July 2010

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Here’s a bit of info on Douglas Webb — Pam’s partner. I will be expanding on Doug’s Dambuster days at a later point so keep a lookout.

Douglas was born 12 September 1922 in Leytonstone, London. He worked for Ilford then the London News Agency in Fleet Street as a printer, after which he joined the RAF on his 18th birthday and served as an air gunner with 49 and 617 Squadrons. In 1943, Douglas took part in the famous Dambusters’ raid. The plane on which he was front gunner attacked the Ennepe dam. With no anti-aircraft firing at them they had time to do three trial runs before releasing the upkeep. The following explosion, however, failed to damage the dam. His plane was the last to return from that now legendary raid, for which he received the Distinguished Flying Medal. No photo is known to exist of the crew posing with their aircraft, for the pilot, Bill Townsend, considered it unlucky to do so.

Left to Right: Ray Wilkinson, DFM. Rear Gunner, Douglas Webb, DFM. Front Gunner, Charles Franklin, Bar DFM. Bomb Aimer, Bill Townsend, CGM, DFM. Pilot, Jack Grain, DFM. Wireless Operator, Lance Howard, DFC (Australian). Navigator


Back on civie street in 1946, he rejoined the London News Agency as a staff photographer. He stayed with the LNA until he was offered a contract with the Rank Organisation at Denham Studios. After which he transferred to Gainsborough Pictures at Islington Studios. The first film he worked on was Miranda.

As the British film industry contracted, he opened his own studio in Greek Street, in the heart of London’s Soho, where he specialised in theatrical and film portraits.

In 1948, while Pam was at St Martins School of Art, she posed for a local amateur photographer who suggested that she could make a guinea an hour if she did the same for professionals. Being in the position of having to fund her own education she took his advice. She walked into a professional photographers’ studio on Greek Street and asked if he did nudes. He said yes, and that was how she met Douglas Webb. When she was putting on my school scarf after her first session, did Douglas realise Pam was underage. Thankfully, her father agreed to sign the necessary model release form. She could not have known at the time, what a great impact on her life that meeting with Douglas Webb was to have.

Douglas Webb had a prolific creative life in still photography, cinema and television. As his studio expanded, he moved to very much larger premises in Albany Street, near Regents Park. As a freelancer, he worked on numerous British TV shows, doing the front and back projections. His television work includes the title sequences for Special Branch and The Sweeney for Thames Television. For all you trivia buffs, the fingerprints used on the title sequence in The Sweeney were none other than Pam’s. Doug was also responsible for the special photographic backing in The Killing of Sister George and the colour transparency shot in Italy for the film Krull in 1983. This was projected at 28×64 ft in Pinewood Studios. In 1986 Douglas Webb and Pam moved to the Isle of Wight.

Related posts
The Dambuster and the Bombshell
The Icon and the DambusterThe King’s Breakfast


I can now confirm that The Vintage Festival 2010 will be screening Michael Powell’s Peeping Tom plus a selection of Pam’s short films, on a vintage cinema bus. How cool is that? The bus was one of seven units custom built for the British government in the late 1960s, used to promote British industry…and now it’s showing striptease films at a music festival! Who would have thought it?
Friday, 13 August at  21:00 hrs.

Guardian article.