Airborne in North Africa

Discussion in 'Airborne' started by JimHerriot, Aug 29, 2020.

  1. JimHerriot

    JimHerriot Ready for Anything

    Dear folks,

    If this has appeared/been linked to before on the forum, apologies.

    Found under the IWM Collections innocuous title of "Footage For Pinewood Production 51" is a series of the most comprehensive film footage of Airborne Forces (1st Parachute Brigade, 1st Airlanding Brigade) and the American aircraft and ground-crew that assisted them in North Africa (and beyond) that I have seen.

    Eleven reels in all, over one and a half hours, of good quality film footage, with likely something of interest to most (in reel 2 even tanks and armoured cars get a look in via the victory parade!).

    'Chuting up, emplaning, loading, landing, gliders and Dakotas galore, 6 pounders, 75 pack howitzers (on the ranges), containers loaded, loaded up, MMGs, mortars, trailers, trollies, barrows, interiors in flight and without, everything associated with Airborne troops of the time.

    The individual reel descriptions list a lot of the content, but there is so much more.

    Please, if your are inclined, view the footage in full screen on the largest display you have, and I hope you will not be disappointed.

    My only word of caution would be that the numerous close ups of chaps may come as a shock to relatives. Men are easily identifiable to those that know them, and unfortunately their war, and lives, ended in Sicily.

    Here's the link;


    Always remember, never forget,

  2. JimHerriot

    JimHerriot Ready for Anything

    IWM Website text description for Reel 1 (n.b. followed by selected stills from said reel below, with folks named that I am certain of).

    "Reel 1 (963 ft): A light infantry lieutenant gives a briefing to men of the Army Air Corp and Border Regiment. Bedford 3ton trucks with paratroopers in the back drive past camera and toward C47 aircraft. Paratroopers attach parachute containers underneath C47 (number 36 painted on the nose of the aircraft), a panning shot by the cameraman shows C47s at their dispersal points running their engines up creating a lot of dust. Planes proceed to take off in a the half light of the end of the day. Lieutenant Colonel of the South Staffordshire Regiment gives a briefing to officers of that regiment and Army Air Corps, Royal Army Medical Corps, Royal Army Chaplains Department (all the faces of the men are very clear). Paratroopers stand around their C47 preparing their equipment then smoking and relaxing in the shadow of the aircraft. They all then start to put their personal webbing and parachute packs on (note the disassembling of Sten guns and attaching into webbing). They all then line up for inspection next to rear door of C47 (three different types of airborne helmets can been seen in use), after inspection they load into aircraft. A major of the South Staffordshire regiment gives a briefing to soldiers of that regiment who are seated and standing in a semicircle."

    Hopefully you good folk ("horsapassenger") will be able to provide some more names for the chaps I am uncertain (or have no clue) of, and I will happily stand corrected on any erroneous IDs on my part.

    Please note that I've stuck with names and not included reference to any gallantry awards subsequently awarded (e.g. Major R. H. Cain) after the film footage was recorded in 1943 (much of it filmed in June less than one month before the invasion of Sicily).

    Always remember, never forget,


    Officers and Men of 2nd (Airborne) Battalion The South Staffordshire Regiment.

    Lt. Col. W.D.H. McCardie.

    Airborne North Africa Pt 1_10.jpg

    Lt. R.A. Barrett (foreground right, facing camera)

    Airborne North Africa Pt 1_13.jpg

    Lt. W.C. Dorrington (at right, wearing spectacles)

    Airborne North Africa Pt 1_15.jpg

    Lt. E.J. Davies and Lt H.M. Brown (far left and first in from left respectively)

    Airborne North Africa Pt 1_22.jpg

    Capt. J.E. Miller RAMC (front left)

    Airborne North Africa Pt 1_29.jpg

    Major R.H. Cain

    Airborne North Africa Pt 1_46.jpg

    Airborne North Africa Pt 1_49.jpg

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