The Way Ahead (1944) Movie Script

500 of them stark-naked,
screamin' their heads off, all with spears.
Yes, they weren't very nice, those spears.
Well, they say it's much worse now,
but these young fellas nowadays,
they haven't got the stomach for it.
There's not many has when
it comes to a spear.
Talk sense, man. All I say is, if
there is a war, which God forbid,
then you can say goodbye to England,
home and beauty,
because the young chaps
now, they can't fight.
Hello, Drummer.
Well, what about us?
What about
the Duke of Glendon's Light Infantry, eh?
What about the Dogs?
But you said yourself
the Dogs aren't what they were.
It's all this education and machinery
and goin' to the pictures.
It's all right to have a good regiment
but where are the men to fight in it?
That's the point.
Where are they?
There you are. That ought
to warm 'em up a bit.
International crisis.
I tell you, Fred, things
are getting serious.
Do you know what time I got
home last night? Half past ten.
- Winston's having another go at them upstairs.
- Oh, well, that's something.
You know that fellow Westlake,
National Liberal, Bromwich East?
Do you know how long he went on last night?
Hour and 40 minutes solid.
I know. I know. You're dead right.
It's the third time this week.
I tell you, Fred,
my missus is getting proper fed up.
We're going to have a war.
Right. Let 'em start one now.
Let 'em get on with it. Let us get home
early to our suppers for once in a change.
War? Not a chance of it, madam, not this year.
It's not in anybody's interests, is it, really?
- Passage for California?
- Yes. The end counter over there.
Payable to the Agency, sir.
Just "& Co". No "Limited"
You'll arrive in Benghazi on the 20th...
- Are we likely to run into any sandstorms?
- No, madam.
The Italians haven't been very clever
about their publicity.
Libya's the only unspoiled playground
in the Mediterranean.
War, that's the trouble.
It may start at any moment.
We'd like to do lots of repairs,
but our hands are tied.
- Not when it comes to taking the rent!
- If times were normal,
we'd be giving you a bath with a geyser
and new paint.
I don't want a geyser.
I want the guttering put right.
Drip, drip, drip! It drives you mad.
We can't all be thinking of ourselves
in times like these, Mrs Williams.
And with summer coming on,
it won't bother you so much.
I've only had it six months,
now they're talking about a war.
I won't be able to get any spares. Foreign.
- You may not be able to get any petrol.
- Don't talk silly.
How am I going to get home?
- It's nearly quarter past, Jim.
- Won't be a moment.
You're in a bit of a hurry, aren't you?
- Oh, that again.
- I've got to be at the Drill Hall by half past.
Territorials! Look here, Jimmy boy,
I was in the last lot.
At the War Office.
Nearly ruined my health.
Don't start looking for trouble.
If there is going to be a war,
and if they hadn't told us to keep cool after
Munich, I wouldn't have put new pumps up,
but if there is going to be a war,
the whole place goes over to munitions.
With that knack of yours
and my good management,
why, there'll be a packet
in it for all of us.
Enough for you to buy
that place of your own.
And it's patriotic, too. Hello, Mrs Perry.
Hello, Mr Jackson. Coming, Jim?
- I can't go with my buttons like this.
- Buttons! Listen to him.
A man with your husband's brains
playing at soldiers.
It isn't as if he's got any rifles
or machine guns or any real things.
- But they have, haven't you?
- Of course we have. Hurry up.
The trouble is to get them all clean.
They've got so many new guns and tanks.
- Tanks? I thought he was in the infantry.
- Little tanks.
You know, carriers.
Well, the papers say you haven't
got a thing. Not a thing!
You don't want to believe
everything you read.
I wish I could take you to the Drill Hall.
You'd be amazed.
So much stuff there,
we've nowhere to put it.
It'd be a great eye-opener.
Now, this is the 1914 type.
When we get a gun - and
we may any day now -
we shall probably get the 1917 type
with improvements.
I used it myself in 1918.
The main thing is, keep it clean.
Mind you don't drop the magazines,
and remember the eight stoppages.
Get mud in the feed pawls
and you'll have trouble.
- A bent magazine, you got more trouble.
