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Audio Jim Flemming recalls filming an attack mission in South Korea, 2007

TLF ID R8850

This is an edited sound recording of former Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Air Vice-Marshal Jim Flemming describing an unusual operation to film an air attack mission in the Korean War for use in a 1950 episode of a 'Cinesound Review' newsreel. Flemming describes how a camera was specially fitted under the wing of a single-seat Mustang plane that he piloted. He then outlines the mission, starting from a base in Japan on 9 August 1950, to attack North Korean positions in South Korea. The recording was made in March 2007 and lasts for 2 min 6 s.




Educational details

Educational value
  • This recording provides a first-hand account of how some rare newsreel footage was produced of RAAF planes in action in the Korean War (1950-53). To prevent information getting to the enemy during war, military authorities usually restrict the movements of journalists and their access to information. However, in this case the RAAF agreed to a request from the Cinesound company to obtain footage of air attacks.
  • In the recording, Flemming reveals the eagerness of an unidentified Cinesound cameraman to obtain footage of an RAAF air attack that could be shown to audiences back in Australia. He suggests the newsman initially had 'more guts than brains' because he had been prepared to film from inside a long-range fuel 'drop tank' under the wing of his Mustang. Flemming tells how this idea was abandoned after he explained he would jettison the tank if hit by anti-aircraft fire.
  • Flemming explains how the footage was filmed by the RAAF's 77 Squadron making special temporary modifications to his Mustang. He describes how a camera was mounted on a stand inside a drop tank that had one end replaced with perspex, and how he operated the camera by pulling a modified trigger in the cockpit normally used for firing a machine gun but rewired for this purpose. When filming was over, he could use the trigger to fire the gun, as normal.
  • The recording reveals some details of a 'normal' RAAF attack mission against positions held by North Korean forces in South Korea early in the war. Flemming explains that on the mission that was filmed, four Mustangs based at Iwakuni in Japan flew first to an airfield at Taegu in South Korea to refuel. Targets of the mission included North Korean troops who were 'dug in', and others who were crossing a bridge, and vehicles hidden in buildings.
  • The footage obtained on this mission described by Flemming was used in a 15-minute episode of 'Cinesound Review' shown in movie theatres in Australia. It shows the views of the ground that pilots had as they attacked and includes shots of the planes using machine-gun fire, rockets and napalm bombs. Anti-aircraft tracer bullets, helping the gunners to direct their fire, can be seen coming up at the Australian planes, illustrating the dangers of low-altitude attacks.
  • The newsreel, which has dramatic background music and emotive commentary, is an example of Western propaganda from the Cold War era. It was designed to stir up patriotism and to portray Western democracies as engaged in a huge struggle against 'evil' communist forces, in this case North Koreans. In the Korean War, Australia joined a 21-member United Nations force formed to help the nominally democratic Republic of Korea (South Korea) resist an invasion.

Other details

Contributors
  • Contributor
  • Name: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Organization: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Description: Content provider
  • Address: VIC, AUSTRALIA
  • URL: http://www.esa.edu.au/
  • Name: Education Services Australia
  • Organization: Education Services Australia
  • Description: Data manager
  • Person: Jim Flemming
  • Description: Author
  • Copyright Holder
  • Name: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Organization: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Address: VIC, AUSTRALIA
  • URL: http://www.esa.edu.au/
  • Publisher
  • Name: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Organization: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Description: Publisher
  • Address: VIC, AUSTRALIA
  • URL: http://www.esa.edu.au/
  • Resource metadata contributed by
  • Name: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Organisation: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Address: AUSTRALIA
  • URL: www.esa.edu.au
Access profile
  • Colour independence
  • Device independence
Learning Resource Type
  • Audio
Rights
  • © Education Services Australia Ltd, 2013, except where indicated under Acknowledgements.