- Title: FORCE H AND ESCORT FORCES AT MERS-EL-KEBIR [Allocated Title]
- Film Number: ADM 456
- Other titles: MEDITERRANEAN OPERATIONS OF THE ROYAL NAVY [Allocated Series Title]
- Summary: Varied scenes showing Force H and light escort forces at Mers-el-Kebir and the arrival of troops and supplies for the North African campaign.
- Description: I. Reel One. Sequence showing Royal Marine Band performing before crowd in a small park around a memorial to 'Heros de Sidi Barrani'. The crowd, which includes some French soldiers, does not seem overly impressed. II. Harbour, Mers-el-Kebir. MS of salvage lighter at work. LS across harbour to oiler moored with destroyer HMS Ashanti and two Hunt Class escorts alongside, then cut to shot from a cameraship (the oiler ?) with Tribal alongside as a second Tribal makes stern way nearby. III. Vice-Admiral Burrough welcomes a US Rear-Admiral onboard his flagship. IV. Sequence showing ENSA concert before an appreciative audience onboard HMS Rodney - the acts include women dancers and singers and a violin-accordion duo (!). V. Onboard a Hunt Class destroyer at sea. LSs over convoy under escort. The ASW training submarine HMS Sturgeon submerges to run at periscope depth before resurfacing and steaming off - coast in background. Film then reverts to ENSA sequence before cutting back to Hunt Class at sea. Companion ship HMS Haydon (L.75) lays down a pattern of depth charges. Cameraship does the same. HA.CU as crewmen reload starboard launcher. Gun crews stand easy at their stations - two men of the 4-inch DP crew are reading. LS to convoy across focsle, A gun at frame right. Sunset sky framed beneath barrels of A gun. VI. Reel Two. Enemy wounded are transferred in stretchers from vessel up onto the quayside. Walking wounded and fit prisoners are put into trucks and driven off. Street scenes showing some damage to the town. A Churchill tank is unloaded from a freighter. LS over wrecked vessels in the harbour to the mole - visible beyond the breakwater are the upper works of a Leander Class cruiser (HMS Orion ?). Alongside the sea wall is HMS Sirius with the corvette HMCS Woodstock (K.238), a liberty and the cruiser HMS Penelope. HMS Loyal (?) is alongside wharf with a group of Elco motor torpedo boats including MTB 262. LA.MS as freighter unloads a second Churchill, followed by a stripped down Bedford. Local labour helps the unloading of POL and ammunition cargoes. The Flower Class corvette HMCS Regina passes the camera as she leaves anchorage. Good MS of HMS Penelope. Cameraship leaves Mers-el-Kebir and moves along the coast - a companion vessel, hardly distinguishable in the low light, flies a barrage balloon. V. Force H at sea. LS from cameraship HMS Nelson to HMS Formidable astern - the carrier flashes a signal from masthead. HMS Rodney and HMS Formidable steam roughly abreast of Nelson - Rodney signals. Cameraship passes HDML ML 1142, the small craft rolling heavily in the swell. Force H enters Mers-el-Kebir, where a large three funnelled troop transport (possibly Empress of Australia) is already alongside. Present in the harbour is the HDML ML 1128, the hospital ship HMS Oxfordshire, and HMS Guardian - Nelson passes close by Oxfordshire's starboard quarter. HA onto focsle - there is a Tribal Class destroyer alongside to starboard. Shots of ship's secondary and AA armament - multiple 2-pounder, 6-inch turrets and single 4.7-inch AA, Oerlikon. A Grumman Martlet circles low over the harbour. Shots onboard a boom defence vessel as it clears or re-lays net defences. General shots about the harbour - HDML ML 1128 is present, destroyer HMS Panther (G.41) lies alongside a tanker, the escort HMS Venomous (I.75) rides at anchor - Rodney, Nelson, Formidable, Guardian, a Leander Class cruiser, Oxfordshire, the Algerine minesweeper HMS Cadmus (J.230) and various other craft appear in these views. Further sequence showing a Bar Class boom defence vessel at work. Camera moves across the harbour past HMS Rodney with two destroyers (possibly P and L Class) alongside. Sequence showing a Queen Emma Class LSI(M) disembarking heavily laden troops of 1st Airborne Division. VI. Scene showing paratroops embarking on LSI(M) at Algiers (?) - this sequence is thus prior to end of Reel Two. Alongside are the two LSI(M)s of the Queen Emma Class and an Arethusa Class cruiser. Convoy then proceeds along the coast, escorted by a Queen Elizabeth Class battleship. Convoy enters Mers-el-Kebir. Sequence as in episode I where RM band plays in a park. Cut to MLS of salvage work in the harbour - salvage vessel and barges either side of ship which is being righted as the water is pumped out of her. Disembarked paratroops wait on quayside for movement orders. Locals pick through debris in damaged building in the town. Traveller crane unloads a collier. VII. Airstrip operates Swordfish. Armed aircraft takes off. LA.CU of mechanics at work on Swordfish engine. Swordfish in flight. A Swordfish takes off - the aircraft has had the cowling removed from around radial engine. CU sequence showing mechanics and armourers at work - a man pours petrol from a jerry can into main fuel tank, armourers remove torpedo onto a cradle and manhandle it away. Starting handle is cranked as aircrew board. Aircraft starts take off run - in the foreground is a pile of discarded fuel cans. VIII. Sequence showing a torpedo being loaded into tube on Elco 80 ft motor torpedo boat - in background is HMS Penelope. Ash can type depth