Film ID:
YFA 4071

CIVIL DEFENCE WEST PARK

1962

Visitor Tabs

Description

In 1962, a Civil Defence Rally was held in West Park, Hull.  This rally was different from previous events as it brought together all defence volunteers from across the Yorkshire region.  This film documents the activities surrounding the event from initial preparations, set up in the park, defence displays, informational marquees, and musical entertainment and is accompanied by commentary explaining the events.   

Title – No. 2 (North Eastern) Region 1962 Civil Defence Rally Kingston Upon Hull

Title – Produced by the 1962 Rally Committee for the Regional Director of Civil Defence who gratefully acknowledges the valuable assistance of the Chief Constable of Kingston Upon Hull.

Title – This Rally differs in form from anything staged in the past and was experimental.  Its aim was to bring together civil defence volunteers from all parts of the region and to show the general public the unity that exists in Civil Defence in its wider sphere. 

Title - A great number of people contributed towards the success of the rally in many different ways. 

Title – This film is a tribute to their contribution.

Title – First a short silent film in black and white.  This is a copy of the newsfilm of the rally as it appeared on television.

The short film opens with a huge marching band in a field, and a large crowd has gathered around in the park.  Members of the Civil Defence are lined up, and there is a close up shot of them in formation in the field.  This is followed by a gymnastic display by men all dressed in white.  Other displays include police horse jumping and a helicopter rescue display.

Title – Reproduced by the courtesy of Granada Television Ltd. 

[Colour]

At the main entrance to the park, there is a sign advertising the Rally:  Civil Defence Rally West Park 3rd June.  In the beginning of the day, the park is empty.  Later men begin to set up tents and marquees, “…symbolizing the team work in Civil Defence today.”  All the marquees, bandstands, and seating have been set up specifically for this event.  There is an overview of the park, and one of the groundskeepers tends to the flowerbeds.  The dining marquees can hold up to 2000 people, and there is also a paddling pool which has been organized for children and families of the volunteers. 

Men from the Rotherham division of the Defence set up an oven as it is necessary to make the work party self-sufficient over the weekend.  A green van can be seen in the background as the volunteers briefly stop for a cup of tea.  Elsewhere, some of the Halifax volunteers are cooking, and others set up bleachers.  Flags, banners, and exhibitions are set up, and eventually the entrance is decorated as well.   

The festivities begin, and volunteers in uniform are lined up at the tea van.  A few hold up cups of tea in a “cheers” for the camera.  There is a long row of small, black stoves, and women stand at each one making tea to be distributed at the van.  They make ready for refreshments filling large canisters with boiling water.  Milk urns and metal teapots are nearby, and more members of the Civil Defence arrive at the park. 

At 10:30 am, a drive past was scheduled to go through the city centre of Hull, two miles from the park.  The Hull Civil Defence officer briefs the head drivers.  Truck sign – Recognisance Civil Defence Corps Kingston Upon Hull.  Four girls, younger volunteers, walk towards the camera, waving and walking with a bit of a strut as they do so.  The drive past leaves the park and makes its way through Queen Victoria Square in the city centre.  Here, a saluting base has been set up, and people have gathered around the monument to watch the display.  Many sit on the monument to obtain a better vantage point, and much of the crowd is in uniform.  The City Police band plays at the saluting base where the Lord Mayor stands.  The drive through finally makes it to the base at 11:30am, and 150 vehicles drive past.  This footage has been shot at street level. 

Back at the park, Exhibition Marquees have been set up for visitors to the event, many addressing the different issues surrounding Nuclear War.  The Barnsley volunteers display an exhibition addressing how to deal with the aftermath and problems of nuclear warfare.  Smaller exhibitions are set up within the tent including first aid, welfare, food and shelter, and a cardboard cut-out of a mushroom cloud.  Volunteers stand by to give visitors information. 

Sheffield volunteers have organized an exhibition called How, Why, What:  Fallout beginning to end.  Here there is a meter which measures contamination levels and information about explosions.  Halifax offers a Fist Aid and Home Nursing display highlighting how to set up at home to treat radiation sickness.  The National Hospital Rescue Marquee advertises, “Train to be a nurse – our hospitals need your help.”  There is information on wartime emergency treatments, CPR, and other first aid.  Rotherham asks, “What about the Homeless?” and models improvised cookers as well as put on a short performance addressing the human side of the problem.  Finally volunteers from Bradford have set up a tent addressing family survival techniques including use of a WWII Anderson shelter which is on display. 

At midday, lunch is served for the over 3000 people in attendance.  After lunch, the West Riding Fire Service marching band performs before the different afternoon entertainment displays.  In the middle of the park, there is a paratrooper training tower, and a man descends down from the top.  Later in the arena, there is an Army Paratrooper display. 

Mr. Watson, Regional Director arrives at the park.  Other generals, the constable, dignitaries, and the Lord Mayor also arrive for the event.  They have a brief meet-and-greet and chat before making their way to the arena to watch the rest of the performances.   

There is a large gymnastic display including a comedic performance on a trampoline.  One of the gymnasts is dressed up as an intoxicated man in a trench coat.  He makes his way to the trampoline where he shows off his acrobatic skills. 

The gymnasts are followed by the West Riding Mounted Police display where the riders parade their horses around the arena.  They perform stunts including jumping through hoops of fire.  Additionally, the police show the tameness of the horses and how they can be used to aid the work of the police.  A large crowd has gathered to watch all of these displays, and they can be seen around the arena.

At the interval, there is more footage of some of the exhibitions which have been set up.  The Minister and his party tour the marquees, and there are further shots of the crowds. 

After the interval, it is time for the Tug-of-War.  Men paint a white line on the grass, and the Semi-Final begins.  During the first match, it is East Riding vs. West Riding (1), and in the second match, York vs. West Riding (2). 

Army cadets move children back to the edge of the arena before the Helicopter display.  Coloured smoke is set off to show the direction of the wind, and causalities are placed in position.  The helicopter first flies over before coming in to hover for the rescue.  There are members of the Royal Air Force Costal Command operating a yellow helicopter.  The crowd cheers after the demonstration. 

Finally, the Fire Service Marching Band plays in the arena and beats a retreat to end the display. 

The Minister is introduced.  Mr. Renton presents prizes to winners and runners up of the essay contest.  Halifax has won with Leeds being the runners up.  The Minister then addresses the crowd stating it is humanitarian common-sense to have a defence force in case the worst happens.  He commends the Civil Defence members of the exhibitions and displays of the day.  After briefly interacting with some of the volunteers and members of the crowd, the Minister leaves, and the Civic Party departs.  The day has come to an end, and the film closes with a shot of the main entrance to West Park.

Title – The End.