JER Young - Lost Souls Project Research Film
2nd Lieutenant John Edward Royston Young was a pilot with the Royal Flying Corps based at Rochford Aerodrome in 1917. On becoming a pilot, John had been posted to 37 Home Defence Squadron and was guarding the northern approaches of the Thames Estuary.
Following a warning of an enemy formation approaching the coast of Essex he took off in a Sopwith 1½ Strutter from Rochford, with C.C. Taylor as his gunner. Despite being in a technically inferior aeroplane, Lt Young flew into the centre the flight enemy bombers and flew a collision course with one to try and stop it reaching its target.
Sadly Lt Young was overwhelmed by enemy machine gun fire, his plane was disabled, and he was killed. The Sopwith aeroplane fell into the sea off Southend and the Gunner, CC Taylor was rescued, but died later of his wounds.
HMS Leigh - Southend's Wooden Pier - Chris Taylor
The history of Southend Pier is long and illustrious. It began as a cunning plan to attract more tourist trade into the town by allowing passing tourist steam ships to dock at all tides, it became a roaring success – eventually. This film is a brilliant look at how Southend’s Wooden Pier was conceived, created and developed from the 1830s by local documentary maker, Chris Taylor.
RNLI - Southend assists injured kite surfer
This video comes courtesy of the Southend RNLI and is headcam footage of the Southend Lifeboat assisting an injured Kite Surfer who became tangled in his kite rig off Southend Pier in 2017.
VE Day Essex Memories – Chris Izod 54’06’’
The VE Day Essex memories programme was produced for BBC Essex to commemorate VE-Day. It contains the memories of Essex people who were active in the services. Working on the home front or evacuated. There is also and interview with Emile Stein who was a prisoner in the Belsen concentration camp. Group Captain Hamish Mahaddie who worked with Bomber Harris on bomber command. The programme ends with the children of Sacred Heart school in Southend singing a song written by a former pupil on VE-Day. The children share their thoughts about the war as they see it. Produced and courtesy of Chris Izod and presented by John Hayes.
HMS Leigh - Southend lifeboat history and funding
The RNLI has been saving lives off of Southend-on-Sea and up and down the Thames since 1879, when it was launched by a team of horses. Since then the lifeboats have worked 365 days a year, through every weather and the Greater London was one of the 19 lifeboats which went to Dunkirk in 1940. Today there are 2 lifeboats, one Hovercraft stationed under the base of the pier and the Inshore Lifeboat launching from the Boathouse that was officially opened in July 2013. The RNLI is supported solely by public donation, so if we want people to be rescued, we need to keep supporting them.
HMS Leigh - Southend Carnival 1950
With the loss of Southend Carnival due to the Pandemic, one of the great events of the year was not able to raise our spirits and sense of community for the first time since the WW2. To help us remember the pleasure it bought to the whole Southend Community, Chris Taylor gives us this look at how they celebrated Southend Carnival in the austere environment of 1950, perhaps it may give us hope for the future.
Southend Faces 1937
Southend-on-Sea has been a busy, colourful town since the 1800s and the pre-WW2 era was one of growth and a thriving tourism industry. Thanks to black and white film recovered by local historian Chris Taylor, we are able to have a glimpse into the ‘Faces and Places’ of 1937 Southend.
Leigh in the 30s
A fascinating look at Old Leigh using recovered film from the early 20th century, that takes in the history and people of the historic fishing village. Many thanks to Chris Taylor who produced and narrated the Bygone Years DVDs for allowing us to use this material. All of these films and more can be found at the East Anglian Film Archive -
Southend Sea side in the 1930s
With summer fast approaching and the prospect of staycations being the norm, this film looks at how the people of the town and the visiting tourists enjoyed the carefree summers of the 1930s. Thanks to the Bygone Years films by Chris Taylor, we can all feel warm and cosy watching how Southend-on-Sea enjoyed the Summers of the 1930s.
Southend Beach 1930s
Southend’s beaches have always attracted crowds on the warm and sunny days of summer. This short film shows how the town and visiting day trippers enjoyed themselves in the 1930s.
Bygone Years 001 - Cockling In Leigh-on-Sea
For many years the Cockling Boats have fished in the Estuary off Leigh-on-Sea. This short film shows how the work of the Cockling Fleet in the 1930s was little changed from that of previous generations.
In May 1940, 6 Cockling Boats joined the fleet of ‘Little Ships’ for the evacuation of Dunkirk – only 5 came home.
This clip from the Bygone Years DVD was recovered and shared with us by documentary maker, Chris Taylor.
Bygone Years 009 - Dancing on the Pier 1930s
This is a clip from the Bygone Years DVD produced by Chris Taylor from archive footage recovered from old forgotten film cans and contains scenes of dancers on Southend Pier during the 1930s as well as Priory Park at that time. The DVD was produced with the help of the East Anglian Film Archive who now hold the materials
Bygone Years 010 - Southend 1932 Chalkwell Park
What were you doing in 1932? In Chalkwell Park they seem to be having a bit off a shindig!
Here children of Southend are on parade in their home made costumes – some very elaborate – having fun in Chalkwell Park during the 1930s. Many thanks to Chris Taylor who produced and narrated the Bygone Years DVDs for allowing us to use this material. All of these films and more can be found at the East Anglian Film Archive - http://www.eafa.org.uk
Southend in time of war - Chris Izod
Chris Izod’s film combines archive footage from Southend during WW2 using documents to bring to life what it was like at the beginning of the conflict in Southend. Using interviews with comedian, Michael Bentine, and actress Peggy Mount, as well as other local people who remember the first Air Raid on Southend in WW2 alongside fascinating facts and figures about that time.
