This film is part of Free

Wings for Victory 1943

A chance to judge the mood of a typical English town, four years into a deadlocked war, as we witness the bearing of service men and women marching through the streets of Chapeltown.

Non-Fiction 1943 7 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for Yorkshire Film Archive


An understated resolve can be seen on the faces of these servicemen and women as they march through the streets of Chapeltown, near Sheffield, to raise money for bombers in 1943. Already well drilled from previous fund raising events, it is fascinating to see the mixture of emotions among the serving personnel on view, and those watching, and evidence of how the wartime discipline and order keeps it all in check; with the British Legionnaires having seen it all before.

This film is one of several made by a local dentist, Willie Thorne, of activities in Chapeltown during the war. The Wings for Victory Weeks were held across the country in 1943, from March onwards, to raise money by, among other ways, encouraging civilians to save with War Bonds. With the loss of 12,000 heavy bombers during the course of the war, they helped to build replacements for the controversial area bombing raids which began in 1942, dropping some 80 million incendiary bombs, devastating German cities and killing 635,000 German civilians. The RAF crews making the raids had to do 30 sorties, if they were lucky: with a 40% chance of being shot down, six out of every ten British bomber airmen – 55,000 – died.