- Hey!
Shan't be a minute, old man.
But it's a good old gun.
In my humble opinion,
the perfect answer to attacks from the air.
So if hostile aeroplanes
try to interfere with you,
all you got to do is touch 'em up a bit
with the old Lewis. Got it?
We ought to have dug trenches at Dunkirk,
let the Germans through,
- then taken them in the rear.
- What can you do with a rifle against a tank?
Oh, we had our troubles, in the Sudan and in
Basutoland, but we got through all right.
- The Dogs always do.
- Ah...
What was you in?
The Dogs. D-O-Gs.
Duke of Glendon's Light Infantry.
You ought to know that, young fellow.
- What you in?
- Parachutes.
Oh, the Umbrella Danglers.
Who does your marching for you?
They could have done with us in Greece.
There's another bungled engagement for you.
Surrounded? All right, form square, same
as what old General McNeill did at Suakin.
- You'd be too old to remember that?
- Mm.
Times have changed, Dad.
He's right, Bobby.
I don't doubt they use bayonets nowadays,
the like of which we've never seen.
Great long beggars.
No, nothing's changed.
Except that life's much
easier than it used to be.
Now all them battle courses.
Lot of nonsense!
Anything to get out of marching.
Cushy, compared to what we had to do.
Up to our knees in water to cross a stream.
No time to take your boots off.
No joke, it was.
Nowadays, they're afraid of getting their feet
wet Might get in a draught and catch cold.
Lot of nonsense.
One sergeant we had used to shout and scream,
just to make it sound like a real battle.
Wouldn't like that sort of caper nowadays.
Too worried about them fancy battle suits
of theirs, these young fellas.
Keeping a crease in their trousers
to go out with a girl.
No buttons to clean like we had.
They don't know what polishing is.
And another thing, we didn't get broke off for a
cup of tea every five minutes like they do now.
We had to keep on marching,
dressing properly by the right
with bayonets gleaming and everything.
Looked lovely it did.
Didn't feel so lovely, though.
No joke when you've got wet feet
and the sergeant's watching you,
specially when it's hot.
Didn't have no feelings,
those old sergeants.
No taking it easy with them -
"left right, left right" -
had to watch your step, you did.
If you made a mistake in the drill,
you all had to go back and do it again.
Much easier.
I don't know why they don't call
some of us up, some of the old Dogs.
We'd show 'em.
No need to, Dad. Look.
- Big new call-up.
- Fat lot of good that'll do.
Duke of Glendon's Light Infantry.
I know it's wrong.
Mr Davenport said so himself. He said
definitely they were going to get me deferred.
I was on the list. He said so himself.
Eat your egg.
I think you rely too much on Mr Davenport.
Oh, you don't know him. He'll do something.
That's one thing about the firm,
they never let you down.
I'm sorry, Parsons, but it's been agreed
that Mr Thyrtle in the bargain basement
will deal with all deferments in future,
so if you'd care to go and see him...
But you must realise, you know,
there's a war on.
Only key men are deferred now.
I understand, but is there a chance that Mr
Thyrtle might do something? You see, my wife...
We've lost Collins from Refrigerators
and Barker from Winter Sports this week.
There was nothing Mr Thyrtle could do.
- I see, sir.
- I'm sorry, Parsons.
Mr Thyrtle, please. Quickly.
No, thank you.
By the way, Parsons,
I think it might be less um...
shall I say, embarrassing
for both of us if we...
forget... disregard any differences in status
which may have existed at the... at the store.
Yes, sir. Thank you.
I must say, I think it very -
to put it mildly - thoughtless
of the powers that be
to allow such a situation to arise.
Oh, I do agree, sir.
After all, it's not as if my activities were
confined to toys. I was in charge of officers' kit.
- Yes, and garden ornaments.
- I know, but it's the officers' kit which makes...
Well, never matter.
- I must say, I think the Ministry are ill-advised.
- About your case, sir?
In general, Parsons. In general.
- This free?
- I believe so.
Confidentially, I took the opportunity
of suggesting to the Managing Director
when I was saying au revoir, that Mr
Thyrtle is no longer pulling his weight.
