This film is part of Free

D-Day Film

Amateur footage showing troops on deck in a buoyant mood ahead of the landings.

Amateur film 1944 14 mins Silent


The opening scene might show some stiff drinks being taken, but these troops on board the HMS Wellington look relaxed. Idling ahead of D-Day, one man performs some gymnastics for the camera, another plays with a toy train, and a third fixates on a broken umbrella. Choppy sailing conditions might have delayed the landings by 24 hours, but here the weather appears as sunny as the men's spirits.

Filmed in a state of anticipation in the two days preceding the Normandy Invasions of 6 June, we don't know the fate of the men featured here. The actual landings footage in the latter stages of the film was captured four days after D-Day - even then, the Channel still appears clogged with ships, and there are clear signs of the carnage that had taken place on the French coast.