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Title:ASKARIS TRAINING IN CEYLON [Allocated Title]
Film Number:JFU 151
Other titles:BRITISH ARMY OPERATIONS IN SOUTH EAST ASIA DURING THE SECOND WORLD WAR [Allocated Series Title]
Summary: African troops (askaris), probably of the 11th East African Division, are seen training in jungle country in Ceylon (Sri Lanka).
Description: African soldiers, in light fighting order and armed with Lee Enfield No. 3 rifles and Bren light machine guns advance through thickly wooded terrain. They advance through close country and scramble up a steep slope. A soldier operates an Ordnance SBML 2-inch mortar to fire a smoke bomb. The bomb, trailing a white tail of smoke, hits the ground and spreads a smoke screen. The soldiers advance up the hillside. A sequence of footage in fading light. Close-up of two soldiers lying prone; the man nearest camera has an Enfield rifle and next to him is a Bren gunner. The rifleman, with his rifle already cocked, fits a magazine to the Bren gun (old-pattern drum sight Bren Mark III?). The soldiers raise their weapons. The rifleman fires his weapon through thick cover, giving the camera a good view of the rifle's action. The Bren is fired and reloaded.
Technical Details: Format: 35mm
Number of items/reels/tapes: 1
Footage: 350 ft; Running time: 4 mins
Notes: The 11th East African Division was formed in February 1943 and comprised troops from Kenya, Uganda, Nyasaland (now part of Malawi), Tanganyika (now Tanzania) and Rhodesia. The Division's combat debut was in August 1944, relieving the 23rd Indian Division. This film therefore probably from the first half of 1944.
More footage of East African troops, shot by a Sergeant John Wernham (in an amateur capacity though while a member of an Army Film and Photo Unit), can be found at the references below. See related items.
No dopesheet for this film, so precise date, unit, location, and cameraman are unknown. A scrap of paper, presumably written by the censor in place of a dopesheet, simply states 'Askaris in Ceylon'.
AYY 1182 (NAVAL ACTIVITIES AT MOMBASA, KENYA [Allocated Title])
AYY 1173 (1. EAST AFRICAN TROOPS RETURN FROM BURMA. 2 ARMY EXERCISES. 2. NAIROBI RACES [Allocated Title])
JFU 185 (MEN OF THE ASSAM RIFLES TRAINING AT SADIYA [Allocated Title])
AYY 1180 (ARMY MANOEUVRES IN KENYA AND MADAGASCAR [Allocated Title])