Film ID:
YFA 6358

A LONG TRAIL A-WINDING

1982

Visitor Tabs

Description

In the 1980s, Willerby Film Club made an 8mm film capturing the memories of three Wagoners:  Billy Thompson, Horace Harrison and Jimmy Hodgson, who all recall signing up, mobilisation, and their experiences of the Mons Retreat during the First World War.  At the onset of the war, the Wagoners were among the first men to be called up. They were not trained soldiers, but were highly skilled at driving horses and wagons, working on the estates of Sir Mark Sykes in the East Riding of Yorkshire.

The film opens with the stone monument by the roadside in Sledmere, East Yorkshire.  This monument is dedicated to the Wagoners.  

Title – Willerby Film Unit Presents
Title – A Long Trail A-Winding

There are scenic shots of the scenic countryside.  A horse pulls a wooden machine to harvest the grain as the narrator describes what life was like for the farmworkers at the time of the First World War.  

Billy Thompson, Horace Harrison and Jimmy Hodgson, all are interviewed and recount stories of how they signed up for the war, making their way to France, and their experiences of the Mons Retreat during the First World War.  The men also speak of “The Silly Quid.”  This was a result of a reserve set up by Sir Mark Skyes.  The reserve of 1000 men were recruited and paid £1 as a retainer which became known as “The Silly Quid.”  

The interviews are intercut with footage of the horses working the fields and accompanied with a narration.  The film also talks about the effect mechanization had on the Wagoners and their horses.  

The film closes as the three men, gathered together in the pub, sing the song A Long Trail A-Winding.  

Closing Credits:
Camera Alick McTurk, David Hunter
Sound Harold Parnaby
Narrator Fred Lee
Producer Eric Lord

Title – The End