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Wessex Film and Sound Archive

The Home Front 1939-1945

A surprising number of films made by amateurs survive from this period, despite wartime restrictions, to add to the military and Government-sponsored material produced.

Notable amateur films were made by Harry Thew, Captain Wakeford and Frank Bealing of Southampton, featuring exercises by civil defence volounteers in the Swaythling district, barrage balloons, activities at the School of Navigation, and so on; Derek Sheppard of Poole, showing his family and business in Parkstone, plus a day out in Bere Regis; Bill Sheaff of Hythe, filming on behalf of his absent boss Hubert Scott-Paine, featuring the workforce (mostly women) at the British Powerboat Company, bomb damage to the factory, and the firm's Home Guard contingent; Mr A W Legg of Bournemouth, headmaster of Charminster Mixed School, who filmed his pupils and staff 'making do' during the war.

Professional films of note include Port of Achievement, made by the Southern Railway Film Unit to show how Southampton Docks survived the Blitz and contributed enormously to the war effort; the same unit filmed activities at Eastleigh Railway works, featuring women making aircraft components and landing craft as well as working on trains; and a number of unedited films by the Army and RAF Film Units, covering the build-up and embarkation of D-Day ('Operation Overlord') in the region.

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V.E. Day 1945

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