This film is part of Free

Wartime savings rally, Winchester and Home Guard

Wartime Winchester is the star of this film, which includes military marches, Home Guard exercises and an outdoor boxing match staged by the American Army.

Amateur film 1940 12 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for Wessex Film and Sound Archive


This fascinating Home Front film shows various events in and around Winchester beginning with a savings rally and forces march-past followed by an Auxillary Fire Service display at the Guildhall. Firemen are seen playing their hoses on the roof. Then we see Home Guard members on exercise and using an anti-tank weapon called a Smith Gun. We end with an outdoor boxing match, staged by the American Army, which shows a fight between two African American boxers.

William John Prall was born in Southampton in 1891. He worked in the family business as a watchmaker and jeweller. He fought in Mesopotamia during the Great War and was wounded in 1917 when he lost an eye. Always a keen photographer, Prall progressed to filmmaking and recorded a large number of events in and around Winchester. He joined the Home Guard and was able to film various activities like those seen in this film. The Smith Gun which the Home Guard can be seen using was a hastily contrived anti-tank weapon designed to be used in the event of a Nazi invasion of Great Britain. However, the weapon was difficult to use and sometimes maimed, or even killed those unlucky enough to operate it.