• The Army Film & Photographic Unit

    The Association of Family & Friends

    1941 - 1946
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    AFPU Cameramen At War

    In the years leading up to WWII the propaganda machine of the Third Reich was long experienced and finely tuned. The march across Europe was well recorded, now regularly seen on TV screens and depicted as victorious entry into conquered countries.
    When war was declared the Central Office Of Information controlled and censored publicity related to all military and civil actions, and the Director of Public Relations, War Office was responsible for the affairs of the Army.
    Although the magnificent evacuation from Dunkirk was well documented it was realised that when the offensive started, the front line was no place for untrained photographers endangering not only themselves but the fighting machine they wished to photograph.
    Professional Cine and Press photographers of the right age had already been called up and were serving in Corps and Regiments. When the call came to recruit a Unit of photographers to address the coming need for photographers, they were quickly located.
    Pinewood Studio became the HQ of the Unit which served as a training centre for soldiers who could more easily be turned into cameramen than cameramen turned into soldiers.
    Number 1. Unit was based in Cairo which was to come into it’s own when retreat changed to offensive at Alamein, opening with the launching of the barrage skilfully and uniquely filmed by Sgt Billy Jordan, MM.
    Commentators have over the years regarded the work of the AFPU as propaganda and perhaps correctly in the proper sense of the word, but in those days when Allied troops were at last advancing and clearing all before them, the images were a vital boost to moral on the home front.
    The AFPU was deployed in all theatres of Allied action, often alongside special forces such as the Commandos, the Chindits, the Airborne, SAS, Special Boat Squadron and the Long Range Desert Group. Major campaigns were filmed and photographed and the footage from the Desert and North Africa was used to produce “Desert Victory” which gained an Oscar for the best war documentary. Footage from D Day provided the background information for the opening scenes of “Saving Private Ryan”
    The Italian campaign and Western Europe embraced the action at Monte Casino, Arnhem, the Rhine Crossing and the relief of Belsen. The Far East campaign was covered by Number 9 Unit under the umbrella of Admiral Louis Mountbatten and that unit’s film was used to produce “Burma Victory”.
    All images now archived in the Imperial War Museum were processed through Pinewood where it was not unusual for editing staff to occupy the very seats they had vacated, in some cases as recently as six weeks previously.
    Pinewood Studios is very proud of it’s association with the AFPU and the Memorial Plaque which records losses proportionately as high as any Unit in WWII, together with those of the RAF No1 Film Production Unit, is carefully preserved in the corridor leading to the cutting rooms which edited so many of the films frequently seen on TV. An act of Remembrance is held there annually.Many former members of the Unit returned to or became established in the film and photographic industries after the war, several becoming leaders of their professions.
    All of the credit for the formation and integrity of the Unit is due to Lt. Col. Hugh St Claire Stewart, now in his 99th year. This site is dedicated to him, and all those names on the Memorial at Pinewood.


    Then and Now

    The title of Association of Former Members began when Paul Clark took over the reigns to run the re-unions from Harry Thompson, who in turn had taken over from George Reeves
    But the re-unions were inspired by Capt. Alan Del Strother a one time Adjutant at Pinewood.
    For many years the re-unions were held in the White Swan Tudor Street, appropriately just off Fleet Street, when the voice of members chatter competed with the roar of the nearby printing presses. Then, No.1, No.2, No.5 and No. 9 sections huddled together with little or no exchanges between them. Small as the total strength was, individual groups didn’t know each other as their campaigns were particular to them. In those early days we were joined by members of PR War Office and War correspondents under whose umbrella the Unit functioned and alongside.
    When the pub was knocked down the re-unions came to rely on the generosity of other hosts and variously met at a TA Sgts. Mess in London, then a very enjoyable period in the Sgts. Mess of the 1st Btn. Grenadier Guards, Victoria Barracks, Windsor, the Officers Mess RAF Uxbridge, and the most recent, following others there, the Imperial War Museum where we were joined by members of the TA Media Group and serving cameramen.

    Greatly reduced numbers due to age and infirmity suggest there will not be many more re-unions but we are working on it.

