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Summary: Beach trials of rocket propelled demolition device and of other combined operations devices.
Description: (Reel 1) A brief shot of the great panjandrum is followed by footage of trials of a Bren carrier fitted with floats. The Bren carrier drives into the water of a river or estuary, cruises around and makes several unsuccessful attempts to drive out again. (Later in the reel success is finally achieved). The great panjandrum, in a version with three rims, is started from a ramp just beyond the shoreline; the device rolls along the beach, tips up and then crashes over while being chased by a dog (Ammonal); rockets break free and skitter across the beach. A tank drives off an LCT and wades ashore.
(Reel 2) Various shots show a two rim version of the panjandrum, along with the ignition circuits. The circuit is fired and the device rolls a short way along the beach. A successful firing from an LCT just offshore is carried out, filmed from the shoreline. A number of shots show men trying out different versions of a one man stretcher on the shoreline. Another panjandrum trial from an LCT is carried out, filmed from higher up the beach (a second cameraman is seen on the shoreline).
(Reel 3) Close-ups show the panjandrum circuits being tested and connected. The device is fired from an LCT and rolls up the beach (filmed from a little way out in the water - the second cameraman is seen on the shoreline). The device is also seen rolling across the beach in another trial.
(Reel 4) The panjandrum, now fitted with two cables in an attempt to control its course, rolls to a stop across the beach. A close-up shows the cables being unbolted. In the next trial, the device, with cables, starts at some distance up the beach, loses control and veers towards the camera position, finally crashing over just in front of the camera (filmed in moderate slow motion).
(Reel 5) Various shots on the beach show the panjandrum's wiring. More close-ups show the device tethered at the front of an LCT.
(Reel 6) The panjandrum heads across the beach in a thick cloud of black smoke.
(Reel 7) The panjandrum (in its two rim version, with cables attached) moves slowly across the beach. The trial of the three rim version seen in reel one is seen from a different camera - Ammonal the dog chases after a stray rocket or two. The badly damaged device is winched upright. Nevil Norway(?) demonstrates the cable controlling device. A trial using the cables to "control" the device is filmed from directly behind - as the operator (Norway?) applies pressure to one cable reel, the cable snaps and flicks over the heads of the operators (cameraman changes lenses just at this moment). A close-up shows the frayed cable. A second similar trial is filmed, this time with a protective rig in front of the controller. Finally the device is seen advancing along the beach at dusk - the cameraman retreats up the beach, shakily filming the pebbles as he goes.
Technical Details: Number of items/reels/tapes: 7
Footage: 3720 ft; Running time: 41 mins
Notes: Summary: the great panjandrum was designed for the DMWD (Department of Miscellaneous Weapons Development) by Nevil Norway (probably) (aka Nevil Shute, the author) as a means of getting a large demolition charge up a beach. Trials were carried out at Westward Ho! It was not successful. Ammonal the Airedale terrier belonged to Mike Ward Walters of COXE (Combined Operations Experimental Establishment) at Instow, who was in correspondence with the IWM in April 1989 (see also THE ROAD TO D DAY - GREAT PANJANDRUMS (35K 305) and related interview material).
Production: the reels were passed on to the IWM by the MoD(Navy) in two deliveries the early 1970s and in 1981. It is not clear whether they were shot by COXE or DMWD (or both) - the cameraman for the latter was Louis Klemantaski (see Sound Archive interview), who did not recognise much of the material when shown it in 1998. The cameraman seen in reels 2 and 3 appears to be in battle dress and therefore is not the civilian Klemantaski.