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  • Country: GB
  • Year: 1918
  • Runtime: 48 mins
  • Description:
    Partly fictionalised account of the contribution of women to the British war effort by 1918.

    (Reel 1) It is 1914 and the outbreak of the war. Mr Smith, a prosperous businessman, is starting to lose staff who have volunteered for the Army and he refuses women replacements. He also prevents his son volunteering since the war will be over by Christmas and he needs his help. He is enraged at his two daughters, telling them that even in war a woman's place is at home . In his garden the Spirit of British Womanhood appears and puts him to sleep for four years. She calls to women through the land who rise in a trance to the war. Mr Smith's son joins the Army with his mother's sad blessing. Four years later the Spirit wakes Mr Smith who staggers off. He sees girls of the Women's Land Army doing farm work (Byfleet Manor Farm, Old Basing) and selling milk from the farm in a town (Basingstoke). College girls work as flax pullers in their holidays. (Reel 2) Women work in a tannery making coats for soldiers, as railway porters at a military dock railhead, or at a station (Charing Cross). Women build buses in a factory for the London Omnibus Company, serve food in Victoria Station canteen, bake and deliver bread for Lyons Bakery in Kensington. They work at a gasworks, at a tobacco factory, for the Post Office, make aircraft at Waithead's Aircraft Factory (including acetylene welding) clean windows and make munitions. (Reel 3) Other women also drive ambulances, run YMCA huts, escort visiting officers in London. Queen Mary and Lloyd George are quoted stressing their importance. There are even policewomen. In a formal parade on 29th June 1918 all types of women workers march along Whitehall, through Admiralty Arch and Hyde Park to honour the King (not seen). The parade includes the Voluntary Aid Detachment, Women's Legion, WAACs, WRNS, the Women's Air Auxiliary Corps ( the Penguins ), the Women's Army Service Corps, Women's Land Army, Women's National Land Service, Women Foresters, munitions girls, TNT girls, ambulance drivers, Royal Mail drivers, bus conductors and tram drivers. Mr Smith returns home to find that his house is now a hostel for wounded soldiers run by his wife and daughters as WAACs. His son has lost an arm and is staying there. As the family dine together that night he receives his final surprise: military service age has been increased to fifty and he is being called up, he will have to salute his own son. On this comic note the film ends, with a final quotation from Lloyd George on the importance of women in war work.

  • Keywords: EFG1914
    World War I
    Women's Land Army
    London Omnibus Company
    Lyons Bakery
    General Post Office
    Waithead's Aircraft Factory
    Young Men's Christian Association
    Police Force
    Voluntary Aid Detachment
    Women's Legion
    British Army, Women's Army Auxiliary Corps1
    Royal Navy, Women's Royal Naval Service
    Royal Air Force, Women's Royal Air Force,
    Women's National Land Service
    Women's Forestry Corps
    society, British - domestic
    propaganda, British - inspirational
    agriculture, British - animal
    agriculture, British - arable
    industry, British - general
    buildings, British - commercial: railway station
    society, British - domestic
    society, British - sustenance
    industry, British - munitions
    industry, British - chemical
    industry, British - aircraft
    ceremonies, British - display: parade (women workers)
    Basingstoke, Hampshire, England, UK
    GB, England & Old Basing, Hants
    GB, England & London, SW
    GB, England & London, SW
    GB, England & London, SW
    GB, England & London, W
    GB, England & London, W
    GB, England & London, WC
    sex & [+]
  • Provenance: Imperial War Museums
  • Provider: Imperial War Museums
  • Production company:Ministry of Information
  • Colour: Black & White
  • Sound: Without sound