Peter Proud

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 careerEdit

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 camouflageEdit

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 filmographyEdit

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


  1. ^ a b c "Peter Proud". Filmography. British Film Institute. Archived from the original on July 11, 2012. 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 linksEdit