Rare royal film footage airs at IWM Duxford Battle of Britain Air Show

PUBLISHED: 12:16 12 September 2019 | UPDATED: 12:33 12 September 2019

A still from amateur footage taken by Prince William of Gloucester at the Battle of Britain (1969) set at RAF Duxford. This shot shows a crew member testing pyrotechnics on a CASA 2.111 in the place of a Heinkel He 111. Picture: © IWM (MGH 2434)

A still from amateur footage taken by Prince William of Gloucester at the Battle of Britain (1969) set at RAF Duxford. This shot shows a crew member testing pyrotechnics on a CASA 2.111 in the place of a Heinkel He 111. Picture: © IWM (MGH 2434)

© IWM (MGH 2434)

Newly digitised footage of the 1969 Battle of Britain movie will be screened at IWM Duxford's forthcoming air show.

Still from rarely seen footage of the Prince William of Gloucester at the set of Battle of Britain at RAF Duxford in 1968, sat in the cockpit of a Spitfire. Picture: IWM (MGH 2434)Still from rarely seen footage of the Prince William of Gloucester at the set of Battle of Britain at RAF Duxford in 1968, sat in the cockpit of a Spitfire. Picture: IWM (MGH 2434)

The Duxford Battle of Britain Air Show 2019 will celebrate the history of cinema at IWM Duxford on Saturday, September 21 and Sunday, September 22.

Imperial War Museums (IWM) has digitised and released rarely seen footage of the making of the 1969 Battle of Britain film, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the Michael Caine classic, and IWM Duxford's annual Battle of Britain Air Show.

The striking amateur footage was filmed by Prince William of Gloucester, who can also been seen inside the cockpit of a Spitfire on IWM Duxford's airfield.

A trained pilot, the prince was tragically killed in an air race in 1972.

The Battle of Britain Air Show at IWM Duxford will culminate in a mass flypast of Supermarine Spitfires. Picture: IWMThe Battle of Britain Air Show at IWM Duxford will culminate in a mass flypast of Supermarine Spitfires. Picture: IWM

The unique behind-the-scenes footage of director Guy Hamilton's 1969 film, which tells the story of the Allied victory over the Luftwaffe in 1940, shows the production crew preparing for the shoot including testing pyrotechnics.

While filming part of the Eagle Day sequence at RAF Duxford, the crew deliberately exploded and destroyed one of the airfield's First World War air hangars.

READ MORE: Duxford Battle of Britain Air Show 2019 flying programme

IWM Duxford is Britain's best preserved Second World War airfield.

It has played a significant role in the history of filmmaking in Britain.

This year's Duxford Battle of Britain Air Show will celebrate the Cambridgheshire site's place in cinema history - and will be screening Prince William of Gloucester's amateur footage along with other classics over the two-day festival.

Jane Fish, senior film curator at IWM, said: "The footage has rarely been seen outside of the family of Prince William of Gloucester, and so it's wonderful to have been able to digitise it and make it accessible for people.

"It's a really evocative glimpse into the making of Battle of Britain film, and you can even see the production team preparing special effects, including a small explosion on a bomber aircraft.

"The fact that it was filmed by Prince William of Gloucester gives the footage even more of a rich historical association."

The footage will be screened on both air show days at 12.30pm and 3.45pm in the AirSpace Zone at IWM Duxford.

A Hispano HA-1112-M4L Buchon flying at IWM Duxford. Picture: IWMA Hispano HA-1112-M4L Buchon flying at IWM Duxford. Picture: IWM

The air show will include displays from an array of original Second World War aircraft, including P-51 Mustangs and P-47 Thunderbolts, and will culminate in a mass flypast of 18 Spitfires.

Four Buchon fighter jets with Luftwaffe markings, which starred in the 1969 Battle of Britain film, will also take flight.

The air show will also feature the Bremont Great War display team, who starred in George Clooney's 2014 movie The Monuments Men, and aircraft from films including Memphis Belle (1990), Pearl Harbour (2001), Dunkirk (2017) and Squadron 303 (2018).

On the ground, IWM Duxford will be transformed into a film set once again, giving visitors the opportunity to dance their way into a party scene, or step in as an extra and deliver their lines.

Visitors to the 2018 Battle of Britain Air Show enjoying the historic aircraft on the flightline walk. Picture: IWMVisitors to the 2018 Battle of Britain Air Show enjoying the historic aircraft on the flightline walk. Picture: IWM

History lovers can watch cinematic footage from IWM's archives, while fashionistas can enter a best dressed competition, or try on a costume from the wardrobe department.

Tickets for the Duxford Battle of Britain Air Show cost from £35, while kids under 15 go free when an adult buys a ticket.

You may also want to watch:

Tickets must be booked in advance. No on the day tickets are available.

The Spirit of Britain living history group walk in the footsteps of Battle of Britain pilots along the historic airfield at IWM Duxford. Picture: IWMThe Spirit of Britain living history group walk in the footsteps of Battle of Britain pilots along the historic airfield at IWM Duxford. Picture: IWM

For more information and to book tickets, visit www.iwm.org.uk/visits/iwm-duxford

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