- Title: CHINA INDIA BURMA: RAF OPERATIONS IN SOUTH EAST ASIA [Allocated Title]
- Film Number: ABY 159
- Other titles: ROYAL AUSTRALIAN AIR FORCE LIFE IN INDIA [Alternative Title] ROYAL AIR FORCE OPERATIONS IN SOUTH EAST ASIA DURING THE SECOND WORLD WAR [Allocated Series Title]
- Summary: Scenes from an American airbase at Chungking (Chongqing), China, an RAF parachute school at Chaklala, near Rawalpindi, India (Pakistan) and transport aircraft and gliders at Meiktila, central Burma.
- Description: Reel 1: Aerial footage; landscapes and cloudscapes. Mountains, possibly the Himalayas. A settlement on a plain. A Chinese city street, possibly in Chungking. A group of four American airmen with Chinese children; one has a camera around his neck and another drinks from a bottle. At an airfield aircrew board a Douglas Dakota transport aircraft. A pilot leans out of a cockpit window; a crest on the aircraft reads 'Royal Air Force Transport Command'. Other transport aircraft taking off, most of them US Army Air Force (USAAF) Dakotas or Curtiss C-46 Commandos. Local Chinese labourers at work with pick axes and shovels. The labourers use pony and bullock carts to move earth and rocks. An RAF camp with an RAF Ensign flying. A convoy of carts passes along a road. An officer and an airman with a pet dog. A Chinese building. A small group of airmen watch a stick of incense burn. Four airmen walking in very scenic mountainous terrain. They walk along a path carved out of a cliff face. An Australian Flying Officer examines a small flower growing on the cliff. Aerial footage; the camera looks vertically down at a cultivated field with row upon row of round and even-spaced bushes. A Squadron Leader at the controls of a Dakota. Views of rivers and lakes. Reel 2: Two servicewomen, one of them apparently an Indian lady of the Women's Auxiliary Corps (India) (WAC(I)) and the second of the Women's Auxiliary Air Force (the 'WAAFs') go sightseeing. They walk around an ornamental garden, cross a decorative pond using stepping stones and admire a life-size stone elephant. Three Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) officers admire the stone elephant. At a swimming pool two soldiers, both fully clothed and complete with packs and rifles, dive in. Men dive into the pool from a high board. A swimming relay race; some of the racers enter the water with more grace than others. At an RAF parachute school at Chaklala near Rawalpindi in Punjab, India (Pakistan) trainee parachutists march to their aircraft. They climb aboard. An instructor demonstrates the Parachute Landing Fall (PLF) technique for landing. Airborne interior; trainee parachutists wait to jump. They start to exit the aircraft assisted by an RAF jumpmaster. Indian Sikh parachute trainees, with their turbans tied down, jump off a stepladder and practice their PLFs. Trainees fit their parachutes and are inspected by a British sergeant. Trainees practice their exit position by means of a large swing. Others practice their exit from a wooden mock-up. Parachutists airborne with their equipment bundles suspended below them. Two officers talking. Parachutists landing; one man is seen struggling with twisted lines and risers and appears to hit the ground hard. Another lands on his gear bundle and a third has a blown panel on his canopy. An instructor uses a megaphone to talk to parachutists in the air. Trainees gather up their canopies. A sergeant of the Parachute Regiment addresses a group of Sikhs. Soldiers slide down a ramp to practice their PLFs. Airborne interior; parachutists exit the aircraft. Air-to-air footage of trainees leaving a Dakota. Airborne interior; parachutists exiting. Men practice by jumping from a wrecked fuselage. An instructor (possibly a Gurkha) uses a megaphone. More parachutists landing. Interior airborne; jumpers leave an aircraft. One hesitates, gets stuck in the door, stumbles and is eventually turfed out of the aircraft by a jumpmaster. View from portside hatch of parachutists leaving the aircraft and their parachutes inflating. A bare-chested, British instructor speaks with an Indian trainee, gesticulating elaborately. A white man, probably an instructor, demonstrates a skilful stand-up landing. Men boarding an aircraft. Close-up of a man launching himself through the door; his helmet is marked with the name 'Marjorie'. Reel 3: Activities on an airstrip, probably at Meiktila, central Burma. RAF and USAAF Dakotas taking off and landing. USAAF Commandos taking off. USAAF CG-4 Waco gliders being towed and landing on the strip. Ambulances unload casualties; a stretcher is put aboard RAF Dakota Mk IV KK207. Three aircraft overhead in formation; dopesheet calls them Dakotas but silhouette and twin tails suggest USAAF B-25 Mitchells.