charge if lifted by crane. MTB 311 goes alongside. IX. Arrival of a convoy. XLS of the convoy at sea. Merchantman enters harbour flying a barrage balloon. CAM ship enters port - her aircraft is absent. Third merchantman arrives. First vessel recovers balloon. Sequence showing crew fighting a POL fire onboard a merchantman alongside. Despite the firemen's efforts the blaze increases and a thick smoke pall rises. X. Reel Four. Continuation of episode II. LS of two Hunt Class destroyers and HMS Ashanti alongside a tanker. Ashanti (G.51) passes the cameraship, a Nelson Class battleship - in the background is HMS Vindictive with a tug HMS Restive (W.39) alongside. HMS Ashanti secures outboard of another destroyer alongside the cameraship. Continuation of episode IV - ENSA concert. XI. Algiers. XLS to troop transports approaching the port - an HDML speeds out to receive them. LA as two troopships enter harbour, soldiers lining the rails and waving to camera - the first ship is possibly Chrobry or her sister Sobieski, the second is SS Samaria. LS to other troopships in the convoy - HMS Bicester (L.34) moves left to right in mid-ground. Troops disembark carrying their kit and a parcel of provisions. LS over harbour to two floating cranes. XII. Sequence showing submarines with depot ship HMS Maidstone. An S Class submarine receives a torpedo. A U Class vessel unmoors and steams off. XIII. Unloading of supplies. LA as Loyd carriers are unloaded from a merchantman alongside. Cargo slings deposit general stores which are carried off by local labour. CU of ship's winchman. Soldier's supervise unloading of ammunition. Locals mill about transferring crates and boxes of food stores to waiting transport. M3 half-track with 75mm gun is lowered onto the quayside followed by Morris Quad Mk IIs. Collier is unloaded, some of the coal being transferred directly into a waiting freight train. LSs over coaling point to assembled shipping in the harbour with the town beyond - HMS Pentstemon (K.61) visible in one shot. XIV. Continuation of episode XII. HMS Maidstone - cruiser HMS Dido in the background. At the beginning of the sequence their are four submarines alongside, a U Class, two S Class and a large T Class, HMS Tribune - the U Class vessel disappears in a cut and the sequence shows one of the S Class leaving the trot, whereupon the U Class submarine returns and re-secures. Final LS as troops load sugar sacks onto a warship secured alongside and help in the loading of crates.
- Access Conditions: IWM Attribution: © IWM
- Featured Period: 1939-1945
- Production Date: 1943-01
- Production Country: GB
- Production Details: Paramount (Production company) Hardy, Douglas H J (Production individual)
- Personalities, Units and Organisations: Burrough, Harold Martin (person) Royal Navy, Nelson (regiment/service) Royal Navy, Rodney (regiment/service) Royal Navy, FORMIDABLE (HMS), aircraft carrier (regiment/service) Royal Navy, ASHANTI (HMS), destroyer (regiment/service) Royal Navy, Haydon (regiment/service) Royal Navy, Sturgeon (regiment/service) Royal Navy, Sirius (regiment/service) Royal Navy, Penelope (regiment/service) Royal Navy, Guardian (regiment/service) Royal Navy, ML 1142 (regiment/service) Royal Navy, ML 1128 (regiment/service) Royal Navy, Venomous (regiment/service) Royal Navy, Oxfordshire (regiment/service) Royal Navy, MAIDSTONE (HMS) (regiment/service) Royal Navy, Tribune (regiment/service) Royal Navy, BICESTER (HMS) (regiment/service) Royal Navy, ML 311 (regiment/service) Royal Navy, MTB 262, motor torpedo boat (regiment/service) Royal Canadian Navy & Woodstock (regiment/service) Royal Canadian Navy & Regina (regiment/service)
- Keywords: ships, British naval - aircraft carrier, fleet: Formidable (object name) ships, British naval - battleship: Rodney (object name) ships, British naval - battleship: Nelson (object name) ships, British naval - cruiser: Penelope (object name) ships, British naval - cruiser: Sirius (object name) ships, British naval - destroyer: Ashanti (G.51) (object name) ships, British naval - destroyer: Haydon (L.75) (object name) ships, British naval - destroyer: Bicester & [-] (object name) ships, British naval - destroyer: Venomous (I.75) (object name) ships, British naval - submarine: Sturgeon (object name) ships, British naval - submarine: Tribune (object name) ships, British naval - harbour: Maidstone (object name) ships, British naval - harbour: Guardian (object name) ships, British naval - light forces: HDML 1142 (object name) ships, British naval - light forces: HDML 1128 (object name) ships, British naval - light forces: ML 311 (object name) ships, British naval - light forces: MTB 262 (object name) ships, British naval - submarine: U Class (object name) ships, British naval - harbour: Bar Class boom defence vessel (object name) ships, British auxiliary - amphibious: Queen Emma Class LSI[M] (object name) ships, British auxiliary - assistance: Oxfordshire (object name) ships, Canadian naval - escort: Woodstock (K.238) (object name) ships, Canadian naval - escort: Regina (K.234) (object name) ships, British civilian - passenger: Samaria (object name) Algeria & Mers-el-Kebir (geography)
- Physical Characteristics: Colour format: B&W Sound format: Silent Soundtrack language: None Title language: None Subtitle language: None
- Technical Details: Format: 35mm Number of items/reels/tapes: 4 Footage: 3704 ft; Running time: 41 mins
- Link to IWM Collections page:
- Related IWM Collections Objects: