WAVELL'S TOUR - VISIT TO IMPHAL (6/8/1944)
This film is held by the Imperial War Museum (ID: JFU 90).
Three Douglas Dakota transport planes line up alongside the airstrip and the furthest plane taxis forward. Another Dakota taxis forward guided by an airman on the ground. Wavell gets off the plane and is followed by other officers. He is met on the airstrip by Lieutenant-General Stopford General Officer Commanding XXXIII Indian Corps, Air Commodore S F Vincent Air Officer Commanding 221 Group RAF and other dignitaries. Wavell inspects the guard of honour from 2nd Division comprised of men from…
Three Douglas Dakota transport planes line up alongside the airstrip and the furthest plane taxis forward. Another Dakota taxis forward guided by an airman on the ground. Wavell gets off the plane and is followed by other officers. He is met on the airstrip by Lieutenant-General Stopford General Officer Commanding XXXIII Indian Corps, Air Commodore S F Vincent Air Officer Commanding 221 Group RAF and other dignitaries. Wavell inspects the guard of honour from 2nd Division comprised of men from the Durham Light Infantry, Royal Berkshire Regiment (Princess Charlotte of Wales's) and Royal Welch Fusiliers (all three of these battalions being part of 6th Infantry Brigade). Wavell visits the camp of the 20th Indian Division and is shown guns captured from the Japanese. These are small caliber light mountain guns with wooden spoked wheels (more like museum pieces than 20th Century weapons according to the dopesheet). The Viceroy chats to one of the men showing him the weapons. Wavell hands out medals to several soldiers, they come in turn, salute and their medals are pinned to their chests. Medal recipients are Bombardier Kelly, Private Cann and Lance Naik Rur Singh. Next stop on Wavell's tour is Bishenpur, India. There are cloud covered mountains behind the camp and Wavell presents more medals. These are the Military Cross to Major D S M Eadie of 5th Field Company Royal Engineers, Captain J O Moreton of 99th Field Regiment Royal Artillery, Lieutenant E F Ogburn 1st Battalion Royal Welch Fusiliers and Lieutenant E C Dowse of 5th Field Company Royal Engineers. He presents Colour Sergeant Bertie Fitt of 2nd Battalion Royal Norfolk Regiment with a Distinguished Conduct Medal. Also receiving the DCM are Sergeant H Davis 2nd Battalion Royal Norfolk Regiment and Lance Sergeant A Kemble of 1st Battalion Royal Berkshire Regiment (Princess Charlotte of Wales's). The final medal ceremonies were for the Military Medal and were presented to Lance-Corporal W Williams 2nd Battalion Royal Norfolk Regiment, Corporal S Vickers 1st Battalion Royal Welch Fusiliers, Private M Chowcat of 1st Battalion Royal Berkshire Regiment (Princess Charlotte of Wales's), Gunner J D Satchwell of Gordon Highlanders Anti-Aircraft/Anti-Tank Regiment Royal Artillery and Corporal F C Sims 1st Battalion Royal Welch Fusiliers. Wavell talks to an American Army Japanese interpreter, Sergeant E Miyagi, who is escorting three Japanese prisoners of war. Wavell then talks to the Maharaja of Manipur, Bodh Chandra Singh, who is accompanying him on the tour. The Maharaja wears traditional, flamboyant, clothes. Wavell studies areas of recent battles through binoculars and then studies a map of the area. Wavell and his retinue walk along a rough road. The group visit the Naga Hills and are surrounded by Naga tribesmen who present the Viceroy with a large machete. The tribesmen all wear their traditional costumes and carry machetes and spears. Wavell is then presented with a piece of traditional cloth. He is introduced to several tribesmen who salute him by putting their hands up to their noses. The local Naga people walk off.
A guard of honour waits on the airstrip as a Douglas Dakota taxis nearby. The guard present arms. Wavell and several other officers inspect the men and chat to them. Clouds cover the mountains in the background. Wavell meets Indian officers and chats to them. Wavell is shown antiquated artillery pieces captured from the Japanese; these are mostly light mountain guns of a small caliber. There is a medal presentation. An officer stands in front of a building with four Naga tribesmen. One of the Naga holds a long spear which the officer reaches up to to test the sharpness of the point. The Naga laugh as they are filmed. The officer inspects a thick band which is worn just above the elbow by the tribesmen. The officer gets the tribesman to take off the armband and show it to camera. Wavell presents more medals. The Maharaja of Manipur and Wavell climb the steps of a building. A group of Naga tribesmen in traditional dress follow them up the steps. Wavell speaks to the Maharaja outside. Naga women are gathered under a basha; they wear white cloths on their heads. More Naga men line up as a crowd gathers to see the visitors pass by.
Field Marshal Wavell, the Viceroy of India, flies in to Imphal for a visit to British troops and to decorate those involved in the fighting for Kohima.
Full citations for all the medal recipients in this film are annotated on the dopesheet.
For record film of the various types of captured Japanese gun, see related items.
The Naga people are a distinct ethnic group of somewhat unclear ancestry but possibly mixed Mongol and Tibeto-Burmese. They live mostly on the Indo-Burma border in the Indian states of Assam, Manipur and Nagaland and on the border areas of Burma's Sagaing Division. Traditionally headhunters, the British paid the Nagas in salt for captured Japanese weapons or, rather gruesomely, for the decapitated heads of enemy officers. From the middle of the nineteenth century increasing numbers were converted to Christianity by the work of missionaries. During the war they proved helpful to the Allies, providing scouts and guides, and aiding Allied stragglers or crashed airmen. Film shot by the RAF depicting the plight of Naga refugees can be found at the reference below. See related items.
- WAVELL'S TOUR - VISIT TO IMPHAL (6/8/1944) (Allocated)
- Running Time:
- 14 minutes
- Film Gauge (Format):
- 1209 ft
- Production Countries:
- War Office Directorate of Public Relations
- Watson, W (Sergeant)
- Production company
- SEAC Film Unit