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Title:THE NUCLEAR SUBMARINE HMS CHURCHILL [Allocated Title]
Film Number:ADM 1729
Summary: The launch of HMS Churchill, the first of a new class of nuclear-powered attack submarines, at Barrow-in-Furness, 20th December 1968.
Description: START 10:00:00 Under-exposed, wasted shot of Royal Navy (?) personnel. Ground level port and starboard views filmed on a grey winter's day of HMS Churchill on the slipway at the Vickers Ltd Shipbuilding Group yards at Barrow-in-Furness. A flag carrying the coat of arms (?) for the 4,900-ton submarine flies from the conning tower and the Royal Navy White Ensign flutters in the wind at the stern. Shipyard workers are seen examining the slipway and on board the submarine. A view astern the 86.9 metre-long vessel revealing the fact that its single propeller and its stabilising fins have yet to be fitted. On the starboard side near the bow, a platform built with scaffolding has been provided for photographers covering the launch ceremony.
10:01:40 Views of the large crowd of people, mainly from the Vickers Ltd workforce, gathered at the site for the launch ceremony, a row of Royal Navy ratings, probably local naval cadets, in front of the candy-striped launch pavilion for the VIPs and dockyard guests. The Hon. Mrs Soames MBE, nee Mary Churchill, the youngest of Winston Churchill's five children, who will launch the submarine, receives a bouquet of flowers, with the chairman of Vickers Ltd Shipbuilding Group standing nearby. The VIPs, with Christopher Soames, currently serving as British ambassador to France, also present, pose for local press photographers. Ground level views looking up at the VIP launch pavilion as Mrs Soames actuates the gear that swings the champagne bottle against HMS Churchill (because of the camera angle the actual impact cannot be seen) and the vessel begins to move, followed by a reverse angle shot showing it sliding down the slipway and into the sea, watched by workmen who gather in the foreground. Fogging at the end of the reel.
10:03:17 Views filmed from the photographer's platform by the starboard bow of HMS Churchill overlooking the VIP launch pavilion, showing the guests - senior Vickers executives, shipyard managers, local government officials etc with their wives, senior Royal Navy officers and (perhaps) a junior Labour defence minister - in their places. Mrs Soames arrives with the Vickers Ltd chairman, her husband Christopher Soames, and other members of their party and is introduced to a senior member of the local Anglican clergy. Because of the angle, the camera cannot capture the moment when Mrs Soames sends the champagne bottle smashing into the submarine's bowl; there is a brief pause before the vessel begins to move down the slipway. Mrs Soames leads the traditional three cheers for HMS Churchill. All present remain where they are, talking to each other and gazing out to sea.
Technical Details: Format: 35mm
Number of items/reels/tapes: 1
Footage: 447 ft; Running time: 4 mins 44 secs
Notes: Summary: Laid down on 30 June 1967 and commissioned on 15 July 1970, HMS Churchill (S46) was the first of three Churchill Class nuclear fleet submarines that served with the Royal Navy. One of these sister ships, HMS Conqueror, sank the Argentinian cruiser General Belgrano on 2 May 1982. HMS Churchill was decommissioned on 28 February 1990 and is still laid up at Rosyth awaiting disposal.
Technical: some evidence of water damage to the print.