Film ID:
NEFA 21212



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Young women volunteers attend a BRCS (British Red Cross Society) camp at Longhoughton in 1944 to train up for roles as Red Cross nurses and support for the medical services during the Second World War. In 1945 women are trained at a Red Cross Youth Movement of Northumberland campsite in the Coquetdale valley (possibly in the grounds of Rothbury Cottage Hospital), their third annual camp at Rothbury. Footage includes trainee nurses during leisure time, swimming on the Northumbrian coast, playing netball and table tennis. This amateur documentary footage was shot by Peter Beatty, a member of the Newcastle & District Amateur Cinematographers' Association (ACA), the Rothbury footage probably filmed in summer 1945, just after World War Two.

A band of officers in black uniforms working with the British Red Cross Society (BRCS) and volunteer Red Cross nurses in blue and white uniform parade in the grounds of a castle.

In a youth camp for Red Cross training at Longhoughton, two BRCS officers inspect young women lined up with their kit outside tents. In the courtyard of a stone farmhouse (possibly a local temporary military hospital or training centre?) young women at the training camp perform exercises (calisthenics) with batons. 

The young women volunteers start to train for roles as nurses. A bed is set up outside, with the injured patient possibly a wounded serviceman.

Again, young women are inspected in a courtyard by BRSC officers in black uniforms accompanied by two men, possibly Home Guard officers. Several of the women are in BRSC “hospital blues” and others in the red and white nurses Commandant uniform. After the inspection, the young women enjoy a meal and cup of tea at a long trestle table, along with a few of the male patients. One of the older BRCS women officers strolls through the courtyard of their training base.

The young volunteer BRSC nurses and trainees go swimming in the sea near Longhoughton, probably at Sugar Sands. Group portrait of the women lined up and linking arms as they paddle, some with their uniforms tucked into their knickers, walking towards camera. Various shots follow of some of the women in swimsuits splashing around in the sea. Next, on a misty day, the young BRCS women volunteers start to dismantle their tents.

In the following sequences, forty-seven girls of the Red Cross Youth Movement of Northumberland are gathered together at their third annual one-week camp at Rothbury, in the summer of 1945. The camp offers a continuance of training and the opportunity to relax in country surroundings.

Two women bundle hay into sacks. Tents are pitched in a grass field, a forested area in the background. A Union Jack dangles from a flagpole stuck in the ground. A BRCS nurse in blue and white uniform sits at the entrance to a tent. A group of nurses lower the flag.

Young Red Cross trainee nurses line up in a row for a kit inspection by a BRCS officer. Various shots follow at the campsite.

Red Cross nurses stand in formation in the courtyard of the stone building, likely the Rothbury Cottage Hospital. They then march past a matron and BRCS officer.

Wounded servicemen (as volunteers) lie in hospital beds set up on a lawn outside the hospital and are tended by the trainees.

Group portraits of some of the Red Cross officers, sitting outside in the sunshine on deckchairs. The male patients are laying in the beds nearby.

The trainee nurses lounge around on the lawns with the men in civilian clothes. The nurses have a game of netball with the men, and generally they lark about and relax in the sun. The BRCS officers have tea at a table on the lawn. Some nurses play table tennis outside.

Back in training, the nurses practice stretcher bearing and carry a patient to a bed.

Another line-up of trainee Red Cross nurses and Commandants in red and white uniform follows. The Red Cross officers lead the troupe from the campsite. The nurses stand to attention and the Union Jack flag is lowered. Preparing to leave, the officers and trainees stroll in the driveway, cars parked nearby. Some of the young nurses pose for the camera with two servicemen (?), wearing turquoise blue blazers. A young male volunteer stands beside a Red Cross dark green ambulance sporting the Red Cross emblem. A Red Cross officer strolls through the campsite with a Commandant in red and white nurse’s uniform. Three of the men stroll in the campsite, a young girl in white frock hanging around nearby.

The Red Cross trainee nurses line up at the campsite for a ceremony at the flagpole.

A group portrait follows of Red Cross officers with a distinguished-looking gentleman and two women in civilian clothes. There are various shots of the two elderly women walking with a Red Cross nurse. Two young women in white gym skirts and blouses hold hands and pose for the camera.

Three men start to dismantle tents at the Rothbury camp, one wearing regulation army clothes. One of the young volunteer BRCS nursing trainees with ginger permed hair carries a packaged-up tent away, turning and smiling at camera. Various shots follow of the tents being dismantled. Luggage is packed and ready for the off. There’s a group portrait of all the young trainee Red Cross nurses. They are then led from the campsite, many carrying bunches of flowers. The group of recovering service men and a male Home Guard (?) officer follow. They head down a hill to the waiting coach. At the bottom of the field two men are loading sacks of hay onto a lorry.