Film ID:
YFA 679

RUGBY LEAGUE WARTIME MATCHES: ODSAL STADIUM, BRADFORD

1940s

Visitor Tabs

Description

This is a series of films featuring four Rugby League and Union games:  a fundraising match between Combined Services Rugby League and Rugby Union, 1941, a fundraising match between Yorkshire Services and Northern Command, early 1940s, England v Wales, 1939, and the Challenge Cup Final between Bradford Northern and Wigan, 1944. 

The film opens with several people outside Odsal Stadium, Bradford.  Inside the stadium there are several teams going through exercise routines across the field before the stadium fills up.  A woman, in what looks like a Women’s Auxiliary Air Force uniform, is collecting money outside.  Back inside the stadium there is a parade.  It is led by a Highland band which is followed by marching troops, a Boys Brigade band, possibly the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force.   

On the pitch, the action begins for the rugby game between Combined Services Rugby League and Rugby Union.  This is followed by a performance of Highland dancing at half time.  More action from the second half of the game is followed by the teams leaving the pitch and the crowd leaving at the end of the game.  Some of those attending the game, including officers and members of the Highland troops, are shown talking outside the stadium.   

The next section of film begins with the souvenir programme of the game:
"Odsal Stadium, Bradford. Souvenir Programme.

Yorkshire Services XV versus Northern Command XV.
Saturday February 15th 1941: Kick-off: 3.15.  Price 1d.
Challenge Match for Army Charities".
 

Officers and civilians arrive at the stadium and wave to the camera.  Others pose outside the ground.  More coaches arrive carrying army personnel.  Higher-ranking officers and dignitaries are shown arriving by car.  A woman in a fur coat shows a box of flowers to the camera.  The crowd goes through the turnstiles and queue at the booking office.  The teams – Yorkshire Services and Northern Command – make their way down onto the pitch from the stand.  The teams line up to be presented to the mayor.  Highlights of the first half are shown before one of the teams pose for the camera at half time.  There is more from the second half of the game, and at the end, the teams leave the field.   

The next film begins with the title: ‘England v Wales. December 23rd’ [1939].   

Spectators arrive through the turnstiles, and the camera shows a poster: 
"City of Bradford: Police Notice:
AIR RAID PRECAUTIONS
The gates of the ground will be opened immediately if an Air Raid Warning is sounded. 
Every one should leave the Ground immediately but in an orderly manner.
Do not rush for the gates.
If you can reach your home in a few minutes go there.
If you cannot reach your home quickly, take shelter of any kind available or as directed by the Police or Wardens.
Do not stand in groups in the street.
ABOVE ALL KEEP A COOL HEAD..."

Then some people greet each other outside the grounds.   

Title - ‘The Earl of Harewood Inspects his Guard of Honour, from the Bradford Air Corps’.   

The Earl greets the Corps while other dignitaries arrive and make small talk.  The Earl makes his way down the stand onto the pitch to greet the players, which include two black players in the Welsh line up.  Some highlights of the match are shown as well as the large crowd gathered in the stands.   

The next film is of the second leg of the Challenge Cup Final between Bradford Northern, in the white shirts, and Wigan, in the dark shirts, on 22nd April 1944.  Wigan won the first leg at Central Park Wigan 3-0.  Northern won this leg 8-0 in front of a 30,000 crowd.  Highlights of the game are shown, including the players taking a half time break sitting next to the stands.  At the end of the game, the Northern team goes up to collect the cup and celebrate.