- Title: 51ST (HIGHLAND) DIVISION PREPARES FOR THE INVASION OF EUROPE [Allocated Title]
- Film Number: A70 14-1
- Other titles:
- Summary: A multi-item reel containing footage of 51st (Highland) Division's preparations for the Normandy invasion while training in the Thetford battle area, showing vehicles passing through Thetford and Bury St Edmunds, divisional commander Major-General Bullen-Smith in conference with his staff officers, troops of the Black Watch practising street fighting and going through an assault course and mechanics of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers waterproofing vehicles.
- Description: Part 1, shot on 27 April 1944: A high static shot, taken from the churchyard of St Peter's Church on King Street, Thetford, looking across the road; the edge of the church tower frames the shot. A sign, top of frame left foreground, points to way to an Automobile Association Anglo-American Services Club and opposite a local shop ‘Star Supply Stores’. A British military police lance corporal of 51st Highland Division wearing a motorcycle helmet directs traffic as several British-made military lorries approach the camera. In order of appearance, are a Fordson fifteen hundredweight truck and a Fordson three-ton lorry, a universal ('Bren-gun') carrier and a Loyd carrier (all in service with the 5th Battalion Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders) four more universal carriers, one with a Vickers machine-gun mounting, (belonging to the 1/7th Battalion Middlesex Regiment) another Fordson three tonner (in service with the 127th Field Regiment RA) and a Bedford fifteen-hundredweight truck (from the 46th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment RA). A civilian lorry (Giles and Billen Ltd) and a United States Army Air Forces jeep with trailer also seen. [94 ft section] Part 2, shot on 26 April 1944. Close shot of a tree in a wood. Low-angle medium shot of Major-General David Charles Bullen-Smith with a Captain McNaughton, commandant of an Army training camp (Thetford?). Bullen-Smith and McNaughton pass camera; a British Army photographer can be seen walking behind them. Profile of Bullen-Smith. Bullen-Smith passing camera. Bullen-Smith apparently looking up a tree before gesturing, apparently annoyed, at the cameraman. Bullen-Smith in conference with staff officers, including Brigadiers Shiel (Brigadier Royal Artillery) and Haugh (commander 152 Brigade), and an officer of the Middlesex Regiment (presumably 1/7th Middlesex). Bullen-Smith lies under a tree consulting a map. Conference with officers, most of whom are sitting or lying in the shade of trees. [91 ft section] Part 3, shot on 26 April 1944: A series of 'very rustic' shots showing lorries and other vehicles using a Bailey bridge built by 275 Field Company, Royal Engineers, with a large wooden house behind. Part 4, shot on 27 April 1944: A village street; signs advertise Cadbury, Colman’s and Sanpic disinfectant as Universal carriers pass by, some towing anti-tank guns. Vehicles pass the H R Williams bakery; a sign on a wall reads Maynewater Lane, locating this section of film in Bury St Edmonds. More vehicles pass along the road; some overtake a man leading a horse along the roadside. [290 ft section with Part 3] Part 5, shot on 1 May 1944: Soldiers of 1st Battalion Black Watch practise street fighting techniques; a soldier vaults a wall between two houses and hides in a doorway. Panning shot as Major Taylor addresses a section sitting on the ground amongst rubble. Soldier run along a line of houses and jump a brick wall. A side-on shot as a soldier goes over a brick wall and kneels in a doorway. A corporal throws a grappling hook and climbs up through a first storey window. Medium close-up; a British soldier puts his foot into a loop of rope and climbs a wall. [ 97 ft section] Part 6, shot on 2 May 1944: Low-angle shot looking up as troops walk along beams through barbed wire. Climbing over scaffolding on an assault course. Swinging on a rope. Bayoneting sacks. Troops run and fire their rifles from the hip; the location appears to be coastal. [113 ft section] Part 7, shot on 3 May 1944: At a Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers Workshop attached to 154 Brigade various part of a jeep engine is protected with ‘Gripon Waterproofing’. A can of the substance is opened and the material applied to various parts of the engine; spark plugs, distributor caps, carburettors etc. [97 ft section] Further shots of waterproofing. In a smithy two men beat a piece of hot metal on an anvil. Painting the roof of a vehicle; in one shot, looking upwards at a soldier on the roof, three fighter aircraft pass overhead. Further waterproofing. [96 ft section] Tilt up shows several different vehicle types being worked on. A Universal carrier engine being lowered home on a block and tackle. An interesting shot (looking out from inside a truck with the canvas partly down?) on men at work on vehicles. Close-up; a hand chalks ‘OK’ on the bonnet of a prepared vehicle. [94 ft section]
- Access Conditions: IWM
- Featured Period: 1939-1945
- Production Date: 1944-04-27 1944-04-26 1944-04-27 1944-05-01 1944-05-02 1944-05-03
- Production Country: GB
- Production Details: Army Film Unit (Production company) McArdle, T P (Production individual)
- Personalities, Units and Organisations: British Army, 51st (Highland) Infantry Division ('Highway Decorators') (regiment/service) British Army, Royal Electical and Mechanical Engineers (regiment/service) British Army, Corps of Military Police (regiment/service) British Army, Royal Artillery, 127th Field Regiment (regiment/service) British Army, Black Watch, 1st Battalion (regiment/service) British Army, Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders, 5th Battalion (regiment/service) British Army, Middlesex Regiment, 7th (Territorial) Battalion (regiment/service) British Army, Royal Artillery, 46th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment (regiment/service) British Army, Royal Engineers, 275th Field Company (regiment/service) Bullen-Smith, David Charles (person)
- Keywords: Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, England, UK (geography) Thetford, Norfolk, England, UK (geography)
- Physical Characteristics: Colour format: B&W Sound format: Silent Soundtrack language: None Title language: None
- Technical Details: Format: 35mm Footage: 856 ft.; Running time: 10 mins.
- Notes: Thetford location identified from corresponding footage taken by Sergeant Connolly slightly further down Bridge Street, apparently at the same as McArdle's footage.
- Link to IWM Collections page:
Related IWM Collections Objects:
A70 14-2 (51ST (HIGHLAND) DIVISION PREPARES FOR THE INVASION OF EUROPE [Allocated Title])