Sixty years ago, as a projectionist at the Senlac Cinema, from 1940 to 1944,
I was showing the first Gaumont-British News film footage from the D-Day landings in Normandy.
(no live television in those days)

You can imagine how excited I was to be invited by Ken Clarke to attend this very special evening of vintage films in familiar surroundings. Here are a few of the pictures I took to record the occasion for all those unable to be there in person.
1936 - The proposed cinema
1936 - The proposed cinema 
From an article published in the Hastings and St Leonards Observer in May 1936

John Clemence with Ken
Refreshments were available at the bar in the foyer
John Clemence with Ken
Vintage Poster from 1928
Vintage Poster from 1928
Saturday Night at the movies
2004 - Burstow & Hewett
Originally named "The Senlac", the building was last used as a cinema in the late 1960's

Portable Projection Suite
Bell & Howell projectors provided a picture of surprising quality
2004 - Burstow & Hewett
Portable Projection Suite
Full House
A large audience thoroughly enjoyed every minute of the slapstick comedy
Full House
Ken Clarke with John Myall
John operated the projectors to the brilliant piano accompaniment of
Andrew Youdall

Ken Clarke with John Myall
Stars of Steamboat Bill
Ernest Torrence, Buster Keaton, and Tom McGuire
Stars of Steamboat Bill

.One of the original pair of 35mm BTH Projectors
with Ivor White at the controls
One of the original pair of 35mm BTH Projectors

A modern 16mm Projector
as used for this evening's
A modern 16mm Projector

.A clip from a 1944 newsreel showing a D-Day landing party
approaching the Norm
andy beaches
.A clip from a 1944 newsreel showing a D-Day landing party
My thanks to Ken Clarke for inviting me, and to Robert Ellin of Burstow & Hewett who allowed me to explore the building where I spent so many happy hours entertaining the residents of Battle, and the lads and lasses of Armed Forces who were stationed here while preparing
for D-Day and the subsequent liberation of Europe.

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Battle Festival June 2004

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Last Updated 2015