A tragic WW2 incident that has gone untold for more than 70 years won film maker Paul Desmond the Chairman’s Cup competition at CFMC. (23 March)
Entitled “Tragic Flight of 44-8198”, the film tells the poignant story of a Flying Fortress crash at Bocking two days after VE Day, killing all 11 young US servicemen on board, and one man’s mission to honour them with a memorial service.
Paul’s second entry in the annual competition featured club member Grahame Page recalling his father’s adventures with a 16mm cine camera in the 1930s, which took second place; while Brian Salmons’ “Spirit of Thailand 2” came third.
Paul Desmond writes:
Local historian Tony Lynch had heard that CFMC had filmed a memorial service to the crew of a Lancaster bomber that crashed at Colchester in WW2. He approached me to enquire whether I would be interested of doing something similar for a memorial he was planning.
Tony merely wanted “a video record” of the day’s event so that DVDs could be sent to the descendants of the servicemen in the States and various voluntary groups in Essex, who were generously giving their time.
Happy to agree, I also felt that there was a more poignant human interest story, which merited a separate film, especially as the tragedy had gone unrecorded for so long.
There was no problem recruiting additional cameramen to help out on the day and so, on the 70th anniversary of the crash last year, club chairman Barrie Gibbard, John Simpson and Geoff Earnshaw joined me at Bocking.
Firstly, Barrie and I filmed a private wreath laying ceremony at the actual crash site, a former convent grounds and now a private garden. Then we join John and Geoff nearby to cover the memorial ceremony itself. Later we attended Braintree town hall to record interviews with an eyewitness and the brother of the navigator and the brother’s wife.
Priority was given to producing the “record” DVDs and distributing then, via Tony. It was only then that I could begin working on a script. My goal was to focus on Tony’s one-man journey to contact descendants and organise the service, and the impact it had on one family in particular.
Later, I interviewed Tony on camera to obtain the narrative for the documentary and permissions of the principals featured.