Film ID:
NEFA 13051



Visitor Tabs


A dramatised instructional film aimed at new apprentices of Smiths Dock, based on the South Bank of the River Tees, Middlesbrough. This is a cautionary tale of two teenage stowaways, who are caught and offered jobs as apprentice marine engineers. The film charts the progress of the "good" and "bad" apprentice. Service to the company is compared to service to country in speeches by Lt. Col. Eustace Smith and a voice over spoken by Wilfred Pickles.

Title: Smith’s Dock Co Ltd. Presents

Title: Forward To Service

Title: These men who build Britain’s ships are the men who best serve Britain’s glory: for nothing has subscribed more to that glory than her sea-borne ambassadors of trade. Havelock Blake.

Title: A Public Education Films Production. Elm Park Court. Pinner. Middlesex.

Title: Script by Hugh A. Andrews

Title: Produced by A. W. Dodds

Title: Supporting Commentary by Wilfred Pickles

Title: Prologue & Epilogue by Lt. Col. Eustace Smith TD

The film opens with a general view of a shipyard. The shot fades into an interior shot of the shipyard owner’s wood panelled offices. Lt. Col. Eustace Smith TD gives a formal speech addressed to future apprentices of Smiths Docks. He refers to the history of the ships built by the firm. Shots of framed pictures of the ships, handcrafted model ships, and men working on the deck of a ship under construction, are intercut with the speech.

The scene is set with shots of the Smith’s Dock Co. sign on the side of a shipyard building. The next scene is a dramatised story of two stowaways. The two young teenagers sneak through the dockyard at night and onto a ship. Caught by a shipyard worker, they are hauled off to see the captain of the ship.

The captain (played by Charles Rolfe) is relaxing in his cabin. The two are interrogated by the captain and give their Middlesbrough home addresses. The good and bad attitudes of the two apprentices become apparent. The captain decides to offer them a job building ships.

The manager instructs them in trustworthiness. There is a brief drama of two apprentices avoiding work.

The two new apprentices start engineering classes. The scene cuts to interior shots of the engineering works of the shipyard.

One of the apprentices is called into the manager’s office for slacking. He returns to the engineering works.

A group of disgruntled apprentices stop early for a cigarette break and discuss the poor wages. The voiceover instructs on “robbing the clock” and the amount of lost time in the workplace. An apprentice receives further instruction at his tasks in the engineering works.

In a queue of apprentices, the two discuss going out for the night and one is worried about how it will affect his work the next day.

The bad apprentice saves a young woman from a traffic accident. The woman is the daughter of Captain Hastings. The newspaper she is reading describes an accident at sea with her father’s ship. No lives are lost.

Three shipyard managers discuss the damage to the ship and which apprentices can help with the repairs. In a storeroom the unwilling apprentice is offered the overtime to repair the ship and declines. He is disrespectful. He is then seen shutting down a machine as a practical joke.

The good apprentice goes out with the Captain’s daughter and asks for help in stopping the bad apprentice from quitting his job. The bad apprentice gets home late and writes his resignation letter. He retires to bed and sleeps in. The next day, he arrives late and his work suffers.

Captain Hastings and his daughter talk to the bad apprentice about his attitude. Captain Hastings gives a rousing speech about service to the company and to the country. He refuses to let him continue to see his daughter. The apprentice decides to change his ways.

There is a general view of steam ships at a dockside. Various shots of the apprentices in the engineering workshops and in the classroom.

There is a close-up of an exam certificate in Mechanical Engineering approved by Constantine Technical College, Middlesbrough.

The bad apprentice discusses his offer of a full time marine engineering job with his girlfriend, the captain’s daughter, and they discuss setting up home together.

Lt. Col. Eustace Smith (T.D.) provides the closing speech.

End Title: The End