PETER HOWSON AND IAN McCOLL AS WAR ARTISTS IN BOSNIA [Allocated Title]
Amateur video shot in Bosnia by Peter Howson, the Official War Artist commissioned by the Imperial War Museum to make a record of the conflict in Former Yugoslavia, during his second visit in late 1993 when accompanied by fellow artist Ian McColl.
TAPE ONE (approximate running time 90 minutes) PH chats to camera describing what he's done over the last couple of days: wearing blue flak jacket. General views of British UN Camp at Vitez (?): PH cleans his muddy boots. Brief shot of interior of aircraft. UN vehicles and British forces in maintenance area at Vitez (lengthy sequence): stores dump visited by PH and IM. Further vehicles being repaired, viewed from within maintenance pit. In their Portakabin, Ian McColl sits on bed, executing pencil sketch of face of guard (putty rubber beside him). Nearby, on the floor, PH does pastel sketches of face of Mujahideen: he flips through his sketchbook for the benefit of the camera and introduces a cuddly toy dinosaur called Ivo (named after barman in Split). "Tomorrow we're driving to Gornji Vakuf." General views of the area around the UN camp. PH talks to camera about risks and about refugees, and criticises the actions of some of the French and French-Canadian peacekeepers. Further views of the Vitez camp: PH and company are preparing to leave. On the move (along the main supply route, according to driver): lengthy continuous shot through vehicle's filthy rear window at receding wintry road. Close-up of crest (two crossed hammers and the legend RUDNIK LIGNITA GRACANICA - GORNJI VAKUF) with a poster of the Yorkshire Dales (!) beneath it, then long panning shots of the interior of the very basic army accommodation (a large echoing space, possibly a gymnasium or hall). Soldiers relax, reading or watching TV. Handwritten sign on the wall reads "Welcome to Gornji Vakuf. A Real Christmas Cracker (Not)". PH visits the galley and talks to catering staff: close-up of bullet holes in wall. Food is prepared in portable ovens while radio plays the George Harrison song "All Those Years Ago". Exterior shot of compound with hills in distance. Maintenance work is carried out on armoured vehicles, including a Warrior which has had its engine removed for testing. Portakabin with extensive damage (due to shell or mortar ?) is focused on. On the road again: lengthy shots through rear window of vehicle. A graveyard is passed, as is a sign saying "Vrbas" (the river ?). Many damaged/deserted residential buildings are passed. Convoy stops near lake: PH takes a cigarette break. Local children stand around. "This is Camp Meda - the highest point - and it's bloody freezing." FV432 carriers (including an ambulance) are parked nearby. Sign "Officer's Mess UN HQ BRITFOR". Camera pans around HQ building and grounds; routine work is carried out. Helicopter flies overhead. Inside, the run-down shower facilities are shown. PH and IM talk about casualties. Party in lounge/bar at HQ for local Croatian staff: departing Commanding Officer gives speech and presents a cake in the shape of the Croatian crest. He carefully cuts it ready to hand around. Applause from staff. Watchtower outside the HQ, and road below; further shot of the HQ building. On the road once more: camera scans the road in front (through the rain-drenched windscreen, wipers in action). Sea with drilling platform is visible to the right as the vehicle approaches Split along busy road. Army warehouse at Split. Soldiers buy supplies of sweets and cigarettes from a well-stocked Portakabin. Back at BRITFOR HQ, PH sketches on the floor of his Portakabin. Further views of the HQ Compound. The harbour at Split: ferry LASTOMO is seen, and the castle in the distance is focused on. Hawk flies above helipad; mountainous landscape in the background. On the road once more, camera shooting out of left hand window. Apparently, the mountains in the distance are were used as locations for the film "Where Eagles Dare". On board ship flying Croatian flag at Split (?): views of water and military installations. Below deck, PH tours cabins but is turned away from the bridge (which is a sensitive area). On the road again, driving through Split: camera shooting from rear window and from front (weather better than earlier shots). On the promenade at Split: officer chats cheerfully to PH and points out landmarks including Diacletian's Palace. On the shingle, small boats are repaired. Back on the road, camera vehicle drives past the marina. Later, it drives into tunnel (near Gornji Vakuf). Interior and exterior of suite of Portakabins at NAS Banana. Soldiers march to helipad where Sea King, Puma, Lynx and other helicopters are parked. Inside dark and cramped interior of Sea King (?) helicopter, personnel prepare for the flight. View out of open helicopter door (with GPMG clearly visible): shot continues at great length as the helicopter powers up, taxies and eventually takes off and flies over the sea (ships and coastline visible through door). At end of shot, soldier reaches across and pulls the door closed.
