Peter Proud

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Peter Proud (born Ralph Priestman Proud, 6 May 1913, Glasgow – 1989, London) was a British film art director.[1] He made a major contribution to wartime camouflage and deception operations in the Western Desert, especially in the siege of Tobruk.

Early career[edit]

In 1928, Proud left school at age 15 and started work at the Elstree film studios on Alfred Hitchcock films including Murder! (1930) and Rich and Strange.[2] In 1932 he joined Gaumont British as assistant designer to Alfred Junge. The British Film Institute's Raymond Durgnat described him as an "ace production designer".[3]

In 1935 he moved to Gainsborough Pictures,[4] and in 1936 he became an art director at Warner Bros., where he worked on Michael Powell's film Something Always Happens.[1][2]

Wartime camouflage[edit]

The dummy 'Net Gun Pit' deceived enemy tactical reconnaissance in the Western Desert campaign of 1941–1942

Proud worked as a camouflage officer under Geoffrey Barkas in the Western Desert in the Second World War, and was responsible for effective camouflage and deception in the Siege of Tobruk.[5][6] With Steven Sykes, he created the dummy port at Ras al Hilal to divert enemy attention from the Eighth Army's vital supply ports.[7] He was a creative camoufleur, inventing the "Net Gun Pit", a quickly-erected structure of netting and canvas, that from the air closely resembled an anti-aircraft gun in a sandbagged pit.[2][8]


After the war, Proud ran his own production company. He worked on the TV series The Buccaneers and The Adventures of Robin Hood at Nettlefold Studios.[2][9][10]

Selected filmography[edit]

Proud worked, mainly as art director, on films including:[1]


  1. ^ a b c "Peter Proud". Filmography. British Film Institute. Retrieved November 13, 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d Grant, Alistair (2012). "The Elmbridge Hundred". Peter Proud. Elmbridge Museum. Archived from the original on 20 December 2013. Retrieved 13 November 2012.
  3. ^ Durgnat, Ray (31 July 1999). "The Business of Fear". British Film Institute. Archived from the original on 14 November 2012. Retrieved 14 November 2012.
  4. ^ "Art & Design in The British Film". (#21) Peter Proud. 23 November 2008; original book 1948. Retrieved November 13, 2012. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  5. ^ Barkas, 1952. pp121-128.
  6. ^ Stroud, 2012. pp91-98, 100-108.
  7. ^ Stroud, 2012. pp137-143.
  8. ^ Stroud, 2012. pp152-154.
  9. ^ Stroud, 2012. p234.
  10. ^ Robin Hood (TV) Archived 2012-03-09 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 13 November 2012.


  • Barkas, Geoffrey; Barkas, Natalie (1952). The Camouflage Story (from Aintree to Alamein). Cassell.
  • Stroud, Rick (2012). The Phantom Army of Alamein: How the Camouflage Unit and Operation Bertram Hoodwinked Rommel. Bloomsbury.

External links[edit]