Film ID:
YFA 4639



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This film documents an annual police sports day and gymkhana at Wakefield, 1939, and captures the athletic events and a trained police horse display. The sports day took place at College Grove which is now Wakefield Sports Club.

Title - Athletic sports & mounted police gymkhana at Wakefield July 28th 1939.

Title - Captured by a special constable's camera and produced in evidence.

Title - Dripping rain and nipping air; but Yorkshire Constables don't care!

The film opens with an elevated view of a car park filled with constables and their families, who mingle in a large group. On a green, men in suits, ties and trilby's talk amongst themselves and many hold bits of paper - presumably the gymkhana programme.

Title - To see fair play (and share the fun) here's Superintendent J.L. Dunn.

A man wearing a suit, hat and glasses talks to another man in similar apparel, who sits at a wooden desk.

Title - Before the storm clouds really burst - women and children's races first.

From the finishing line, the filmmaker captures three young girls as they run the length of race course and cross the finishing line.

Title - Bravo girls, you've set the pace; now let's see how boys can race.

The boys' race is captured, and shots show some of the race officials talking to the competitors afterwards.

Title - Girls again, with sparkling eyes, each one keen to win that prize.

Girls, of a slightly older age, race down the track wearing similar white skirts. Again, the race officials surround the competitors as they work out the result.

Title - Stand back girls beside your brothers; now we're going to see your mothers.

Women sprint down the track. One woman slips as she crosses the finishing line, with the crowd watching from behind. Sped up and slowed down motion is employed to capture several races, again featuring women.

Title - Give Mrs Bellamy a clap; she's won the final handicap.

Another race is filmed in slow motion; a line of women sprint towards the camera with one woman falling over half way through and another breaching the ticker tape right before the camera.

Title - Now the potato race arrives - a proper test for "Peelers" wives.

Women run back and forth between the start line and potatoes set at different distances on the green, dropping each potato into a bucket.

Title - Potatoes open wide their eyes, as Mrs Dunn bears off the prize.

Another shot shows the potato race from another perspective.

Title - Now three cheers for Mrs Eaton, with egg and spoon she can't be "beaten".

Women race down the outlined course, whisking their eggs down the track and crossing the finish line. Another egg and spoon race is shown with several women dropping their eggs.

Title - Veterans still can "make the grade"; hats off to the old brigade.

A man wearing a trilby and rain coat speaks into a microphone positioned on the green, while the stands and pavilion are visible in the background filled with spectators.

Title - D.C. Grierson, "fighting git", still can show the lads a bit.

Men race down the track in white vests and black shorts. From another angle the race is then captured in slow motion as the competitors cross the line. Again the referee's surround the runners after the event.

Title - Tug-of-war's a good pull up for Doncaster, who win the cup.

Pre-match preparations; one team, wearing a striped uniform, huddle in a group, as a sweeping pan captures the crowd watching from the fence. The tug-of-war then gets underway and both teams fight hard, before one team loses a man to the mud and the match is over.

Title - Next we'll watch the one mile flat; Constable Walsh runs off with that.

A multitude of shots capture competitors as they run round the green; the residential housing behind is visible, along with spectators who envelope the green. The winner crosses the finish line and walks up to the referees.

Title - The hundred yards is short and quick. Varley of
Huddersfield does the trick.

The race is again captured in slow motion; smoke from the starters' pistol rises into the air as the competitors break away from the start line, before crossing the ticker tape. A brief portrait shot of the winner is then shown.

Title - To win the one mile walk's a feat with 19 P.C.s on the beat.

Men fast-walk past the camera and crowd's at a relatively pedestrian pace. The winner is then shown crossing the finishing line.

Title - Of quarter-Milers here's a batch; Yet D.O. Byrne get home from scratch.

Another race is briefly shown, before the final shots shows some competitors shaking hands.

Title - The obstacle's a tricky race, but P.C. Burnett makes the pace.

This sequence contains an obstacle race; the male competitors walk on bricks, climb through rubber tyres and race down the home straight in sacks.

Title - The relay race - one measured mile which Pontefract's team win in style.

Views show a relay race.

Title - Refreshments make a welcome break; gallons of tea and tons of cake.

Title - Now for the feature of the day; the trained police horses' display.

An officer stands on a horses back, waving a flag while the crowd in the stands applaud. The officer then attempts to distress the horse; he waves a flag in its face and throws a dummy at it. Four officers on horseback then perform synchronised riding manoeuvres to the crowds delight, with the final trick showing officers standing on the horses backs and waving flags and white sheets. An officer then lies on a wooden bench as another officer on horseback rides over him.

A very quick glimpse shows members of the crowd and one man smiles and salutes the camera. An officer pole vaults over a horse several times, with each attempt being made exponentially more difficult by the presence of hoops and other paraphernalia. A man on a bicycle grabs hold of a horse's tail and is towed across the green.

A horse then lies on the floor while an officer stands on its belly. The horse then stands up and the next shot shows a horse chasing a clown. There are then another few glimpses of the crowd enjoying the day. Officers on horseback then leap over a flaming jump, with some of the shots again in slow motion.

Title - And now before admiring eyes, each winners comes to claim a prize.

A large, tightly compacted crowd surround a platform where several men and women stand. A variety of prizes are laid out along on platform, some of which include clocks, silver cutlery and other desirable domestic items. Astride the platform, a woman wearing a fur sash and hat hands a boy in the crowd a football, before passing out other prizes to the days winners; congratulating each winner with a firm handshake. More shots show the crowd as they watch the prize giving ceremony. A man wearing a suit and tie then poses for the camera in the stands, holding an engraved shield.

Title - Best thanks to Mrs. Vaughan, we say; and like the closes we'll roll away.

The crowd begin to disperse from the field, and shots capture the fashion as some women chat and laugh. The final shot shows the car park as vehicles begin to head out.