This film is held by the Imperial War Museum (ID: JFU 416).


Shot on 7 October 1945: footage from a landing craft approaching the shore showing two Landing Craft Assaults (LCAs) and larger transport vessels on the horizon. An LCA ahead, with a Royal Marine captain in right foreground with binoculars, looking towards land. Approaching Port Blair; local people can be seen on the waterfront. The troops on the cameraman's LCA disembark and a number of locals help the men ashore. More men disembarking from landing craft. Troops crossing open ground.Locals line a road; in the distance troops appear to be running with their backs to the camera. Out of focus crowd shot. Group of civilians including children.

Shot on 7 October 1945: troops lying prone. Wide shot of troops, probably of 8th Battalion 6th Rajputana Rifles, on open ground with civilians amongst them. Rear-quarter medium close-up of an Indian soldier with rifle. Ships on the horizon and palm trees. Troops filing across open ground. Local people. Line of troops heading into undergrowth. Series of shots of cheering locals in the bazaar at Port Blair. Small group of Japanese naval troops. Crowd along a road. Looking up at two civilian women on a balcony. Lieutenant-Commander Takano, staff captain to Vice-Admiral Hara Teizo (commanding Japanese naval forces in the Andaman Islands and Japanese military governor) arrives on the quayside for surrender discussions. Silhouetted shot of Takano alone on the quayside. Landing Craft Infantry (Large) (LCI(L)) 310 berthing. Men disembarking from LCI(L) 310. Japanese watching. A smiling young girl watches from behind a pillar. Scenic shot showing a troopship (probably HMT Dilwara) and a sloop (possibly HMIS Narbada) in Port Blair harbour, taken from the roof of the Cellular Jail. A party of civilian administrators are shown around the jail. A line of Japanese sailors on the quayside awaiting instructions; the man nearest camera turns and salutes. A Japanese naval rating meets the British officer (Captain E R Jolly, of Wicklow, Eire) commanding troops on Ross Island, a small defended island three quarters of a mile from Port Blair; one man in the group is wearing the patch of Combined Operations. Party walks up a steep hill and is saluted by the Japanese commander of the Ross Island detachment. Two Japanese naval troops talking with Captain J Cameron of Edinburgh, an interpreter. Group of Japanese troops leaving their billet.

Shot on 8 October 1945: interior; Captains Jolly and Cameron discuss defensive positions with the Japanese commanding officer, apparently a merchant seaman torpedoed off the Andamans. Four Japanese troops run to join a party of other Japanese, disarmed and awaiting internment. Captain S Campbell talks to Able Seaman Denis Whitehouse of Bromley, Kent. Interned Japanese troops carrying crates and kitbags at the docks; Landing Craft Tank 7023 can be seen moored behind.

Shot on 9 October 1945, at approximately 1000 hours: Japanese Army and Navy delegates arrive to sign a formal surrender at the Gymkhana Ground, Port Blair; one of their escorts is enormously tall and they await the arrival of the British and Indian delegation. Brigadier J A Salomons, commander of 116th Indian Infantry Brigade and officer commanding land forces Andaman and Nicobar Islands, arrives and inspects a guard of honour; some of the troops appear to be wearing 'Rajput' shoulder titles. Salomons takes his seat and reads the terms of surrender. Seated Japanese naval officer, Vice Admiral Hara Teizo. Seated Japanese army officer, Major-General Tamenori Sato. Japanese interpreter reading the terms. Vice Admiral Hara signing the instrument of surrender and affixing his seal. The British delegation, with Salomons in the centre, flanked by the Chief Commissioner of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands (Mr Noel K Patterson, Indian Civil Service) and Captain J H Blair and an unnamed brigade major. Major-General Sato signs the instrument. Wide shot of the sports ground. Allied spectators (soldiers and sailors). Civilians and assorted servicemen watching. Salomons signing. View over his shoulder. Wider shot. Japanese Navy officers putting on their white gloves. Teizo approaches the Allied delegation's desk, salutes, and places his sword on the table. Closer shot shows the junior Japanese naval officer saluting and placing his sword carefully on the table before marching away. Sato surrenders his sword. Japanese delegation marches off. British delegation walk towards a pavillion with a very large Union flag flying. Crowd dispersing (short section here fogged). Nurses walking away. Patterson inspects one of the swords; he unsheaths it and a British officer (mostly out of shot) tests the edge. Nurses examining a sword. Close-up of the instrument of surrender, with signatures in English and the Japanese officers' family seals. A body of Japanese troops. Japanese officer giving instructions. Japanese vehicles driving off; they fly white surrender pennants. Japanese weapons (tripod-mounted medium machine guns with canvas covers) are unloaded from lorries, Wide shot of lorries being unloaded.

