Paul Wyand 1907 - 1968

born in:
Hendon, Barnet, Greater London, England, United Kingdom

Paul Wyand lived in Weybridge all his life after his family moved there when he was a child. It was close to Brooklands motor circuit which started his love of cars and motor racing. His first job was as a mechanic working for the racing driver JG Parry-Thomas who broke land speed records in his car ‘Babs’. After the 1927 crash which killed Parry-Thomas, Wyand could no longer stand to be at Brooklands, so he switched careers with the help of his Uncle Leslie and worked for American Pathe News. He became an assistant cameraman for Pathe in Wardour Street, earning £4 p/wk. He was let go during staff reductions for the arrival of sound. He briefly worked for Fox News as their London cameraman.

In 1929 he joined British Pathe for £9 p/wk, and later that year moved to British Movietone News. He was hired by Tommy Scales for £10 p/wk, with a salary increase every six months until he was on £14 p/wk. Wyand made the move because he wanted to work with sound technology from its introduction, believing it was genuinely revolutionary and exciting.

Wyand’s speciality was the ‘swing shot’, which helped capture fast moving objects and events. He was soon known for his films of motor racing, horse racing (including the Derby) and outside broadcasts more generally. His film of the 1932 Brooklands crash which killed ‘Bentley Boy’ racer Clive Dunfee was used as evidence at the subsequent inquest. Throughout his career Wyand also had a habit of ‘cameo’ appearances in his films, such as in newsreels meeting Russian troops, filming the Derby, on Guy Fawkes night and riding folding motor scooters.

When the Second World War broke out Wyand was initially confined to England but later filmed across Europe, in a specially modified Humber car painted in camouflage colours. As well as filming Churchill’s trip to the USA, Wyand captured the battle of Monte Cassino, the advanced troops crossing the Rhine and the German surrender. The film that he took at the liberation of Belsen in April 1945, which included the prisoners, the general conditions in the camp and testimony from the captured SS guards, was used in the Nuremberg Trials. His time filming in Belsen affected Wyand greatly and he had nightmares for years afterwards.

In 1947 he filmed the Royal Tour through South Africa and Rhodesia, using a sedan car converted for use as the sound truck. Derek Styles was sound recording and Graham Thompson was on the Royal Train for them. 16500ft of sound film was taken, with Thompson taking a further 16200ft, including the voyage out on the Vanguard. The film was rushed to Killarney Studios, Johannesburg for developing, where duplicate negatives were sent to USA and England for newsreel distribution. Wyand’s constant presence made Princess Elizabeth comment "that fat man and his black car always pop up".

In 1954 when Queen Elizabeth did a tour including Fiji, Tonga, New Zealand, Australia, Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and Uganda, he and sound man Reginald Sutton travelled approximately 45000 miles. – ‘The White Heron’. The tour was shot in Eastman colour and full stereophonic sound which was made into a very highly praised film at the time.

Wyand’s last assignment for Movietone was April 5 1956 of Donald Campbell at the Royal Automobile Club getting an award. After that he became Assignments Manager giving jobs to camera operators because they needed more staff due to TV demands. He did occasional filming on special projects and remained with Movietone until his death. He had been on 4711 assignments with Movietone and undertaken 5206 jobs in his whole career. In the 29 years at Movietone he had used 800 miles of film, and spent approximately 7 years away from home.

His autobiography 'Useless if Delayed: Adventures in Putting History on Film', was published in 1959. It was highly praised in reviews, and many said he was the greatest newsreel photographer. Wyand died of a heart attack at his home in Weybride, aged 61.