Missing Ciné film from 6th Airborne landings

Discussion in 'Airborne' started by glbrierley, May 25, 2016.

  1. glbrierley

    glbrierley Member



    This is my 1st posting. It was my dad, Kenneth Brierley who wrote to the Pegasus website to correct the caption from the photo of the troops leaving the glider. He is sat in the back of the jeep. These are his words....

    "With reference to the above link,the caption, "Men of the 1st
    Battalion The Royal Ulster Rifles leaving LZ-N in a Jeep' is
    incorrect.The three occupants of the Jeep are soldiers of 716
    Company R.A.S.C. 6th Airbourn Division; Dvr Hiram Clough, L/cpl Joe
    Wilkenson and myself 1131395 Dvr Kenneth Brierley. The occupants of
    the trailer are glider pilots. With their mission accomplished they
    are making their way to a beach-head to find a vessel to return them
    to England to prepare for their next engagement"

    He has for years been searching for a film that was taken at the same time that Sgt Christie took the still photo. Here says......

    "716 Coy RASC.

    The 2nd Lift on D-Day landed after 7pm. Perhaps 20 of the Horsa

    gliders in that Lift carried three-men RASC teams each with jeep and

    trailer. Their objective being to collect parachuted supply drops and

    to create an ammunition and and suplies dump.

    Unlike the Hamilcar glider which would open at the nose to allow

    the small tank or Bren carrier that it might carry to drive directly

    out, the Horsa

    glider had a side exit door. First the trailer and then the jeep had

    to be man-handled inches at a time to turn 90 degrees to go through

    the side exit. The task was made more harduous due to the weight of

    stores and ammunition with which both vehicles were loaded.

    Eventually when the vehicles were on the ground and we were ready

    to move off, we became aware that an army photogrpher had chosen our

    glider and had cine- filmed the unloading proceedure

    It was believed that all cine-film of the 6th Airborne landing was

    sent in one of 716 Coy RASC jeeps to the Beach Head for urgent

    dispatch back to England. On the way the trailer in which the

    cine-film was stowed was blown up. The driver was unhurt.

    Such rumours were in abundance. Nevertheless,throughout the years

    that I have watched D-Day airborne landings on TV it has invariably

    been American airborne troupes that are featured. 6th Airborne

    troupes might be shown boarding aircraft before take off from England,

    but not once have they been shown travelling inside aircraft or shown

    on the ground in Normandy on D-Day."

    I am continuing his search for this cine film and have an appointment at the IWM next month. I wonder if anyone has any pointers for where I could look?
    I am also in the process of getting the IWM to change the caption.

    Thanks, Louise
  2. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

    Hi Louise,

    The following video I thought showed one of the Rob Roy resupply drops following June 6. One variation of it on ParaData claims it occurred on D-Day. How true that is I don't know.


    If the date of June 6 for the Christie photo is correct it seems a little early to be running glider pilots to the beach? Do you have the location for the photo? I have one possibility if it's not something you are already aware of. As far as leads to follow in your search at IWM the work of the AFPU film camermen that landed with the Commandos would be a good bet.

    Regards ...
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  3. glbrierley

    glbrierley Member

    Hi Cee

    Many thanks for the Rob Roy clip and the suggestion about the AFPU film cameramen, I will certainly look at these. and yes, it does seem early for the pilots to be transported, I had always presumed the photo was 6th June, I can ask my dad again but his memory is now failing (he is almost 95). The Christie photo had been wrongly captioned for years but I am happy to say that the IWM have now corrected it. My dad's own father had spotted it in a national newspaper just after D-Day and had written off for it.

    I would be grateful if you did have a location for the photo?


    brithm likes this.
  4. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

    Hi Louise,

    It's very good to hear your Father is still with us. Here are few crops from aerials taken June 7th.

    June 7 1944 - 77.jpg June 7 1944 - 78.jpg

    The full aerials can be downloaded from the Larry Nelson Collection:


    Same site - The Orne River Series:


    This is at the entrance to a lane leading to a large farm (Ferme de l'Ecarde). As you can can see from a later aerial it's not far from the Orne River Bridge. Unfortunately in the Christie photo the chalk number for the Horsa in the background is not fully visible. Best guess is No. 40 which leads to some interesting speculation.

    LZ N Unknown Date.JPG Location.JPG B 5205.jpg

    I have some other thoughts but I'll leave it there for now until we have agreement on the photo location.

