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Summary: An edited film by the RAF Film Production Unit, portraying a morning in the life of RAF 252 Squadron, as its Bristol Beaufighters take off to attack enemy shipping and a motor convoy in the western desert.
Description: RAF Film Production Unit titles. "Beau Geste 1942" with drawing of a man leaning against a palm tree and a Bristol Beaufighter overhead. "A morning in the life of a Beaufighter squadron in the Middle East". Cock crows; tents amongst palm trees and airman walking. Man emerges from tent and washes in a tripod washbasin; he turfs another airman out of his camp bed. The turfed airman comes face-to-face with a scorpion and throws a shoe at it. Mess orderlies (?) preparing breakfast in the open; airmen walk to a tented cookhouse. An airman puts out a plate of seed for the cockerel. A cat eats from a plate. Arming a Beaufighter; .303-inch ammunition is loaded. 20mm guns are prepared and fitted, followed by their ammunition drums. Aircrew walk to their aircraft; voiceover dialogue reveals the mission is an interception of an Italian ship. Crew board their Beaufighter; nose of the Beaufighter with three swastika silhouettes and a squadron badge. Engines starting. Beaufighter X7633 "X" taxis past camera followed by BT:G. BT (no aircraft letter) J5032 takes off. Take off over palm trees. BT:K takes off. Interior aircraft looking forward and aft. BT:K again. Aerial footage; squadron of Beaufighters on patrol. BT:Y engages with gun camera footage for attack on ship. Radio conversation; "ship well ablaze, anything further?". Beaufighters are retasked to attack road convoy. Air-to-ground footage; vehicles crossing the desert. Beaufighters attack; low level gun camera footage. The aircraft return to base; observer with binoculars "Here's B for Bertie". An airman by the "aircraft movements" blackboard notes the time. BT:B lands. F for Freddie lands. Beaufighter taxis in. "Here's the last one"..."13:38, right that's the lot". END over drawing of a parked Beaufighter.
Production Details: Air Ministry (Production sponsor)
Royal Air Force Film Production Unit (Production company)
Clayton, Jack (Production individual)
Wilbur, B (Production individual)
Sayer, S (Production individual)
Personalities, Units and Organisations: Royal Air Force, 252 Squadron (regiment/service)
Royal Air Force, Desert Air Force (regiment/service)
Keywords: Middle East (geography)
Western Desert 1940-1943, North Africa, Second World War (event)
Aerial Warfare (theme)
Royal Air Force 1939-1945 (theme)
Physical Characteristics: Colour format: B&W
Sound format: Sound
Soundtrack language: English
Title language: English
Technical Details: Format: 35mm
Number of items/reels/tapes: 1
Footage: 751 ft; Running time: 9 mins
Notes: Names legible on the blackboard include Armstrong, Strange, Lea, McCann, Bicknell, and Waller, and other writing refers to flights from Sidi Barrani and Gambut to Sollum and Tobruk respectively.
The title is a reference to the 1924 adventure novel of the same name by P C Wren, and a pun on Beaufighter.
According to production documentation held by the Imperial War Museum, this film was distributed internally within the RAF, through the Ministry of Information's "Worker and Warfront" series, and to foreign countries.
A brief film, but quite effective and well edited.