Digitised Footage of Battle of Britain Movie to be Screened at Duxford Air Show

Press Release
 
The Spirit of Britain living history group walk in the
footsteps of Battle of Britain pilots along the historic airfield at IWM
Duxford, 2018. Photo: IWM.
The Spirit of Britain living history group walk in the footsteps of Battle of Britain pilots along the historic airfield at IWM Duxford, 2018. Photo: IWM.
 
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The striking amateur Battle of Britain footage was filmed by Prince William of Gloucester, who can also been seen inside the cockpit of a Spitfire on IWM Duxford’s airfield. A trained pilot, the prince was tragically killed in an air race in 1972.

Newly 

  • Duxford Battle of Britain Air Show will celebrate the history of cinema at IWM Duxford, 21-22 September
  • Footage was filmed by and features a rare royal glimpse of Prince William of Gloucester, and will be screened on both air show days at 12.30pm and 3.45pm in the AirSpace Zone
    Imperial War Museums (IWM) has digitised and released rarely seen footage of the making of the 1969 Battle of Britain film, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the Michael Caine classic and IWM Duxford’s annual Battle of Britain Air Show.
ww2 spitfire pilot
Still from rarely seen footage of the Prince William of Gloucester at the set of Battle of Britain at RAF Duxford in 1968, sat in the cockpit of a Spitfire. Photo: IWM (MGH 2434)

The unique behind-the-scenes footage of director Guy Hamilton’s 1969 film, which tells the story of the Allied victory over the Luftwaffe in 1940, shows the production crew preparing for the shoot including testing pyrotechnics.

Still from amateur footage taken by Prince William of Gloucester at the Battle of Britain (1969) setat RAF Duxford. This shot shows a crew member testing pyrotechnics on a CASA 2.111 in the place of a Heinkel He 111. Photo: IWM (MGH 2434)
Still from amateur footage taken by Prince William of Gloucester at the Battle of Britain (1969) set
at RAF Duxford. This shot shows a crew member testing pyrotechnics on a CASA 2.111 in the place of a Heinkel He 111. Photo: IWM (MGH 2434)

 

While filming part of the Eagle Day sequence at RAF Duxford, the crew deliberately exploded and destroyed one of the airfield’s First World War Air hangars.

IWM Duxford, Britain’s best preserved Second World War airfield, has played a significant role in the history of filmmaking in Britain. This year’s Duxford Battle of Britain Air Show, which takes place 21-22 September at IWM Duxford, will celebrate the site’s place in cinema history – and will be screening Prince William of Gloucester’s amateur footage along with other classics over the two-day festival.

Jane Fish, senior film curator at IWM, said: “The footage has rarely been seen outside of the family of Prince William of Gloucester, and so it’s wonderful to have been able to digitise it and make it accessible for people.

It’s a really evocative glimpse into the making of Battle of Britain film, and you can even see the production team preparing special effects, including a small explosion on a bomber aircraft. The fact that it was filmed by Prince William of Gloucester gives the footage even more of a rich historical association.”

The air show will include displays from an array of original Second World War aircraft, including P-51 Mustangs and P-47 Thunderbolts, and will culminate in a mass flypast of 18 Spitfires. Four Búchon fighter jets with Luftwaffe markings, which starred in the 1969 Battle of Britain film, will also take flight.

A Hispano HA-1112-M4L Búchon at the 2018 FlyingLegends Air Show at IWM Duxford. Photo: IWM.
A Hispano HA-1112-M4L Búchon at the 2018 Flying
Legends Air Show at IWM Duxford. Photo: IWM.

The air show will also feature the Bremont Great War display team, who starred in George Clooney’s The Monuments Men (2014), and aircraft from films including Memphis Belle (1990); Pearl Harbour (2001), Dunkirk (2017) and Squadron 303 (2018).

On the ground, IWM Duxford will be transformed into a film set once again, giving visitors the opportunity to dance their way into a party scene, or step in as an extra and deliver their lines.

History lovers can watch cinematic footage from IWM’s archives, while fashionistas can enter a best dressed competition, or try on a costume from the wardrobe department.

Visitors to the 2018 Battle of Britain Air Show enjoyingthe historic aircraft on the flightline walk. Photo: IWM.
Visitors to the 2018 Battle of Britain Air Show enjoying
the historic aircraft on the flightline walk. Photo: IWM.

You can find out more about the air show below, and see trailers below…

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Duxford Battle of Britain Air Show
Saturday 21 – Sunday 22 September 2019
Tickets from £35; kids go free*

Duxford on Film
21-22 September, 12.30pm and 3.45pm screenings
Vintage Soundstage, AirSpace Zone, IWM Duxford

From Czech and American airmen to Prince William of Gloucester, these amateur cameramen captured Duxford as a working airfield before it became part of IWM in 1976.

 
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