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Look - just smile for the cameras okay kiddo

Tinker, tailor, soldier, ejector seat guinea pig. It’s the sort of job a Briton just wouldn’t do these days, let alone in beautiful Buckinghamshire. But here they are, in broad 1950s daylight, rocketing men up towers of scaffolding to test ejector seats in Denham. As the narrator says – “You either like that sort of thing or you don’t”. Certainly, families part with a lot of money for similar experiences at funfairs and theme parks. Watch the lads playing with their ejector seat here, or see further below for unused reels from the same base. Ernest Greenwood and Toni Luchetti are noted in the canister notes as being two of the mechanics in the video.

Here in Philadelphia, they used giant safety nets to catch their ejected. Startling footage:

Is it a dummy? Is it a man? Don't tell us.

It’s 1964 now and we’re spending the afternoon with the Ministry of Defence in South Wales. Luckily they’re not ejecting unemployed actors this time, but crash dummies. When you see the speeds you’ll see why:

It was either this or a sheep.

The video below shows an ejector seat in action in California. The pilot springs out of the aircraft, hurtles through the air in his chair and lands in the ocean. Thrilling archive footage:

Now which button was the ice dispenser?

For more ejection take a look in the British Pathe archive online at www.britishpathe.com or perhaps retro shop dummies are more your thing? It’s all in there!

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