British News - No.2 - (Only Available in the Colonial Empire)

Opening Title of 'British News' - Taken from 'Films of Britain 1941'
'This newsreel, entitled ‘British News’, is made up each week and is specially edited from material published in the ten weekly issues of the five British newsreel companies. It contains news of Great Britain, the Dominons, India and the Colonial Empire, particularly in relation to the war and the part played in it by all Empire countries, and is the only newsreel in the world dealing entirely with British news items.
Each of the five newsreel companies, working in rotation, undertakes production of ‘British News’, which is considerably longer than any other newsreel, and in its compilation all available material is viewed. With the technical advice of the company handling the film each week an official editorial committee decides which items of news from the ten commercial reels should be included in the composite reel.
The visual news service was originally started for showing in the cinema of the British Pavilion at the New York World’s Fair, where it achieved great popular success in both 1939 and 1940. It is now being despatched weekly by the most rapid available means to all British Colonies.' [1]

Date: 1940 (mid)
Duration: 15:55

Director: Various
Production Company: Newsreel Association of Gt. Britain and Ireland Ltd., British Movietone News, Gaumont British News, British Paramount News, Pathe Gazette, Universal News, and British News
Producer: Various
Cinematographer: Various
Composer: Various
Narration: -
Editor: Various
Sound Recording: Various

Length: 35mm: -ft. 16mm:-ft.

Distributor: -


Opening Titles:
'British News'

Unlike British News No.1, there are no opening credits aside from ‘British News’ with trumpeters. Inter-titles look much more more, using a very square, sans-serif font.

Opening shot of the Palace of Westminster shows the Victoria Tower covered in scaffolding due to restoration work begun in 1936.

The Palace of Westminster.

[Inter-title] Made in Australia

Shots of the first 3.7AA anti-aircraft guns to be made in Australia. Handed over by the Assistant Minister of Supply. Made in a Commonwealth Ordnance Factory.

Testing of the 3.7AA guns.

Shots of the Australian Imperial Force boarding ships to tune (Roud # 6294) of ‘Auld Lang Syne’.


Young men signing up to the army.

Conscripts being sworn in.

[Inter-title] Indian Troops in Britain

L.S. Amery, Secretary of State for India, inspects a detachment of the Royal Indian Army Service Core, accompanied by Edward Cavendish, 10th Duke of Devonshire.


[Inter-title] The Queen Visits the Wounded

Queen Elizabeth (The Queen Mother) visits the wounded at a hospital in Hertfordshire, including French soldiers.

Patients waiting to meet the Queen.

[Inter-title] Royal Investiture

King George VI, wearing uniform of Admiral of the Fleet, holds his first open-air investiture since the beginning of the war, in the inner quadrangle of Buckingham Palace, decorating 47 war heroes.
Thirty are from the R.A.F., though all three services are present.

The King greets war heroes.

[Inter-title] More Tanks

The manufacture of tanks, under the “stimulus of the go-ahead trio; Herbert Morrison, Ernest Bevin, and Lord Beaverbrook”.
Footage of tanks in Cairo.

British tanks in the streets of Cairo.

[Inter-title] The Courage of France

Monsieur Renault[?] "and his government" make a final appeal to President Roosevelt.

Members of the French Government.

Shots of bomb damage and resistance in France, predominantly Paris.


German prisoners of war being captured and transported.
Mention of B.E.F., and images of returning British forces.

British forces return to France.

[Inter-title] Dunkirk’s Navy Comes Home

Footage of “little ships” and “Saucy Janes” returning to England from Dunkirk.

"Little ships" on the Thames.

Shots of fighting and destruction in Dunkirk.


Mention of B.E.F. evacuation.

[Inter-title] Another Nazi Bomber Crashes in England

Nazi Bomber crashes into the garden of a rectory in East Anglia, killing three of the crew. Many debris shots.

Remains of a crashed German plane.

[Inter-title] Italy Joins In

Announcement of Italy’s “treachery” in joining the Nazis against France.

Italian soliders marching.

Shots of Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini.


Britain is apparently friendly towards the Italian royal family, who were alleged to be against the war, though “it is a mistake to assume that the Italian people and army are opposed to Mussolini’s action.”

King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy.

Italian restaurants in Soho (“London’s Italian quarter”) “remove evidence of their nationality", while others promote their British ownership.


Footage of Italian soldiers skiing, without explanation.


[Inter-title] R.A.F. in Action

[Inter-title] Actual Aerial Combat in France

R.A.F. using automatic cameras to film combat. These sit beside the machine guns in the wings of Hurricanes and Spitfires, automatically taking pictures when the pilot fires.

One of the automatic cameras.

Footage of British planes and a German bomber.


Footage from the automatic cameras, with a number of German planes shot down, and others shown on fire on the ground.


  1. ^ Films of Britain - British Council Film Department Catalogue - 1941