This film is held by the Imperial War Museum (ID: JFU 116).


The 81st West African Division is in the process of pushing the Japanese from Mowdok, India (Bangladesh) to the Kaladan River, Burma.

Through a gap in the jungle canopy Hawker Hurribombers can been seen flying over a hillside. A smoke bomb fired from a mortar marks a Japanese position for the bombers. Two African soldiers use machetes to fell a tree; the ground is being prepared for a supply drop. A Douglas Dakota flies over and drops parachuted parcels. African soldiers sort through the supplies and unpack them. Two African soldiers make steps; they cut wood and make the steps into a steep hillside. A column of African soldiers cross a shallow river carrying supplies on their heads. More parachutes drop. A plane flies over and drops more supplies; the African soldiers watch the supplies dropping. Two white officers, Major-General Loftus Tottenham and Captain C P Davies, chat. African soldiers collect supplies and parachutes and carry them off. A group of African soldiers clear undergrowth with machetes. A Dakota flies over. An African soldier crosses a river; the water rises to knee depth. A naked African man washes his hair; he is squatting by a river. A column of African soldiers walk by a stream; they carry supplies on their heads. They cross a river and then disappear into the jungle. A white soldier takes a compass bearing and an African 3-inch mortar crew of Gold Coast Regiment 81st West African Division rush out of the jungle and set up their mortar in double quick time. They adjust the sights and fire a few rounds. A white soldier fires a Very pistol (flare gun) and a Dakota flies overhead. More African soldiers cross a river carrying supplies on their heads. An African rifleman fires his Lee Enfield rifle from behind a tree. An African soldier carries a Bren gun through the jungle. Two soldiers clean a rifle and Bren while a third primes grenades. A Lee Enfield rifle is loaded with a stripper clip. A white soldier hands out letters from a mail sack to African soldiers; they wander off and read them. A campfire is started. General shots of the camp. African troops load up with supplies at camp. A cooking fire, with three tins on it, is watched by a cook. A basha (hut) is built. White soldiers eat from ration tins. African troops bathe in a river. A wounded soldier is cared for then carried off on a stretcher. The stretcher is loaded onto a bamboo raft. A white medical officer. Injured men (walking wounded) get onto rafts. The rafts are manned by local Indian men; they wear loincloths and steer the boat using poles. (Section of film is very dark.) Troops by a large river. Long, narrow, traditional river craft in the background. African troops get onto the river craft and they sail off. Now on the boat the camera passes columns of these traditional river craft sailing in the opposite direction. An African soldier finishes a basha roof while a white soldier sits under it and does some paperwork. A Dakota drops supplies. More Dakotas drop supplies. An African soldier cuts legs of meat with a machete and carries it off to the cook. An African soldier digs a hole with a pickaxe. Cooking over a fire. General views of the camp. A basha being built. Back on the bamboo raft looking back at two other rafts sailing downstream. A column of troops crosses a jungle river. More rafting over shallow rapids. White and African soldiers on a raft. Locals in loincloths steer the rafts. A white soldier uses a radio. Smoke rises from an explosion in the jungle. The officer looks on through binoculars; he then uses the radio again. A Bren is fired from the hip into the jungle.


The 82st West African Division was the first full division raised from west African troops. The nucleus of the division was the Royal West African Frontier Force (RWAFF). The RWAFF was predominantly Nigerian, but Gold Coast, Sierra Leone and Gambia were also represented. The division was established in March 1943 and arrived in India in August 1943. One of the division's brigades was detached to 3rd Indian Division for service with the Chindits, while the remaining two served with XV Corps in the campaigns in the Arakan during 1944 and 1945. The 82nd West African Division was created in August 1943, and had reached Ceylon (Sri Lanka) by late July 1944.



  • STORY OF THE WEST AFRICAN TROOPS (31/10/1944) (Allocated)
Series Title:

Technical Data

Running Time:
19 minutes
Film Gauge (Format):
1651 ft

Production Credits

Production Countries:
War Office Directorate of Public Relations
Marshall, L W (Sergeant)
Production company
SEAC Film Unit



Production Organisations