This film is held by the Imperial War Museum (ID: JFU 225).


Reel 1: A goods train drives towards camera with its drivers or stokers leaning out from the footplate. A sign board headed 'Manipur Road - Dimapur' gives distances to London, New York, Berlin and Tokio (Tokyo). Railway goods wagons in sidings. Prefabricated Bailey bridge sections are stacked. A section is loaded aboard a 5-ton Mack truck by a number of Indian personnel . The driver ties down the truck's canopy. Supplies at the railhead, including tar barrels, rolls of bitumenised hessian sheeting, steel mesh, barbed wire etc. The Mack lorry (No. 9703) passes a sign showing a pickaxe head and the number 5. A Sikh driver enters a tent marked 'EDO' (Empty Despatch Office). He is given a paper and salutes a British officer behind a desk. A sign reads 'Loaded Despatch Office'. A sign reads 'Nichugard Operations'; two officers stand below it. Lorry 9703 leaves the depot. 9703 driving away from camera. Terrain shots with the lorry visible in the midground. At a Driver Changing Point two drivers get out and salute an officer. A fitter closes the bonnet as two relief drivers, each with a rifle and a bedroll, get into the truck's cab. A sign reads 'Recovery 999'. 9703 at the roadside; a driver hails a repair vehicle, probably a Morris Commercial C8. Close-up on a board on the repair vehicle's bumper which reads 'EME Patrol 999 - 6' [EME - Electrical and Mechanical Engineers?]. 9703 rounds a bend on a mountain road towards a Naga Servicing Station. The Indian driver dismounts and a Naga driver takes over. The lorry passes over the camera into a servicing shed. Naga men wash the lorry down with a high-pressure hose. A Naga mechanic with a pneumatic grease gun. Another Naga, with 'IE' (Indian Engineers') on his shoulder drains the rear axle. Another tests spark plugs and another oils a compressor. 9703 leaves the shed and its tires are checked before driving away. A military traffic policeman directs vehicles near a signpost marked 'TCP No. 1' (Traffic Control Post No. 1). Road and terrain views. A sign reads 'Tokio and the East'. The village of Kohima, previously the scene of heavy fighting. Trees stripped of their branches near 'DC's Bungalow'. Tank transporters carrying Lee medium tanks. Terrain views with tank transporters visible. At the roadside a fitter approaches 9703 (this footage follows the hailing of the EME Morris Commercial seen earlier). The fitter at work on the engine with close-up. He closes the bonnet. At the top of a steep cliff a recovery team are at work with a wrecker lorry. A petrol tanker, which slipped from the road and fell several hundred feet down the cliff, is slowly hauled back up.

Reel 2: More footage of the recovery team at work. The crashed petrol tanker reaches the top of the cliff. An anchoring point for the winch equipment is hammered into the ground. The tanker is towed away by the wrecker lorry. At the Statistical Department Colonel Holmes and Major Woolley discuss a wall chart. Colonel Holmes consults a card index ('Kardex'). Close-up of an index card giving various serial numbers associated with 9703. A sign reads 'Line of Communication 999 Commander' with the crest of 14th Army. Another sign reads '999 Statistics'. 9703 arrives at a dump of engineering supplies and her cargo of Bailey bridge sections is unloaded. 9703 drives away along a dusty road and is enveloped in a cloud of dust. A driver refuels 9703. Another tops up the oil. A driver queues for food and the two drivers seen eating. A fitter tightens a nut in a lorry's wheel well. A jemadar (a junior Viceroy's Commissioned Officer rank in the Indian Army) inspects 9703 and summons a fitter. A driver boards. Vehicles moving along a very dusty road with close-ups of wheels kicking up dust. Road and terrain views. A sign reads 'Bottleneck - No overtaking for one mile'. Another sign reads 'Slow - Hari Kari Corner' (a reference to Japanese ritual suicide (hara kiri or seppuku) and the hazardous nature of the road). Another sign reads 'Indo-Burma Frontier - Straight on for Mandalay and Tokio'. Aerial footage showing the ruggedness of the terrain, the winding road, a railway line and forest.

Film demonstrating the logistical and administrative organisation responsible for maintaining road lines of communication into Burma from railheads at Dimapur, India.


The dopesheets for this film are somewhat unusual. There is no standard Army Film and Photo Section cover sheet and so no details of date or cameraman. In the assembly notes that follow Sergeant Hammond is mentioned but he is presumably not the main cameraman. Shooting date probably early- or mid-1945.

The background dopesheet for this film is extremely detailed and gives several pages of notes from an interview with Colonel R Holmes, manager of these road communications. Information given includes the various mileages, servicing regime, accident rate, size of the vehicle fleet and so on.

The 'DC's Bungalow' was the residence of the District Commissioner of Nagaland, India. During the Battle of Kohima, the DC's Bungalow became a key feature of the battlefield. For much of the battle the frontline ran directly through the bungalow's tennis court with British and Japanese troops entrenched on either side.

The Naga people, seen at work at the Servicing Station in Reel 1, are a distinct ethnic group of somewhat unclear ancestry but possibly mixed Mongol and Tibeto-Burmese. They live mostly on the Indo-Burma border in the Indian states of Assam, Manipur and Nagaland and on the border areas of Burma's Sagaing Division. Traditionally headhunters, in the nineteenth century increasing numbers were converted to Christianity by the work of missionaries. During the war they proved helpful to the Allies, providing scouts and guides, and aiding Allied stragglers or crashed airmen. This film provides an interesting record of the people of a traditional society rapidly adapting and using modern technology. Other film about the Nagas can be found at the references below.

The logistical infrastructure sustaining Allied forces in Burma was the subject of a number of films by Army Film and Photo Unit cameramen. See related items.

Somewhat inexplicably halfway through Reel 2 there is a brief sequence showing the preparation of a captured Japanese flamethrower (Type 93 or Type 100). The footage is not documented on the dopesheet and its provenance is not clear.



Series Title:

Technical Data

Running Time:
17 minutes
Film Gauge (Format):
1458 ft

Production Credits

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



Production Organisations