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Black Knight

Ships in Belfast. Film dated 1935!

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The Belfast Telegraph on-line has this short aerial film on its site

The film is dated 12/31/1935

As it goes over Harland & Wolff you can see some ships in the H & W wet-dock - on the right, at 0:40 to about 0:50.

One looks like an aircraft carrier under construction maybe

Then from about 2:21 to about 2:58 as the aeroplane heads towards part of Belfast harbour we see, at first in the centre and at a distance, then centre and then to the right another aircraft carrier.

Is it the same one? perhaps, perhaps not - its not where H & W did final fitting out of ships, it lies in the deep water section of Belfast Harbour proper, H & W are off further to the right.

https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/archive/incredible-aerial-footage-of-belfast-in-1930s-can-you-spot-your-street-31218710.html

 

PS. Just before 0:40 you can see a black mass on the left, disappearing into the bottom left corner. These were the iron work gantries where Olympic, Titanic and Britannic were built. They were only demolished in about 1972/73 ish

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Bit of a puzzle - I wonder if the date is right. IIRC the only carrier H&W built pre-war was Formidable - 1939. It doesn't look like any of the pre-war carriers.

The second carrier - either the film is compiled from different occasions (which is what I suspect) or it must be another. Maybe be just docked or refitting?

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Those shots with the carriers must date to the postwar period. The first to appear seems to me to be a light fleet of the Colossus / Majestic class. H&W built 4, Glory (completed April 1945), Warrior (completed early 1946), Magnificent (completed 1948)and Powerful (completed as Bonaventure for the RCN in the 1950s). They then moved on to build other carriers.

I’ve seen stills from the postwar period with Powerful, Bulwark, Centaur and Eagle all simultaneously tied up at various wharfs across the whole shipyard area while work was suspended or only proceeding at a very slow pace.

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Definitely not 1935, for two reasons I can see.  Firstly you can clearly see on a couple of occasions the waste land on High Street from the Blitz.  Also, around 2:40 you can clearly see Stirling bombers parked around Shorts.  

 

Could be from different films, but a lot of it I'd say is during the latter stages of the war, or just after.

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Well spotted that man!

I can only view it in a small size on my computer.

I can just see the Blitz damage on Bridge Street at about 02:04 and the aircraft at 02:40 +, but with it being a small screen I didn't recognise them for what they are

A compilation then? from different periods as well as taken by different aircraft, which is more obvious with the different filming qualities

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No it's not Unicorn. The after lift is the wrong shape and in the wrong position.

 

Some time ago I engaged in an online discussion on another site (now sadly closed due to GDPR) about photos of Belfast docks in the immediate postwar period and it seems to me that the postwar footage in this sequence predates those stills, so far as I can recall, simply due to types of carriers present. Some scenes could be prewar but I think the bulk of it is postwar given the bomb damage noted above. Now I've had the chance to view it on a large monitor I've some other observations.

 

Firstly the large carrier from 2.40 onwards in the upper right looks like Eagle which places the film (or that part of it at least) after 19 March 1946 when she was launched. In that sequence the camera also pans across a merchant ship (around 3.03) which very much resembles the MV Pampas (especially the arrangement around the funnel) ex HMS Persimmon, an LSI. She had been built at the yard during the war but went back there sometime after April 1946 to be refitted prior to being returned to her owners. There is then the stern of another carrier in the same sequence around 3.10 which I think resembles another Colossus / Majestic.

 

The earlier sweep across the harbour with the carrier, would appear to me to have been taken around the same time. The building slips around 0.41 on were where the Centaur & Bulwark were constructed but they were not launched until April 1947 and June 1948 respectively. I think I can detect construction of a large ship on one of the berths.

 

So my best (hopefully educated) guess would be that these scenes were filmed sometime between mid 1946, after the launching of the Eagle, and early 1947 before the launching of the Centaur. 

 

That would make the carriers present the Magnificent, whose fit out was fairly advanced for the Canadians, in the early scenes, with the stern of Powerful appearing at 3.10, which was less advanced having been launched later, and Eagle around 2.40.

 

Also I note that there is a clutch of Lancasters around 2.50 recognisable by their twin vertical tails and rudders. Not sure why they would have been at Belfast.

 

I could however be completely wrong about some or all of the above!

 

 

 

 

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Very curious how this film got an intro screen with the date of 1935 on it

edit; yay, i got my comp to play it large without  freezing up

 

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