This film is held by the Imperial War Museum (ID: ABY 158).


RAF aircrew are trained and tested in techniques of jungle survival at a jungle school at RAF Mahabaleshwar, in the Western Ghats, Maharashtra, India.

Aerial footage; the camera flies closer and closer towards a jungle-covered hillside. Pilot at the controls. A flagpole and building at RAF Mahabaleshwar. RAF aircrew are shown how to plan a cross-country escape route. A language lesson given by a Kachin tribesman. Differences in local construction methods are demonstrated. The versatility of bamboo is demonstrated. The men are shown how to make snares and traps from bamboo to catch animals, and how to avoid Japanese booby-traps. Men cooking on small fires using bamboo utensils. Aircrew gather around a table to be briefed on the contents of their survival kits, which are filled with useful things such as a torch, compass, fishing tackle and cigarettes. An officer, sporting a bushy moustache, demonstrates an anti-mosquito cap and veil. The aircrew are shown specimens of a centipede, a spider and a scorpion. A snake is held still by means of a forked stick. A number of aircrew leave the school building and head off into the jungle. The voiceover helpfully comments that 'They are not likely to come across any local pubs on the way'. A Burmese man and a British man in tropical uniform complete with pith helmet camouflage themselves with leaves and twigs before following the group into the jungle. As the group of aircrew tramp through the jungle the voiceover commentator describes their various errors of fieldcraft. They include not choosing the right man to lead the group, leaving sign of their passing, silhouetting themselves against a skyline, not keeping a good lookout when bathing in a stream, crossing a river at its narrowest point, sleeping in the open, and so on. One of the airmen is identified as Pilot Officer Prune, originally an affably dimwitted cartoon character from the RAF's 'Tee Emm' magazine. Sleeping in a tree, Prune repels a prowling tiger with 'his secret weapon' (a catapult!). The Burmese man and Briton in tropical uniform continue to pursue the group of aircrew, aided by their various mistakes. The group eventually make it back safely to the jungle school. 'Pilot Officer Prune' gets separated from the group and after another string of errors falls into a pit trap that he had failed to spot.


This film is noteworthy for its completeness and voiceover, which plummily downplays the difficulties of jungle survival.

Despite this school being situated in the hills of the Western Ghats, the instructors are Kachins, one of Burma's many ethnic groups. Prior to the Japanese invasion the Kachins had been reasonably well integrated in the British colonial state, partly due to their Christian faith, and during the war would distinguish themselves for their effectiveness as guerillas and for their assistance of stranded soldiers and airmen.

'Tee Emm' was an RAF monthly magazine that sought to provide an unconventionally light-hearted and accessible source of information on technical subjects, the title being the initials of 'Training Memorandum'. Publication ran from April 1941 to March 1946 with a circulation of over 30,000 copies a month in the UK, with further printings in other theatres. As an RAF 'everyman' the character of Pilot Officer Prune illustrated, in a humorous way, common errors or bad habits of airmanship which were found to inevitably develop over long periods of operational flying.

The film is a cut and assembled version of unedited rushes held as ABY 34. This film also appears (with an entirely different voiceover) in the RAF's in-house newsreel 'The Gen' No. 12.



  • JUNGLE SCHOOL (9/1944)
Series Title:

Technical Data

Running Time:
14 minutes
Film Gauge (Format):
1228 ft

Production Credits

Production Countries:
Air Ministry Directorate of Public Relations
Production company
Royal Air Force Film Production Unit