THE little-known story of how 400 volunteers from Canada assisted Hampshire firemen during the Second World War is being featured in a television documentary.

Using original fire appliances from the period, with dispatch riders and a support vehicle, the re-enactment has been filmed in part at Hatchet Pond, Beaulieu.

The programme will also feature previously unseen black and white as well as colour archive footage, personal anecdotes and photos to tell the story of the fire service from just before the outbreak of hostilities until the ceasefire.

Until that time, the emergency services were not structured and run on a local basis. It was not until the introduction of the 1938 ARP Act that a co-ordinated and planned approach came together, with the increasing threat of attack by enemy aircraft.

People taking part in the documentary came from many parts in the area and included members of societies including the Military Vehicle Trust and the Fire Services Preservation Group.

Paul Holmes, spokesman for Waterlooville-based Roundway Studios and Flying Films, told the Daily Echo: "We have been overwhelmed by the support and assistance given by the re-enactors and by local people who have memories of the times. We have interviewed ex-Service personnel and have recorded their stories, both fascinating and thought provoking.''

The documentary is scheduled for transmission in April. Copies of the programme are being donated to local and national archives and a donation from the sale of every tape will be given to charity.