Mine Camp

Archive: Wessex Film & Sound Archive
ID No.: AV237/1
Title: Mine Camp
Date: 1939-1945
Film-maker: Mr D H Sheppard
Colour: Black & White
Sound: Silent
Duration of complete item: 21 min.
Themes: Children in War-time; Home & Family Life


Amateur film, taken by chemist shop owner Mr D H Sheppard of Parkstone in Poole, of his family and their daily life during World War Two. ‘Mine Camp’ is a play on words of the book title ‘Mein Kampf’ (My Struggle) by Adolf Hitler, reflecting a peculiarly British sense of humour at the time.


The film begins with animated titles. This is followed by a sequence outside the family house as each of the 'players' emerge - Pamela, Pauline, Peter, and 'Mother'. The mother and one of the children are then seen ironing clothing, including close shots of a handkerchief being ironed. The children are then filmed playing in a living room and posing for the camera. There is a shot of a model house, a toy car and figures, and a small model aeroplane. Amongst the toys, a teddy bear is wearing a child's gas mask.

An animated sequence follows with a model fireman and model aircraft over a house. The girls are then shown playing with the dolls house and one of the boys plays with a model robot. Another animated sequence includes a robot and toy car. The film returns to the girls playing with a dolls house. The boy gets a gas mask out of a satchel and tries it on. The mother puts the gas mask on her daughter. Shots of newspaper front page headlines and cartoons are filmed - all relating to the war. The girls are then seen doing the washing up.

Exterior shots show a rabbit in hutch and a cat watching. Shop fronts on a street are filmed, including D H Sheppard's chemist shop. There is scaffolding outside the shop and a man working on the exterior of the building. Customers are filmed entering the shop and the shop awning is pulled out.

Views of the river beside Christchurch Abbey with families walking alongside are followed by a picnic on a hillside and shots of cattle. The family do some washing up 'al fresco'. Various shots of a waterfall are followed by scenes of two men on bicycles herding cattle down a lane. A man picks brambles, and a woman is filmed cutting a loaf for a picnic. After some close-up shots of flowers, the picnic is shown being laid out and the family poses for the camera. A woman then runs in a field with a hoop and stick, and girls play with a doll. Washing up takes place in a stream. An under exposed sequence of shots show the family group and some flowers. A man and woman stand in the garden of a house by an exterior staircase. The family group then go walking along a country lane in summer. Final shots show the family in a wooded area and walking through a bracken covered area - possibly the New Forest, and finishes with girls up a tree.


Over 100 reels of film made by Mr Sheppard from the 1930s to 1980 were personally deposited with WFSA, shortly before he died aged 97 years. They represent a lifetime of film-making in the Poole area and cover a wide range of subjects, many of local interest. In particular, his films made during the War are remarkable for their depiction of everyday life in a time of adversity.

As a chemist, Mr Sheppard had access to cinefilm stock and equipment, which he sold in his shop, and was already active filming his family and local area before the War. He was a member of the Poole Cine Club and one of the films he made with fellow members showed the town and promoted its attractions - AV237/3 ‘Poole for Natural Charm’ (1936). Another film was a comedy drama made with local amateur actors called ‘A Night at the Cedars’ (1937). During the War, he used accumulated film stock to record his family’s experiences, showing normal, everyday activities such as domestic chores, snow clearing and picnics in the countryside, as well as trying on gas masks and sandbags piled up against the shop.

Towards the end of the War he managed to obtain some colour film stock from US airmen stationed near Poole, to whom he used to give film shows on his projector. This was used to good effect on VE Day and after, in his film ‘Taken During the War’ (AV237/15), when he shot footage of celebrations in his street and in Bournemouth (which includes a lingering shot of US aircraft returning to the United States).

Mine Camp (1939-1945)

Mine Camp (1939-1945)

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