No 1 Group, Royal Air Force, in action Winter 1943-44
In the winter of 1943-44, RAF Bomber Command was sending massive raids almost every night into the heart of Germany. This is the story of one of them, an attack on Berlin, probably the most heavily defended target of them all and one which made terrible demands on the courage of young aircrew. On the long, cold and desperately dangerous trip over Northern Germany and back to a difficult landing in wintry England, thousands of men died or suffered ghastly injuries. One must imagine that they were terrified much of the time, but there is very little sign of doubt or anxiety on the brave faces in Iliffe Cozen's film. And although certain scenes had to be recreated for technical reasons, make no mistake, the raid is a real one and there are no actors.
The film was made by one man with a clockwork 16mm Bell & Howell camera and the recently introduced American Kodachrome film. If he had not been a most distinguished airman he would probably have been celebrated as a documentary film-maker. We have altered his film very little, adding sound effects and a commentary by Brian Johnson, whose programme for BBC TV, Bombers, included a long extract from it. Cozens was fortunate in that, as Station Commander at Hemswell at the time, he was able to do things which lower-ranking film-makers might have found impossible, like cutting open the fuselage of a crashed Lancaster to film night interiors or flying a formation take-off in the station Airspeed Oxford to obtain the tremendous shot of V-Victor struggling into the air.
History is fortunate in that Cozens had himself experienced all the activities we see in the film and can show us clearly how they worked: he had flown raids over Germany, but he had also been involved in the planning of them at Group HQ and in the day-to-day running of an active station. The crew of V-Victor, led by Flt. Lt. Chandler (alias Harris) survived the war. 55,573 men of Bomber Command died attacking Germany. Harris's crew represent the heroism of them all. But it was also Cozens's intention that we should understand the part played by thousands of other men and women who struggled to maintain the aircraft night and day, whose skill helped bring exhausted crew safely home, who prayed for them and worried about them, and those whose awful job was to order them to go, night after night.
Director: HI Cozens
Cast: Brian Johnson
Genre: War, Television, Documentaries and Biographies
TVC 90 4002 2
* N/A or Unknown
Small Box - Rental Tape
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