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Title:ROYAL NAVY ACTIVITY INCREASES AROUND SOUTHAMPTON DOCKS AHEAD OF THE ALLIED INVASION OF EUROPE [Allocated Title]
Film Number:BTF 48
Other titles:RAILWAYS IN BRITAIN, 1935-1976 [Allocated Series Title]
Summary: Naval activity around the Southern Railway Docks in Southampton increases ahead of the invasion of mainland Europe by Allied Forces. Landing Craft are especially prominent, as are the Landing Ship Infantry class vessels, adapted to carry large numbers of troops and Landing Craft for sea launch. There is also a record of a Red Cross ambulance train being presented by the railway companies at Hassocks Station, and a 16-inch railway gun being transported by a Southern Railway locomotive.
Description: (30 March 1944) The Southern Railway Docks at Southampton, the South coast of England. Landing Craft Tank (LCT) or “invasion craft” are moored together, up to six deep. The sequence includes barrage balloons overhead, British Royal Navy and American flags fly from ship's masts. Two Royal Navy battleships (?) are docked beside each other. A new sequence starts outside the front of the “SOUTHERN RAILWAY DOCKS” entrance. Guarding the pillared gates are a policeman and a member of the Military Police (MP). The guardsmen check vehicles as they enter the docks, including an American Army Jeep (a notice on the back of the Jeep:“CAUTION LEFT HAND DRIVE NO SIGNAL”). Cuts backs to the busy dockside at Southampton, Landing Craft are moored in large numbers and one is shown leaving the harbour. Cuts again to the HMS INVICTA, in dry dock for repairs. SH313-315
(31 March 1944) Hassocks, Mid Sussex, a Red Cross ambulance train is presented by the railway companies, Sir Philip Chetwode makes the presentation. Sir Chetwode walks trough two rows of Red Cross nurses. He is followed by other British Army Officers who, along with several other dignitaries, board the Red Cross train from the station platform. Surrounded by the Home Guard, they disembark to give a formal presentation beside a table draped over with a Union Jack flag. A close-up shot reveals a plaque on the side of one of the carriages: “THE COST OF EQUIPPING AND MAINTAINING THIS TRAIN HAS BEEN BORNE BY THE ORGANISATION OF THE BRITISH RED CROSS SOCIETY AND ORDER OF ST. JOHN OF JERUSALEM”. (3 min 30 sec) SH316
(3 April 1944) A Southern 0-6-0 locomotive (No. 1425) hauls a 16-inch gun barrel and breech on a flat railway wagon. (5 min 40 sec) SH317
(6 April 1944) Southern Railway ferry, the ISLE OF GUERNSEY, converted for military service to a Landing Ship Infantry (LSI) vessel awaits disembarkation from Southampton Docks. Shot from a moving vessel, Landing Craft move alongside the hull to be winched-up onto the ship’s davits. An RAF Short Sunderland comes into the harbour. From a distance the aircraft lands in the water and quickly glides out of shot. Dockside, crates are being loaded into a small vessel (including the “WILBERNA 171”). A jumbled sequence follows, including: the ISLE OF GUERNSEY and dockside views from the waterside perspective. Other vessels in the sequence include: the SS WORTHING (BRIGADIER), the SS PRINCESS MAUD and the SS BIARRITZ. (6 min 40 sec) SH318-319