INDIAN NEWS PARADE NO 67 (23/6/1944)

This film is held by the Imperial War Museum (ID: INR 67).


I. "NATIONAL DEFENCE COUNCIL MEMBERS WITH INDIAN TROOPS IN THE MIDDLE EAST" Touring members of the National Defence Council meet Indian troops, the "good soldiers", in the Middle East. The Honourable Syed Miran Mohammed Shah talks to troops while Pandit Kumaru bring news from home. Captain Sirdar Nanial Singh and other members visit troops in hospital before travelling across Sinai desert by car to Jerusalem. Scenes of Jaipur infantry on parade, a mock battle with Pandit Hirday Nath Kunzru in attendance.

II. "REINFORCEMENTS FOR THE WEST AFRICAN FORCES ON THE BURMA FRONT" West African troops, "strong, tough, most magnificently built race in the world" march barefoot to their encampment in Burma. Commentary notes, "Negroes look forward to a sane world at peace to give them their proper place in the human family". Meantime, they go out to fight in Burma to make the peace possible. "Africa fight...for their cause...and ours."

III. "INDIAN TROOPS IN ALLIED DRIVE THROUGH ITALY" Indian troops take part in Allied advance through Italy. Scenes of Punjabi troops rehearsing and camouflaged troops crossing a clearing. Mahrattas demonstrates how a path was cleared for the Infantry. Scenes of carriers transporting men to the front line, mortars being assembled and a machine gun opening to draw enemy fire. Signallers then give word to attack, mindful of concealed mines. Scenes of German prisoners emerging from the ruins of Pignataro, a prison camp and lorries transporting German prisoners "to the civilised world".


Summary: film not viewed; synopses based on commentary sheets.



In its report of the 15th session of the National Defence Council in August 1944, Indian Information noted that the ‘council also discussed a memorandum on a number of recommendations made by certain members of the National Defence Council who visited the Middle East, Persia and Iraq in April last’. The caption for a photograph in the journal taken at an Indian Soldiers’ club explained that on the recent tour of the Middle East, council members – including Professor E. Ahmed Shah, Captain Sardar Naunihal Singh Mann, and Pandit Kunzru – visited ‘active battalions, training establishment[s] and special leave camps for Indian troops of this command’ (Indian Information, 15 August 1944, 178). The visit of the council members is further reported in the next issue of Indian News Parade (‘Indians Abroad Promote Goodwill’) which shows the members at a tea party and on a tour with Army officers learning ‘how the Middle East has become one vast base camp’.

Coverage of West African troops in Burma also featured elsewhere within Indian News Parade (in issues 70 and 88, for example). This issue notes the reinforcements for the West African forces. The 81st West African Division reached India in August 1943 and served as part of the second Arakan campaign during the first half of 1944. By the summer of 1944, the 82nd West African Division arrived and at the end of the year served as part of the third Arakan offensive (Jeffreys and Anderson, 2005, 57). In all, nearly 80,000 West African infantrymen served during the Burma campaign (Jackson, 2006, 214).

The final sequence shows footage from Italy, at a time when Indian News Parade was endeavouring to show more footage of Indian troops in action. Sir Syed Sultan Ahmed, Government Minister for Information and Broadcasting, explained the difficulties of photographing ‘night fighting in Italy’ at a meeting of the Publicity Advisory Council in August 1944. ‘Nevertheless’, he continued, ‘those of you who follow the Indian News Parade will have noticed that there is sometimes as much as 500 feet devoted to the services and an increasing proportion is of actual operations’ (Indian Information, 15 September 1944, 269). Footage from Italy featured in three of the next five editions (68, 70 and 72). Philip Woods noted that these newsreels often highlighted ‘the importance of Indian troops in the war, and the care that was being taken of these troops’, while a number of these films also illustrated Mahratta loyalty (Woods, 2000, 105).

