Entertaining the RAF: Astra Gazette 1951-59



3 hrs. 2 mins.

The “Astra Gazette” Newsreels : 1951 – 1959 The Royal Air Force “Astra Gazette” newsreels were made by Pathe in the 1950s to be shown to serving personnel in the RAF’s very own Astra Cinemas, housed on their air bases all over the world. The surviving editions start with the young Princess Elizabeth taking the place of her sickly father, King George VI at the graduation parade at RAF Cranwell in 1951. Most of the Astra Gazettes used a newsy format with short items featuring many young ladies in swim suits to keep the lads happy! But it is the Astra Gazette’s “insider” round up of RAF news stories which afford such a fascinating insight into the RAF of the 1950’s and include many of the key service personalities of the time such as Douglas Bader and Bob Stanford Tuck. By 1953, Pathe were filming all the items in full colour such as Ejector Seat Testing, a Sunderland flying boat rescue and the 1955 closure of the famous RAF Fighter Station at Biggin Hill. The reports end with RAF Waddington receiving The Freedom of the City of Lincoln with some stunning shots of the Vulcan in 1959. Film stars of the time also feature heavily including Peter Cushing, Jill Day, Jack Hawkins and Lee Patterson.

These surviving “Astra Gazettes” are included here just as they would have been seen by the serving RAF personnel of the 1950’s in the RAF’s airbase “Astra Cinemas” that they are named after. Total Running Time – 182 Mins 1951 Special Edition- Graduation Parade 1951 Astra Gazette Number Eight 1952 Presentation of The King’s Colour 1952 Astra Gazette Number Twelve 1952 Astra Gazette Number Thirteen 1953 Astra Gazette Number Nineteen 1953 Astra Coronation Review- Special Edition 1953 RAF Halton Queen’s Colour Presentation 1953 Astra Gazette Colour Collection 1955 Astra Gazette in Colour 1955 Astra Gazette, Biggin Hill Closes 1956 Astra Gazette in Colour – Return to Biggin Hill 1957 Rubber Masks- Turko Bath-Sunderland Rescue 1958 Kat on Trial- Chimps Boxing – Dog Champs 1958 Pylon Men- Car Museum- Peter Cushing 1958 Emet’s Ideal Home-Scooter Jousting 1958 Motoring Inn-Old Cricket- Spaghetti Contest- Mushroom Farm with “Bob” Stanford Tuck 1959 Ejector Test-Houseboat Girls-WRAF Horsewoman 1959 RAF Waddington Freedom of The City of Lincoln.


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