Royal Navy at War in Colour - A Sailor's View [DVD]
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Colour film footage of the Royal Navy during the Second World War is exceptionally rare, shot by serving officers from the Nelson, the Kent, the Ivanhoe and the Laforey.
Highlights include the 3rd Destroyer Flotilla in Malta and on exercise in the autumn of 1939, film of the Norwegian campaign of 1940, Malta convoys, the carrier Eagle sinking and the Laforey shelling Madagascar.
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If you are interested in naval history in any way, or you are looking for a gift for someone who is, look no further.
I would recommend that you start with viewing this DVD, as the "in Colour" episode covers a bit of everything, but if you first start, you wont stop until you have bought all 7.
This DVD contains two hours of colour footage, half a compilation of 'home movies' shot in WW2 and the other half two Royal Navy instructional films made in June 1945.
The colour films show naval activity that I have not seen in any black and white professional films. Rough seas, destroyers, transfers at sea, rescuing survivors, famous ocean liners in convoy and trooping, sailors off duty and wardroom mealtime in heavy weather, to mention some of what is on this film. Much of it was shot from - some in - HM Ships Ivanhoe, Kent, Laforey and Nelson. The commentary is not that of a professional narrator but is by someone who certainly understood what is shown in the films.
The two documentaries are similar. There is some wonderful colour footage of a Southampton class cruiser (1936 + 9,100 tons - X turret removed after refit) - almost certainly HMS Birmingham or HMS Glasgow - in the English Channel, near the Cotentin Peninsula. The Royal Navy Seafire aircraft (the naval version of the Spitfire) are operating from what seems to be an escort carrier (US built Archer, Attacker or Ruler class of 1939-42). There is rare footage of the Headquarters Ship HMS Bulolo underway (9,111 tons displacement, she was built as mv Bulolo in 1938 for the Burns, Philp Shipping Co of Australia; she was first converted to an armed merchant cruiser (AMC) and, in 1942, to an LSH(L). She could carry six landing craft (LCP(L)s) and 258 troops. She was returned to merchant service in December 1946).
Both instructional films were made for HMS Excellent, the gunnery school, and contain footage of the personnel involved, on board and in the air, in naval shore bombardment, using the heavy cruiser's six-inch guns. On film are serving RN and 'Wavy Navy' officers of the executive and air branches, and Royal Marines and army officers - they may be your ancestors or, if not, they will certainly give an idea of the activity of naval gunnery officers and Seafire pilots spotting NGFS (naval gunfire support) in the war and immediate post-war years.