That should do a lot of good, sir.
At any rate, I have taken the matter out of
the firm's hands and written direct to my MP.
- Who's he?
- I beg your pardon.
- Who's he, your MP?
- Sir Henry Chalmers Thompson.
Oh, old Liverlips. Talked for two hours and
a half on the Brompton sewage scheme bill.
Couldn't hear hisself for snores.
- Do you know Sir Henry?
- I'm in the 'Ouse.
- A member?
- No, I work there on the boilers.
They'll be sorry they let me go.
You wait till the winter. They'll be
asking questions in the 'Ouse, all right.
"Who let Ted Brewer go off to the Army?"
No-one can work them dampers like I can.
They'll freeze.
Are you called up? So are we.
All the same, I don't think you should
refer to Sir Henry in that way.
No? Listen, there's only one good man
ever got into Parliament.
- Who would that be?
- Bleedin' Guy Fawkes.
- I wonder what time we get to Hacklesfield.
- I've no idea.
Three eleven.
- Change at Crewe, don't we?
- Can do. Can do.
Or there's the Derby way.
That's more comfortable.
- Doesn't get you in till five seven.
- We've got to be there by four.
- What, you called up, too?
- Yes.
What, all of you? Go on!
- It's all adventure, isn't it?
- Depends on your previous occupation.
Oh, I was very well situated. Big
travel people. Butlers. Know them?
I suppose you know all the trains, then?
I don't think you'd catch me out in Europe.
Prewar, that is. I'm a bit continental
myself. Swiss grandmother.
- Your job's over for the duration.
- I don't know. People have still got to travel.
Pack up your troubles in your old kitbag,
I always say.
By the way, any of you in the Scouts?
Hurry up. The two-twenty'll
be here in a minute.
All right, I've only got one pair of hands,
haven't I? Yes?
If you're not too busy,
we'd like the same again.
I've had a wonderful life.
I can't grumble. It's all been like that.
- You got a car?
- Yes.
- What make?
- It's a Jowett.
There's a smashing little job.
I've got a Lagonda.
I'll race you,
soon as we get out of this ruddy army.
- Can't last much longer, can it?
- What, the war? I hope not.
- Too much rent control.
- And then I'll buy a new car.
I'll buy a Mercedes. Rooaaar! Smashing.
- Wonder how many more there'll be of us.
- I don't know.
I suppose some will come from London,
poor mutts. What do you think of it all?
- Very little.
- Yes, I think you're right.
I was in two minds about coming at all.
- Here's the two-twenty. Hurry, Maisie!
- All right, all right, don't get all het up.
- Well, anyway, cheers.
- Cheers.
This is Crewe. Crewe Station.
Passengers for Liverpool, Shrewsbury, Chester
and Hacklesfield should change here.
- Have we time for a cup of tea?
- What about it, Mr Beck?
Platform 7. We've got five minutes.
Time for a quick cup.
- Shall I run and get you a cup, Mr Davenport?
- No, no. We'll all go.
Can you tell me,
where does the Hacklesfield train start?
- Platform 7. Over the bridge.
- Are you going there too?
I'll say. Duke of Glendon's Light
footsloggers. Have a cup of tea.
I'm a fellow with a very independent disposition.
Can't stand people telling me what to do.
And if they try it, then I
always want to be rude.
In fact, I usually am.
Here, I'll get 'em.
The Army will have to put up with me
and not me with the Army.
- Stop shoving, mate, will you?
- I'm sorry, old man.
- China for me.
- Get used to char. It's all they got in the Army.
Oh, good old Army. The thin red line.
- I don't blame you for getting bottled.
- You going to Hacklesfield?
- Yes. You too?
- Yes.
My name's Stainer. Can I interest any of
you in buying a Rolls-Royce or a Bentley?
- Three teas and a bitter.
- Four teas.
All set for the last lap?
- Looking forward to it, this bloke.
- You can't look back on it.
No. I wonder when we'll be able to.
Mr Davenport was doing very important work
at the time of his call-up.
The Army's full of people who make you suffer
because you're no good at polishing buttons.
