- Title: CROSSING OF THE CHINDWIN AT SITTAUNG/OPERATION PROFIT - COMMANDO RAID ON RAMREE [Allocated Title]
- Film Number: JFU 206
- Other titles: BRITISH ARMY OPERATIONS IN SOUTH EAST ASIA DURING THE SECOND WORLD WAR [Allocated Series Title]
- Summary: Film showing 19th Indian Division crossing the River Chindwin at Sittaung, Burma, and an abortive raid by No. 5 Army Commando, 3rd Special Service Brigade, on Ramree.
- Description: Reel 1: Pan across a beachhead on the banks of the River Chindwin showing men, mules and a number of jeeps. Brief shot of men washing and shaving on the riverbank. Mules are led onto barges which start to cross the river. A line of mules led down to the riverbank; one appears to be startled and bolts. Men dash out of the way. Mules led along a shady path. Mules going aboard a raft, some more tamely than others. Panning view to the far bank with ferries crossing. A column of motor transport; Chevrolet lorries kick up clouds of dust. Open lorries full of troops pass camera. Column of motor transport with parked tank transporters carrying Lee medium tanks (of 254th Indian Tank Brigade) by the roadside. The tank transporters get underway. A jeep is carried across the river by a ferry. A wrecked river steamer, possibly of the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company. A jeep and trailer are put onto a ferry. Pan from the jeep to men waiting on the riverbank. Men moving supplies; one crate is marked 'Service Biscuits'. Onboard a ferry crossing the Chindwin. Men disembark at the far bank; two men struggle through deep mud at the water's edge. Other men off ferry. A Bren gunner keeps watch. Troops file onto a barge. A mobile radio Direction Finding post mounted on a jeep. Close-ups of the signallers at work and of the rotating antennae array. An apparently Japanese skull sits on the bonnet of the jeep as a macabre souvenir. At a crossing point further upstream mules are put on a ferry. An outboard motor is started. Mules unloaded at the far bank. Reel 2, Part 1 (Chindwin coverage): A file of troops walk along a sloping road near the riverbank followed by a jeep and trailer. Mules are led off barge at the water's edge. A mule dustbathing. Stores are unloaded. View from the river of a passing barge loaded with mules and men. Men carrying stores. A jeep climbs a steep road. A number of men roll an oildrum up the same road, followed by men and mules. A line of troops. Mules off a barge; one seems puzzled by the water and hesitates only to be shoved into the water with a splash by two muleteers. This last section seen from two angles, one medium close-up and one very wide shot. Part 2 (Commando raid): Water churning at the stern of a Royal Indian Navy motor launch (ML), probably a Fairmile B Class motor gunboat; tilt up to a Landing Craft Personnel (LCP) under tow. Commandos service their weapons which are early-model (M1928) Thompson submachine guns with Cutts muzzle compensator and vertical foregrips. A man in the background appears to have an American M1 Garand rifle, rarely seen in British service. Two men; one oiling a machete and the other a bayonet. A man reassembles his Thompson, works the cocking handle, and looks down the sights. LCP under tow. Men eating (stew?) from their mess tins. View of the sea state. Commandos embarking on ML 412 and 413 at Teknaf jetty. Commandos onboard a gunboat 'camming up' by blackening their faces. A Commando with a blackened face smokes a cigarette; another lights a cigarette from it. View of a sunset over the Indian Ocean.
- Access Conditions: IWM Attribution: © IWM
- Featured Period: 1939-1945
- Production Date: 1944-11-19 1944-11-20 1944-11-13 1944-11-14 1944-11-15 1944-11-16
- Production Country: GB
- Production Details: War Office Directorate of Public Relations (Production sponsor) SEAC Film Unit (Production company) Bovill, Frederick Oscar1891-04-18Bovill joined the film industry in 1906 with Gaumont, then moved to Barker Motion Photography in 1909. He joined the army in 1914 and served with the 1st City of London Regiment, Royal Field Artillery. When he was discharged in 1916 he was made official photographer/cameraman for the Canadian War Records Office at the Western Front. Whilst his earlier work was praised his later work was greeted with criticism and he was discharged in June 1917. In November 1917 he joined the Royal Air Force as an observer. After the war worked for Goldin and Lloyd's 'Horseshoe Comedies' series and as a cameraman to the London Underground and Omnibus Control. In the Second World War he joined the PATHÉ GAZETTE and filmed in Iceland and the Far East. (Production individual) Beech, P M (Production individual) Hammond, R G (Production individual) Hogg, Ralph D (Captain) (Production individual)
- Personalities, Units and Organisations: British Army, 14th Army (regiment/service) Indian Army, 19th Indian Division (regiment/service) British Army, 3rd Special Service Brigade (regiment/service) British Army, No 5 Commando (regiment/service) British Army, Special Boat Section (regiment/service) Royal Indian Navy (regiment/service)
- Keywords: Sittaung, Burma (geography) Ramree, Burma (geography) Burma 1942-1945, Second World War (event) Chindwin Crossing 1944-1945, Burma 1942-1945, Second World War (event) Ramree 1944, Commando Raids, Second World War (event) Burma 1942-1945 (theme) British Army 1939-1945 (theme)
- Physical Characteristics: Colour format: B&W Sound format: Silent
- Technical Details: Format: 35mm Number of items/reels/tapes: 2 Footage: 1403 ft; Running time: 16 mins
- Notes: Reel 1: One of the cameramen of this reel, Oscar Bovill, was a Pathe cameraman rather than a member of the Army Film and Photo Unit. The dopesheet for this reel identifies '68 Brigade' of 19th Indian Division, but 19th Indian Division consisted of 62nd, 64th and 98th Brigades. Difficult to identify precisely as there was also an independent formation involved in the Chindwin crossing, 268th Brigade. Reel 2: The dopesheet for the commando raid describes night footage of two gunboats firing all their available armament (40mm and 20mm guns, 3-pounders, and machine guns) at the island during their withdrawal. However, this does not appear to have survived and may have been junked due to technical problems in the shooting or development of the night footage. A number of other daylight scenes also do not appear. The dopesheet for the commando raid also provides a number of important details, identifying the units involved (No. 5 Army Commando, 3rd Special Service Brigade, XV Corps) and names Major H Holden-White (commanding an eight-man Special Boat Section) and the assault party (from No.4 Troop, No.5 Commando) under Captain K H H Waggett. This raid was apparently abandoned after a reconnaissance by 'A' Group, Special Boat Section, revealed the Japanese defenders to be in a high state of readiness. The work referenced below, a copy of which is held by the Museum's Department of Printed Books, provides a highly detailed account of this raid.
- Link to IWM Collections page:
Related IWM Collections Objects:
JFU 232 (RIVER CHINDWIN BY DUCK [Allocated Title])