D-DAY Essex Memories (Long) 59mins 59 seconds
This is a brilliant heritage programme that uses interviews with D-Day Veterans to detail the journey of the Allied forces during Operation Overlord. With contributions from soldiers, sailors, airmen and civilians it gives an intriguing look at a world that only a handful of people alive can remember. Many thanks to interviewer and Producer Chris Izod for sharing this with HMS Leigh.
HMS Leigh - Pier Railway Upgrade 1949
The toast rack carriages of the Southend Pier Railway carried millions of tourists before the war and over 1.5 million service people between 1939 and 1945. The old trains were due to be replaced in the late 1930s but the opening of hostilities saw that postponed.
So following sterling service during WW2 it was decided to replace Southend Pier Railway’s famous Toast Rack trains for a new more modern design.
As Chris Taylor explains in his Bygone Years film, it took until 1949 to commission and build the new sleeker carriages and power units that were a feature of the Pier for many of us growing up.
Southend Carnival 1937
Southend Carnival has been a feature of summers by the sea since 1906, with floats of all types parading along Western Esplanade to the delight of the huge crowds. Thanks to the Bygone Years films produced by Chris Taylor for this unique snapshot of Southend-on-Sea before World War 2 with this recovered film from 1937.
Works outing to Southend 1948
Southend has been a popular tourist destination for day trippers since the mid 1800s, and after the isolation of the town in World War 2 enthusiastically welcomed visitors from far and wide. In at the end of May 1948 the staff of the Wright Cooper Ltd Confectioners from North London. Armed with crates of beer they loaded up onto A&W Luxury Coaches and headed Eastward.
Many thanks to Chris Taylor who produced and narrated the Bygone Years DVDs for allowing us to use this material. All of these films and more can be found at the East Anglian Film Archive -
HMS Leigh WW2 Children - John Lee Interview
Southend in WW2 could be both a terrible and wonderful time to be a child. John Lee was 5 in 1943 and living in the Southchurch area of Southend-on-Sea. He recalls the soldiers being billeted in the roads around his home before being posted abroad. At that time John was a pupil at the Bournemouth Park School (now Bournemouth Park Academy) and has shared a wonderful memory of the time with the HMS Leigh Project.
Kursaal Southend 1930s
The Southend Kursaal was a place well before its time and the envy of many other seaside resorts. The main building was a dance hall and concert venue, while the Fair Ground outside boasted wooden roller coasters, exciting rides, a wall of death, stalls , attractions, and even an elephant! The Kursaal Fair Grounds occupied what is now the Kursaal Estate in Southend-on-Sea. This clip from the Bygone Years DVD was recovered and shared with us by documentary maker, Chris Taylor.
HMS Leigh - Bernard Maybe
Bernard Charles Maybe was 18 when he was conscripted into the RAF in 1943 to serve as a Flight Mechanic and Ground Crew. Remembering how he felt when he was first conscripted, Mr Maybe compares his experiences to those of teenagers today. Sadly Bernie died in 2019. Many thanks to SSAFA, the Armed Forces Charity for helping us to interview Bernie.
Bygones years 011 - Drumhead Service Chalkwell Park 1932
The Drumhead Service marked the end of Carnival Week in Southend-on-Sea. In front of thousands of spectators it included a march past of the local regiments, the Aldermen (and women) of the town lined up in their finery, and a church service taken by Canon Gowning of St Mary’s Church, Prittlewell.
Many thanks to Chris Taylor who produced and narrated the Bygone Years DVDs for allowing us to use this material. All of these films and more can be found at the East Anglian Film Archive - http://www.eafa.org.uk
HMS Leigh - Southend Lifeboats rescue family
There are many dangers on the beaches of Southend, and one that can happen very quickly without you even noticing, is being cut off by the fast moving tide if you are on a high sand bank. This family was caught unaware while looking at the wreck of the WW2 Mulberry Harbour section East of Southend Pier and Southend RNLI came to the rescue.
HMS Leigh - D-Day Essex Memories - Part 1 - Chris Izod – 15’12’’
D-Day Essex Memories is a programme produced by Chris Izod with commentary by John Hayes that tells the story of the leadup to Operation Overlord. This special programme is a wonderful eyewitness account of the many aspects of D-Day through interviews local people who were there in 1945.
HMS Leigh - Southend Tram Tour 1930s
One of the lost features of Southend-on-Sea before WW2 was the Tram System that ran from Leigh-o-Sea to Thorpe Bay between the turn of the century until well into the war. The tracks were a similar gauge to the Southend Pier Railway at 3ft 6in (106cm) and the power was supplied by overhead wires. Thanks to film recovered by local historian, Chris Taylor, we can share a brief glimpse of a tram journey around the town.
Leisure and tourism in Southend before the war
In 1953 Britain was on the up! However, meat and bacon were still rationed, and the debts of World War 2 were still being paid off. What had not changed for Southend-on-Sea was the need to attract tourists to its sunny shores, and local film make Richard Pike produced this wonderful, coloured advert for the town narrated by famous war correspondent Frank Phillips.
The best place under the sun
In 1953 Britain was on the up! However, meat and bacon were still rationed, and the debts of WW2 were still being paid off. What had not changed for Southend-on-Sea was the need to attract tourist to its sunny shore and local film make Richard Pike produced this wonderful advert for the town narrated by famous war correspondent Frank Phillips.
VE Day and VJ Day – Fred Feather interview
On the 75th anniversary of Victory in Japan Day 2020. Luke Duxbury and Luka Lacey interviewed Fred Feather about his experiences of VE Day and VJ Day in 1939 as a young boy in WW2.