Film ID:
NEFA 18643



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A record of a large scale civil defence exercise carried out in Newcastle and Gateshead with the participation of Durham County Fire Brigade. The film was produced by Newcastle & Gateshead Joint Fire Service.


The film opens with a fire filmed in reverse revealing the insignia of the Newcastle & Gateshead Fire Service.

Title: Exercise ‘Tyne’.

Title: Organised by the Newcastle & Gateshead Joint Fire Service.

Title: Under the direction of Chief Fire Officer J. Mackenzie M.I. Fire E.

Titles: Purpose… To demonstrate effective integration of regular area A.F.S. Units and personnel of No. 1 Civil Defence Region. And

Title: To test wireless and mobilising communications. (Walkie-Talkie and VH/F scheme).

Title: The initial call.

The “J. Rank Ltd” lettering appears on the Baltic Flour Mills on Gateshead quayside. On the roof of the building a fireman is on patrol carrying his walkie-talkie in a large backpack on his back. He sees something across the river.

Title: Fire spotted from observation post.

Smoke billows from a container on the Newcastle quayside. Another fireman with walkie-talkie backpack can be seen through the smoke. Smoke rises from a number of buildings on or around the quayside.

Title: Message transmitted to fire control.

The fireman on the roof of the Baltic Flour Mills speaks into his handheld microphone.

Title: Fire control receives message.

The fireman on the roof writes in a notebook and speaks into his microphone again.

[Black and White]

At another location another fireman takes down the message on a pad and passes it through a glass kiosk window to another man. He then records the message in writing as he sits at a large telephone exchange machine. He passes the message to a woman who then speaks into large microphone.

Title: Turnout of Newcastle and Gateshead appliances.

Two firemen slide down a pole and collect a message from the man behind a glass kiosk. More firemen appear down the pole and rush to their fire engines.


Four fire engines speed out of the fire station on Pilgrim Street in Newcastle watched by crowds on the street.

A number of fire station doors open and five more fire engines speed out.

The fire engines race through the streets. A point of view shot from one engine records its approach at the Baltic Flour Mill.

Title: Reinforcements!!

A woman sits at a desk with a microphone. She gets up from the desk and collects a note from another woman.

Title: Column of Reinforcements en route to the reception base in Durham County.

A Durham County Fire Brigade Land Rover speeds down a deserted road followed by a fleet of fire engines. The Land Rover (Reg: GAJ 835) turns into a driveway and is stopped by a fireman in a white metal helmet.

The fireman directs several fire engines as they turn into the driveway.

A red “Durham County Fire Brigade Canteen” van drives in.

More than twenty Durham County fire engines are parked outside a building; a number of firemen standing around.

A group of firemen enjoy a cup of tea and chat.

Title: To rendezvous point Newcastle.

A red motorcycle with sidecar leads a fleet of fire engines and other support vehicles along a country road. Bringing up the rear is a  “Civil Defence Corps Durham County Division” lorry.

A sign attached to a lamppost reads 'A.F.S. Exercise Tyne – Rendezvous Point'.

A man walks along a path, the Tyne Bridge seen in the background.

Fire engines arrive at a rendezvous point in Newcastle.

More tea is distributed to both uniformed men and women who stand around chatting.

Title: Reinforcing appliances en route from rendezvous point to fire incident, via mobile control units.

Fire engines pull out of a driveway and are directed onto a main road.

Title: Mobilising control Gateshead.

A green van with red and white chequerboard design is parked in the road. A group of firemen are standing at the roadside talking, a fire engine is parked behind them outside the 'Wholesale Carpets Co'.

A fire officer is saluted by a fireman. Inside the van a woman is taking notes.

A fireman on a motorbike hands another fireman a note. He then delivers the note to the van.

A group of men stand around at a chalkboard that is propped against a van. The board reads 'Control Unit G' and shows the River Tyne with various areas marked as 'Incidents'.

Two men talk with a woman who is taking notes. They speak with the driver of the van.

A motorbike rider arrives and delivers another note to the woman.

Title: Mobilising control Newcastle.

A convoy of fire engines and support vehicles pass the operation control can. Several engines come to a stop by the van are are given instructions by two firemen.

A chalkboard for “Control Unit N” rests against the side of the operation control van.

Title: Watta puts fire oot!

On a river jetty a firemen rush to unravel a fire hose and attach it to a red diesel pump. Water from the hose is then aimed into the air and River Tyne.

Title: Firefighting operations in progress.

General views from both the Gateshead and Newcastle quayside's of firemen directing water from their hoses into the air over the river. A large number of  fire engines are parked on the quayside beneath the Tyne Bridge. A large crowd of people are watching the proceedings from the bridge.

A small group of people walk along the road next to a sign that reads “Gateshead.”

Officers standing behind their men on the Gateshead quayside give directions and making sure the hoses do not get tangled.

A fire hose with a wicker end is pulled from the river.

An ambulance is parked outside a building. A ladder is propped against the building with a man in a helmet at the top looking through a window.

Three woman and a man help to carry a stretcher carrying an injured man in to the back of a Borough of Gateshead Ambulance.

A man in glasses holds up a cup of tea and smiles at the camera. He is surrounded by a group of men and women who are also drinking tea.

A man uncoil a rope next to a “Civil Defence Corp Tynemouth Division” lorry. Another rope hangs down from a fire escape that is attached to the side of a tall building. On the top of the fire escape another fireman looks down .

On the Gateshead quayside two firemen drop a large fire hose with a wicker end into the river.

General views of firemen on both the Gateshead and Newcastle quayside's pumping water into the air. A fireboat along the Gateshead side is also pumping water into the river.

Overhead view of a ladder on wheels being rolled out from a fire engine by a group of firemen and extended by hand.

A fireman stands on the top of tiller ladder; a man on the nearby bridge watches as he ascends. The fireman directs the flow of water from his hose on the ladder into the river.

A large crowd stands around the fire engine as the tiller ladder descends.

General views of crowds of onlookers watching over the firemen in action on the quayside. 

Travelling shot from a boat of firemen in action along the Newcastle quayside.

General view of the front of the Spillers building.

Fire engines are parked near a group of shipyard cranes. A group of women walk carefully over the ground nearby, one woman slipping.

Another fire hose exercise takes place at a less populated part of the river.

A group of women in berets stand next to a Women’s Voluntary Service van handing out cups of tea.

Title: “Fleur de Lys”

The fireboat in the middle of the river pumps out red, white and blue water.

Title: The making up of an appliance.

A man waves his arms and the fire hose exercise comes to a halt.

General views of firemen rolling up hoses and pulling others from the river.

Title: Arriving at the Feeding Centre.

A man in white armbands directs various fire engines and motorcycles with sidecars. A small group of children stand on the path watching proceedings.

A group of men walk along a path and are directed by a woman in uniform

[black and white]

In a kitchen seven women in aprons pose for the camera.

Title: Even firemen must eat!

Women serve food and clearing away plates in a busy canteen.

General views of firemen eating in a canteen. One of the firemen is holding a film camera, others are smiling .


The film ends in another canteen where female guests and officers enjoy their meal.

Title: The end

End Credit: Direction of Film – Asst. Div. Off. J.R. Reid.

End Credit: Photography & Editing – Sgt. J.W. McHugh

End Credit: Assistant Photograph – P.C. L.A. Walker

End Credit: Titles – F.M.R. Hickling