The British Navy - The Daily Routine of the British Navy, and the Work of the British Admiralty

Still from 'The British Navy'
'This film shows the scope of the British Navy’s work and the part played by the Admiralty in London in keeping wireless contact with warships in all parts of the world.
Ships of the Mediterranean Fleet based at Malta are seen carrying out manoeuvres. The “lighter striking forces”–submarines, destroyers, aircraft carriers–leave harbour for exercises, followed by the flagship “Queen Elizabeth” with the Commander-in-Chief aboard. At sea three flotillas of destroyers are seen in anti-submarine depth-charge practice, while the aircraft carrier fires off her fighting planes for a mock attack on the “Queen Elizabeth”.
When the attack is finished, and the aircraft have safely landed on the carrier’s deck, the destroyers put up a smoke screen to cover her retreat. “Nelson” and “Rodney”, the two most powerful battleships in the world, are seen at battle practice off Gibraltar.
A description is given of the complex technical processes involved in range-finding and spotting for the great 16-inch guns.
The day’s work done, the British Fleet returns to harbour.' [1]

Date: 1939/40
Duration: 15:13

Director: -
Production Company: Strand Film/TIDA
Producer: Stuart Legg
Cinematographer: Educational and General Services Ltd, under the supervision of Commander John Lane Freer Hunt (Royal Navy)
Composer: -
Narration: -
Editor: Jack Ellit
Sound Recording: -

Length: 35mm: 1490ft. 16mm:600ft.

Distributor: General Film Distributors Ltd.


Despite the film being made in 1939, the initial footage of HMS Nelson passing through the Panama Canal must date from February 1931, as this was the only occasion on which the ship made this journey. It is notable that the Panama Canal Locks Were only around 50cm wider than the actual ship - a tight fit that can be appreciated in the still above.
It may be assumed from the dating of this event, and the general quality of certain other sections of footage, that a number of the clips of ships in foreign locations may predate the film by up to ten years.
  1. ^ Films of Britain - British Council Film Department Catalogue - 1939