  • News

    A plaque seen by few members of the public is dedicated to the Army Film & Photographic Unit and RAF No1 Film Production Unit, mounted in Pinewood Studios, their headquarters in WWII was the focal point of the annual Morning of Remembrance on Friday 11 November 2022.Losses sustained by the AFPU whose strength was never more than just over 400 were among the heaviest of Units of comparable size during WWIIThe occasion embraces the families and friends of the fallen, together with serving photographers of The Royal Army Logistics Corps, civic dignitaries, studio directors and staff and the plaque was inspired by Capt Alan Goatman. the adjutant when the Unit closed in August 1946The Army Film & Photographic Unit recorded the action of British and Commonwealth forces in all theatres from Cairo to the Desert, Italy, Europe and Burma where some members of the No9 Unit South East Asia Command were deployed with The Chindits 150 miles inside Japanese held territory.Among the RAF losses were the pilots of unarmed fighter aircraft filming enemy troop movements to aid planning attacks by ground forces and locating development of the German rocket programme.This year the event was jointly organised by Dan Burton, newly appointed Community Engagement Manager and Nigel Smales for the Association of Families and Friends and RAF. Nigel is the elder son of cameraman Eddy Smales who served with Units 1 and 5 from Cairo to Europe. Only one of the two surviving former members of the Unit Paul Stuart Clark, now 96, was able to attend.
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    The Memorial Wall at Pinewood Studios

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    Major G Keen
    Sgt. F. Martin
    Sgt.R.W. Day
    Dvr. J.R. Taylor
    L/Cpl.T. Freeston
    Sgt.E.A. Coleman
    Sgt.H. Ames
    Dvr.R.J. Plaister
    Dvr.M. McGee
    L/Cpl.A. Mills
    Sgt.W.N. Clague
    Sgt.A.C. Gross
    Sgt.R.V. Watkins
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    Lieut.I. Murray
    Capt.H. Rignold MC
    Sgt.G. Crapper
    Sgt.J. MacAndrew
    Sgt.W. Smith
    Spr.S. Rose
    Dvr.H. Turvey
    Lieut.S.H. Kessell
    Pte.G.O. Ford
    Sgt.D.H. Robinson
    Lieut.L. Davies
    Dvr.D. Matthews
    Dvr.J.E. Insley
    D/RJ. Rennie
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    F/Lt.D. Gallai Hatchard
    P/o.R.F. Woodiwiss
    F/o.W.H.J. Mills Criox de Guerre
    F/Lt.W.E. Wilbur
    W/o.E.R. Trumper
    F/o.J.S. Peacy
    F/o.J.E. Morris
    F/o.M.A. Oakley
    F/o.P.N. Herbert
    W/o.J.L. McKee
    P/o.S.J. Smith
    F/o.A.J. Newell
  • AFPU at NMA

    The National Memorial Arboretum is just a mile off the A38 near Lichfield and is a memorial to those who have lost their lives since World WarII. It is a vast site on sand and gravel excavations, soon to be extended when that operation closes.
    Formally opened by HM The Queen in 2007, work is in hand to improve the facilities to address the growing numbers attending due to it’s success, so much so that it now embraces memorials specially dedicated to Regiments, Naval and RAF operations including a copse with as many trees as Merchant Navy ships were sunk in WWII.
    Another area is especially dedicated to young children.
    The Association of Special Forces have their own grove which commemorates many of the lesser, and to some, unknown units of operation such as Force 136, D Force, those lost in the Dieppe Raid, together with special campaigns in post war actions so easily forgotten.
    The AFPU were often deployed with Special Forces, Sgt. Basil Wishart was with the Chindits, Sgt. John Herbert with the Long Range Desert Group, and Sgts. Smith, Walker and Lewis covered the Airborne action at Arnhem. The No 1 Commando landings on D Day were well recorded and photographs confirm the exact times of the landings.
    Now, The Association has invited us to place a commemorative plaque in The Allied Special Forces Grove, located just inside the entrance gate. An appeal for donations has enabled the production of an etched and enamelled plaque 9½” wide, designed by Paul Clark. Now completed, a dedication is being planned for late April/ early May 2010.
    Relatives and friends of former members who may not be on our mailing list will be welcome to a
    For further information contact Paul Clark, details on the contact page.


