You appear to be using a browser that is no longer supported. You may find that you are unable to use all features on the site. We recommend upgrading or changing your browser, if possible.
Skip to main content
Search... Open this section

Train To Win (clip 1)

Training and employment of women engineers during the Second World War

  • Print All


First clip of a documentary film exploring the training of women in the munitions factories during the Second World War. They are shown how to operate machinery safely and learn technical and mathematical information to compliment their practical skills. This clip includes: Credits. A leaf calendar, dated 4th September 1939. A classrooma calendar dated 4th September 1939. Shots of a classroom of women with the teacher watching the pupils draw maps of Molnas. Close-up of a map, then the shadow of a swastika starts to spin across the design. The town at the centre bursts into flames, and we cut to a montage of shots of bomb-damaged buildings collapsing and ruined, to the destroyed classroom and wrecked objects. Men work at machines, and we see conscription papers. We see legs and feet march away, and a young woman says farewell to her uniformed boyfriend as a train heads out of the station. The machines in the factory grind to a halt. The woman at the station sees a poster: Train to Win. She heads to the Employment Exchange and signs up. We see flyers for the engineering industry, and the young woman taking advice about the option and signing up. She reports for training, is handed work clothes and advised how to wear them for safety. She tucks her hair out of the way and removes her jewellery. Along with a group of other women, she is shown how to operate a drilling machine. We see various machines in use. At lunchtime, the workforce is fed well in a busy canteen and they sit and enjoy their break. Back to the work floor and we see more machines in use. The young lady is advised to change her shoes for the next shift. They look over the components they have made, checking the gauge and dimensions for accuracy, and return to work on different machines.

Questions & Activities


  • Why did women have to work in factories?
  • What jobs are they doing in the factory?
  • What are the woman in the film training as?
  • What they are making?
  • What was conscription?
  • Who was conscripted?


Home Front: Watch this film as an introduction to the Home Front topic. What do you think is going on and what do you not understand clearly?

Media Studies / History / Drama: Watch the 1943 film Millions Like Us - a fictional film of women in the munitions factories and compare to this training film. Then write a script for your own film about working in the factories. Develop a set of characters and create a scene of action and dialogue. Then act out the scene. You could also film your drama.

English: Write narration from the woman's point of view about what is happening and how she feels.

Work Experience: Show students this film before going on their work experience. Discuss the type of things they will need to look out for. Later, ask students to write or storyboard a report about work experience.

English / Media Studies: List the main techniques the woman is shown learning and try to write a shot-list laying out the main beats in the narrative.

English: Write letters back and forth between the young woman and her boyfriend about their wartime experiences.

Health and Wellbeing / Art and Design: List all the health and safety instructions mentioned in the film. Make a wartime poster to warn of the dangers of working in the factory and how accidents can be avoided.

Gender: Research the role of women in World War II. What other jobs did they do and why were they encouraged back into the home following the war. Look at at 'Wood Goes to War' to see another munitions factory and 'A Day in the Home' as an example of what was expected of women following the war.

Clip Details

Record Id 007-000-002-427-C
Resource Rights Holder National Library of Scotland
Project Ref 3838
Date 1941
Genre Public Information
School Subject History, Social Studies, Media Studies, English, Drama, Art and Design, Gender Studies
Subject Matter Engineering, Home Front
Who Frank Marshall (director), Ministry of Labour (sponsor)
Where Glasgow
Attributes Black and White, Silent
Clip Length 8:33
Film Length 15:08