Film ID: NEFA 13116 Video of NEFA 13116 North at War NORTH AT WAR: ARP NEWCASTLE 1940s Visitor TabsDescription An amateur film made during World War Two showing various training exercises taking place around Newcastle and other locations. Men in protective clothing are seen cleaning Grey Street following a chemical or phosphorous attack. Another training exercise shows men training to locate and retrieve victims from bomb damaged houses. The film also includes extensive footage believed to be of a suburban street in Heaton in Newcastle showing damaged and destroyed houses. The film also includes footage of an equestrian event featuring the police that takes place in Jesmond Dene. The film opens on Grey Street in Newcastle where a Newcastle Corporation van pulls up outside Carrick’s Cafe. A trailer is attached to the rear of the vehicle while five men in protective chemical suits, helmets and gas masks remove items from the back. Another man in protective clothing pours the content of a silver bucket down a drain. Beside him stand two other men also in protective clothing holding stiff bristled brushes. All the men have number patches attached to their backs. The camera pans up Grey Street where two other men in protective clothing put up a rope barrier across the road. The initials ‘D.C.’ are written on their helmets. Two men in protective clothing carry a large metal bin and shovels down Grey Street. As they pour the contents onto the road another man uses a shovel to distribute it evenly. A fourth man is also seen trowelling on the contents from another bucket. A man in protective clothing marks the road surface with a hand held special device. Outside a clothes shop two men in protective clothing have removed their gas masks are speaking with a third man in civilian clothes. General view up Grey Street where four men in protective clothing hose down the road. Behind them is the Newcastle Corporation wagon and trailer and a small crowd of onlookers. A man in protective clothing and the number ‘4’ on his back ties a length of rope to the metal railing of a window. A second man with the number ‘1’ on his back walks past, stops and turns to face a third man with the number ‘3’ on his back who is walking towards him with a bucket. They stop and talk for a moment before turning and heading back up the street. The film cuts to a van (Reg: GBB 361) which drives directly at the camera. Two notices are attached to each side of the radiator that read: ‘Gas Protection Paint’. There is also metal emblems on the right with the initials ‘D.C.’ The film cuts to a number of firemen hosing down a bomb site of a partially demolished building. A fireman stands at the controls of a hydraulic pump. Behind him a second fireman stands beside another pump while above standing on a wall is a third man who is holding a camera Four men gently lift another onto a stretcher and place him into an ambulance. The film cuts to a fire engine with ladder pulling up behind a van. On the side of the van is written: ‘Doncaster Corporation No. 9 Highways Dept’. In front of it is a large pile of rubble while behind a large crowd stand on the pavement watching. Men in metal helmets carry a mannequin out of the rubble of a demolished building watched over by large crowds standing behind on the far pavement. A fireman hoses down the rubble in the bombed building. Beside the Doncaster Corporation van a second man is placed onto a stretcher. A man looks through a darkened doorway of the bombed building. Another man can be seen standing in the dark beside a fire that is burning near the doorway. The camera pans right where two men in metal helmets and carrying a medical bag rush across the debris. The film cuts to a showground where four horses and riders speed past. A large crowd are watching from behind a fence and above on the hillside are a number of houses. General view of four riders galloping across the showground and coming to an abrupt stop beside a set of wooden gates. The film cuts to a field or other part of the showground where more riders and horses gallop towards a set of gates before coming to an abrupt stop. General view of six police officers in dress uniform on horseback. General view of them performing a synchronized routine. Another policemen walks in front of the horses and riders carrying a flag which he waves in the horses faces. He is then seen holding an umbrella which he opens and closes in the horses faces trying to get them to react. They do not. The film cuts to a man behind a table shaking the hand of one of the police officers. Behind them is a large seated crowd. The policeman is presented with a medal. The crowd applaud as a second policeman with his horse is presented with a silver trophy. Back on his horse the policeman salutes and rides away. On the showground a man in a coachman’s outfit blows a hunting horn The film cuts to a house in a terraced street where white smoke is billowing from the front garden area near to boarded up windows. In the boarded up windows are three small posters which read: ‘To Let’. Two men walk past wearing gas masks. In a street white smoke is pouring from an object in the road. Standing on the pavement as well as behind the object are crowds of people including two members of the St John’s Ambulance A man in dark uniform, metal hat and wearing a gas mask stands at an intersection surrounded by large watching crowds. A van and trailer pull up outside the terraced house. Standing on the back are two men in gas masks and helmets. On the wall behind the wagon is a large advertisement for Hewitt’s Grimsby Ales. A sign in the middle of road reads: ‘Danger Gas’. Four men in protective clothing hose down and scrub the road with brushes. They are being watched by a large crowd standing behind a rope line. More white smoke comes from the front garden of the terraced house. Four men in gas masks, Wellington boots and helmets enter the garden. The man at the rear is carrying a metal bucket and spade. One of the men shovels sand from the bucket into the entranceway of the smoking house. The film cuts to the rear garden of a house showing a general view of bomb damaged suburban houses [It is believed this was filmed in the Heaton area of Newcastle]. There is extensive debris all around and many of the houses have damage to the windows and roofs. As the camera pans right it reveals a space where once a house stood. The houses on either side are extensively damaged. In front of one of these damaged houses is an Anderson Shelter. The film cuts to a view of the damaged gardens and houses as seen from the window of an upstairs room of one of the damaged houses. Seven men in berets and dungarees stand beside the ruin of a house working on a length of rope. The front and side of the building is missing and floors and debris hang down over the street. The