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Oil Tanker Wellfield; HMS Bulldog Torpedo Boat Destroyer
Oil Tanker Wellfield; HMS Bulldog Torpedo Boat Destroyer

Oil Tanker Wellfield; HMS Bulldog Torpedo Boat Destroyer 1931

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Oil Tanker Wellfield; HMS Bulldog Torpedo Boat Destroyer 1931


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Oil Tanker Wellfield; HMS Bulldog Torpedo Boat Destroyer 1931

15 mins United Kingdom

Cine club filmmakers craft a realistic portrait of workers repairing the oil tanker Wellfield at Smith’s dry docks in North Shields. And in the same year, the Swan Hunters-built Royal Navy destroyer HMS Bulldog powers through stormy seas on its sea trial long before its heroic role in World War Two. Cameramen bravely set up their equipment on a rolling and pitching tugboat to record the ship’s passage from the foggy Tyne.

The founder of Newcastle and District Amateur Cinematographers’ Association, James Cameron, and crew produced these films at a time when British documentary pioneers such as John Grierson, and later Paul Rotha with ‘Shipyard’, were starting to highlight the role of workers in striking films on the British maritime industries. HMS Bulldog crew were involved in one of the most significant intelligence breakthroughs of the Second World War. On 10 May 1941, after an attack on a German U-Boat, a boarding party captured a complete Enigma machine with all its code settings. This enabled cryptographers at Bletchley Park to crack the notoriously impenetrable German naval codes.

North East Film Archive is one of a network of regional film archives established to collect, preserve and show film made in, or about the North East of England. Our collections are non-fiction, and date from the early 1900s to the present day, providing a rich record of life in the region over the 20th century. Many of our films are available to watch, free of charge, on our website.


Amateur film


Tankers Swan Hunter Shipbuilding Ships Motor torpedo boats Royal Navy


Shipbuilding on Film




United Kingdom



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