Film: 1338

War + Military | 1940 | Sound | B/W

Clip:

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Synopsis:

A recruitment propaganda film to encourage young Australian men to enlist in the Royal Australian Airforce Force ( RAAF ) as ground crew, observers and air gunners during World War Two.

A marching unit of RAAF involved in the Empire Air Training Scheme ( EATS ) at a training camp. Members of the RAAF walk up the stairs and cross the gangplank to board a ship to England during the war. Several young airman are smiling happily. Aeroplane mechanics work on the engine of a large bomber in a hangar. The cowling is removed from the engine behind the propeller of a plane and a mechanic works on the machine. Two mechanics in overalls work on the engine. Three mechanics stand on a ladder and a box and check the flaps and ailerons. A recruitment poster calls for air crew and ground staff for the RAAF, it advertises the coming of a recruitment train to towns, the dates of which are to be filled in and the message "for further particulars apply to the council chambers." The recruitment train is a steam train and it pulls four carriages. A mans face is measured by an instrument which the doctor puts across his upper jaw. The white-coated male doctor examines the applicants ears. RAAF personnel look on and others shake hands with those applicants who have been recruited as they leave the recruitment train.

A recruitment poster with a strong-jawed pilot has the words "MANS job". Airman wearing Air force caps smile. There is a close-up of an air-gunners badge on the left chest of a uniform. Two uniforms and badges of air gunners and observers. A wide shot of a huge bomber and a gunnery school and a sequence of shots of a large air training school with pilots and ground support crew standing to attention and being inspected by officers in front of their small single engine monoplanes. There is a mess hut and the steel frame of a flat-roofed hangar under construction, with rows of training planes and propellers. The nerve centre of the flying school, the commanding officers office has the commanding officer showing trainee pilots details on a map. There is a close up of the commanding officers face. The squadron leader and two trainee pilots attend to what he is saying. The commanding officer traces his finger over the map. The flight authorisation blackboard has instructions for the pilots and their crews, airmen are looking at their instructions and referring to sheets of paper they carry. Men are noting down details from the blackboard.

Bombing class takes place in a small makeshift hut, airmen sit at stools at small tables while an instructor teaches from a blackboard. There is a sequence of small shots of the students, and the instructor explains flight trajectories on the blackboard. Air gunner trainees are taught at a panel of levers. An instructor and a trainee air gunner discuss the course. A Royal Air Force NCO instructs students with a gun. Outdoors, air gunners watch as one trainee practices using a gun which is mounted on a timber frame, the instructor explains the sights of the gun. Another air gunner trainee practices. Targets of pieces of timber in sand are shot down by the practising air gunner trainees. The second air gunner is shooting again. An air gunner is in the back of a cockpit of a plane which is on the ground, other trainees stand about and watch as he practises his sights on a miniature aeroplane which is moved about on a pole by an assistant. The air gunner trainee looks through his sights. The assistant moves the replica of an enemy aircraft into a different position. The air gunner trainee moves his gun around on its swivel base again.

A plane drops out a windsock-type apparatus, which it pulls behind itself on a long rope, it is designed to be of similar size as a plane fuselage and fulfil the function of a practice target for learning air gunners. The attacking plane swoops around the target. The trainee air gunner wears a helmet and goggles in an open cockpit and he aims at the target. The plane pulls the target through the air. The trainee air gunner shoots again there is a sequence of shots of the air gunner and the target, accompanied by sounds of gun fire. The target has been dropped by the plane pulling it, and it falls through the sky. In a timber shed on the ground the target is inspected on a table by the instructor and the trainee air gunner. The instructor and the gunner discuss the success of his aim.

Trainee observers are on the edge of an upper floor inside a training shed, they have a observers sight mounted on the edge of the floor and they practice looking down with the sight. Trainee observers are at a simulator. There is a team of four ground staff carrying fake 250 lb. bombs and placing them carefully into the undercarriage of the bomber. An observer climbs into a small single engine cockpit. The duty pilots high watchtower flashes a Morse code signal to the plane's pilot. The plane taxis. A wind sock blows in the breeze. The duty pilots tower sends more signals. The bomber takes off. The observer takes sight and his accuracy is noted and assessed through the use of smoke drifts by his fellow class members on the ground. The observers also use a mirror with plotted lines to check his accuracy.

The aeroplane is flying. The observer is seen looking out of the undercarriage of the plane at this target. The following sequence is a series of shots showing the observer sighting his targets, giving directions to the pilot, and bombs dropping from the undercarriage of the plane and small puffs of smoke as the false bombs hit the ground. Instructors have noted from the watchtower where all his bombs have dropped, one instructor looks through a telescope and the other notes the location of the explosions and phones the results back to headquarters. A young trainee calls from the watchtower to men on the ground who move two large but light, white-painted contraptions. (possibly signs to the pilot of the planes) The plane banks and turns for home. It lands. The observer goes to the office and collects the results of his bombing target practice. He takes it to the range officer and they discuss the mission together. There is a sequence of shots as they discuss the mornings exercise.

After months of training the trainees graduate, they are standing to attention in front of the RAAF flag, and several officers address them. Their commanding officer speaks to them about their training. There is a series of shots as the graduating men are pictured in turn. One man receives his observers wings and shakes hands with the commanding officer. The men are pictured again, they are lined up and standing to attention in their uniforms. The graduating observer is pictured close-up. An air gunners badge is shown. An observers badge is shown. A series of observers emblems is pictured.

A group of single engine planes fly through the clouds in formation. A bomber is seen from below, and in double focus an airman salutes. A single line formation of planes flies through the sky and in double focus an upward-looking airman is seen. Older training planes of the RAAF fly in formation and in double focus an earnest-looking young airman looks directly at the camera. There is another group of planes in formation and in double focus an airman salutes. A line of flying planes, the first banks and falls away, the others follow in turn, and in double focus three airman's heads snap towards the camera to the instruction "eyes left". There is another group of planes flying in close single formation above clouds, with double exposure there is a line of many airman's faces. A formation of bombers flies overhead.


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