- Title: OPERATION GRAPPLE [Main Title]
- Film Number: AWE 2
- Other titles: BRITAIN'S ATOMIC WEAPONS RESEARCH PROGRAMME COLLECTION [Allocated Series Title]
- Summary: Film produced by the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment, Aldermaston, documenting Operation Grapple, a series of atomic weapons trials conducted between 15 May and 19 June 1957 on Malden Island in the Pacific Ocean.
- Description: Opens with footage of Operation Hurricane in October 1952, during which Britain's first atomic device was exploded on the Monte Bello islands off the coast of Australia. Views of Calder Hall, the world's first commercial nuclear power station, in Cumbria, England. Leading nuclear scientist, Sir William Penney, in discussion with other scientists. Map of the Christmas Island group. Aerial views of Malden Island. Supplies and equipment are transported to Malden Island by the Royal Navy. An airfield is constructed by the island by the Royal Engineers, complete with water and fuel supplies. Varying weather conditions. Problems with insects. Aerial views of the newly completed camp. Avro Shackletons on the airfield, responsible for keeping the surrounding area clear of unauthorised shipping and providing weather reports. Other aircraft present on the airfield include English Electric Canberras, Douglas Dakotas, Handley Page Hastings, and Westland Whirlwind helicopters, the latter serving in a search and rescue role. Vickers Valiant XD818 arrives on Malden Island, complete with the latest electronic navigation systems. A Canberra takes off on a reconnaissance flight. Loch-class frigate HMNZS Rotoiti of the Royal New Zealand Navy, on patrol. Shackleton in the air. Meteorological officers at work. Bombing up Valiant XD818. Crew names painted on the Valiant. Control Tower. The Valiant takes to the skies. Scenes onboard the Valiant in flight. Crowds gathering on the control ship, wearing full protective clothing. The commentator remarks how "man will make his own sun" and the atomic device is released and the Valiant pulls away sharply. Detonation. Huge fireball, followed by large mushroom shaped cloud. Successful detonation regarded as a major scientific achievement. Designed not to be used as a weapon, but as a deterrent "until a better way can be found". Aerial views of the site following the detonation.
- Access Conditions: Attribution: © IWM
- Featured Period:
- Production Date: 1957-05
- Production Country: GB
- Production Details: Atomic Weapons Research Establishment (Production sponsor) Central Office of Information (Production company) Harrison, Harvey (Production individual) George, F (Production individual) Waller, Leo (Production individual) Orchard, Harry (Production individual) Coop, Eric (Production individual) Baugham, C J (Production individual) Stimson, Dorothy (Production individual) Morrison, Kenneth (Production individual) Dorte, Philip (Production individual) Cooper, Marcus (Production individual) Sands, Leslie (Production individual)
- Personalities, Units and Organisations:
- Physical Characteristics: Colour format: Colour Sound format: Sound
- Technical Details: Format: 35mm Number of items/reels/tapes: 2 Footage: 1415ft (ca); Running time: 15 mins
- Link to IWM Collections page:
Related IWM Collections Objects:
AMY 842 (OPERATION GRAPPLE [Main Title])