Scottow – Scottow Cemetery (Otto Walter Kanturek)

This is a rather unusual gravestone, or at least the inscription element of it, at Scottow Cemetery. Otto Walter Kanturek was born in 1897 in Czechoslovakia and worked as a film-maker in Germany and the United States, specialising in aerial photography during the early years of the Second World War.

Otto was at RAF Coltishall as he was filming some scenes of aircraft for the film A Yank in the R.A.F. which was being produced by Twentieth Century-Fox Film Studios. One of the shots they were trying to film was in the air, with Otto in one plane filming two Hurricane planes that would fly by. Unfortunately, one of the Hurricane aircraft crashed into the plane which Otto was in, and although the pilot was able to eject to safety, everyone else was killed.

The sad incident was reported in the press at the time, also noting that Jack Parry, another videographer, was killed in the incident. It was mentioned in the media of the time that Otto had been the cameraman to all of the Gracie Fields films which had been made in the UK. This story was also featured by the BBC Inside Out television programme in 2006, who were able to interview one of his colleagues, Bryan Langley (then aged 97), who said:

“If it wasn’t for Otto, I wouldn’t have been a Director of Photography for many years. He helped me with my career, a wonderful man”.