This film is held by the Imperial War Museum (ID: MGH 3584).


START 00:00:00 04:09 Title card 'Trincomalee Harbour. Royalist "Ameer" "Hunter"'. A voyage around the anchorage in the Bay of Trincomalee, Sri Lanka (Ceylon), in a motor launch past the light anti-aircraft cruiser HMS Royalist, flagship of the 21st Aircraft Carrier Squadron, and the heavy cruiser HMS London to the US-built Lend Lease escort aircraft carrier HMS Ameer where a Dido Class anti-aircraft cruiser can be in the background. From the gangway on HMS Ameer's port side the motor launch heads towards HMS Hunter, another Lend-Lease 'baby carrier' - note the platforms for the two twin 40mm anti-aircraft cannon at the stern and the tower for the local high-angle director in the middle. Intertitle 'Trincomalee Marble Point'. Shots of a few of Rendell's comrades from No. 4 Naval Fighter Wing relaxing on a largely deserted sandy beach and in the shallows. Douglas Rendell is seen running into the sea and returning to dry land; one of his fellow officers drinks beer (?) from a bottle whilst sitting on the sand and another, identified by Rendell as acting Lieutenant-Commander E J Clark (Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve) and commander of Fleet Air Arm Squadron 807, sits in a pit he has dug in the sand very close to the water. Rendell is filmed standing and holding a stills camera and sitting on the sand and combing his hair.

00:02:40 Rendell on board a motor launch with other Libertymen from his ship heading towards the waterfront at Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka (Ceylon), for some shore leave; behind him are HMS Hunter and on the other side the battleship HMS Nelson, seen shortly after entering Colombo harbour and in the course of being guided to her mooring by a tug. A good view of the large warship as Rendell's launch crosses her long bow from her port side to starboard. Scenes in the centre of Colombo: a public garden, busy streets with pedestrians and vehicles - a few privately-owned saloon cars, rickshaws, army vehicles and electric tram cars - and a tram ride through the bazaar district. The exterior of a Hindu temple with a tall facade covered with figurines.

00:05:44 The exterior of the Fort Railway Station and inside the station steam locomotives pulling passenger coaches and goods wagons. Buddhist monks, local people and three Royal Navy officers strolling along the seafront at Colombo at Galle Face Green and views of the Galle Face Hotel, established in 1864 and one of Colombo's main landmarks.

00:06:55 Intertitle ' Homeward Bound. Early Morning Oct. 8th'. Scenes filmed from the bridge of HMS Hunter (note several of 807 Squadron's Vickers Supermarine Seafire MK IIIs parked on her flight deck) with a long paying off pennant flying and signal flags being run up the main mast. The aircraft carrier eases herself out of the crowded harbour at Colombo past the battleship HMS Nelson, a large British troopship with two funnels and a US Navy General Class troop transport. The escort aircraft carrier steams past the lighthouse on the mole at the entrance to the port. Backward glances show a mass of shipping in the harbour.

00:08:07 Intertitle ' Entering Suez Canal'. Scenes filmed circa 15 October 1945 as HMS Hunter steams into the southern end of the canal past Port Suez and passes the fleet aircraft carrier HMS Victorious in the Great Bitter Lake. An RN photographer with a plate camera mounted on a tripod and a shipmate with a PRU camera normally fitted to Seafires on photographic reconnaissance missions take pictures of the ship's company on the forward flight deck. Scenes from the voyage along the Suez Canal past a mass of scrap metal (?) left on the western canal bank, a small Egyptian felucca sailing in the opposite direction and the First World War ANZAC memorial at Ismailia. As HMS Hunter steams slowly past Port Said, she passes the Suez Canal Company headquarters building; also present are an ex-P & O Class troopship and a Royal Fleet Auxiliary, probably an ex-Cunard liner A Class repair ship. The ship's company lines the flight deck as the escort carrier heads towards the Mediterranean past the statue at its northern end that is dedicated to Ferdinand de Lesseps (1805-1894), the Frenchman responsible for the construction of the Suez Canal from 1858 to 1869.

00:12:05 Intertitle 'Squadron Show "Deck or Nothing"' held in the hangar deck during the voyage through the Mediterranean to Gibraltar. Interior shots filmed with good lighting showing characteristic RN ship-board entertainment - acts by men dressed as showgirls, a contortionist-cum-acrobat, singers and comic sketch performers in which there is a strong cross-dressing theme.

00:14:11 Intertitle 'The Last Milestone' . Views from the bridge of HMS Hunter moored outside Gibraltar harbour with the Rock in the background and shipping in the Bay of Algerciras including a large troopship, either SS Cilicia or SS Circassia. A large sea bird flies overhead. A naval rating walks across the flight deck with an inflated weather balloon. On the bridge, two officers are seen on duty; the one with binoculars is a Lieutenant-Commander in the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve (RNVR). Seafires with pilot's canopies protected from the elements are seen parked on the flight deck; the paying off pennant is flying from the mainmast for the final leg of HMS Hunter's long voyage back to the UK where she will be de-commissioned.

END 00:15:38

Amateur film with intertitles shot by Sub-Lieutenant Douglas Rendell, ship's photographer on the US-built Lend-Lease escort aircraft carrier HMS Hunter, shortly after the end of the war against Japan, featuring scenes in Sri Lanka (Ceylon) and episodes during a sea voyage back to the United Kingdom through the Suez Canal.


Summary: HMS Hunter was originally built in the United States as a merchant ship in May 1941 and requisitioned by the US Navy in the following December after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour for conversion to an escort aircraft carrier. Along with nine other identical vessels, the ship was transferred to the Royal Navy and commissioned as HMS Hunter in January 1943. After serving in the Mediterranean in 1943 and 1945, the carrier joined the East Indies Fleet at Trincomalee in March 1945 and served with the 21st Aircraft Carrier Squadron until after the war with Japan had ended in August 1945. Douglas Rendell joined HMS Hunter in early 1945 and served as a staff officer with No. 4 Naval Fighter Wing, Fleet Air Arm. The light anti-aircraft cruiser HMS Royalist, fitted with air direction facilities, was 21st Aircraft Carrier Squadron's flagship. After returning to the UK in November 1945, HMS Hunter was decommissioned and returned to the US Navy the following month. Converted back to civilian use as a freighter, the ship was scrapped in 1973.

Remarks: Interesting material, with relatively rare footage of a Lend-Lease 'baby carrier' in Royal Navy service. The glimpses of life in Colombo, if brief, give some sense of the place beyond the usual tourist sightseeing. Good shots of the vessels named in the full summary.




Technical Data

Running Time:
15 minutes
Film Gauge (Format):
392 ft

Production Credits

Production Countries:
Rendell, Douglas (Sub-Lieutenant)