Shot on 10 October 1945: large group of civilians waiting to receive rations and vaccinations from Civil Affairs Service personnel. A queue of mothers and children file past camera. Civil Affairs Service personnel issuing rations in square metal tins and apparenty containing 14 days food for one person (rice, salt, tea, sugar, powdered milk etc). A small child, crying, holding its mother's leg. A man carrying a tin of rations on his shoulder receives an injection. A small boy is injected. A captain of the Indian Army Medical Corps injects a woman. A toddler receives an injection. Civilians carrying their rations on their heads. High shot looking over the waiting crowd.

In the Andaman Islands, after more than three and a half years of Japanese occupation, troops of 116th Indian Infantry Brigade make an amphibious landing at Port Blair to take the surrender of the Japanese garrison, while Civil Affairs troops see to the welfare of the population.


The Andaman and Nicobar Islands were occupied by the Japanese from March 1942. They had at one point been considered for capture (Operation Buccaneer) as a jumping-off point for an amphibious assault against Rangoon.

The Cellular Jail was constructed between 1896 and 1906, and could house 698 prisoners each in a separate and isolated cell, giving it its name. The Andaman Islands were used as a penal colony after the Indian Mutiny in 1857 and housed political prisoners during the Indian independence movement.

The dopesheet states that Able Seaman Whitehouse was the only British prisoner of war on Ross Island, having spent ninety days adrift in a lifeboat after being torpedoed by a Japanese submarine on the SS Woolgar. However, other sources suggest that the D/S Woolgar, a Norwegian-operated vessel built in Sunderland in 1914, was sunk by Japanese aircraft. She was attacked on 7 March 1942, 150 miles off Tjilatjap, and went down in 12 minutes. 6 men, including Whitehouse, survived 88 days in a lifeboat, although one died ten days after reaching land.

The cameraman's dopesheet also remarks that 'Jap Lt-Comdr and Staff Capt in roll 3 were escorted to quayside by the cameraman with much bowing and saluting. Co-operation by Jap Navy personnel was absolute in the extreme'. Such behaviour by Japanese personnel was common throughout south east Asia following the surrender, and it often puzzled Allied troops who had experienced their suicidal ferocity in battle.

After the war, both Vice Admiral Teizo and Major-General Sato were accused of war crimes. Teizo was acquitted in a case relating to the execution of nine Burmese Andaman islanders, while Sato was executed for involvement in the killing of a number of Burmese civilians, including women and children, who were attempting to escape in a stolen Japanese boat.

For useful additional coverage in stills, see IWM photo references below, taken by Sergeant Lemon. Lemon's captions name the brigade major as R B Williams, and other members of the Japanese delegation as Staff Captain Shimazaki and Lieutenant-Colonel Tazawa.

In all, a remarkable piece of film, with an interesting mix of military, political and human interest, and consistently well shot.



Reoccupation of the Andaman Islands consists of silent black and white rushes of the 116th Infantry Brigade shot by Sergeant E. E. Miller, a combat cameraman of the British Army’s South East Asia Command (SEAC) Army Film and Photographic Unit. The footage, shot between 7 and 10 October 1945, covers the surrender of Japanese forces on the Andaman Islands.

The Andamans are a group of archipelagic islands in the Bay of Bengal which now form part of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands Union Territory of India. The island’s geographical location – 800 miles from the nearest Indian port – influenced their use as a penal colony (see ‘Andaman District’). The British government proposed the construction of a prison on the islands in 1855. Although work was delayed due to the Indian Rebellion of 1857, this rebellion also encouraged the use of the islands as a penal settlement. Prominent members of the independence movement were subsequently housed in the solitary confinement of the island’s Cellular Jail. Indians imprisoned there referred to the island and its prison as ‘Kala Pani’ (Black Water), also the name of a 1996 film about the prison. Following VJ Day, the Government of India declared that its first priority for the islands would be the abolition of the penal settlement. The Times reported that there was ‘a good deal of political prejudice against the settlement’ and that ‘nationalist politicians object to the Government’s having at their disposal an oversea [sic] settlement to which awkward customers could be removed’ (The Times, 3 September 1945, 3). The penal colony was closed on 15 August 1947. Cellular Jail now serves as a museum to the independence movement.

