This film is held by the Imperial War Museum (ID: JFU 179).


Men of 1st Battalion, Essex Regiment (of 23rd Long-Range Penetration (LRP) Brigade, part of 3rd Indian Division (also known as 'Special Force' or the Chindits) seen returning to 51st Rest Camp at Imphal. The men lead mules along a muddy road. A soldier removes a pack from a mule. The mule starts grazing. Men climbing a steep and slippery hill track; one man stumbles and drops his M1 Carbine. More men climbing. A sign reads 'Bath House Ghusul Khan'. Men go inside. A man lights a cigarette from the tip of another. Men waiting at a mobile canteen. Men buy fruit from local Manipuri women. Men queue for tea and are also given packets of cigarettes. A captured Japanese artillery piece, possibly a 75mm Type 41 Mountain Gun, with close-ups of its breech mechanism. Close-ups of the mustachioed Brigadier L E C M Perowne, commander of 23rd LRP Brigade. Close-up of Colonel Dutfield, responsible for air supply to the columns of 23rd Brigade. Portrait of a bearded British soldier standing with his mule. A British man is shaved by a West African. Group of soldiers of the Essex Regiment posing for the camera; many of the men are severely underweight after their long service behind enemy lines. A staff officer, Captain Atkill, talks with a Naga interpreter named Nihoshe. Close-up of Nihoshe. A soldier with pack crosses shot. Close-up of Lieutenant-Colonel G H Walker, commander of 1st Battalion, Essex Regiment.

(This section shot by Sergeant Hammond) Wide shot of Indian Engineers at work bridging a gully. A man at work with a sledgehammer and another with a spade. The framework of a Bailey bridge is run out across the gully. Indian soldiers, apparently of the Frontier Force, cross a wooden bridge. A column of mules. A motorbike overtakes a Morris Quad artillery tractor towing an Ordnance QF 25-pounder field gun and limber. The gun is towed across rough terrain. View towards Ukhrul from Finch's Corner. Brief glimpse of Lieutenant-General Montagu Stopford (commander XXXIII Corps) and Lieutenant-General William Slim (commander 14th Army) arriving at 7th Indian Division's HQ. A jeep being pushed out of a rut on a muddy road.

A swampy-looking river, wooden bridge and Indian Engineers at work. Engineers carrying prefabricated Bailey bridge sections. Engineers at work on various parts and carrying a girder. A fast-flowing stream; tilt up to show wooden bridge. A number of mules are led over the stream. Indian Engineers at work. The framework of a bridge is extended. A Morris Quad tows an Ordnance QF 6-pounder anti-tank gun across an improvised bridge. Two Stuart ('Honey') light tanks (7th Light Cavalry?) cross the bridge; the second is named 'Dauntless'. On the Imphal-Ukhrul road Major-General Frank Messervy looks at a map with Brigadier James and Brigadier Hirst. Men lean against an earth embankment and drink tea or eat from their mess tins. A stone at Finch's Corner (near Milestone 34 on the Ukhrul-Imphal road, near Sangshak and a few miles from Litan) dated 12.5.43 pays tribute to a Major Finch, who built the road, with a long and legible inscription that includes a Biblical quotation (John 4:36; 'He who reapeth receiveth wages') and concludes 'We hill people never had a dream to have a sight of such a thing [i.e. a motorable road] near our doors'. A Bren gunner lies next to the stone. Lieutenant-General Slim gets out of a staff car. Stopford, Messervy and Slim talking at 7th Division HQ. Shots of jeeps on a very muddy road. Men of the Royal Engineers supervise the construction of a bamboo raft to carry field guns down the River Thoubal.

Footage of bridging and raft building, men at rest and visits by senior officers in the Ukhrul area, Manipur, India.


For footage of Chindits of 14th Brigade returning to a rest camp at Tinsukia, see related items.

In March 1944 the Japanese launched an invasion of India named Operation U-Go. After a long but ultimately ill-fated siege at Kohima the remnants of 15th and 31st Japanese Divisions fell back towards the River Chindwin via Ukhrul. They were encircled and destroyed in the first week of July 1944, in a battle characterised by an appalling combination of poor weather, near impossible terrain and disease.

Dopesheet describes further footage of the raft-building, but unfortunately this appears to have been junked due to a camera malfunction.

For more film relating to Ukhrul, see related items.



Series Title:

Technical Data

Running Time:
10 minutes
Film Gauge (Format):
884 ft

Production Credits

Production Countries:
War Office Directorate of Public Relations
Brown, T V (Sergeant)
Hammond, R G (Sergeant)
Production company
SEAC Film Unit



Production Organisations