TAPE TWO (approximate running time 16 minutes) On the road, driving through "no man's land" in bad weather; camera shoots through windscreen. A Warrior armoured vehicle drives past. Wrecked vehicles beside the road. Driver tells of his experiences and explains the strategic importance of the "front line" road. Odd stragglers/refugees walk along the side of the road. The weather worsens; as the vehicle enters the town the road gets very bumpy. PH and several British soldiers crowd into Croatian artist's studio: camera pans around walls covered in watercolours (poor sound). Book about Goya lies on table. The artist shows sketches which he has made. Back on the road (probably the return journey). UN patrol is passed; driver tells war stories.
TAPE THREE (approximate running time 11 minutes) On board helicopter (possibly Sea King) flying over town with wide river: shot from cockpit. PH sits in door of his Portakabin having a cigarette. Later, at the HQ building, PH walks around; he is also seen sitting on the balcony with coffee and cigarettes. Below, various vehicles drive past. Inside a helicopter (apparently a continuation of the last shot on Tape One) as it lands at UN base. Shots of some of the soldiers on board the helicopter: most are grim-faced.
TAPE FOUR (approximate running time 90 minutes) PH smoking a cigarette in bed (at accommodation in Split, where he is sharing barracks with the British Army and, nearby, the Croatian Army). He discusses his situation, and informs us that he is journeying to Vitez the next morning. IM talks to camera, giving his descriptions of the accommodation, and discussing recent experiences and preparations for the Vitez journey. PH sits in army vehicle on the journey to Vitez: camera shoots through rear window, showing the rest of the convoy following. The snow is heavy by the roadside. Clear shots of mountain road through forest. Lens cap is put on camera. In the forest, a UN Land Rover with snow chains on the tyres has slid off the snowy road and is winched out of the ditch by a Scimitar armoured vehicle. Lorry convoy waits, partially snowed in; in the background parked armoured fighting vehicles can be seen through the falling snow. Lorries start off on the journey once again: PH and IM help to load fuel from jerrycan. Driver says that the date is December 3, 1993: Warrior SPG from the 1st Coy Coldstream Guards drives ahead of them during snowstorm. Convoy enters Gornji Vakuf. PH and others inside (temporary ?) hospital: black serviceman with shoulder wound is being prepared for surgery. The dressing is removed to reveal long, deep cut across the top of the left arm, just below the shoulder. Iodine is liberally applied to the wound and to the surrounding skin. PH in bed, smoking a cigarette, muses on the Bosnian situation and discusses further his experiences and impressions. Exterior of Camp Vitez: armoured vehicles are moved around. On the hill in the background are damaged buildings. PH surveys the scene and gives his impressions, talking about the Moslems and Croats and about fighting in the area. More UN vehicles (Belgian or Dutch this time, according to PH) drive into the camp. On main street in background, Bosnian citizens carry on with their lives. It is 3pm. FV432 and Warrior vehicles drive into the camp. PH inside field vehicle, blue helmet on. Shots of road from rear of vehicle show convoy in motion. Further footage of the shoulder operation: close-ups of the wound being stitched and stapled. The surgery is successful, and the soldier begins to revive. In the X-ray room, doctor and PH discuss an X-ray plate showing a .22 calibre hunting rifle bullet wedged into an arm. Doctor describes his work and shows PH the X-ray machine. Outside, PH inspects small petrol driven water heaters (used for brewing tea &c in the field). He also looks at a generator and is shown bullet holes. Driving down a road, past Dutch transport battalion at "Sansishi" (?) Camp: the sniping situation is described. Views of a ruined mosque: at a deserted village, the situation is surveyed by officer. On the road again: the local situation and ethnic cleansing are discussed. PH clowns around with a compact camera. Back at base: supplies are moved. In office, PH and others talk about the current operations. Final shot on the road again (very shaky camerawork): train passes by.