The Andaman Islands were the subject of the first Japanese assault on Indian territory during World War II (on 24 February 1942) and represented the only part of this territory to be occupied by Japanese troops.They were captured by the Japanese on 23 March 1942 following the evacuation of ‘a considerable proportion of the population of the islands, including women and children and a number of convicts’ (The Times, 26 March 1942, 4). It was estimated, however, that 4000 prisoners remained (The Times, 3 September 1945, 3). The military correspondent for The Times reported that this exit ‘could scarcely have been avoided’, the geographical location of the islands meant that ‘they would be very much easier for the Japanese to attack than for us to defend’. He also conceded that although ‘obviously unwelcome’ the capture of the islands ‘would appear to be a far less serious danger than that which threatens India from Burma’ (The Times, 26 March 1942, 4). The islands held a strategic position for Japanese naval forces and were used as a submarine and seaplane base.

During the latter stages of the War food, clothing and medical supplies on the island became straitened. It was nevertheless October 1945 before Allied troops reclaimed the islands. In the meantime South East Asia Command was ‘engaged on larger and more urgent tasks which apparently absorb[ed] all available shipping’ (The Times, 3 September 1945, 3), including the re-occupation of Singapore, Britain’s primary strategic objective in the entire southeast Asian theatre.



Although Reoccupation of the Andaman Islands is comprised of rushes, various scenes betray a foreknowledge of their eventual sequencing if the story was later to be selected for screening in a newsreel or documentary. The opening footage of the forces re-occupying the island includes establishing shots of the arrival of the troops, followed by the reaction of the islanders, and then the advance of the troops into the mainland. The extensive footage of the formal surrender ceremony is also framed for storytelling purposes. Each stage of this elaborate procedure is captured, with particular attention being paid to the surrender document (filmed in close-up) and the handover of traditional samurai swords.

There are three main protagonists in the footage: the Allied troops, the Japanese, and the islanders. Each is treated differently by the cameraman. The Allied troops are usually filmed from a distance and they are rarely individualised. The footage reveals an efficient, collaborative army unit calmly going about its business. The Japanese army is shown as being a more overtly ritualised force (particularly during the surrender ceremony). It is also depicted as being humiliated (there are scenes that feature Japanese troops carrying heavy loads while under Allied supervision). In the scenes that feature Japanese forces it is their response that the cameraman prioritises. A pensive Lieutenant Commander Takano is depicted surveying the waterfront; at the harbour Japanese soldiers are lined up before the camera and one of them salutes; in negotiations with interpreter Captain J. Cameron it is the respectful Japanese officers who are monitored.

Sergeant Miller also appears keen to capture the reactions of the local islanders. They are often filmed face-on and are accorded medium-range and close-up shots. There are repeated scenes of the islanders cheering. This footage could be intercut with the arrival of the liberating troops, corresponding with areport in The Times that lauds the ‘overwhelming welcome from crowds lining the beaches’ (The Times, 10 October 1945, 4). However, as the dopesheets reveal, one point of origin for this euphoria is merely the presence of the cameraman.

The food relief and inoculations given to the islanders provide a positive story for the cameraman to capture. This footage also shows an awareness of its possible eventual assembly. There are long-range shots of a queue of locals, medium-range shots of civilian affairs personnel carrying the vaccinations, a close-up of a vaccinated child in tears, and to conclude there is familiar footage of women and children carrying their rations on their heads.

Richard Osborne (March 2009)


Works Cited

‘Adaman District: Andaman & Nicobar Islands’,

‘Andamans Reoccupied’, The Times, 10 October 1945, 4.

‘Confused Battle Near Toungoo’, The Times, 26 March 1942, 4.

‘Enemy Thrust Towards India’, The Times, 26 March 1942, 4.

‘Future of the Andamans’, The Times, 3 September 1945, 3. 



Series Title:

Technical Data

Running Time:
12 minutes
Film Gauge (Format):
1064 ft

Production Credits

Production Countries:
War Office Directorate of Public Relations
Miller, E E (Sergeant)
Production company
SEAC Film Unit







Production Organisations