Film ID:
YFA 2291



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This is a film made by Chapeltown dentist Willie Thorne showing Home Guard exercises in Chapeltown, on the outskirts of Sheffield. This film comprehensively depicts the training undertaken by the Home Guard as they carry out strategic operations and perform combat exercises. There are also glimpses of the social realities of life within the home guard, including a scene which show recruits at meal time.

The opening shot in this film shows a fabric patch with the words 'Home Guard' stitched onto a standard issue army jacket. In a field, members of the Home Guard line-up in for inspection, and the filmmaker then cuts to a street, where the Home Guard stand with their bolt actions rifles, before marching in tight formation. The filmmaker then cuts to a field, where the soldiers crouch low behind high grass, using bushes for cover as they move. Traipsing through dense foliage, the men then get into a prone shooting position in a field. Further shots show home guard recruits crouching and crawling through more fields.

The Home Guard march down a street in Chapeltown; most of the men our dressed in military apparel, however some wear more civilian, formal clothing. Following this, a brass band march down a street, before the home guard enter a church.

Soldiers practice combat manoeuvres in a field, which includes bayonet training, plus aiming and reloading drills. They then march towards a farm house.

Title - Armistice Sunday.

Home Guard and members of the British Legion march to the village's cenotaph. A man lays a poppy wreath before a member of the clergy stands and makes a speech.

Title - National day of prayer. 23-3-'41.

The Home Guard are in Chapeltown Park. The troops perform manoeuvres, after which Major Caulfield-Giles, a high ranking member of the Home Guard, moves up and down the rows followed by other military personnel. More shots follow of a brass band leading the home guard across muddy paths and through dense foliage. The filmmaker then cuts to a close up of one particular soldier, who salutes the camera. Cutting, the procession is again moving through the streets; children and other spectators follow the march, and on a wall in the background, some war time posters are distinctly visible. The final shot in this sequence shows, what seems like the entirety of Chapeltown's Home Guard, taking a break in a field.

The stock then changes to black and white, and soldiers, crouched, take aim with their rifles, while the rest of the regiment await their turn. The filmmaker then cuts to show the men queuing up outside a building with plates in hand. The men are handed food through a window, and colour shots shows a men smiling at the camera with his portion of food, which includes spring onions, bread and what looks like bacon. The next shots are also still on colour stock, and show the men eating by their pitched canvas tents. Next, a melange of shots show a soldier being fed by a fellow comrade, a soldier sipping from his tea and others eating sandwiches.

A close up of a recruits bicep shows various tattoos, including a snake and what appears to be an anchor. Two soldiers then march through the camp sharing the weight of a large sack, which is suspended by a wooden poll.

Again the stock has returned to black and white, and the opening shots of this sequence show the men carrying full combat gear, as they march through a village street. The Home Guard are then seen camouflaging each other's faces, eating and joking before the set off. The men then stop and have some food, which includes sandwiches, and the final shot of this film depicts a scene where two men argue about sharing some food.