The final item shows the town of Pignataro, which was captured by Indian troops of the Eighth Army in May 1944. The Times reported on the ‘superbly audacious and daring work’ of the Indians in capturing Pignataro and showed photographs of this ‘battered shell of a town’ (The Times, 18 May 1944, 4 and 19 May 1944, 6). Indian Information subsequently reported on the capture of German prisoners during the campaign. It reported the capture of German paratroopers by a company of the 8th Indian Division under Major Girdhari Singh in Roccasecca at the end of May, and noted further prisoners taken by a rifle troop of the Bengal Lancers under Lieutenant Iqbal Singh. The report described hundreds of Italians that ‘streamed past the Indian column returning to their homes’ and ‘greeted the Indians with great joy’ (Indian Information, 1 July 1944, 5).



Indian News Parade 67 emphasises the work of Indian troops overseas. As Philip Woods has shown, the film places a particular importance on the welfare of Indian troops, with the opening item showing members of the Defence Council visiting ‘our men in the hospitals’ and watching them on parade. The item promotes unity between those serving and those watching at home and directly addresses the families of those fighting –‘if you have a relative serving with them you’ll be happy to know that you and the family were practically all they talked about’. The final item also shows Indian troops, but now shows the troops in action – as widely requested by the public – with lengthy scenes of warfare. The item shows the development of the Indian troops (‘there are men among these who’d never been in a boat before they joined the army’); the contribution of the Indians within Europe; and also the support and loyalty of the Mahrattas (‘Mahrattas show how the way was cleared for the infantry’). Finally, the item reaffirms the established ideological division between the Allied forces – of which the Indians are shown to be an intrinsic part – and the Nazis, as the commentator refers to the Nazi prisoners ‘taking a trip to the civilised world’.

The film also shows West African forces on the Burma Front, although the Africans are not presented in action, but are rather shown transporting supplies on their heads and walking ‘barefoot’ to the camp. The item distinguishes the Africans in ethnographic and physiological terms – the commentator describes the Africans as ‘strong, tough, [the] most magnificently built race in the world’ – and this is largely consistent with subsequent presentations within Indian News Parade. The film does present Africans waving at the camera alongside European men, but ultimately the item does not relate the Africans to the British or to the Empire, but rather presents them primarily as an individual group fighting for its own personal cause. Rather than suggesting that the Africans are fighting for the Empire, the item suggests that they are fighting for ‘their proper place in the human family’. They are fighting for post-war social change, a message which would surely resonate with Indian audiences. In this, the government seemingly acknowledges that imperial support and unity is founded on a sense of personal benefit for the individual nations. This is again emphasised by the final lines within the item, as the commentator states ‘Africa fight… for their cause… and ours’.

Tom Rice (October 2008)


Works Cited

Indian Information, 15 August 1944, 178.

‘Publicity Problems in War and Peace: Sir Sultan Ahmed’s Address to Advisory Committee’, Indian Information, 15 September 1944.

Jackson, Ashley, The British Empire and the Second World War (London: Hambledon Continuum, 2006).

Jeffreys, Alan and Duncan Anderson, The British Army in the Far East 1941-45 (Oxford: Osprey Publishing, 2005).

‘Indians Daring Tactics; Rocks Scaled by Night; Pignataro Captured’, The Times, 18 May 1944, 4.

‘The Capture of Pignataro by Indian Troops’, The Times, 19 May 1944, 6.

Woods, Philip, ‘”Chapattis by Parachute”: The Use of Newsreels in British Propaganda in India in the Second World War’, Journal of South Asian Studies, 23:2 (2000), 89-110.



  • INDIAN NEWS PARADE NO 67 (23/6/1944)
Series Title:

Technical Data

Running Time:
7 minutes
Film Gauge (Format):
627 ft

Production Credits

Production Countries:
GB, India
Department of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India
Moylan, William J (FRGS, FRSA)
Moylan, William J (FRGS, FRSA)







Production Organisations