1hr 56mins
Dir: Mutz Greenbaum
Starring: Anton Walbrook and Margaretta Scott

A group of men who have spent two years in an internment camp are sent by the Vichy Government to build a railway in the Sahara

This World War II action adventure was of course filmed in the UK, and like Undercover 1943 (qv) it too has a surprising amount of location work for a wartime production. Nonetheless it is unclear entirely just how and where the Sahara railway building scenes were filmed, but they do contain a rarity in the form of GWR 1854 Class 0-6-0PT No.906 on what is supposed to be a short construction train. The loco has been vaguely disguised by having its GWR lettering on its tank-sides replaced by ‘ETAT’ (the French word for ‘state’).

The pannier tank arrives at the construction site bringing with it a short train of materials to be used in the laying of the line
Having dropped its train off, the loco slowly moves off into the desert. There looks to be a second track over to the left, but where is this?
The locomotive reappears in the final scenes as it is commandeered by the prisoners. The 1854 Class were originally built as saddle tanks, being rebuilt into panniers from 1911. They were also built with open cabs, but some later gained enclosed cabs. No.906 appears to have received this upgrade judging by the wonky spikes of metal on the coal bunker that seem to suggest that the rear of its cab has only recently been brutally cut away!
The soldiers all pile into the open wagons as they begin their escape
And the locomotive moves off again. Although this looks to be a standard pannier tank it is in fact one of the earlier batch of 20 built as saddle tanks as long ago as 1895. The 1854 Class numbered 120 in total and most were withdrawn in the 1930’s. 23 made it into BR ownership in 1948 so this is quite a rare bird. No.906 was one of these 23, but it was withdrawn on 30th April 1948. The final two were withdrawn in 1951.