film cuts to general views of a bomb damaged factory which appears to have been gutted by fire with the exception of a tower and supporting walls. The film cuts back to a bomb damaged suburban street where military and civilian personnel are working. A policeman stands at the top of a ladder that is resting against the side of a removals lorry. General view of damaged houses. High angle view of a man walks on the debris of the destroyed house seen previously. The top floor is totally gone and only one corner of the ground floor remains. Debris and rubble are all around. The camera pans left to show another house which has lost the bathroom wall. The roof is also partially collapsed and the glass in all the windows is missing. From the street various general views of the destroyed house and surrounding damage. The film cuts to a street where the van seen previously (Reg: GBB 361) is now parked. It moves slowly towards the camera. The film cuts back to the terraced house with white smoke coming from the front garden area. Three men stand beside the wall while a fourth in a trench coat and hat stands at the garden gate. The film cuts back to Grey Street in Newcastle where three men in protective clothing point at various spots in the road. Two of the men walk down Grey Street past a sign attached to a lamppost that reads: ‘air raid shelter’. Beside their wagon and trailer two other men in protective clothing hold a length of rope. Two men in protective clothing but without gas masks stand beside a third having their photograph taken. The photographer walks away and one of the men lights a cigarette. The initials on one of the men’s helmets reads:’C.I.S.’ The film cuts back to the intersection where four men in protective clothing hose and scrub down the road watched over by a large crowd. Parked at the edge of the crowd is Doncaster Corporation van. Beside it are two men protective clothing, three large metal bins, a wheelbarrow and foot tray. General view of the road being hosed down and scrubbed by men in protective clothing. The film cuts to a fireman having a bandage placed around his head by two men in metal helmets. Tied around his arms and legs the fireman is slowly lowered onto a stretcher. They remove his helmet and wrap him in a blanket before carrying him away. Walking in front of them a second man can be seen being stretchered away. A fire engine with ladder drives past. The man on the stretcher is gently placed into a lorry. The film cuts back to the street seen previously where an object is releasing white smoke. The smoke is very thick and onlookers and crowds in the background can only just be seen. The film quickly cuts to the terraced house where three men stand beside the wall. Smoke in coming out of the front garden area. The film cuts to a busy street where a man in protective clothing gives directions to a number of other men in protective clothing. The Doncaster Corporation van is parked outside ‘Stedman Taxis’ from which signs, metal bins, hoses, ropes and brushes are removed and placed around the scene. All the men in chemical suites have numbers written on their backs. An ambulance drives past. The film cuts to four men in metal helmets walking through the debris of a bomb damaged building seen previously. A sign hangs from a partially collapsed wall that reads: ‘Danger Collapsing’. The sequence ends with a general view of the damaged building. The film cuts to show three biplanes flying overhead. Back at the collapsed building there is a puff of smoke in front of the large crowd watching from across the road. A group of men in metal helmets removes a mannequin from the building and lays it on the ground in front of the Doncaster Corporation van. A stretcher is brought out and another mannequin is carried out of the rubble. The film cuts back to the showground where various riders and horses gallop towards a set of gates and come to an abrupt stop. At the showground a female jockey and horse jump a set of gates. General views of the policemen in dress uniform seen previously riding on horseback in formation around a set of posts. A man on horseback drags a weighted bag along the ground which is chased by a number of other riders including the policemen. Several of the riders are holding spears. The film cuts back to the showground where another set of riders and horses gallop towards a set of gates and come to an abrupt stop. A man takes a photograph of the event. Four women on horseback stand in a line as another woman present one of them with a certificate. A young girl in riding gear attempts to pat the head of one of the horses. General views of two women and their horses standing beside a table. Each woman is presented with a riding crop by another woman standing behind a table. She also places a rosette onto the nose of the second horse. In the background a large seated crowd look on. The man in a coachman’s outfit blows his hunting horn. General views of the policemen on horseback riding in unison and standing in a line. Two men walk amongst the horses looking them over. A certificate is presented to one of the men before they trot away. General view of the crowds at the showground. A Union Jack flag flies from a pole. The man in a coachman’s outfit is seen blowing his hunting horn. A woman on horseback approaches and jumps a gate. There is a general view of other women riders trotting around the showground. The film ends on a man face. He removes his hat and wipes sweat from his brow with a handkerchief. Context In April 1937 an Air Raid Wardens Service was created on the home front as part of the British government’s preparations for World War Two. By the middle of 1938 about 200,000 wardens had been recruited, with another half a million enrolling during the Munich Crisis of September 1938. On the outbreak of war, propaganda films produced for the Air Raid Precautions (ARP) section of the Home Office were designed to instil calm and reassurance in the population with instructions to keep “buckets of water and sand ready on the landing,” and “a pencil and paper by the wireless set”. In reality, the government feared civilians might be subjected to gas attacks. Recruited locally, ARP wardens were expected to ensure ‘blackouts’ were enforced, extinguish small fires, administer first aid, investigate reports of unexploded bombs, and organise emergency response units. As this film of an ARP exercise down Grey Street in Newcastle demonstrates, the wardens in their blue serge uniforms and steel helmets also trained to deal with potential gas attacks. The ARP recruits would prove both heroic and indispensable during the sustained strategic bombing between 1940 and 1941, known as the Blitz, although thankfully there were no gas attacks on British cities. In all 1.4 million men and women served as ARP wardens during World War Two.