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The 1961 British Pershing Rifles team's trip to the USA

The film embedded below is a documentary film made by a member of the British Pershing Rifles team during a trip to a championship meeting in the USA in 1961.

About this film

I purchased this film about a year ago as a job lot of old home movies from eBay. I can't remember the exact price I paid, but since I never pay more than a few pounds for films, it wasn't very expensive. The film itself has been titled, but before I digitized it I had an idea of the contents, because written on the cardboard film box are the words, 'USA PERSHING TROPHY'. A quick look at the opening few frames expanded this knowledge to 'Pershing Rifles'.

Now I had no idea what Pershing Rifles is (or are - is it plural?) and even after a bit of google research I'm still not sure. It seems to be an American military college competition or sport, and I can't find any reference to international teams, but the film's existence seems to suggest that there must have been an international angle to it.

At 30 minutes, the film is one of the longer films on Vintage Home Movies, and was supplied to me on a 400 ft aluminium reel in a tatty cardboard sleeve with the aforementioned title on. The other piece of information was a name and address -

Mr C.R. Edwards

Since one of the first titles on the film is called "Colin's Trip to the USA", I suspect the C.R. Edwards was probably Colin Edwards.

Some stills from the film

The gallery below show some stills taken from the film to give a flavour of the contents.

The Pershing Rifles Film

The film starts with a section showing the main featured person in the film, Colin, being interviewed for the BBC for 'Sportsview'. I suspected this was probably one of the local sports programs rather than for one for National broadcast because I remember 'Grandstand' on a Saturday afternoon, but I don't remember 'Sportsview'. A little bit of research, however, found this site which explains the history of the program and it seems that Sportsview was the main BBC sports program in 1961. Later it became 'Sportsnight with Coleman' which I certainly remember.

After the interview, the team is shown assembling for the journey by air to the US. First is a trip to New York, and then a flight on to Cleavland.

There are then some scenes of what looks to be a US civil war re-enactment, with soldiers dressed in period uniforms and carrying out civil war battle scenes.

The majority of the rest of the film is then taken up by the actual competition, before some sightseeing around the Empire State Building and the trip home. The film is reasonable quality, considering its age, and quite interesting for anyone with an interest in either sports or 1960s social history.

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