More World War II movies at “Film Clips” page.
My father, Stuart Van Leer Bradley (1916 to 2004), served in the Army Corps of Engineers in World War II and he took his movie camera along. This video is a clip mostly from England when his regiment, the 95th Engineer General Service Regiment, was building tent camps to prepare for the D-Day invasion of France. They built these camps in both Wales and England. Stuart was a Captain and one of the white officers of this black regiment. There is some very interesting footage of the men; cooking, marching, and playing games out in a field.
One purpose of these movies was to reassure my mother back in Duluth, Minnesota that he was fine. This is why you see my dad at the beginning of the clip showing how he washes his face. He mailed these 8mm movies home, my mother had them developed, and kept them in a box with dad’s letters home. She did not have a movie projector so ironically she wasn’t able to see them.
At the age of 14, I discovered these letters and movies in the attic of our home in Pittsburgh. They included about 40 small rolls of film and over 600 letters. My friend let me borrow his film editing machine and I did my best to follow the development dates on the film rolls to splice these small rolls together. I ended up with three, seven inch reels, approximately 5 hours worth of film that my parents had never seen. About this time in 1969 my brother Mark was serving in Korea as an MP and purchased a projector and a film camera in Japan for my parents as a Christmas gift. So finally, almost 30 years after he made these films we got to see what my dad had filmed.
Much of the footage was taken out of a train window first in the US as his regiment was sent across the country to build the pioneer road for the Alcan Highway in British Columbia, then in Wales and England in preparation for the invasion, then in France and finally in Germany. It was the job of the 95th Engineers to rebuild bombed out bridges in France and in Germany to help with troop movements.
A few years ago I had the movies converted to mini DV format and then imported them as iMovies onto my Macintosh computer. There are more movies available at the “Film Clips” page of this website. Most of them are out of chronological order so a scene from a train in Montana on the way to British Columbia is followed by target practice in England, then returned to Montana. I apologize for this, but currently I have no way to edit these film clips.