War + Military | 1930 | Sound | B/W
The days of the phoney war and the preparations for World War Two made by Britain in 1939.
Children play on the big guns of World War One. People going to church, priest and vicars outside church, country churches, family leave the house for an outing. The Serpentine, Hyde Park, London. People listen to the radio as war is declared, Prime minister Neville Chamberlain's announcement.. The first air raid sirens go off and people go into the shelters, it is a false alarm. Barrage balloon. More people in shelters looking worried. Warden flagging down a car as a couple cross a street. He leans down to the car window and tells the man to get out and take shelter. Couple go down steps into the basement of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine on Gower Street. Back in a shelter, a man scoops some water from a bucket into a mug and hands it to a elderly woman on the other side of the room.
Wide view of a desolate and dug up Hyde Park, looking towards the Albert Memorial. Warden digging up Hyde Park for sand bagging. Training soldiers, parade ground, pilots take off. Painting white strips of cars and buses of the black out. Taping windows, fire engines. Aged and ill evacuated, children evacuees put their name tags, labels on. The children leave by train and the women cry on the platform. Evacuee platform sign. Children on the train. Pets and dogs being prepared for evacuation. Women trained as ambulance drivers, barrage balloons over London, a couple buy flowers as they must say goodbye, wives wave at the train station, a band plays on the platform. National Gallery is emptied as the pictures are sent outside London. British Museum books are removed. Statues are removed. Sandbags with banners say " Let 'Em Come". East End, West end, Gibraltar Walk, Cockneys. Air Raid notices on the walls give instructions. Public shelters, docks, foreigners register, pets are evacuated, a women hold dogs lots of a lead. Women admire military styles clothes, or even uniforms in a shop window. Knitting circle of older women knitting for the men at the front, lots of knitting, plane watchers watch. Planes take off theatre shut, a man unscrews all the bulbs in a theatre. Lights off for black out. Making Spitfires. Hospitals and arsenals wait the spotlights in the air waiting. London waits for the start of war. Guards outside Buckingham Palace. King George VI and Queen Elizabeth.
The film is intended to reassure Britain that is prepared but with hindsight is unbearably tense.
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