- Access Conditions: IWM Attribution: © IWM
- Featured Period: 1939-1945
- Production Date: 1945
- Production Country: GB
- Production Details: Air Ministry, Directorate of Public Relations (Production sponsor) Royal Air Force Film Production Unit (Production company)
- Personalities, Units and Organisations: Women's Auxiliary Corps (India) (regiment/service) Royal Air Force, Women's Auxiliary Air Force (regiment/service) Royal Australian Air Force (regiment/service) United States Army Air Forces (regiment/service) Royal Air Force (regiment/service) China National Aviation Corporation (regiment/service)
- Keywords: Chunking, China (geography) Chaklala, Punjab, India (geography) Meiktila, Burma (geography) Sino-Japanese War (2nd) 1937-1945 (event) Air supply operations, Air operations over Burma, Burma 1942-1945, Second World War (event) Airborne operations, Air operations over Burma, Burma 1942-1945, Second World War (event) Royal Air Force 1939-1945 (theme) India 1939-1945 (theme) Burma 1942-1945 (theme) United States Air Forces 1939-1945 (theme) Sino-Japanese War 1937-1945 (theme) Airborne Forces (theme)
- Physical Characteristics: Colour format: B&W Sound format: Silent
- Technical Details: Format: 35mm Number of items/reels/tapes: 3 Footage: 2150 ft; Running time: 24 minutes
- Notes: Aircraft seen in Reel 1 include aircraft of the RAF and USAAF, but also of the China National Aviation Corporation (CNAC), distinctive by their emblem of the Chinese character 'chung' (as in 'chung kuo'; 'Middle Kingdom', i.e. China) in white on a blue background. Besides Dakotas and Commandos, a four-engined USAAF Douglas C-54 Skymaster transport is also seen. CNAC aircraft suggest the location in Reel 1 may be Chungking (Chongqing) which at the time was the Chinese Nationalist leader Chiang Kai-shek's provisional capital and the site of US airbase. Scenes from RAF Chaklala provide an extremely useful record of paratroop training in this theatre. A variety of different training methods are seen, and in course of the live jumps this training can be seen being put into practice in a very clear fashion. The ethnic variety (British, Indian and Gurkha) is also of interest. The airfield at Chaklala has since expanded and is known today as either Islamabad International Airport or Pakistan Air Force Chaklala. A reel of nitrate film regarding the training of Indian and Gurkha paratroops can be found at the reference below. Dopesheets somewhat muddled for this film. Dopesheet title is given as 'RAAF in India' but only one reel of three shows an Indian location. The Air Ministry shotlist misidentifies the Chinese sequences as Indian. Also only one airman, the officer in Reel 1, is definitely Australian. This film apparently meant to be taken in conjunction with ABY 160 and ABY 161. Difficult to date this piece. No dates on slates and dopesheet date appears to be unrelated to the filming date. The level of activity and presence of particular squadrons in Reel 3 would suggest a date around April 1945. Also no cameraman named; if shot by a single cameraman this assignment would probably have taken at least a couple of weeks in travelling to the various locations.
- Link to IWM Collections page:
Related IWM Collections Objects:
ABY 160 (ROYAL AUSTRALIAN AIR FORCE LIFE IN INDIA [Allocated Title]) ABY 161 (LIFE WITH AUSTRALIAN AIRMEN ON AN RAF CAMP [Allocated Title]) MGH 3939 (PARACHUTE TRAINING FOR INDIAN AND GURKHA TROOPS - Part 1 [Main Title]) JFU 222 (AIRBORNE INVASION OF RANGOON BY 50TH PARACHUTE BRIGADE [Allocated Title])