This film is held by the Imperial War Museum (ID: ABY 61).


Reel 1: Film showing flying boat operations and airmen's recreational activities at RAF Koggala in Ceylon (Sri Lanka). RAF Consolidated Catalina aircraft taking off and coming in to land on the lake. Another Catalina, flying very slowly, comes in to land. Catalina takes off with another in the foreground. Catalina seen overhead through canopy of palm trees. Another passes directly over the camera. RAF airmen bathing in a lagoon. Ground crew wind over an engine while standing on the wing of a Short Sunderland flying boat. Shot of a detached propellor; camera pans up to show RAF fitters working on the engine. Riggers working on the aircraft's tailplane and elevators. Shot of empty engine cowling; camera pans down to show the engine. Catalina takes off with other flying boats in the background. Catalinas landing. Catalina flying past a jungle beach. Airmen bathing with waves breaking in the background. Catalina flies directly at the camera and passes low over the bathers. Horseplay in the lagoon as one airman drags another through the water. Low pass by Catalina seen from jungle beach. A motor launch leaves a jetty. View from the launch approaching Catalina. Depth charges on a Catalina's underwing racks are checked before the crew boards the aircraft through an open dorsal blister. Shot of a bamboo hut at RAF Koggala; signs read 'Operations Room' and 'Meteorological and Intelligence Section'. Airmen leave the hut and descend a flight of steps to a jetty. The airmen board a motor launch and cast off. A Catalina on slipway gear is returned to the water. British airmen and local labourers pulling on heaving lines. The slipway gear is retrieved from the water. Lines are pulled in and a local wheels away the slip gear. The Catalina is towed out into deeper water by a launch. A Sunderland fitted with an ASV (Air-to-Surface Vessel) Mk II radar array takes off. Three armourers, working from a launch and using a winch, fit depth charges to a Catalina's underwing rack. Shot of reeds by the lake's edge. A launch leaves a jetty. Distant shot of a launch reaching a Sunderland. A crewman climbs up through a hatch and onto the wing of a Catalina, while two more crewmen pull in the aircraft's mooring buoy. Two crewmen wind over an engine. The aircraft's port engine starts up. The aircraft swings before the starboard engine starts up. The aircraft taxis away. Sunderlands on their beaching gear being serviced. RAF riggers working on a raised platform examine a Sunderland's ailerons. Fitters work on an engine with its empty cowling above. Close-up on the engine. A large section of wing is removed. Shot of two Sunderlands. Men on a Sunderland's wings.

Reel 2: Scenes of British servicemen yachting on the lake. Preparing small dinghies for use, rigging sails etc. A serviceman sets out onto the lake, followed by several others. Footage from a motor launch shows dinghies sailing. A moored Sunderland dwarfs the passing sail boats. Footage from aboard a Catalina during take-off. View of the lake from the air with Catalina and Sunderland flying boats and motor launches. Aerial view of a narrow beach with surf breaking and palm jungle behind. Small craft on water below. A member of the Catalina's crew takes photographs with a handheld F.24 camera from one of the aircraft's dorsal blisters. Several views of an air gunner manning his 0.5-inch Browning machine gun. Pilot at the controls. Internal shot of Catalina landing with unused depth charges still on wing racks. Wingtip float in the water. Catalina on its beaching gear being serviced. Portside blister removed. Catalina being launched. Close-up of aircraft entering water. Slipway gear being retrieved. An airman enters the water and swims around the aircraft to release slipway gear. Close-ups on a rope being pulled in and another rope uncoiling. Motor launch approaching Catalina. Catalina taxiing. Distant shot of Catalina taking off in background with Sunderland in foreground. Aerial view of Catalina take-off. Aerial view of shipping. Air-to-air footage of Catalina in flight. Fine footage of two Catalinas in flight over the sea, sometimes in close formation. Air-to-air view of Fleet Air Arm Grumman Avenger torpedo bomber. Close-up on Avenger. A second Avenger banks away from the camera and dives towards the sea. Catalina in flight.

Short Sunderland and Consolidated Catalina operations from a lake at RAF Koggala, Ceylon (Sri Lanka).


Identifiable aircraft include RAF Catalinas W8406 'T' and JX 306 'O'.

Also Fleet Air Arm Avengers K-1N and K-1L, probably of Fleet Air Arm 756 Squadron, based at Katukurunda on the western coast of Sri Lanka. Catalinas are from RAF 205 Squadron and Royal Canadian Air Force 413 Squadron, Sunderlands from RAF 230 Squadron, all three being part of RAF 222 Group.

Some of this footage appears, in an edited form with commentary, in the RAF's in-house newsreel 'The Gen' no. 15. See related items below.

See below for related photographs.

Date from slates, dopesheet dated 9/2/1945 and written after the event.



  • CEYLON FLYING BOAT BASE (29/11/1944) (Allocated)
Series Title:

Technical Data

Running Time:
24 minutes
Film Gauge (Format):
2087 ft

Production Credits

Production Countries:
Air Ministry Directorate of Public Relations
Hughes, H R (Flight Sergeant)
Production company
Royal Air Force Film Production Unit



Production Organisations