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  • Roll of Honour

    Several enquiries have failed to source true and complete records of the AFPU. From “Dope Sheets” Kay Gladstone and Hilary Roberts compiled lists in relation to archived materials which when linked to lists from the re-unions and recollections of names in the sections. Our lists, though not totally accurate, are as complete as any.
    These names have been reconciled with news of former members who have died since the war, but again are only as accurate as the information received. So if any visitors to this site spot any omissions we will be grateful to anyone who can fill in the blanks.
    Because PR and war correspondents were attendees at the re-unions they are also listed in our roll of honour which it should be realised does not only comprise cameramen and photographers. Darkroom technicians, camera mechanics, clerical and transport staff all played a vital part in running the Unit and are deserving of equal listing.
    1946 to 1959
    John Tulloch 1949
    Stanley W. Chudleigh 1959
    John F. Gunn 1959
    Douglas Wolfe 1959
    Bill Leeson 1959
    1960 to 1969
    Jack Flack 1960
    Harry Govan 1964
    Ernest Little 1968
    James H. Mapham 1968
    1970 to 1979
    Edward G. Malindine 1970
    George Little 1971
    Edward Kettley 1972
    John Deakin 1972
    Jack Comley 1972
    Bert Ellicott 1972
    J. Allan Cash 1972
    Les Modd 1974
    H. H.Bert Wood 1974
    W Ginger 1974
    J. Freddie Slade 1974
    H. Jennings 1975
    R. Farmer 1975
    Arthur Jones 1975
    Earle of Courtown 1975
    Phil Long 1975
    Val Stewart 1975
    Harry Mead 1976
    Doug Curtis 1976
    H. L. Johnny Johnson 1976
    Bill Malindine 1978
    Alan Port 1978
    Brig. D. V. McCormack 1978
    Maj. D. Flood 1978
    Stan Wilson 1978
    Charles Bowman 1978
    Bill Best 1979
    2000 to 2005
    Stan Little 2003
    Cedric Baynes 2003
    Stan Brown 2003
    Desmond O'Neill 2003
    W 'Billie' Jordan MC 2004
    Philip Daniel 2004
    R. E. D. 'Gillie' Potter 2004
    E. Jones 2004
    Reg Neill 2004
    Syd Palmer 2004
    Richard 'Dick' Best 2005
    Harry Wicken 2005
    E. V. 'Tony' Wright 2005
    Frank Greaves 2005

    1980 to 1989


    D. Clayton 1980

    Arthur Stubbs 1980

    Jerry Rennison 1980

    George Rotner 1980

    Eric Deeming 1980

    Geoffrey Keating MC 1980

    John Rudkin 1981

    Jim Jessiman 1981

    Willie Vanderson 1981

    Ian Gran 1981

    Len Putman 1981

    Bela Zola 1981

    Freddie Mott 1982

    David McDonald 1982

    Ron Hutchinson 1982

    Johnny Demaine 1983

    Eddy Smales 1984

    Fred Marshall 1984

    Ralph D. Hogg 1984

    Tony Keys 1985

    Sandy McLaren 1985

    Albert Bunn 1985

    David Clayton 1985

    George Anderson 1986

    Duggie Hill 1986

    Mike Lewis (Australia) 1986

    Fred Wackett 1986

    Robbie Robinson 1986

    Clarrie Kemp 1987

    Ron Jackson 1987

    Bernard Poincey 1987

    Charles Harry Hewitt 1987

    Bob Little 1988

    Bill Johnson 1988

    'Tiny' Shepherd 1988

    Bob Stiggins 1988

    Gordon Lang 1988

    Reg Day 1989

    W. G. Durrant 1989

    George Reeves 1989

    Syd Griffiths 1989

    Charlie Dawson 1989

    2006 to 2007
    Ray Peach 2006
    David Hutchins 2006
    Norman Johnson 2007
    John Wernham 2007
    Arthur Graham 2007
    John Chitham 2007
    1990 to 1999
    Ralph Edgworth-Johnstone
    Maj. Gen. ADPR DDPR 1991
    Geoff Loughlin 1991
    Dave Johnson 1991
    Bob J. Flain 1991
    Harry French 1991
    John Palmer 1991
    Rickie Meyer 1991
    Willam Owen Hart 1991
    John Radford MC 1991
    John Neville 1992
    Pat Beech 1992
    Sgt R. A. Adams 1993
    W. d'Eyncourt 1994
    Derek Knight 1994
    Ron Lambert 1995
    John Rooke 1995
    Ken G. Smith 1995
    Bert Hardy 1995
    Norman Midgley 1995
    Cyril Garnham 1996
    Joe West 1996
    John Silverside 1996
    Carl Sutton 1997
    Basil Wishart 1997
    Len Marshall 1997
    C. E. F. 'Chuck' Reid 1997
    Bill McConville 1997
    Stanley Gladstone 1997
    Frank Smith 1998
    Ken Rodwell 1998
    Fred Hibbert 1999
    Eric Bowd 1999
    Harold Payne 1999
    Ernest Walter 1999
    Walter 'Midge' Wood 1999
    Ray Poulter 1999


    2008 to 2011
    Bryan Langley 2008
    Peter Handford MM 2008
    Ken Higgins 2008
    Michael 'Mickey' Hickey 2008
    Peter Hopkins 2008
    Harry Thompson 2008
    Alan Wilson 2008
    Les Ostinelli 2008
    George Laws 2008
    Lt. Col. Hugh Stewart 2011
    Sgt. J. Christie date unknown
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