- Title: 51ST (HIGHLAND) DIVISION PREPARES FOR THE INVASION OF EUROPE [Allocated Title]
- Film Number: A70 14-2
- Other titles:
- Summary: A multi-item reel documenting preparations for the invasion of Europe by 51st Highland Division, including troops and transport moving through Thetford in Norfolk, street fighting practice by the Black Watch, a Wasp flamethrower demonstration and the waterproofing of vehicles by the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers.
- Description: Part 1, shot on 25 April 1944: View looking north along Bridge Street, Thetford toward St Peter’s Church; in the right foreground a sign for the Bell Hotel and opposite ‘Palmers Stores’. Panning shot, from a large house overlooking the River Little Ouse at Bridge Street, to a building marked ‘Riverside Garage’; troops march over the bridge led by a piper with vehicles passing (aperture setting changes midshot). Outside the garage’s shopwindow a section of British 2-inch mortarmen pass; one soldier speaking to a local civilian wears the ‘Polar Bear’ patch of 49th Division. Troops led by a piper. Outside the town a high shot of troops marching along a road; vehicles pass in the opposite direction. Low shot of marching feet. Soldiers passing; some carry spades. Major-General David Bullen-Smith, commander of 51st Highland Division, walking to his car. Smith-Bullen walking with camp commandant Captian McNaughton and another officer. Bullen-Smith walking to his Humber Heavy Utility car; a military policeman and a soldier of the Royal Army Service Corps stand nearby. Part 2, shot on 26 April 1944: Wide shot shows a light lorry stalling as it attempts to cross a Bailey bridge over a weir close to a sluice gate (of the River Ouse?); bridge built by 275 Field Company, Royal Engineers A lorry crosses the bridge, which is reflected in the still water. Further shots of vehicles using the Bailey bridge. Part 3, shot on 26 April 1944: Bullen-Smith’s Humber Pullman staff car crosses the bridge followed by two Military Police motorcyclists. High shot, looking down on a road (probably in Bury St. Edmunds) as tracked Universal and Loyd carriers pass. Low shot of vehicles passing. Different location; wide shot of vehicles passing. Part 4, shot on 1 May 1944: Medium close-up Major Taylor briefing a section of 1st Battalion Black Watch, sitting amongst rubble (at Limehouse, London?) before rehearsing their street fighting techniques. A shot looking through cover a troops move from one doorway to another along a bombed-out terrace. A soldier clips a low brick wall as he runs along, and it collapses. A soldier, concealed behind a bush, runs and vaults a low wall before crouching in a doorway. Looking up at a window as a grappling hook is thrown through it. Looking down as a corporal climbs up through the window. View from inside a room as a soldier is helped through a window. Part 5, shot on 2 May 1944: On a training area troops gather around a flamethrower-equipped Wasp Universal carrier from the Support Company of 1st Battalion Black Watch. Looking down into the operators position, with a soldier holding a moveable handle with a squeeze control. The carrier with troops gathered around and a soldier, presumably the instructor Lt McIntyre, standing on the rear hull. Looking from the carrier, with flame nozzle left foreground, towards a bunker being used as a target. View from in front and to one side of the Wasp as the flamethrower is fired; pan to the burning bunker. Part 6:, shot on 3 May 1944: Looking down on a number of parked vehicles of various types from 154 Brigade being waterproofed by troops of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers. A radiator is removed from a vehicle. A fan is removed. A pair of hands takes a handful from a tin marked ‘Asbestos Compound – Shell-Mex and BP Ltd’ and moulds it around part of an engine. A waterproof sheet is fitted. Waterproofing dials on the instrument panel of a left-hand drive vehicle. Closer shot. A mechanic lying on his back beneath a lorry; he takes a large handful of asbestos compound and rolls it in his hands before applying it. Waterproofing leads. Closing a bonnet. Tilt from can of grease to waterproofing an extended exhaust pipe. Man’s hand chalks ‘OK’ on bonnet of a waterproofed car. Part 7, shot on 7 May 1944: Various shots showing vehicles being driven through a water tank at a depth of 4 feet 6 inches (at Great Yarmouth?).
- Access Conditions: IWM
- Featured Period: 1939-1945
- Production Date: 1944-04-25 1944-04-26 1944-05-01 1944-05-02 1944-05-03 1944-05-04
- Production Country: GB
- Production Details: Army Film Unit (Production company) Connolly, J R (Production individual)
- Personalities, Units and Organisations: Bullen-Smith, David Charles (person) British Army, Black Watch, 1st Battalion (regiment/service) British Army, Royal Engineers, 275th Field Company (regiment/service) British Army, 51st (Highland) Infantry Division ('Highway Decorators') (regiment/service) British Army, 49th (West Riding) Infantry Division ('Polar Bears') (regiment/service) British Army, 154th Brigade (regiment/service) British Army, Royal Electical and Mechanical Engineers (regiment/service)
- Keywords: Thetford area, Norfolk, England, UK (geography)
- Physical Characteristics: Colour format: B&W Sound format: Silent Soundtrack language: None Title language: None
- Technical Details: Format: 35mm Number of items/reels/tapes: 1 Footage: 492 ft.; Running time: 5 mins.
- Notes: Sergeant Connolly's dopesheet gives the range of the flamethrower as 150 yards and states 'the thrower is chiefly used for throwing a flame across enemy trenches, thus causing a loss in the morale of the enemy'.
- Link to IWM Collections page:
Related IWM Collections Objects:
A70 14-1 (51ST (HIGHLAND) DIVISION PREPARES FOR THE INVASION OF EUROPE [Allocated Title])