of entertainment, a barrage balloon sinks majestically to earth.

Amateur film 1944 5 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for Screen Archive South East


This nostalgic film shows how even in wartime, gathering in the harvest was of prime importance. However, there's little automation to be seen apart from the odd tractor and a reaper-binder machine in operation. Otherwise, the harvest is gathered in by hand. Men gather the sheaves and stack them on horse-drawn carts while children try to help. Then it's time for some family relaxation after which a barrage balloon is seen gently descending in the pastoral landscape.

This film from the late summer of 1944 shows harvesting scenes in Otford, Kent, which is close to the present-day M25. At that time, Otford would have been directly under the flightpath of the V1 flying bomb, one of Hitler's terror weapons. The V1 campaign began a week after D-Day, June 6th, and was countered by, amongst other things, hundreds of barrage balloons suspended above the Kent countryside. It is one of these balloons which can be seen floating down to earth in the film.