British Universities Film & Video Council

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Martin Gray

Profile

Dates
1937-1955
Role
Sound engineer; cameraman
Newsreels / Cinemagazines
British Movietone News
Search
Search for all stories where Martin Gray is credited
Notes
Gray was interviewed for the IWM Dept. of Sound Records - access no.5201/5.
Photo credit
BUFVC/Norman Fisher Collection

Career

Martin Gray was a sound engineer with British Movietone News. Gray joined the company in 1937, but his first credit is from August 1939, when he worked on ‘OYEZ! OYEZ! OYEZ!' in British Movietone News No.533. After the outbreak of war in September 1939 Gray went to France with the British Expeditionary Force [BEF]. In March 1940 he worked with Movietone cameraman Norman Fisher [qv] to provide ‘FRENCH MINERS FETE BEF REGIMENT’ for British Movietone News No.562. Gray was afterwards caught up in the German attack of May 1940, and Norman Fisher later recalled that ‘Martin Gray and myself, with our Movietone camera car, filmed the retreat of the BEF through Belgium and France as best we could’: ‘We ended up about May 31st in Boulogne with a blown cylinder head on our Talbot 95 which we left in a garage. We removed our exposed film and such bits as we could carry and, under orders, boarded the first ship for Dover.'

In October 1940 Gray acted as sound engineer for cameraman Jack Cotter [qv] on ‘AA DEFENCE AIDED BY ATS,' released in British Movietone News No.597 of November 1940, and in April 1941 he covered a rota story on the Women’s Land Army as sound engineer to cameraman Alf Tunwell [qv]. In September 1941 Gray was sound engineer for cameraman Dick Harris [qv] on ‘THE HALIFAX FAMILY’ in British Movietone News No.641A. Gray also covered Churchill’s visit to the United States in December 1941 and January 1942, working with cameraman Paul Wyand [qv]. Gray recorded Churchill’s address to Congress for ‘MR. CHURCHILL SPEAKS TO AMERICA’ in British Movietone News No.657A of January 1942. Gray and Wyand worked on several wartime assignments together, and in November 1943 Movietone sent them to Italy with a two-ton camera truck, to undertake the first sound filming at the front. Their first sound report was ‘GARIGLIANO FRONT - Cameraman Paul Wyand films the shelling of the hamlet of Suio and a bridge across the Garigliano river,' in British Movietone News No.764A of January 1944. Gray and Wyand were shown being presented to the King in ‘THE KING IN ITALY’ in British Movietone News No.792 of August 1944. In October 1944 they returned to England, and in January 1945 travelled to Belgium - where in March 1945 they filmed Montgomery presenting medals for ‘BRUSSELS HEARS MONTY’ in British Movitone News No.824.

In April 1945 Gray and Wyand recorded the liberation of Belsen concentration camp for ‘ATROCITIES - THE EVIDENCE’ in British Movietone News No.830, Wyand recalling that ‘we made our way round the camp, photographing scenes which, it seemed, could not possibly be the responsibility of civilised man’: ‘On three or four occasions Martin and I had to break off work in order to vomit.' Wyand and Gray continued to work together after the war, and were shown at work in ‘PRE-FABRICATION SHIPS AND HOUSES’ in British Movietone News No.869A of January 1946. They were also shown climbing the camera tower for ‘THE DERBY’ in British Movietone News No.887A in June 1946. However, Gray did not remain a sound engineer, and Terry Gallacher [qv] recalled that ‘he became a cameraman in June 1946 and his first assignment was ‘THE VICTORY PARADE’ [British Movietone News No.888]': ‘Martin was stationed on the roof of the Odeon, Marble Arch - I know, I was with him.' Gray also provided general shots for ‘THE SECOND TEST’ in British Movietone News No.894A of July 1946, and later that year became a full-time cameraman for Movietone, being replaced as sound engineer by Reg Sutton [qv].

In May 1947 Gray was one of the cameramen who filmed at Waterloo Station for ''WELCOME HOME’' - the King’s return from the Royal Tour of South Africa - in British Movietone News No.936A. Gray appeared as ‘our intrepid cameraman’ in ‘MOVIETONE TESTS FESTIVAL BIG DIPPER’ in British Movietone News No.1133 of February 1951, and was also one of the Movietone cameramen assigned to the story of the ‘Flying Enterprise’ in January 1952. Some of his film appears in ‘THE END OF THE ‘FLYING ENTERPRISE’' in No.1180. Gray’s last credit is for ‘SPORTING SCENE - BRITISH GAMES’ in No.1367A of August 1955, after which he left Movietone for ITN in September 1955. He later became a freelance.

Sources

BUFVC, British Paramount News files, NR 9408 (3/3/1940), Issue Number 1053 (4/4/1941), Number 1101 (rota dopesheet 12/9/1941), Number 1466 (rota dopesheet, 10/3/1945), Number 1691 (rota dopesheet, 12/5/1947): P. Wyand ‘Useless If Delayed’ (London, 1959), pp.77-87, 96-7, 161: J. Ballantyne (ed) ‘Researcher’s Guide to British Newsreels: Vol.III’ (1993), p.27: Reg Sutton’s typescript autobiography, copy in BUFVC: BUFVC, T. M. Gallacher, ‘Additional Notes,' October 1998. BUFVC: E-Mail Terry Gallacher to Linda Kaye (1/09/2010).

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