Footage showing Corsairs and Avengers (with some intercut footage of Fireflies from other carriers) from HMS Illustrious operating as part of the British Pacific Fleet off Sakishima Gunto in 1945. HMS Illustrious’ aircraft can be recognised by the ‘Q’ on their tails.
Colour footage, dated 27 August 1945, of the battleship HMS King George V, probably on passage for Tokyo Bay – her escorts, the destroyers HMS Whelp and HMS Wager, are not featured. The flagship is flying huge ensigns for identity purposes, as the period between an enemy’s ending hostilities (15 August) and the signing of the instrument of surrender (2 September) is always a fragile peace. The US battleship is almost certainly USS Missouri going to the same place, just a week before the formal surrender.
Colour footage of ditched allied airmen in a dinghy in the Pacific. Destroyers like HMS Wager were frequently engaged in rescuing such young men, for subsequent return to their aircraft carrier. Note the green smoke as signal and the hand paddles. One of the rescued officers is an RNVR Sub-Lieutenant (wearing a ‘Wavy Navy’ stripe on his shoulder board). Though the first part of the footage is of American naval aviators, the newsreel conveys adequately the general idea of one of a destroyer’s roles during the War in the Pacific. The clip also conveys clearly just how young some of these flyers were – some were only 18 or 19 years old. It is not possible to tell the nationality of the other three young men as they appear in what are presumably borrowed fresh dry clothes after their ordeal but they seem likely to be Americans.