This footage represents the sole pre-war footage of Isle of Wight firefighters so far discovered.
The event itself is immersed in poignancy being the last summer before six long years of war. Among the victims of the war was the Isle of Wight Fire Brigades Federation. The Federation remained dormant during the war years in expectation of re-emerging when hostilities ceased. It never happened and the IWFBF met for the last time over a celebratory dinner in November 1945.
The day of the Shanklin Hospital Carnival, 12 July 1939, was created to include the annual IWFBF drill competitions on the Big Meade, an event of great popularity since the late 1880's attended by hundreds of Islanders every year. As fate would have it this was to be the last Federation competition and it was one in which the hosts of Shanklin Fire Brigade would reign supreme, scooping five of the six trophies on offer - only Fireman Brooks of East Cowes upheld the other brigades with an individual best performance in the one-man drill.
Unfortunately the footage doesn't show the drills but as the camera pans across the crowd at the Big Meade a row of fire engines, their escape ladders protruding across their backs can be seen in the background and later, when the carnival itself gets into motion, the Shanklin firemen victoriously wave their hard won cups as they parade through the streets in the procession followed by the town's ancient manual fire engine which at its rear includes an appeal for recruits into the AFS and ARP. Truly a moment in time.