It might have gone down with the last
generation and even with some of you,
but it won't go down with me,
because I'm independent.
- And if they don't like it, I'll walk right out.
- Look out what you're doing.
Don't you shout at me like that.
I'm not in the Army yet, you know.
- He didn't do it on purpose.
- That's right.
- There's a nasty piece of work for you.
- That's the way to treat them, see.
Scared stiff, he was. They always
are if you stand up for yourself.
He looked like a regular.
Fancy putting decent civilians
under blokes like that.
Hurry up with that bitter, miss.
You can't eat by numbers
and sleep by numbers.
Have them yelling at
you, day in and day out.
By the left. Quick! Eat!
Shut up, shut up.
Oh, dear.
There you are, you see.
He's ashamed of himself.
- Hurry up with that bitter, miss.
- We haven't time for tea now.
Have a bite?
No, thank you.
I'm rather worried about my digestion.
- I have a very sensitive stomach.
- Always did have, didn't you, Mr Davenport?
- Where are you going?
- To get a seat.
- Good idea.
- We were here before some of these people.
Appalling service.
Last journey without a pass for years.
Ten Gold Flake, please.
Ten Gold Flake!
Passengers for Hacklesfield,
your train is leaving from Platform 7.
Left right, left right, left right,
left right, left right left!
All right, jump down, lads.
I'll be back in a minute.
Doesn't seem such a bad bloke.
They've got to be nice
when you're in civvies.
Look at this.
Breathe natural, that's the idea.
- Barbarian.
- Hey, look.
Keep those knees up.
Nice big strides. Feel the benefit.
Come on! Pick 'em up.
Are you the new intake? That's right.
Nice tall fella should do well at PT.
Stand up, now. Let's see a smile.
Make the best of yourself.
Come on, stand up, son.
And look me straight in the eyes.
That's right. You look a bit weedy
at the moment. So do you.
Too much town life. We'll
soon build you up.
Smile, nice smile. That's right.
Come on, what's the matter with you, lad? Get
a haircut first thing, make you feel better.
And that's an order.
Go on, you've only been four miles.
Ought to feel fresh as a daisy!
Look out, my lucky lads.
I'm coming after you!
Right! Pay attention!
Then after I got back from Dunkirk I was sent to
the training battalion as a Sergeant Instructor,
- then to the Officers Training Unit.
- Our job is to get up to strength again.
We'd hoped for trained men, but we've got
civilians whether we like it or not.
Some came in last week.
30 more expected today.
You'll be looking after them. I expect
you'll get pretty fed up with them at first.
They won't seem as... keen as you are.
Then one day, you'll find you've got a platoon
of some of the finest infantry in the world.
I don't know how it happens, but it does.
Oh, Edwards.
- Sir?
- This is Perry.
- Hello. Very glad to have you.
- Thank you, sir.
You're lucky.
You might have gone to another company.
Perry was in France with
the 12th Battalion.
- NCO?
- Sergeant, sir.
Oh, has the depot sent
you your sergeant yet?
Due this afternoon, sir. Fletcher.
Regular with seven years' service.
- Let me know what you think of him.
- Right, sir.
Right, Perry. I'll leave Captain
Edwards to look after you.
- I'm giving him No.9 platoon, sir.
- Fine.
I can feel my rheumatics coming back again.
You'll have to get rid of those
before we start on these courses.
Jumping ditches of broken glass
with bullets whistling by.
- How do you know?
- Picture Post.
I can't understand it.
The Government puts broken glass
on top of walls to protect its property,
then trains blokes to get across it
at its own expense.
At our expense, man. We're just cogs in a
great machine. We pay for our own discomfort.
These living conditions
are most insanitary.
Not if we keep the doors and windows open.
- I can't sleep with the windows open.
- How is your stomach?
- Acute.
- Mm. That'll be the worry.
That's your bowels. Driving my tractor
for a week would put it right for ye.
- What, are you a farmer, then?
- I wouldn't be here if I was.
I worked on a farm, though.
They have a lassie doing my job now.
She's better-looking than me
but not for that kind of work.
What else did it say in Picture Post?
