Saturday, February 8, 2014

The Territorial Army in Scotland - circa 1935 (a W. Britains Ltd. Connection)

This film was made a year before I was born in 1936. While Germany rearmed, and Italy had already invaded Ethiopia, this propaganda film was produced in Great Britain, promoting joining the Territorial Army. The narrative is obviously so dated that it sounds "stilted" (gross understatement), however the footage covering the state of the training and equipment is fascinating. It reflects the period in history that the British Army was in transition to becoming fully mechanized. The viewer is readily able to identify several items of equipment and vehicles which W. Britains Ltd. chose to replicate, contemporarily, in its boxes of toy soldiers. In numerical sequence the inspiration for the following Britains sets can be seen in real life size. Britains introductory year and span of manufacture to 1941 are in parentheses);

Set 146A (1460) RASC General Service Wagon (Active Service Order) (1933-1941)
Set 1201 Gun of the Royal Artillery (1932-1941)
Set 1318 Machine Gun Section (Lying and Sitting) (1934-1941)
Set 1331 General Service Limbered Wagon, Active Service Order, Khaki (1934-1941)
Set 1335 6 Wheeled Covered Army Tender w/Driver (1934-1941)
Set 1432 10 Wheeled Covered Army Tender w/Driver (1936-1941)
Set 1479 Royal Artillery Limber, Short Poled Pattern (1936-1941)
Set 1521 Royal Air Force Biplane (1937-1941)
Set 1791 Dispatch Riders, Motorcyclists (Royal Corps of Signals) (1939-1941)

It is interesting that neither Set 1203 Tank of the Royal Tank Corps, with Driver and Machine Gunner, (Carden Loyd Mk VI, well established by date of film) or its successor, Set 1876 Bren Gun Carrier with Crew, the latter which would become ubiquitous in the British Army, are present in the film.

Another convenient omission in this entirely positive and upbeat propaganda film is any reference to gas warfare and training in the use of gas masks and capes, which was yet to come. Britains saw to Air Raid Precautions (ARP) which were to be taken by both the military and the civilian population, represented in Set 1759 Air Raid Precautions Stretcher Party Squad and Gas Detection Services.

Significant portions of the film covers the Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) T.A. More about the Cameronians and their replication by W. Britains Ltd. toy soldiers can be seen at

Another unique feature is the depiction of signalmen of the Royal Corps of Signals still training at this late date with the Heliograph, Mk V, which is discussed and described in more detail at

Description: A promotional film for the Territorial Army in Scotland (circa 1935), the TA's training techniques are highlighted.

Shotlist: Credits (0.18); Shot of Union Jack (0.31); The war proved the high military value of the TA. Its role is now to support the regular army in the event of a great national emergency and to provide the means for any temporary expansion of the forces of the Crown. There are two divisions in Scotland. The 51st (Highland Division) and the 52nd (Lowland Division). Also No. 602 City of Glasgow (Bomber) Squadron Auxiliary Air Force (1.28); Section of men in their regimental uniforms march into camera, including shot of a lorry driver of the Royal Army Service Corps (2.08); General views as the men practise shooting at the rifle range near Dechmont, Cambuslang (2.49); Group of men being taught how to use the Lewis gun. Close-ups of men using the gun and loading magazines (3.30); Shots of a group at the side of a road using the Lewis gun as an anti-aircraft gun (3.36); General view of gunners receiving instruction in the use of a horse-drawn machine gun (4.25); Panning shot of TA camp (Belltents) (4.48); General views of the Royal Engineers constructing a girder bridge (5.49); General views of Royal Engineers demolishing a chimney with explosives and close-ups of the men loading the charge (6.20); General views of the Royal Corps of Signals. Shots of men on motorbikes, general views of as tented signal office, operators tapping out Morse code signals (7.08); Close-up of the radio transmitter and shot of smaller transmitter on the back of a lorry (7.42); Shots of group of men operating portable radio equipment (7.48); General views at the tented signal office (8.08); General views of group of men as they erect telegraph poles (8.52); General shots of men laying ground lines with the aid of a mechanised cable lorry (9.03); Shot from static camera of a convoy passing through country road (9.18); General views of the transport division of the infantry with shots of men looking after the horses and general views of a grooming and equipment competition (10.19); Shots of the battalion leaving camp, led by a pipe band (10.52); General views of a group of men from the Signals using a heliograph and brief shots of men reading a map and others practising semaphore (11.21); General views of the men (11.27); General views of a mock attack with shots of the battalion marching and suddenly dispersing (11.54); Shots of various groups assembling machine gun posts (12.32); General views of the divisional battalion marching past Divisional Commander, General McCulloch, Lord Strathcona, the Under-Secretary of State for War (12.46); General views at the cook house (13.07); General views at the DAD hospital in the camp and shots of nurses attending to the patients (13.23); General views of sports including tug-of-war, musical chairs played on horseback, children's race and Highland dancing (14.10); General views of pipe band marching over the brow of a hill (15.04); Shots of changing guard (15.42); Silhouette of four buglers (16.55); General views of a mock attack by a convoy, including shots of men forming an observation post, gun crews with close-ups of loading and firing of a four inch gun (18.26); Close-up of RAF ensign (18.29); Shots of men working on bi-planes and parts of engines 602 Squadron (18.58); Line up of the bi-planes with their engines running; brief c/u control gauges (19.15); General shots of "wapitis" planes taking off and general views of the planes flying [ground aerial shots] (20.35); Shots of the battalion led by a pipe band as they march to the TA headquarters in Hill Street, Glasgow, with shots as they pass St Enoch's station, Buchanan Street and Hill Street itself. The End (21.34).

Although the film cannot be directly embedded on this page, it can be viewed in its entirety (in full screen) at The overall web site, Scottish Screen Archive, contains additional intriguing footage of the Scottish Regiments of the British Army.


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