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Historic Parachute regiment opening ceremony

The vintage home movie featured in this post was taken during the opening ceremony of a new barracks, called the Montgomery Lines, for the parachute regiment on 7th April 1965.

The film is actually in pretty poor condition and I had to edit out quite a lot of the earlier sections which had been severely fogged. It is an unfortunate fact of life that standard 8 films, because they were removed, turned over and replaced in the camera half way through the film quite often suffer from fogging, and this film is particularly badly affected.

Fortunately, this fogging only seemed to happen on the first reel which make up this film – the duration of this clip at nearly 7:30 suggests it is made up of two reels.

When it comes to the subject matter it turned out to be relatively easy to find out – there is a plaque shown in the film which gives the date as 7th April 1965, and a name, ‘Montgomery Lines’. After a bit of google research, I discovered a page which mentions that Montgomery Lines was the name of a new barracks opened at Aldershot by Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery for the Parachute Regiment on that date and once I knew that the significance of this film became apparent.

Although this ceremony is not of huge importance, it is nonetheless quite interesting and for scholars of military history must be of some historical significance.

I assume the photographer was either a serving military man, or possibly the parent of one of the soldiers seen in the film, but I guess we will never know the motivation for taking the film for certain.

Parachute Regiment film

And so to the film contents.

The film starts with some shots of soldiers parading and a military band playing. This part of the film is the section which had the fogging, and it has actually affected the quality of the scenes which remain; they are quite low contrast and poorly defined.

The men are seen passing an officer and saluting, and then after the shot of the opening plaque and some more parading a car arrives carrying, I assume, Field Marshal Montgomery. It’s difficult to confirm he is there because the film is quite low definition, although the section at about 5:40 seems to be the clearest shot of him where he is inspecting the soldiers and being escorted by the Parachute Regiment top brass.

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If you see anything in the film which you recognise or you think gives clues to the location or date, please let me know in the comments below. Also, please share this post with your friends if you think they may be able to help locate scene in this film.

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A software developer by profession and an amateur photographer by hobby I've been interested in all things photographic since I was a teenager some 40 years ago. Many of my interests centre around vintage film photography and cinematography.

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