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Summary: Documentary dramatisation of life in a barrage balloon squadron which after training is posted north to defend the Forth Bridge against the Luftwaffe.
Description: New recruits receive instruction in the care and handling of balloons, including rigging, splicing, sewing (one recruit comments "I hope my missus don't see this film") and winch control. Recruits learn to manoeuvre the unwieldy objects out of their vast and echoing hangars before flying them. Purpose of the balloons is to prevent enemy planes dive-bombing, so that when German bombers (He 111s) unexpectedly attack the Forth Bridge (subsequent pursuit and shooting down of the enemy by a Spitfire is intercut with the chase and killing of a hare by a poacher's dog) Squadron 992 is immediately ordered north. Mobility of Balloon Command and the resilient good humour of the men are demonstrated on the long journey north through the tranquil but bleak and wintry landscape of rural England and Scotland; past Edinburgh in dawn light. British officers have meanwhile planned positions for the balloons beside the Forth and have politely obtained the permission of Scottish householders for this purpose. Upon arrival men set up and inflate their balloons and by the time evening falls the Forth Bridge stands protected against any possible enemy dive-bombing raid.
Production Country: GB
Production Details: GPO Film Unit (Production company)
Watt, Raymond Egerton Harry1906-10-181987-04-02British documentary film maker (Production individual)
Spiro, Julian (Production individual)
Jones, Jonah (Production individual)
McNaughton, R Q (Production individual)
Cavalcanti, Alberto (Production individual)
Leigh, Walter (Production individual)
Mathieson, Muir (Production individual)
Cameron, Ken (Production individual)
McCullough, W D H (Production individual)
Gamlin, Lionel James1903-04-301967-10-16 (Production cast)
Officers and men of the RAF (Production cast)
Personalities, Units and Organisations: Royal Air Force, Sqdn, 992 (regiment/service)
Keywords: aircraft, British - balloon: barrage balloon (object name)
aircraft, British - combat: Supermarine Spitfire (object name)
aircraft, German - combat: Heinkel He 111 (object name)
operations, British air - maintenance: barrage balloon (object name)
society, British - precautionary (object name)
training, British air - specialist: barrage balloon (object name)
GB, Scotland & Edinburgh, Mloth (geography)
GB, Scotland & Firth of Forth <Forth bridge> (geography)
Physical Characteristics: Colour format: B&W
Sound format: Sound
Soundtrack language: English
Title language: English
Subtitle language: None
Technical Details: Format: 35mm
Number of items/reels/tapes: 2
Footage: 2259 ft; Running time: 24 mins
Notes: Remarks: film combines humorous portrayal of balloon operators with a statement of confidence of their weapon as a serious form of defence against air attack.
Production: credits indicate Lionel Gamlin (BBC).