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Title:FORWARD AIRSTRIP CONSTRUCTION AT ONDAW [Allocated Title]
Film Number:JFU 47
Other titles:BRITISH ARMY OPERATIONS IN SOUTH EAST ASIA DURING THE SECOND WORLD WAR [Allocated Series Title]
Summary: Following closely behind the advancing British troops in Burma the Madras Sappers and Miners build an airstrip at Ondaw to aid operations at the front.
Description: Sappers and Miners of Airstrip Construction Unit prepare the ground for a new forward airstrip. A surveyor looks over scrub land and uses a Plane Table to map the area. A Sapper cuts thin poles from saplings to use as markers for level. A bulldozer goes to work pushing over smaller trees and scrub which block the proposed site. Graders begin to smooth out the cleared strip of land. The scrapers turn around and a scraper is brought into action. The grader and the scraper pass each other. The driver of the scraper shows how it is started. A surveyor uses his theodolite to check that the strip is level. Explosive charges are placed and primed in a tree trunk and the tree is blasted out of the ground. Captain H E Cayley of the Royal Engineers walks away from the fallen tree. A sapper digs out a tree root with a pick and several men go to work in other places on the strip with picks. Timber is prepared for a control tower. More wood is split, drilled and dressed. A roller is towed behind a lorry and then water is poured from the back of another lorry to try to settle the dust. This process is repeated. The wooden supports for the control tower are placed in position and pulled upright with the help of a lorry winch. Two Douglas Dakotas land and a United States Army Air Force Curtiss C-46 Commando takes off from the newly built strip.
Production Details: War Office Directorate of Public Relations (Production sponsor)
SEAC Film Unit (Production company)
Hewit, J R (Production individual)
Personalities, Units and Organisations: United States Army Air Forces (regiment/service)
Indian Army, Indian Engineers, Queen Victoria's Own Madras Sappers and Miners Group (regiment/service)
British Army, XXXIII Corps (regiment/service)
Keywords: Ondaw, Burma (geography)
Airfield construction, Burma 1942-1945, Second World War (event)
Burma 1942-1945 (theme)
Indian Army 1939-1945 (theme)
Technical Details: Format: 35mm
Number of items/reels/tapes: 1
Footage: 814 ft; Running time: 10 mins
Notes: The airstrip at Ondaw was opened on 25 February 1945 and used to supply petrol, oil and lubricants ('POL'), ammunition and engineering stores to units of XXXIII Corps. It also provided a forward base for the fighters of RAF 34 Squadron, RAF 42 Squadron, and RAF 113 Squadron.