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    Mombasa, Kenya. Camera pans to follow two couples who walk along a jetty towards some fishing boats. L/S of a beach with palm trees at the edge. M/S of people in swimsuits walking down a path towards the sea. There is a sign which reads: "Silversands Leave Centre." M/S of two couples sitting beside the beach. One of the men has been swimming and uses a towel to dry his hair. The girls joke that the men have it easy, sailing, swimming and lying around on the beach all day. The men, soldiers on leave presumably, begin to tell the girls what they have to do to deserve this break.

    Title: "Morning on Mount Kenya.".

    One of the men describes an exercise on Mount Kenya. Various shots of men packing up their camp. C/U and M/Ss of baboons. Narrator describes how the section Corporal was to be flown home as his mother had been taken ill. Corporal Woodley is told that he is now in command. Lieutenant Stanley shows Woodley a map and tells him the grid reference of the platoon rendezvous. Stanley climbs into a jeep and drives off.

    Some of the men sit down for a cigarette. An S.O.S. message is received on the radio from Nairobi. There has been a civil aircraft crash on Mount Kenya, the pilot is believed to be the only occupants. The men discuss whether they should go to the rescue. They debate whether they can reach the man before dark. It is a million to one against chance that anyone else will have picked up the message.

    The decision is made to attempt to reach the pilot by nightfall. Some men are sent off to make the rendezvous with Mr Stanley, the others will climb Mount Kenya led by Jeff - our hero. Voiceover continues to recount the story over shots of those men chosen to be in the rescue party. The narrator speaks fondly of the men he has chosen for the mission. The men are seen in M/S packing up their gear as the narrator describes them.

    Watches are synchronised and the rescue party are seen walking into the forest. Various shots of them making their way through the undergrowth. Jeff takes a compass reading. Jeff mulls over the responsibilities of leadership and the fact that he could be accused of acting without authority. L/S of the mountain, various shots of the rescue party climbing hills and making their way through forest.

    The men stop for a breather, they are all hot, tired and thirsty. Various shots of the men. One says: "Ice cold water, straight from the glaciers" and Jeff realises that the quickest way up would be to follow the river. Various shots of the men walking through and beside the river. They clamber over tree roots and rocks.

    The men stop for a break. One of the men identifies an elephant track. Some of the men are worried about an encounter with an elephant but Jeff decides to follow the track.

    Back at the rendezvous the rest of the men arrive. C/U of Lieutenant Stanley who asks: "Where the devil's Woodley and the others?"

    The search party breaks for some food. Jeff decides to have a scout around and the radio operator prepares to try and contact the rest of the platoon. Jeff suddenly spots two elephants and rushes back to tell the others to pack up and move. The radio operator had just got through to the signaller back at the rendezvous. The signaller says: "I can't understand it sir. They came over loud and clear then cut dead."

    Lieutenant Stanley tells the Signaller to get through to battalion and tell them that they are still trying to make contact.

    The elephants walk through the bush. Local tribesmen take aim with bows and arrows and shoot at the elephants. Our search party run towards the men and scare them away. The search party suddenly comes upon a pile of elephant tusks. "Look at this ivory." says one of the soldiers "Must have taken them weeks to poach all this." They discuss how much it might be worth. Jeff suggests that they should bury it so that the game warden can pick it up later.

    L/S of a plane taking off from a dusty airfield. Aerial shots of the forest. Pilot is in radio communication and is asked to report any sign of the search party back to base.

    The search party the radio operator reports: "Platoon say that they will stay on listening watch as radio link between us and battalion H.Q." Jeff tells him to report that they will be in touch again once they have cleared the bamboo. Men of the search party spot the Royal Air Force plane and wave.

    The search party make their way through a dense bamboo forest. "We've got to clear this bamboo before it gets dark" says Jeff. The men are tired and short of breath. Dramatic music marks their exit from the bamboo forest onto moorland. L/S of Mount Kenya. Jeff asks the men if they can see any sign of the crashed plane. The answer is no. Jeff thinks they are in the right area and tells the men to spread out and have a look around until it gets dark. End of reel 1. Reel 2 has been transferred on *PM1237* (film id 1237.01). See separate records for details.

    Print has bad colour fading.

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    British Pathé
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    Available on request
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    Time in/Out:
    01:38:02:00 / 01:52:54:00
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  • Appears in...

    War & Revolution
    East Africa Nature Reserves Kenya 60's DOL Africa Dissertation Kenya group Documentaries (1976) Documentary warning Long documentary A detailed look Forests in Colour
  • Stills

    0:01 0:02 0:03 0:04

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