Showreel: Keeping fit

11th July 2019

With summer well and truly here, be inspired by IWM's archive to make the most of the sun and keep fit at the same time!

This year’s Women’s World Cup has been the most successful and high-profile ever, continuing a tradition of women’s football in Britain which dates back more than a century. The sport became popular with munitions workers during the First World War, before being banned by the FA from 1921-71. From the novelty of women playing football to keeping fit by hoeing, we look at initiatives to encourage health and fitness for civilians and military personnel in the First and Second World Wars.


Showreel sequences

1. A matron at a convalescent hospital plays football with veterans from the Battle of Jutland. Topical Budget, 1916. NTB 277/2

2. Female teams from the munitions factories play a football match at Southend, Essex. Topical Budget, 1918. IWM 339/1

3. Civilians are encouraged to keep fit for war work - through running, rowing, cycling, swimming. Fitness for Service, 1941. UKY 267

4. Holidaymakers are asked to avoid train travel for summer beach trips and to cycle instead. Warwork News no. 51, 1944.S15 51

5. Colour film shot by the Royal Navy Film Combat Unit of servicemen exercising on board ship the day after D-Day, 1944. ADM 1234A

6. Royal Engineers enjoy time off by swimming in a canal in Normany.Swimmers in the Canal de Caen de la Mer, 1944. A70 121/2 


Looking for more inspiration? Explore sporting activities on IWM Film. We also have an amazing photography archive...  

women football munitions
HU 70114. Women munitions workers' football team from the AEC Munitions Factory at Beckton, London. Photograph

officers playing badminton
© IWM (Q 32533). Officers of the 27th Division playing badminton in a village (possibly Stavros) in Salonika. Photograph

Explore more sporting images on IWM Collections Online. If you need help sourcing archive for a project please contact the media licensing team