    Regard ...
    brithm likes this.
  5. glbrierley

    glbrierley Member

    Wow, I am amazed and very happy if you can pinpoint the position of the jeep! I will show dad when I visit next week, he says in the piece that the 2d lift landed at 7pm so it is looking more likely that this shot was taken the next day. I wonder what you think? It is possible that the glider in the shot wasn't the one that dad landed in.

    Kind regards
    brithm likes this.
  6. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron


    I'm fairly confident that's the correct location. In the photo the horsa has come to rest right up against a fence which continues into the background. If you look carefully there is a narrow gate. On the aerials you can see the tracks made by vehicles as they passed through it.

    From your Father's account I would assume they were unable to remove the rear fuselage of their horsa and had to resort to extricating the jeep and trailer by the side ramp towards the front which would have been a real chore. The glider in the background still has the rear fuselage attached though it looks like it may have lost its tail fins. It should be noted that in the same field a little further along is another horsa. It can be seen in this July 5th aerial which can be downloaded from here:


    If your Father was on a Operation Mallard glider he would have actually landed at 9 PM June 6 or not soon after. Because of a lack of aircraft men from 716 Coy RASC were quite dispersed. They arrived at the bridgehead by parachute, glider, and sea vessels. As you probably know there's a short history of 716 (Airborne) Light Composite Company RASC on ParaData.


    716 Coy RASC History-Page 3.jpg

    The next time you see your Father ask him if the glider in the background was the one he came in on. I would fully understand if he was unsure due to the passage of time. I'll see if I can put together a higher rez version of the Christe photo.

    Regards ...
  7. DannyM

    DannyM Member

    Some of the concrete fence post were still in that area in 2005. Below is a photo that I took from the D 514 looking up towards Amfreville.

    Probably a bit further along the road from where the original photo was taken though.



    PICT2060  2005.jpg
  8. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron


    Yeah I wouldn't be surprised if the fence poles and gate were removed at some point not soon after. The road in the field is a good shortcut and became part of what is today D514 which sweeps past the intersection where the glider stood.

    Street View.JPG

    I've been trying to follow Jimmy Christie's movements on D-Day without much luck. They fall within the the series B 5198 - B 5206. Not all are shown and some are unattributed. At around 9 PM he would have been in a field catching the arrival of three Hamilcars of the 6 Airborne Armoured Recce Regiment as they came down on LZ N. All his June 6 photos show an overcast cloudy day.

    B 5198.jpg

    Regards ....
  9. DannyM

    DannyM Member

    I will have a look at a few things and see if I can find anything on the IWM photo locations.

    Someone else I know made the same comment about the weather.


  10. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

    Here's a slightly better version of the Christie photo. Hopefully it uploads without being downsized.

    B 5205-Large.jpg

    I see a possible mix of men there - 716 Coy RASC, I RUR and Glider Pilots. Insignia is pretty scarce but there is a corporal and the beret badge on the man in rear of trailer is similar to the RUR harp in size and shape. I came across the following caption for the photo in a book:

    "14. This section of riflemen has successfully unloaded the jeep and trailer after landing in Normandy. Also on board are the pilot and co-pilot of the Horsa, recognized by their rucksacks as opposed to the infantrymen’s web equipment. (RUR Museum)"

    If you look carefully there is yet another rucksack/bergen in front of the man seated rear right in the trailer. Nearby reaching across to the rucksack is the arm and hand of an unseen man bringing the total of men in jeep and trailer to 9.

    B 5205-Crop.jpg

    The two men in the background are standing curiously close together. I was hoping to find a AFPU man with his cine camera?

    Two Men.jpg

    There is some variation on the time of sunset on June 6th, 1944. Most of them are close to the one below based on double daylight savings time.

    Twi: 5:06
    Sunrise: 5:48
    Sunset: 21:49
    Twi: 22:31
    Moonrise: 21:27
    Moonset: 5:51
    Full Moon: 20:58

    Regards ...

    Later: Yup a couple of these images were downsized in both dimensions and kilobytes ...?
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  11. Guy Hudson

    Guy Hudson Looker-upper

    Ian Grant, AFPU cameraman who landed with 45 Commando didn't shoot any footage of the glider reinforcements. He remained attached to 45 Commando and headed with them towards Sallenelles and Franceville Plage. He makes reference to George Laws making still photogtraphs of the glider landings after the spring drive broke on his cine camera.

