The sacrifice of HMS Plym in the first British atomic bomb test.





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This documentary short eulogizes the River-class frigate HMS Plym, a World War II British warship mothballed after the war. Britain chose this vessel to be the platform for its first atomic bomb test, in the Monte Bello Islands off the western coast of Australia. Although Plym did not see much action during the war, it made the ultimate sacrifice in the name of national defense. Written by yortsnave

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Release Date:

1953 (UK)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


This documentary short film is included as an extra on the DVD of "Atomic Journeys: Welcome to Ground Zero (1999)". See more »


[last lines]
Narrator: Admiralty, London. Plym oblivion. Repeat: oblivion. Oblivion.
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User Reviews

Melodramatic but still a good reminder of the era...
29 December 2005 | by (Columbus, OH USA) – See all my reviews

I saw this black-and-white short film on the DVD of "Atomic Journeys: Welcome to Ground Zero". It's the story of Britain's first test of an atomic bomb. Actually, it's a eulogy to the ship that carried the bomb and was blown up along with it, the River-class frigate HMS Plym. (A frigate is like an anti-submarine or convoy-escort destroyer, and I believe "River-class" refers to the naming convention, after British rivers.)

This film takes a rather melodramatic approach to its subject, starting with the last people to walk the ship's decks and the 8 1/2-minute countdown to detonation. Flashbacks describe Plym's honorable but unremarkable World War II service, the solemn yet glorious challenges of building the bomb, Plym's selection from the anonymity of the "mothball fleet" to such a high honor, the final trip to Australia, and the setup for the test. Jack Hawkins' sonorous narration adds to the portent of doom. I am led to think of Plym as almost a person--I understand the need for her sacrifice, and I mourn her passing.

I am pretty sure that William G. Penney, known as the father of the British atomic bomb, appeared (uncredited) as the chief atomic scientist.

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