Oh, yes. When you come to the barbed wire,
one fellow lays across it
and all the others run over his back.
- Oh, shut up, can't you?
- I'm only telling them.
Battle training they call it. Just to get you
used to things. Real live bullets they use, too.
Well, I won't be shot at merely to gratify
some oafish, military whim.
Then there are these bayonet charges.
Three miles long, uphill.
They make you run all the way, too.
And then you go swinging from tree to tree
on ropes. You know, Tarzan-fashion.
- Should be interesting.
- Oh, turn it up!
You don't know what you're
talking about, Beck.
What have you got to smile about, Lloyd?
Oh, nothing.
What a tragedy it all is.
I'll get my lumbago back again at this rate. I
didn't ought to be in the Army. Not really.
Any day now. Ha!
Don't they give us sheets
as well as blankets?
Not in the Army. They do in the RAF.
I'd never have believed that in a civilised
country, doctors would permit...
All right, stop talking.
Now, pay attention.
Now, you're going to be No.9 Platoon.
Mr Perry will be your officer
and I'm your sergeant.
Fletcher's my name.
Sergeant Fletcher. Got it?
Now, I'm used to having the best platoon in
the battalion and I'm going to have it again.
This is the programme. You can take it easy
tonight but no leaving the camp.
There'll be hot supper served for you
at seven. The canteen's open till nine.
Lights out at ten. Corporal Robbins
will tell you about the blackout.
Tomorrow you'll be issued with your kit and get
inoculated. On Monday we start work proper.
Got it?
Right. Let's have your names.
- Davenport.
- Right. Yes?
Parsons, sir.
- Your name?
- Beck, Sergeant.
- And yours?
- Lloyd.
Squad will advance! About... turn!
Leave it, leave it. I'll tell
you when to pick it up.
Squad, stand at ease!
That man in the front rank there. Stainer.
Corporal, put him in the
correct ease position.
Feet 12 inches apart, stomach in,
arms straight. Brace yourself.
All right, Corporal.
Squad, 'shun.
As you were! Wake up!
What's your name? Daventry?
- Davenport.
- You're too slow, five minutes behind.
Think what you're doing. And you, too.
And you, Lloyd, wait for the
word of command before you move.
- Look to your front!
- Officer coming.
All right, Corporal. Fall in. Pick it up.
Squad, 'shun.
- Stand at ease, please.
- Sir.
Squad, stand at ease.
- What's your name?
- Truscott, sir.
Stand to attention.
- Take these names for the tailor.
- Sir. Look to your front.
Do you think you're going to
enjoy the Army, Truscott?
Well, I put down for the Navy, sir.
- Your name?
- Lloyd, sir.
Go on. Stand at ease.
This is far too big.
Keep those trousers well hitched up.
Yes, sir.
- What's your name?
- Herbert Davenport, sir.
- What's the trouble with the boots?
- They're a little tight in the toe, sir.
- I've rather a high instep.
- What was your job before you came here?
Rather an important one, actually, sir.
I was in charge of three departments
at Burbages, including officers' kit.
Too big, Sergeant Fletcher.
And the trousers are a
little loose in the seat.
- Your name?
- Parsons, sir.
Filth! What do you think a barrack
inspection is? A joke? Lay it out proper.
You've got another five tons to shift yet.
Come on! You'll do it properly
if I have to keep you here all night.
Six men to scrub out the cookhouse.
You, you, you, you, you. And you.
Eyes right!
Wake up, that man!
No, you can't have 48 hours.
You've only been in a month.
This isn't a holiday camp.
Stand up! Pick up that step!
You six are detailed for
guard tonight. Got it?
This is a life, isn't it, eh?
A child of three doesn't take as much pleasure
in making a noise as Sergeant Fletcher.
It's just like I said. Putting us under guys like
that, it's criminal. Two guards in one week.
- No, 13 days it is.
- Oh, shut up.
Who was it made him turn nasty
in the first place, spilling his tea?
- He'll soon change his tune.
- Who's going to make him?
- I am.
- When?
- Soon as I know my way around a bit.
- When'll that be? Ten years' time?
We've only done six weeks so far.
Will you look at that spud!
