ADMIRALTY ISLANDS CAMPAIGN 1944
This film is held by the Imperial War Museum (ID: MGH 4382).
Air-to-ground shots of Coral Sea and Owen Stanley mountain range, as aircraft flies from Brisbane to Ward's airstrip at Port Moresby (New Guinea) and then to Dobdura airfield. Australians and Americans deplane. US First Cavalry Division forms up at Oro Bay on the north coast of New Guinea: truck convoys and embarkation. A group of soldiers pose, with William Courtenay standing second from right in jungle hat. Landing craft move off. Courtenay seen (hatless) onboard. CU of soldiers with homemade…
Air-to-ground shots of Coral Sea and Owen Stanley mountain range, as aircraft flies from Brisbane to Ward's airstrip at Port Moresby (New Guinea) and then to Dobdura airfield. Australians and Americans deplane. US First Cavalry Division forms up at Oro Bay on the north coast of New Guinea: truck convoys and embarkation. A group of soldiers pose, with William Courtenay standing second from right in jungle hat. Landing craft move off. Courtenay seen (hatless) onboard. CU of soldiers with homemade flag showing Texas Star.
Two star command post with Commanding General of 1st Cavalry Division, Major General Innis P Swift standing in front of Stars and Stripes, Oro Bay New Guinea February 1944.
Assault on Los Negros 29 February. Ship-to-shore firing. Smoke on the horizon and distance shots of Hyane Harbour entrance, as landing craft close in.
At Oro Bay 8 March, 69 liberated Sikh soldiers who had been prisoners of the Japanese since their capture at Singapore, salute and speak with US troops. A group of black US soldiers pose for the camera. CU four nurses in a jeep. William Courtenay in conversation with one of the Sikh soldiers. US troops embark on landing craft. Pan of beached craft crowded with vehicles and men.
Life aboard ship, men eating and drinking. Pan of island in distance and land under bombardment from sea. Ships, motor launches and aircraft pass camera ship. Landing craft ashore - probably 6 March, Salami Plantation, Seeadler Harbour, Los Negros - showing men, vehicles and equipment disembarking. Scenes ashore. William Courtenay with RAAF officers drinking from coconuts. Troops holding up Japanese propaganda leaflets. CU of leaflets. Villagers.
Pan of shore as landing craft approaches - probably Lugos Mission on the neighbouring island of Manus, sometime shortly after the initial landings on 15 March. Scenes of broken palm trees and wrecked defences ashore. Temporary jungle camp, men - probably Australian troops - relaxing. Airfield - probably Momote back on Los Negros - with North American P-51 Mustangs and North American B-25 Mitchells. Wrecked Japanese equipment by runway's edge. Scenes of men in camp, including Courtenay, relaxing, washing, shaving, washing-up and cooking. Pan of sea and beach with men swimming. Vehicles, with camera on board, drive through secondary jungle and villages.
On board a motor torpedo boat, camera pans ships in bay. Boat at anchor with men relaxing. Locals come aboard. Men diving and swimming nude from boat. Rope attached to another MTB which is then taken under tow. Boats come alongside larger US ship (443) and tow taken on board.
Activity ashore with wounded on stretchers. Afloat again on landing craft. Pan of ships in - probably - Seeadler Harbour. Wounded (some Japanese) transferred ashore. Wreckage on beachhead and makeshift camp. US troops moving out. CU of men (US and locals?) who have recently been in combat. Dead Japanese. More wreckage including Japanese bomber. Stars and Stripes fly over base supply camp. Tank 'Sloppy Joe' boards landing craft. US sailor holds up Japanese flag. Locals in their village. Heavy equipment levelling airfield - probably Mokerang or Lorengau on Manus - as Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress flies over and lands. Piper reconnaissance aircraft taxies.
Aircraft leaves from Momote airfield. Air-to-ground views of sea, jungle and mountains from onboard RAAF aircraft. On ground (back in New Guinea) Australian soldier with his arms around two American nurses; they smile at the camera. Camera pans around more nurses sitting and standing around jeep. Some look quite fed up. Villager climbs palm tree and throws down coconuts. Locals sing hymns outside hut marked 'Radio Guinea'. Unknown man with Bell and Howell filming. Permanent camp; Courtenay arrives by jeep and goes into one of the huts. Alongside a small jetty, boat sets off with camera aboard. Local sailing vessels seen. As boat nears land, locals come out to meet it. Courtenay with locals ashore. Village activity.
Amateur colour film shot by British journalist (Sunday Times, Sunday Chronicle, Daily Graphic) William Courtenay, showing the preparation and assault on the British Admiralty Islands by the US 1st Cavalry Division, February-March 1944.