    Attached Files:

    Cee likes this.
  12. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron


    As you know Ian Grant's film of Lord Lovat at the Bridge was given to a dispatch rider to deliver to the beach and was lost along the way. Terry Gallacher who sadly has since passed away wrote:

    "As one who spent many years in the newsreel industry, I am convinced that large quantities of the film taken by AFPU have never reached the public screens, either cinema or television. Even the material that did reach the screen was not always credited to them."

    Louise may already have this list of AFPU cameraman who arrived on D-Day - copied from Fred McGlade's book:

    "Sergeant George Laws, attached to 4 Commando in an LCA (Landing Craft Assault) landed on Sword Beach, Normandy at 7.45 a.m. Sergeant Laws was the first AFPU cameraman ashore. He was followed by Sergeant Desmond O’Neill with the East Yorks, Sergeant Jimmy Mapham with the 13/18 Hussars and Sergeant Billy Greenhalgh with the 1st Battalion South Lancs at 8.00 am. Lieutenant Peter Handford along with Sergeants Dick Leatherbarrow and Ernest Walter landed on the extreme east of Juno Beach at Saint-Aubin-sur-Mer with 48 Commando at 8.35 am. These were followed by Sergeant Norman Clague with 6 Commando and Captains Leslie Evans and Derek Knight with HQ Commandos, both at 8.45 am. Sergeant Ian Grant landed with 45 Commando at 9.10 am. Sergeant Christie was parachuted in with the 6th Airborne Division; he was the only airborne member of the AFPU to take part in the initial invasion. Following this initial wave was Captain Knight with the 13/18 Hussars and Sergeants Parkinson and Medley with the 50th Northumbria Division. Sergeant Ginger landed with 69th Brigade at La Rivière.10 During the next few days the unit was enhanced by Major Oliver, Lieutenant Flack and Sergeants Laing, Carpenter, Gross, Watkins, Connolly, Waterhouse, Palmer, Harris and Leeson."

    Regards ...
  13. glbrierley

    glbrierley Member

    Some comprehensive information sirs, thank you. I think the rumour that my dad had heard at the time about the ciné film being lost in transit was probably true, I will nevertheless continue to search. I am grateful for Cee's info about the Christie photos, series B 5198 - B 5206 and will look at some of these when I visit the IWM archives. I am also really glad of the large version of the photograph and the list of cameramen.

    My dad cannot say which glider he flew with but says he landed at Ranville at 8pm on the 6th June and the Christie photo was taken that evening. I note he had said 7pm in his writing (above) and as this was written 8 years ago it is more likely to be accurate. He also mentioned that his colleague, Hyram Clough (sat next to the driver, Wilkinson) was 40 years old! I knew he was a lot older than dad (who was 23) but not that old. they remained great friends until Hyram's death in the early 1990s.
  14. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron


    I hope your hunt for new info at the IWM goes well. Let us know if you discover anything new. I'm still punching around a few ideas but they are mostly speculative at this time.

    Regards ...
  15. Guy Hudson

    Guy Hudson Looker-upper

    I found your father's original Royal Artillery attestation prior to his transfer to the RASC.

    Attached Files:

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  16. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member


    Glad to see your avatar has recovered from his arm injury and left hospital for recuperation elsewhere ??

    :P TD
    Guy Hudson likes this.
  17. glbrierley

    glbrierley Member

    Guy, thank you so much! It looks like he only transferred just over 3 months before.
    brithm likes this.
  18. glbrierley

    glbrierley Member

    Thanks Cee, I will report back if I find anything from the IWM on the 9th June.
  19. brithm

    brithm Senior Member

    Came across this, some chap filming archive footage from the television.

    Some strobing be warned, but there is some footage which looks like gliders landing in the evening on D-Day in Normandy possibly Operation Mallard.

    It could just be easily training or Arnhem footage.

    Cee likes this.
  20. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron


    A shame it's not a little clearer. It would be great if it was Op Mallard as I don't think I've seen any footage of British glider landings on the evening of June 6th or any that has been named as such, which is surprising as everyone who witnessed the fly-in claim it was a spectacular sight and a real morale booster.

    The film of the RASC men above setting out to collect parachuted supplies I doubt was shot on June 6th. The aircraft are hard to make out but I'm seeing 4 engines on some of the clearer stills. All the squadrons who took part in Rob Roy I on the evening of June 6 were flying Dakotas. As far as locations I found one interesting connection to a LZ W photo by Christie later in June which has baffled me so far. Since it's not really helpful to Louise I won't go into it.

    Regards ...
    brithm likes this.

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