- Title: ROYAL AUSTRALIAN AIR FORCE LIFE IN INDIA [Allocated Title]
- Film Number: ABY 160
- Other titles: ROYAL AIR FORCE OPERATIONS IN SOUTH EAST ASIA DURING THE SECOND WORLD WAR [Allocated Series Title]
- Summary: Film illustrating a variety of activities of the Royal Australian Air Force in India including bomber and supply operations, medical evacuation, and a rehearsal by an Indian marching band.
- Description: Reel 1: Men playing cricket; they are all wearing cricket whites. An Indian marching band performing. Various close-ups on different musicians playing trumpets, saxophones, clarinets, euphoniums, drums of various sizes, etc. Local people doing laundry by a river. A goods train passes over a girder bridge in the background. More footage of the band; as there is no sign of an audience or other troops on parade, this performance may be only a rehearsal. Aerial footage, probably taken from an RAF Consolidated Liberator heavy bomber; a pall of smoke rises from a small settlement. View of a river with a broken bridge. A road and railway line. Australian officers get into a jeep. Aerial footage; clouds of smoke rise from the impacts of several sticks of bombs. A Douglas Dakota taxiing for take-off on a dusty airstrip. An RAF Beechcraft Expediter liaison aircraft, KJ478, taxiing with a North American B-25 Mitchell medium bomber of the US Army Air Force (USAAF) parked in the background. A long building with a veranda; its roof appears damaged and a small sign reads 'Post Office'. A number of men get out of a jeep and go into the house. A white man sits in a bath and an Indian servant pours water over him. A USAAF P-51D Mustang taxiing; this aircraft probably an F-6D photo-reconnaissance variant, likely of 20th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, 8th Photographic Reconnaissance Group, 10th Air Force. A Spitfire taxiing with an Expediter behind. A man washes a small Dachshund puppy in a basin of water. Local people at a street bazaar. Reel 2: Air-to-air footage of a Liberator in flight. Airborne interior; a member of the Liberator's crew in full flying kit reclines in the cabin. A brick building marked 'Flying Control - Elevation 180ft'. A small hut. Local Indian women carefully pile bricks on their heads. Local Indian bricklayers at work. Local people unload rocks from the back of a lorry. A blackboard with a variety of (meteorological?) data on it. An airman speaking on a tannoy chalks more information on the board. Aerial footage. Liberators in flight. Bombs exploding on a target in a wooded area. The target itself is not apparent. Dakota taking off. A lorry reverses towards a Dakota. Sacks of rice are loaded onto the aircraft. Indian civilians on stretchers, apparently women and children, are put aboard a Dakota from an ambulance. One of the stretcher cases, a woman in some distress, is seen clasping her head with both hands. Aircraft interior; the patients are on the floor of the cargo cabin and are tended to. A small child, sitting up on a stretcher, is put into a waiting ambulance marked with a red cross. Air-to-air; a Dakota drops parachute supply bundles at low altitude over a paddy field. A grinning airman chalks 'Eastern National Omnibus Co.' and 'Sorry, no conductress, ladies scarce' on the side of the cab of a lorry. Three men board the 'bus' and it drives away. Close-up of a sign marked 'B Flight' above the badge of RAF 194 Squadron (a winged elephant superimposed on a map of India) and below the nickname 'The Friendly Firm'. Three officers talking; one of them appears to be an Asian man in the uniform of an RAF flying officer. A US Navy Consolidated PBY Catalina flying boat taxis past camera. An RAF Vickers Warwick, possibly the unarmed C Mk III transport variant, taxiing. Republic Thunderbolt fighters on a pierced steel plank (PSP) dispersal. Men queuing for food from an open-air cookhouse. A man operates a machine apparently for carbonating water. Tent interior; men innoculated. A man with a small pet monkey. Airmen standing by Dakota KK124. Indian Sikh soldiers unloading a number of small drums from Dakota FZ616. Aerial footage; a runway on a broad plain with parked Dakotas and transport gliders scattered about. Rather grainy footage of a Liberator taking off past camera. Reel 3: Aerial view of coastal terrain. An undercarriage leg lowers for landing. On the ground an airman paints a victory silhouette onto the nose of a Liberator named 'Lucifer'. Interior briefing room; an officer points out various locations on a map of Burma. Aircrew discussing the upcoming sortie. Shot of a piece of paper marked 'Take your'; an unseen person throws down a kukri and then a dagger or fighting knife, which stands upright on its point. A humorous cartoon showing an elephant labelled 'Not to be taken into the air' advises aircrew to empty their pockets before flying. Liberators landing, taking off and taxiing. Casualties loaded onto a Dakota. A Bristol Beaufighter with tarpaulins over its canopy and engines. Indian personnel bagging supplies, including petrol tins, for delivery by parachute. Men packing parachutes. Bundles of wire unloaded from a plane to a lorry. A crane removes an engine from a Dakota.
- 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: Royal Air Force, 194 Squadron (regiment/service) Royal Australian Air Force (regiment/service) Royal Air Force, 356 Squadron (regiment/service) Royal Air Force, 355 Squadron (regiment/service) Royal Air Force, 353 Squadron (regiment/service) United States Army Air Force, 10th Air Force (regiment/service) United States Army Air Force, 20th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron (regiment/service) United States Army Air Force, 8th Photographic Reconnaissance Group (regiment/service)
- Keywords: Salbani, Bengal Province, India (geography) Bomber operations, Air operations over Burma, Burma 1942-1945, Second World War (event) Air evacuation of casualties, Air operations over Burma, Burma 1942-1945, Second World War (event) Royal Air Force 1939-1945 (theme) India 1939-1945 (theme)
- Physical Characteristics: Colour format: B&W Sound format: Silent
- Technical Details: Format: 35mm Number of items/reels/tapes: 3 Footage: 2415 ft; Running time: 27 minutes
- Notes: Liberator tail marking indicates an aircraft's squadron. Black and white vertical bars indicate RAF 355 Squadron, and a white 'X' on black indicates RAF 356 Squadron. The variety of aircraft seen in this film make dating and placing it somewhat difficult, and the dopesheets provide no clues. The two Liberator squadrons named above were both formed and based at Salbani, west of Calcutta. The Beechcraft Expediter was only operated by RAF 353 Squadron from January 1945 and withdrawn in April. This squadron was based at Palam, near Delhi, but ranged widely. The Warwick C Mk III was also operated by this squadron and the fact that both types are seen may suggest a date in the first quarter of 1945. The fact that aircraft such as the photo-reconnaissance Mustang, Mitchells and Mosquitos are seen would suggest that the location is one of the more established airfields in north eastern India, rather than a more forward position.
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Related IWM Collections Objects:
ABY 159 (CHINA INDIA BURMA: RAF OPERATIONS IN SOUTH EAST ASIA [Allocated Title])