Eritrea's Last Stand (1941)





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Published on Apr 13, 2014

Title reads: "Eritrea's Last Stand".

Eritrea (formerly part of Ethiopia / Abyssinia).

Various shots of troops clearing a landslide that has blocked the road to Massawa. C/U of a map of the Red Sea showing the position of Asmara and Massawa. M/S of an armoured car as it passes camera. Various shots of lines of British troops advancing along the road to Asmara. Point of view shot from a tank as it travels along the road, the advancing troops are passed. Tank passes a North African soldier waving a white sheet.

Various shots of an Italian emissary talking to a British officer about surrender terms. Point of view shot from the tank, the gun of which is firing. From the tank we see African civilians and Italian soldiers waving white flags at the advancing forces.

L/S of cars bearing a white flag and the Italian flag coming towards the British. The Chief of Police of Asmara and the Bishop of Asmara, accompanied by Italian army officers get out of car. The Italian emissaries surrender the town of Asmara to the British. Various shots of the group arranging the details of the surrender inside a charabanc.

Point of view shot from the tank as it enters Asmara, the local police salute it as it passes. C/U of the British Brigadier with the Italian governor of Eritrea. M/S of the British commander meeting Italian VIPs on the steps of the Governor's residence. Point of view shot of natives lining the streets as the British enter the town. Various shots, including an interior of their hut, of British prisoners who have just been released. The prisoners had actually started digging an escape tunnel - they show it to the camera!

L/S of pile of rubble blocking desert road. M/S of British officers meeting with soldiers of Free French force in the road. Various shots of British officers talking to Italian officer at road block, the British officers carry white flag. M/S of British soldiers in car driving through desert, an African soldier in back carries a white flag. They are on their way to Massawa to talk with the Italian. The next morning the Italians send an answer back with one of their officers. Various shots of a blindfolded Italian officer being taken from a car.

Pan from one shell burst to another as the Italians decide to continue hostilities. Various shot of ruined Italian vehicles and abandoned stores lying beside the road. Point of view shot from the first allied vehicle as it enters Massawa. Various shots of ruined aircraft, radio mast and hangar. Travelling shot of a line of Italian prisoners. M/S of the convoy of allied vehicles entering the town.

Various shots of the rigging and wrecks of sunken ships and a few tanks in the harbour. C/U of Naval officer walking along the sloping deck of a scuttled merchant ship. Various shots of the wrecks in the harbour. C/U of the Italian Admiral of Massawa seated in a car, he appears to shout at camera. Various shots of the wrecked ships in the harbour.

Note: The British forces entered the capital of Eritrea, Asmara, on Tuesday April 1st 1941. Massawa the port on the Red Sea fell into British hands on Wednesday April 9th 1941.

Note: instead of usual cheesy commentary, narrator reads from the cameraman's dispatch, giving a personal account of events - fascinating! Judging by other similar stories cameraman was probably Terry Ashwood.
FILM ID:1115.25


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British Pathé also represents the Reuters historical collection, which includes more than 120,000 items from the news agencies Gaumont Graphic (1910-1932), Empire News Bulletin (1926-1930), British Paramount (1931-1957), and Gaumont British (1934-1959), as well as Visnews content from 1957 to the end of 1979. All footage can be viewed on the British Pathé website. https://www.britishpathe.com/


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