HOLMFIRTH IN WARTIME (1941-1945) film no: 782
A film that captures the people and events of Holme Valley throughout Second World War, this film shows some of the activities that took place such as War Weapons Weeks, a Royal Visit, a student nature walk, and a Victory bonfire.
Title – Holmfirth in War-Time
Boxing Day at Holme
The film opens with people gathered for a hunt. Some children have also gathered around to pet the hounds.
Title – Parkhead
The houses in the valley can be seen from atop a hill.
Title – War-Weapons Week Jan 25th-Feb 1st 1941
The commentary informs that money is being raised to buy armaments to help the War Effort. A parade then takes place through Holmfirth lead by the Duke of Wellington’s ITC band. Home Guard, Military Police and members of other Civil Defence agencies follow. A Messerschmitt is on show, and there is an auction of a hand-made horse-shoes made from Nazi bomb splinters.
Title – Choppards
A woman walks down a path which is covered in snow. There is evidence of extreme winter weather and heavy snowfall as the snow banks on either side of the road are far taller than even the woman can raise her hand.
There is another parade for a War Weapons Week organised by councillor Joe Lockwood of Holmfirth War Weapons Committee. A fire-fighting display is given by the auxiliary fire-service. The fire fighters demonstrate the water hose as well as use a tall ladder to rescue a man from a second-story window. One of them jumps from the window to the crowd below who hold out a safety blanket to catch him.
Title – Lord Harewood opens A.T.C. Headquarters at Lane End
Lord Harewood is shown around Holmfirth and Gotside Estate.
Title – Wings for Victory week April 17th 1943
Parade of Youth organisations
There is a parade for the Air Force. A raffle is held followed by a procession of Youth Organisations lead by the ATC (Air Training Corps) band, the Army Cadet Corps, the Girls Training Corps and the Girl Guides. This is followed by brief footage of a baby and a man holding up a plaque with the initials USSR.
In another part of the valley, the children of Hepworth school are off on a nature walk. They carry their gas masks. Back at the school, young boys “Dig for Victory” by tending the gardens on the school grounds. They use shovels and pitchforks.
Title – Home Guard Sunday. May 16th 1943
There is another parade for the home guard.
Title – Presentation of Wings for Victory plaque October 2nd 1943
A still of a newspaper article shows the headline ‘Princess Royal visits Holmfirth display. January 29 1944.” The newspaper headline is followed by stills taken during her visit to the Holme House Hostel for evacuees.
Title – Visit of Lady Baden-Powell June 8th 1944
Lady Baden Powell visits a group of girl-guides who have gathered in Holmefirth to greet her. The Lady stands on a podium and addresses the crowd. They give her three cheers before those attending break formation and mingle with the other guests.
Title – Victory Bonfire at Choppards
A victory bonfire has been set up, and children are gathered around. This is followed by footage of men standing atop haystacks. The valley can be seen in the background. The men are working alongside a steam-operated machine which packs the hay.
Title – Victory Bonfire Victoria Park Oct 13th 1945
The community gathered together to celebrate. They begin by building the large structure for the bonfire which is lit upon nightfall. The film ends with a shot of the burning fire.
Another reminder of some of those for whom the war was being fought, is the exceptional film of the children evacuees. Many children were evacuated to the safer areas of Yorkshire, and many of these have described this as an adventure, which seems to be the case for the children in the film – for more on wartime evacuees see the Context for Malton Evacuees. In fact it was safe enough for the children to have left behind their gas masks which they were, legally, obliged to carry around with them (although this was far from always being the case) – Britain was never bombed with poison gas.