A WELCOME TO BRITAIN

GB / US
1943
55mins
Dirs: Burgess Meredith and Anthony Asquith
Starring: Burgess Meredith and Felix Aylmer

A film explaining the way that US soldiers should act and behave whilst stationed in the UK

This training film was presented by the War Office to US troops arriving in the UK and was made on their behalf by the Ministry of Information with the assistance of the US Office of War Information. Though produced for American viewing, the film was produced by the UK’s Ministry of Information through the Strand Film Company, and was later retitled How to Behave in Britain. From a G.I.’s perspective, it demonstrates appropriate behaviour and depicts what is expected in given social situations. The film is not patronising propaganda, and was very well recieved from critics on both sides, though it was not released for viewing by the British public during the war and despite the best efforts of the film makers, there was a lot of friction between the troops of the US and the UK. The film features a short scene that was shot at Midgham station, correctly referred to as being in the village of Woolhampton, on the Berks & Hants line in the Kennet Valley. The arriving train is hauled by a GWR 2-6-2T running boiler first, but in one of two continuity errors, the following shot shows the train departing Taplow station with the loco now bunker first! There is then a final shot of a similar train arriving at a station at dusk. Barely recognisable as such, it would appear to be another 2-6-2T at Taplow again.

Burgess Meredith on the level crossing at Midgham
Before walking past the signal box
As he continues to make his way along the up platform, more details of the station buildings come into view
In the first continuity error, a down train is arriving, meaning that Burgess Meredith has crossed back over to the other side. The locomotive is a GWR 2-6-2 ‘Large Prairie’ tank.
The second continuity error is far more glaring. This may well show another ‘Large Prairie’, but the loco is now running bunker first and its pulling away from Taplow!!
This is altogether more difficult to work out, though it appears to be Taplow again with a train arriving hauled by a similar size tank locomotive