- Throw it away.
- Here, don't throw a perfectly good spud away.
You're a nuisance, you are.
I don't see how Fletcher
could have remembered us all.
- I had my back to him.
- It's just like I said in the first place. The Army!
- Hey, that man!
- Hello, what's that?
That man!
Take those hands out of your pockets.
Yes, you!
There's no parade. Hark at him shouting.
You'd think he'd know those
letters off by heart.
I don't seem to get any letters.
Come on. You're not getting out of it.
We're saving yours.
I'm going to shoot that rat
the day we get live ammo.
What was all the shouting?
I'm walking back from the lats, quietly,
committing no offence.
All at once I feels my nose running, so my
hand goes to my pocket to get the hankie out.
Next thing I hear is his voice yelling at
me across the square from the other NAAFI.
"Take your hands out of
your pocket, that man."
"That man!"
You wouldn't think we was human beings.
You can't blow your nose now!
- There. I warned you, didn't I?
- You did, Geoffrey.
It would have been the same if we hadn't spilled
his tea. I wish I'd thrown it in his face.
- Golly!
- I'd love to have done it. It was boiling.
You keep on saying that.
I'd like to see you do it.
Well, I would have done it.
- Stainer, you make me sick.
- Oh?
You keep on talking, you
never do a damn thing.
- Well, what can I do?
- Go and see the officer.
- Oh, don't be mad.
- You'd be within your rights.
Yes, and would they ever forget?
I tell you, Lloyd,
they've got you where they want you.
I'm going to see the officer.
- Never.
- Is that wise?
No, but I hate gasbags.
What are you going to say, mate?
I've got plenty to say.
Be careful. Not mutiny.
You know what that leads to.
Look out, look out, here he comes.
All right. When you've done here,
report down to the quartermaster's stores.
He's got some scrubbing for you.
Oh, and by the way,
the next man I catch around camp with his
hands in his pockets will be put on a charge.
Got it? Right.
- Sergeant?
- Yes.
I want to see the officer, please.
What for?
My reasons are private.
All right. Write out an application
in the proper manner and let me have it.
And I'll see if Mr Perry can see you.
Thanks, Sergeant.
When you all get through,
go down to the stores.
- Look, Lloyd, I'll tell you what to say.
- Go to hell, Stainer.
If there hadn't been this trouble at Crewe,
you think Sergeant Fletcher
might have been easier on you?
Yes, I do, sir.
Now, these extra guard duties. According to the
rosters you've done no more than anybody else.
Do you think that because
of the trouble at Crewe,
you're blaming Sergeant Fletcher
for doing his job?
It isn't only the guards, sir.
You've been in the Army, what, six weeks?
Isn't that a short time to decide
about a soldier like Sergeant Fletcher?
I wouldn't have come to you, sir,
if I hadn't felt justified.
You've made a complaint. I must investigate
it or refer it to the company commander.
Do you want to refer it to Captain Edwards,
make a complaint in front of Sergeant Fletcher?
I'd rather leave it to you, sir.
- Very well, Lloyd.
- Thank you, sir.
Sentries, pass!
Quick march!
Look here, Evan, I've been thinking.
If he didn't actually say nothing,
he must have hinted.
For the 100th time, he said
he'd look into it. That's all.
Now, for goodness' sake, shut up.
I told you it wouldn't do any good.
But if he looks into it,
like what he said...
Brewer, fetch the cocoa.
Right, Sergeant.
Won't be having cocoa at the sergeant's
mess party. Wine, women and song.
Lily Of Laguna
Wait till the competitions. I'll bet...
- Good evening.
- Good evening, sir.
- What'll it be? Bitter?
- Have a sandwich, sir?
- What's Sergeant Major betting on?
- No.10 platoon, sir. Used to be his.
- We don't mind taking his money, do we?
- I should hope not, sir.
My old battalion were all Territorials, so I haven't
much experience of these men just called up.
Do they usually make complaints?
Lloyd, sir?
All soldiers like a bit of a grumble, sir.
After all, it's not funny to have to run
when you feel like walking,
or stand up
when you feel you could do with a sit down.
