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TITLE
Memories of the filming of 'Before the Raid' (2 of 7)
EXTERNAL ID
AB_ROSEMARY_MACKAY_02
PLACENAME
Portmahomack
DISTRICT
Fearn
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
ROSS: Tarbat
DATE OF RECORDING
2009
PERIOD
2000s
CREATOR
Rosemary Mackay
SOURCE
Am Baile
ASSET ID
40993
KEYWORDS
films
Second World War
World War Two
directors
wars
audios

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In this audio extract Rosemary Mackay of Fearn remembers the filming of 'Before the Raid', a British propaganda film made in the 'Port' in 1942 (released in 1943). You can view the film by clicking on the link towards the foot of this page.

The film was directed by Jiri Weiss, a Jewish native of Prague, who was forced to leave Czechoslovakia in 1938, at the time of the German occupation. Portmahomack was chosen because it resembled a typical Norwegian fishing village where the action was supposed to have taken place. The local residents were sworn to secrecy about the shooting.

'D'ye know, when I saw it again, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry because so many of the people were dead - long dead. An here they were walking around in the Port.

Interviewer: An you lived in the Port?

Well, we lived at Brucefield at that time. But we had the distance to come to the Port school, down through Hilton Farm. Now, ma father used to say that was a mistake, They should have warned servicemen in the area. They were put out to harvest, ye know, they were servicemen? An I think it was Black Watch. But, anyway, there were in a farm cottage, an we had to pass it, an they would maybe have been, maybe fifteen, for the harvest, an when we were passing, there was one left in charge as cook. And he would clean up the rooms an that, for the rest that were out working on the farm. An he used to come out to the door an say to us four wee lassies, as we passed - cos maself an ma twin were ten (Hannie was a year younger an Jean was a year older) - so ye can say, four ten-year-olds. An he would come out an he would say, 'Hullo there, hens!' Now, we'd never heard that expression an of course we went into the giggles.

But anyway, we went down an he used to follow us down for whatever groceries he had, but he would go down for a paper, for himself, an come back home. He had about a mile to walk. But this was across the top o the braes an they wouldn't have been filming at the time, but we didn't know they weren't filming, but we knew there was something happening as we were comin along the braes, an went to look down onto the beach to see what. An it was a fishing - not a fishing boat - a boatie. But they'd been fishing off it but they were in German uniform. So, we were afraid that they were filming. Well, we knew we had to keep behind the cameras so we lay down behind the whins, on the edge of the path, taking cover but always having a look over the braes, down to see what was happening.

An this cookie came along, an, of course, he looked to see what we were looking at, and he saw the Germans in the boat. (That makes me think it was 1942 because there was a chance that we could be invaded from Norway.) He hadn't been warned they were filming an he was carrying his rifle but at that time they'd no spare ammunition - he had an empty rifle - an he put us back behind the whins, an told us to stay there, an he laid down on his - well, laid down flat, with the rifle. But he'd been going - if the Germans had come up - he'd been going to hit each one as they came up the brae while he had the advantage, an, well, try an pick off as many as he could to save us. Now, they should have told him that there was people dressed as Germans in the area.'

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Memories of the filming of 'Before the Raid' (2 of 7)

ROSS: Tarbat

2000s

films; Second World War; World War Two; directors; wars; audios

Am Baile

Am Baile: Portmahomack During the War

In this audio extract Rosemary Mackay of Fearn remembers the filming of 'Before the Raid', a British propaganda film made in the 'Port' in 1942 (released in 1943). You can view the film by clicking on the link towards the foot of this page.<br /> <br /> The film was directed by Jiri Weiss, a Jewish native of Prague, who was forced to leave Czechoslovakia in 1938, at the time of the German occupation. Portmahomack was chosen because it resembled a typical Norwegian fishing village where the action was supposed to have taken place. The local residents were sworn to secrecy about the shooting.<br /> <br /> 'D'ye know, when I saw it again, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry because so many of the people were dead - long dead. An here they were walking around in the Port.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: An you lived in the Port?<br /> <br /> Well, we lived at Brucefield at that time. But we had the distance to come to the Port school, down through Hilton Farm. Now, ma father used to say that was a mistake, They should have warned servicemen in the area. They were put out to harvest, ye know, they were servicemen? An I think it was Black Watch. But, anyway, there were in a farm cottage, an we had to pass it, an they would maybe have been, maybe fifteen, for the harvest, an when we were passing, there was one left in charge as cook. And he would clean up the rooms an that, for the rest that were out working on the farm. An he used to come out to the door an say to us four wee lassies, as we passed - cos maself an ma twin were ten (Hannie was a year younger an Jean was a year older) - so ye can say, four ten-year-olds. An he would come out an he would say, 'Hullo there, hens!' Now, we'd never heard that expression an of course we went into the giggles. <br /> <br /> But anyway, we went down an he used to follow us down for whatever groceries he had, but he would go down for a paper, for himself, an come back home. He had about a mile to walk. But this was across the top o the braes an they wouldn't have been filming at the time, but we didn't know they weren't filming, but we knew there was something happening as we were comin along the braes, an went to look down onto the beach to see what. An it was a fishing - not a fishing boat - a boatie. But they'd been fishing off it but they were in German uniform. So, we were afraid that they were filming. Well, we knew we had to keep behind the cameras so we lay down behind the whins, on the edge of the path, taking cover but always having a look over the braes, down to see what was happening. <br /> <br /> An this cookie came along, an, of course, he looked to see what we were looking at, and he saw the Germans in the boat. (That makes me think it was 1942 because there was a chance that we could be invaded from Norway.) He hadn't been warned they were filming an he was carrying his rifle but at that time they'd no spare ammunition - he had an empty rifle - an he put us back behind the whins, an told us to stay there, an he laid down on his - well, laid down flat, with the rifle. But he'd been going - if the Germans had come up - he'd been going to hit each one as they came up the brae while he had the advantage, an, well, try an pick off as many as he could to save us. Now, they should have told him that there was people dressed as Germans in the area.'