Film ID:
YFA 4832



Visitor Tabs


Filmed in Todmorden, West Yorkshire, this film features a Home Guard Rally and gymkhana which took place at Central Vale Park during the Second World War.  The events include a performance featuring historical battles from different time periods as well as athletic races. 

Title – Home Guard Rally and Youth Sports Gymkhana
Title – The soldier fights through the ages.

Festivities are being held in Central Vale Park, Burnley Road, Todmorden.  Crowds have gathered, leaving a large circle of grass clear.  At the centre of the circle is a flagpole around which a handful of members of the Home Guard are gathered.  One raises the flag, which barely flutters.

The members of the Home Guard perform a series of vignettes featuring British armies over the centuries. The first seems to feature Saxons/Normans - possibly even Crusaders, as well as a group of monks. The group marches around in front of the crowd. At the far end of the field a plume of smoke rises.

Next there is a hoard of people in unidentified period dress.  They carry swords and shields and march in front of the camera and around the flag pole.

A troop dressed as Yeomen of the Guard parade around.  They are followed by the Cavaliers and Roundheads, who take up battle stations, aiming their guns at each other. Late 18th Century soldiers - a la the American Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars with their (presumably) Red Coats and muskets.

Acting as a narrator, a member of the Home Guard, who is dressed in contemporary military uniform, talks into a microphone. 

There are Victorian soldiers who are dressed in a variety of uniforms including that of a Guardsman in a Bearskin hat.  Florence Nightingale joins them.

Next in line are soldiers in the style of uniform used during the Boer War.

Soldiers, dressed in First World War uniform, march out of the smoke at the far end of the clearing.  Marching behind them are men dressed in contemporary suits and coats who are carrying guns and rifles.  A troop of soldiers in 1940s military/Home Guard uniforms ride in on an army lorry and perform a demonstration of first aid, with stretchers.  Before falling in by the flagpole, all the soldiers line up in chronological order and parade around the circle.


A number of children appear from under a tarp.  All have numbers and initials pinned to their backs. A boy with E4 or EA on his shirt leads the way.

A makeshift basketball hoop has been raised.  Behind it are the tops of trees and a view of Mons Mill in the background.  Spectators and players watch as a ball goes through the hoop.  Another boy takes aim.

A contestant carries something (egg and spoon) from a starting line to a judge.  This is followed by a view of the crowds of spectators.

A girl walks along a balance beam and dismounts safely.  Another girl follows her but seems to fall off the beam.

Various other events are carried out including athletic races, obstacle races, a high jump, an egg and spoon race, long jump, flower pot race, and cycling.  There is footage of the many different races and activities as well as the crowd of spectators gathered to watch the events. 

The film comes to a close as girl competitors line up, the winning team hugs each other.  Boy competitors line up, and their arms crossed like in a team photograph.

Title – The End.