The smell of celluloid – help needed please!


Gordon Payne, Edgar Pritchard and Billy Cotton in a remarkable photo supplied by Gordon Payne. That’s a great pair or smiles!

I’ve had a fascinating email from Gordon Payne of Brownhills Air Cadets who’s got a rather exciting item that requires a caring and experienced film technician to help with – a so far unseen Edgar Pritchard film.

Edgar was of course, the talented brother of Syd Pritchard, and Edgar made fantastic films that have provoked so much interest here previously – from the 1934 Brownhills Carnival film donated by Aer Reg, to the comedic short Hope Springs Eternal and the truly stunning Poacher’s Apprentice.

Grodon wrote:

Hi Bob,

Just enjoyed reading all about Edgar Pritchard on you website and thought you might be interested in the attached.

Edgar made a 16mm Kodachrome film in 1943 called ‘They Want to Fly’ to promote the ATC and encourage people to join. The photo is of me and Billy Cotton who played in the film.

I have the two original reels which are largely intact but need restoration. I wondered if you new or had a contact who might know who we could responsibly trust to restore/digitise this heirloom. Also I would like to contact Billy Cotton if he is still with us.

Kind regards,
Gordon Payne

Thanks to gordon for sharing this. Can you help with news on Billy or do you know a good film restored who can be trusted with such a precious artefact?

If you can can help, please comment here or mail me on Brownhillsbob at Googlemail dot com, and I’ll put you in touch.


The film in question – precious indeed. Image kindly supplied by Gordon Payne.


Claremont Cottage. Do we have a picture of that? Image kindly supplied by Gordon Payne.

This entry was posted in News and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to The smell of celluloid – help needed please!

  1. Julia Willett says:

    Hi Bob.
    I really don’t know if this is the same Billy Cotton who was my parents Frank and Iris Poxon’s best man at their wedding in 1947. They have both passed away now, but I vaguely remember him living in Scotland !! I’m in France at the minute but I will look through some old stuff of theirs when I get back.
    My dad served on The Brownhills Memorial Hall committee with one of the Pritchard brothers too and I can remember going to their house in Brickiln Street with dad to pick him up.

  2. Sheila Norris ( nee Jones) says:

    Worth getting professional advice on this -British Film Institute? Imperial War Museum might also be interested/able to help. My Dad ( now 92) attended ATC, prior to being called up. It was held at Brownhills Central School in the evenings. He was already in the RAF by the time this film was made but it would bring back many memories for him nonetheless.

    Amazing how these things turn up! Just wish the one Mr. Pritchard made at the School Camp at Conway would do likewise as my Dad definitely was on that one.

    Best of luck with this Gordon. Sheila.

  3. Stewart Poxon says:

    I was a member of 1444 squadron in the late fifties and remember trips to Turnhill and going ghost hunting there,allso to Shawbury and Middleton Saint George home of 111 squadron the black arrows we were there when they did there last display in hawker hunters before disbanding and making way for the now well known red arrows.The adjutant at the time was Mr Barker he lived in pelsall and worked for Walsall corporation transport.

  4. aerreg says:

    re the air cadet film i recall syd showing me those films they were on the table when he gave me the carnivel and hopes spring eternal they were un edited then i often wondered what happend to them i dont know if the company still exists but doran duran studios in dudley composed the edit ed copies for us they put sound on hopes spring but were unable to put sound on the carnival because the tipe of sprocket another 1114 cadet comes to mind tommey greenough i think he was an officer nice to hear of you gordo happy lichfield road days god bless

  5. aerreg says:

    PS re claremont cottage a wonderful collouerd picture can be seen on the back cover of bill mayos book old brownhills the life and times of sid pritchard now sold out

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.