OVERLORD (1975)

GB
1975
1hr 25mins
Dir: Stuart Cooper
Starring: Davyd Harries and Julie Neesam

A teenager is called up in 1944 and is killed in the D-Day landings

Taking its name from Operation Overlord, the code name for the Battle of Normandy, this powerful and passionate drama was filmed in black and white to allow for the inclusion of a large proportion of wartime newsreel footage. There is quite a large amount of railway shots appearing in these scenes, though the story used the Kent & East Sussex Railway and Tenterden Town station as a centre piece for the flashback scenes where a young soldier’s meditations give way to foreboding premonitions of death. A number of dream sequences took place onboard trains on the line and there is a good shot of the signal box at Tenterden Town. The actual wartime footage includes an excellent shot of LNER D16/3 Class 4-4-0 No.8797 leaving an unknown Eastern region terminus station with a troop train, and a shot of a pair of LNER 0-6-0’s working hard on a train consisting largely of armoured tanks. The lead loco is a J19 with that behind being a J20, possibly No.8291. There is a shot of an LMS Class 7F ‘Super D’ 0-8-0 on a freight filmed, unusually, from a freight heading in the opposite direction, and another shot filmed from the rear of a freight train entering a tunnel, though the loco is not seen. There is also a close up going away shot of an express that looks to be hauled by an LMS ‘Patriot’ 4-6-0. Finally, there are several shots of passengers and evacuees at unknown station termini and a shot of an unknown Southern Railway station. Overlord remains today the only feature film ever produced by the Imperial War Museum, but a fine film it truly is.

Waiting for a train at a Southern Region station. But which one?
This footage of passengers passing an evacuation sign also appeared in the 1936 drama-documentary Conquest of the Air (qv). It is obviously from the same newsreel footage, but which station was this?
Evacuees arrive at a station. The distinctive ironwork of the roof should make it easy enough to identify. Is this the old London Euston?
Brian Stirner viewed through a carriage window at Tenterden Town station on the Kent & East Sussex Railway.
Tenterden Town signal box
Several moody shots were filmed onboard a train travelling along the Kent & East Sussex
This is the first of the wartime railway scenes. A troop train pulls out of a sadly as yet unidentified station somewhere on the Eastern Region.
This excellent shot continues as the train draws past the camera. The grimy loco on the front is LNER D16/3 Class 4-4-0 No.8797, still with NE on the tender. Does this therefore mean this is somewhere in the north east?
Working really hard, a pair of LNER 0-6-0’s approach the camera
The lead locomotive is a J19, that just visible behind is a J20, possibly No.8291. The track at right angles to the main line is a storage siding for a track inspection trolley. A once common site now only seen on today’s heritage lines.
LMS Class 7F ‘Super D’ 0-8-0 on a freight filmed, unusually, from a freight heading in the opposite direction. The building in the distant background appears quite grand.
A freight train enters a tunnel, controlled by an early colour light signal. Note the DX 111 number. This looks to be the same freight train as that in the shot above. Even the bolts and hinges of the wagon appear to be the same.
An LMS express storms past the camera in this low angle, going away shot. The locomotive looks to be a ‘Patriot’ 4-6-0.
One final shot in the film is of this troop train. The third class coach No.25258 looks to be in appalling condition.