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Wellingtons and Spitfires on Active Service

Wellingtons and Spitfires put on a dazzling display in this amazing film which features ground crews loading bombs, air-to-air footage and fighter ace 'Bunny' Currant.

Amateur film 1941 14 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for Screen Archive South East


This amazing amateur film starts with Vickers Wellingtons being prepared by ground crews at RAF Driffield. Once the bombs are loaded the incredibly young looking crews climb aboard. We then see wonderful in-flight footage of 'Wimpys' in formation over the coast. Next we see 501 Squadron's fighter pilots scrambling into their Spitfire Mk Vs, possibly at Tangmere near Chichester, and taking off. Back at base they pose with Wing Commander 'Bunny' Currant and his terrier.

The Vickers Wellington, a twin-engined bomber designed by Rex Pierson, featured a geodesic structure devised by Barnes ‘Bouncing-Bomb’ Wallis. This enabled the Wellington, or Wimpy as it was known in RAF slang, to take a lot of punishment yet still manage to return to base, being stronger and lighter than other types of bomber. The aircraft featured were based at RAF Driffield in Yorkshire. The second part of this film shows 501 Squadron in action, possibly at Tangmere. Equipped with Spitfires from April 1941, the squadron moved to Northern Ireland but returned to Tangmere in April 1943. 'Bunny' Currant was the Wing Commander and played himself in the feature film 'First of the Few' starring David Niven.