Duke Collection 1: Scenes in the life of the Bengal Sappers 1930s

This film is held by the British Empire & Commonwealth Museum (ID: 2000/029/001).


Scenes in the life of the Indian Army Corps of Engineers. Film shows Indian Army (Bengal Sappers & Miners) life: training: drill and bayonet practice; marching; bridge building (good shots); constructing a drystone building; shots of bulldozers and scrapers(?); parade ground; motor vehicles; miltiary band; washing clothes in river; sports incl polo: rowing races, tug of war etc. vehicle ferry carrying lorry (c. 1920?); various river scenes; army tents; more river scenes; forts; bridge.

Production / Donor Details: This collection was shot by Brigadier Cecil Leonard Basil (Bulger) Duke, 1896-1962, who, after service in WWI, was posted to India in 1921. From 1922 -28 he commanded the 4th Field Company, KGO Bengal Sappers & Miners, which was engaged on road and bridge building in Waziristan and the construction of training camps near Peshawar. In 1934 he returned from the U.K. to the Bengal Sappers at Roorkee as Superintendent of Instruction, and in 1938 became Commandant of the Sappers Training Battalion at Roorkee. From 1942-45 he was imprisoned by the Japanese, and from 1946 served in Burma and then Kenya where he was Commander Mombasa Sub Area when the vast Mackinnon Road construction works were carried out. After retirement in 1952 he spent the rest of his life in Kenya near Thomson's Falls.



  • Duke Collection 1: Scenes in the life of the Bengal Sappers 1930s (Archive)
Series Title:
Duke Collection

Technical Data

Running Time:
approx 16 minutes
Film Gauge (Format):
8mm VHS
200 ft

Production Credits

Production Details
See synopsis