THE RECONNAISSANCE AND OCCUPATION OF AKYAB ISLAND, BURMA, AND THE ROLE OF RAF SERVICING COMMANDOS (2/1/1945)
This film is held by the Imperial War Museum (ID: ABY 54).
Reel 1:Air Marshal Coryton, Air Commodore the Earl of Bandon and Group Captain David seen talking on beach airstrip on the Mayu Peninsula. RAF Stinson L-5 Sentinel light aircraft takes off. RAF Regiment shown preparing for invasion by disinfecting and dying their clothing before laying it out to dry. RAF Regiment airmen load a lorry with boxes of ammunition. An RAF officer smoking a pipe watches the loading. Airborne footage showing reconnaissance of Akyab. No activity seen below. Many buildings…
Reel 1:Air Marshal Coryton, Air Commodore the Earl of Bandon and Group Captain David seen talking on beach airstrip on the Mayu Peninsula. RAF Stinson L-5 Sentinel light aircraft takes off. RAF Regiment shown preparing for invasion by disinfecting and dying their clothing before laying it out to dry. RAF Regiment airmen load a lorry with boxes of ammunition. An RAF officer smoking a pipe watches the loading. Airborne footage showing reconnaissance of Akyab. No activity seen below. Many buildings appear damaged, some totally destroyed. A crowd of local Burmese seen from the air. Low pass shows locals waving white flags. Airfield runway sabotaged by Japanese with craters at regular intervals. Air-to-air footage of RAF Sentinel in flight. Another low pass over the field, the aircraft's shadow shrinking as the pilot climbs away. Low over the runway. A crowd of local people throng the aircraft cheering and waving. A lorry reverses onto a landing craft. British servicemen look on. Panning shot with various types of landing craft. Ramp raising. Another lorry reverses onto a landing craft. View over the wing of a parked RAF Sentinel of another coming in to land on beach airstrip. The pilot, Group Captain Dennis David climbs out of the aircraft (RAF Sentinel KJ409) and speaks to another officer. Akyab headman climbs out of another aircraft and is driven away in a jeep. Airborne footage of invasion fleet, with various types of landing craft and some larger vessels. Some of this airborne footage from low altitude. Aerial view of port facilities and jetties with two partially-submerged blockships. Men and vehicles coming ashore on Akyab. Jungle hillside. Pan down from white flag at airfield. British servicemen with crowd waving British and American flags. Several crowd shots showing local men and boys.
Reel 2: Group of officers directing operations from a beach, including Air Marshal Coryton, Air Commodore Bandon and Lieutenant-General Philip Christison (General Officer Commanding XV Indian Corps). The former judge of Akyab, Royal New Zealand Air Force Wing Commander Bradley addresses an enthusiastic Burmese crowd with garlands of flowers around his neck. A landing craft passes. Petrol poured into a jerry can. Vehicles parked. An officer, possibly Wing Commander Drake, addresses a group of men. A DUKW amphibious truck drives past. A jeep reverses onto a landing craft. Two men talking over a cigarette. Men drinking tea. Bomb disposal team examine a Japanese 50kg aircraft bomb before removing its fuse and primer and loading it with other similar bombs onto the back of a lorry. Likewise with a large number of mortar bombs. A ruined building with a variety of aircraft parts scattered about including engine cowlings, wing spars, propellors hubs, bosses and blades etc. Footage from jetty looking towards partially submerged blockship. Sign saying 'Akyab Port'. Pile of bent propellor blades. Lorry unloading. A derelict Japanese aircraft, possibly a Kawasaki Ki-61, is examined by RAF airmen. RAF ensign fixed to flagstaff. Wing Commander Drake watches the flag being raised. Spitfires of RAF 67 Squadron coming in to land with airmen waving in the foreground. Aircraft include RD:A and RD:C. Squadron Leader Day arrives in Spitfire JC567 'Q3' named 'Mary-Ann'. A petrol drum is rolled past camera and crowbarred open. A hose is inserted into the drum and a Spitfire refuelled. A Spitfire's machine gun magazine is reloaded and the gunports covered with red canvas to indicate this. Airmen talking. Troops board a landing craft. Vehicle patrol. Close-ups on holes in runway. Fuselage section from wrecked Japanese aircraft, probably a Mitsubishi G4M 'Betty' medium bomber. Pan across wrecked engines. Shot inside the wreck's fuselage. Sabotaged drain. Men of an RAF Air Servicing Commando on patrol. Interior shot of hangar. Close-up on Air Servicing Commando badge on hat. Spitfires landing and taxiing. Aircraft RD:B, RD:G, RD:C seen. Close-up on RD:G. Close-up on sign left by departing Japanese reads: 'We Japanese Army will get back near day, When you shall die all the soldiers' [sic]. Anti-aircraft bursts in the sky. Aircraft overhead. Officers talking.
Scenes of reconnaissance, troops landing, and the work of RAF Servicing Commandos during the reoccupation of Akyab Island, Burma.
Towler, Lang and Clot named on dopesheet, but only Lang seen on slates
Sergeant Clot's personal log refers to his participation in shooting some of this footage.
It would seem that Akyab Island was reconnoitered from the air almost simultaneously by both Group Captain David and his RAF cameraman in a Stinson L-5 Sentinel, and by an RAF Taylorcraft Auster aircraft of RAF 656 Air Observation Post Squadron piloted by a Captain James Jarrett of the Royal Artillery. The headman mentioned above was transported in Captain Jarrett's aircraft, there being no spare seat in Group Captain David's Sentinel. Captain Jarrett may also have been accompanied by his batman, Gunner Carter. See references below for a fuller account of these exploits.
Warrant Officer Landridge, Station Warrant Officer named on dopesheet. Noted as a veteran of D-Day.
The RAF Servicing Commando Unit seen is RAF SCU 3205.
Interesting papers relating to Wing Commander Bradley's service in Burma can be found under IWM Department of Documents reference below.
- THE RECONNAISSANCE AND OCCUPATION OF AKYAB ISLAND, BURMA, AND THE ROLE OF RAF SERVICING COMMANDOS (2/1/1945) (Allocated)
- Running Time:
- 24 minutes
- Film Gauge (Format):
- 2157 ft
- Production Countries:
- Air Ministry Directorate of Public Relations
- Lang, T W (Pilot Officer)
- Towler, D (Flying Officer)
- Production company
- Royal Air Force Film Production Unit
- Sergeant; cameraman
- Clot, Dennis Francis Emile