The Little Ships of England

About the film

A look at the traditional craft of wooden boatbuilding, and the important roles those little ships play.

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  • Release year - 1943
  • Production company - Spectator Films
  • Producer - Michael Hankinson
  • Screenplay - Jack Common
  • Cinematographer - Cyril Bristow
  • Composer - Ken Hughes
  • Narration - Norman Shelley
  • Editor - Ralph Kemplen
  • Sound recording - W.S. Bland
  • Running time (minutes) - 12 mins 42 secs

Original description

Boatbuilding in Britain

'From the woods of Britain comes timber-oak, ash and elm - for the little ships. The scene shifts to skilled shipwrights at work in a West- country shipyard, and shifts again to the exciting rescue of a fighter pilot by a launch on patrol. At Dunkirk the little ships sailed into the pages of English history.'

(Films of Britain - British Council Film Department Catalogue - 1942-1943)

Did you know?

  • Filmed in Looe, Cornwall with opening shots in the Cornish fishing village of Polperro.
  • In response to the film, Sir Harry Lindsay wrote, “Quite good in conception and design. But for goodness' sake let the boats which saves soldiers from Dunkirk... Be a tribute to British efficiency of boat building... Not just a defeatist tribute to the accuracy of German dive-bombing... Far more boats survived the Dunkirk rescue than were lost. We should make the most of that point.”

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