Friday, December 16, 2016

8mm Films of Church Lads Brigade Camps in the Grand Falls-Windsor Area

In October, I began working on digitizing Nineteen 8mm film reels from the Grand Falls-Windsor Heritage Society. Without labels or a way to view the reels, the contents of the films was a mystery to the Society so they sent them along to us to have digitized. The films are now ready to be shared and I hope with your help we will be able to identify some of the individuals or locations in the films. The films have a variety of topics, but the bulk of the collection show formal events and camps of the Church Lads Brigade. The Church Lads Brigade has had a major presence all over the province, and while these reels are of the Western Division, they are a good example of the activities of the C.L.B as a whole. The films are interesting not just for those connected with the C.L.B, but for anyone who was involved in other groups that went on similar camping trips.

This first film was previously posted, but I was able to record a clearer copy so I decided to share it again. The reel shows a C.L.B. Parade with band that march towards an Anglican church. At the church there is an inside service as well as an outdoor event with many people in attendance. This is one of the few C.L.B. reels which showed a formal event.

Next we see what looks to be an open air church service conducted by the cadets of the C.L.B camp. Their families look on, visiting the camp for the day. This reel also shows some other camp activities, as well as title cards. There are fourteen titles, created by the filmmaker Albert Hillier, that may relate to this reel or others in the collection. They identify that at least some of the camps had taken place in South Brook, and one was identified as filmed in 1947.

Another reel that was previously posted shows various C.L.B scenes. I was able to reattach a broken section adding 4 minutes on to the film, as well as improving the quality. The reel showed various camp activities including swimming and sports as well as local events at the Grand Falls War Memorial and the railway station.

Unfortunately none of these films have sound, and in the following film the sound would be an important part of the event. The footage is dark, filmed at dusk while a music group with a female lead is playing for the camp. The campers can be seen dancing between the tents, having fun with a night of music.

The next film identifies the camping group as the Church Lads Brigade Western Division, and at least this particular camping trip took place in South Brook in 1947. It shows a formal event and some footage of the camp grounds including a C.L.B crest with the division, location, and year laid out in white stones. I hope this information will help to identify some of the people in the films.

While the image of the C.L.B is often thought of as uniforms and parades, this film shows some foolish behavior by the adults at the camp, starting with some sort of silly march where they all pull up one pant leg and march around the campsite. I am curious to know if this was a unique event or some tradition at the camps. Next is a meal scene, with all adults and a priest sitting at the head of the table. The mood is jovial, with members making faces at each other and the camera, and one man wearing a fake nose. We then see an informal wrestling match, and the boys line up to go swimming. The last scene in this reel shows the adults joking around and hitting each other with a strap.

The adults at camp can also be seen in the following film playing baseball and getting ready for a swim. They pose in front of a sign that reads "Our Summer Resort" and lists rules for the camp site. I believe this is also located in South Brook. We also see a female camp visitor laughing and joking with the men. This visitor seems to be in some connection with a inspection and parade that takes place at the camp and ends the reel.

The next film is a good example of everyday camp life. It shows the serious side with a camp inspection, there are various clips involving food and eating, We see how the campers bathed, and some recreation activities like baseball and boxing.

The campers also had to deal with the elements, in this case rain and the flooded camp. We can see that the tents have been raised off the ground and both the men and boys are working in a line to bail out puddles of water. It is not just necessary work, but they can be seen having fun as well, throwing a bucket of water towards the camera and tossing the bucket in the air back to the beginning of the line. 

The final film in this set is a short clip showing the more serious side of the Church Lads Brigade, with all members in uniform and lined up for an inspection

I hope you enjoyed viewing these films, I look forward to posting the remaining nine soon. If you recognize any locations or people in these films, please contact 

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