Carnforth war memorial

IN December 2004 the King's Own Royal Regiment Museum in Lancaster received a donation of a tin of highly volatile nitrate film which recorded the unveiling of Carnforth's War Memorial on November 9, 1924.

The museum had no means of viewing the film but with the assistance of the North West Film Archive the images from the original film were transferred to a DVD.

Nitrate film stock, which was widely used in the inter-war years, is highly volatile and can burst into flames with clearly the potential for disastrous results.

When the DVD was received at the museum from the film archive the six minutes of black and white, silent motion picture provided a fascinating insight into the day when Carnforth's War Memorial was unveiled.

The parade to the memorial includes the Salvation Army band, servicemen, former servicemen, civic dignatories, police, firemen and members of the 5th Battalion, King's Own, who also provided the soldiers who fired a volley of shots over the memorial.

The crowds included many schoolchildren and also many of the families of those soldiers commemorated on the memorial.

It is very possible that some of the children pictured are still alive today, 83 years on, but sadly no-one has been identified.

When we showed the film in the museum 12 months ago one visitor explained how his elderly mother was at the unveiling, but sadly he could not spot her in the crowd.

The film was produced by William J Weeks who was the owner of the 'Kinema' in Carnforth.

Its premiere was likely to have been either on the same day as the memorial was dedicated, or very shortly afterwards.

It is known that the film was screened in the 1950s in Carnforth. Since then the roll of film was carefully preserved by his family until the kind donation to the museum.

Copies of the DVD can be obtained from the City Museum shop for 5.50

Peter Donnelly, curator of the King's Own Museum.