Or to have someone shout at you
when you're doing your best.
No, I think it does a man good
to let off steam a bit, sir.
Yes, if that's all it is.
Well, they're new, sir. But there's
some good men there. Lloyd for one.
He hasn't got the hang of it yet, but he
has the knack of handling men all right.
He's a bit of a nuisance at the moment,
but later on he'll make an NCO.
- Now, Luke...
- Got him onto that again, have you, sir?
The adjutant is taking some of his men for the
mortar platoon. The way Fletcher carried on...
Well, you'd think someone
was pinching his watch.
He even said that professor bloke - Davenport -
said he had the makings of a soldier.
There's nothing wrong with him
that the Army won't put right.
- Stainer?
- Yes, what about him?
Same with him, sir. He was a bit of a mess when
he first came in, but he'll shake down in time.
- We haven't got a dud there, sir.
- See what I mean? Optimistic.
Same thing in France, too.
If we'd only had the guns and planes
and tanks and things, it might all have...
Well, anyway, that was that.
There'll be no more of that nonsense.
There'll be a big change.
- Things are going to be different from now on.
- Yes, sir.
- Good evening, Brewer.
- Good evening, sir.
Here, he's giving it to him.
He's giving it to him proper.
- Who's giving what to who?
- The old screamer.
- Perry's giving him a right dressing down.
- What did he say?
He said things will be different. He wants
no nonsense. There's going to be a change.
- What did the sergeant say?
- He says, "Yes, sir." That's all.
Very slow, with a silly look on his face.
Almost human, he was.
Had all the stuffing knocked out of him.
Good for you, Evan. You're a plucky lad.
- I owe you an apology.
- I don't know...
From now on, he'll be as quiet as a little
lamb. Tomorrow he'll be saying please.
Come on! You're light infantry,
not horse Marines!
Truscott, get that fat side over!
- Parsons!
- Come on. Come on.
Come on! Come on!
Come on! Get out of it! Get out of it!
Come on, Davenport!
- Come on.
- Come on, Davenport!
- Wait a minute.
Get on with it, Luke!
What's the matter with you?
Come on, Beck! Hurry up, hurry up!
Come on, come on. Come on, Parsons!
Come on! Come on, the rest of you!
Come on, Truscott!
- Can't you see I'm stuck?
- Well, get unstuck.
Now what have you done?
Don't hang about there, Lloyd!
Go back and take it in your stride!
Quick as lightning you ought to be.
Come on, Brewer, get some of that fat off!
Get over!
Come on, Parsons! You can do it, lad!
Use your brains. What's
the matter with you?
Swing across! Don't fall!
Brewer, double up, double up!
Come on, Parsons.
Right. You can use the mobile canteen.
- What about it, Sergeant Fletcher?
- Not bad, sir. Not bad at all.
Parsons held them up a bit
at the second obstacle.
- What is the matter with him?
- I don't quite know, sir.
Something's wrong. No grousing at all.
As if there was something on his mind.
"Tomorrow he'll be saying please."
- I only said what I heard.
- Well, you heard wrong.
It's like I always said... Oh!
The officer seemed to be enjoying the fun.
Grinning he was. I saw him.
"Things have got to be different."
That's what he said.
- Oh, shut up.
- Well, I've come to a conclusion.
- What's that?
- I don't like the Army.
- Two flans, two teas.
- Razor blades?
Sorry, no razor blades. Yes?
Tea, please. And a piece of Swiss roll.
All right, pay attention.
Go on eating.
Oh, here he comes.
He can't leave us alone for a minute.
I'm supposed to organise this regimental
concert and I shall badly need some help.
So, if any of you can play anything, dance, sing,
pull things out of hats, can I have your names?
I shall need all the help I can get.
- I do recitations. Shall I put my hand up?
- You do and I'll clock you.
Well, think it over and let me know.
Well, I nearly got knocked
down by the rush.
Oh, they'll be all right, sir.
Why don't you want to help him?
He won't help us. Why should we help him?
You don't seem to be having a very good
time. Don't you ever get into town?
Occasionally, but there's only one cinema
and we've seen the film this week.
Why don't you come over to tea?
- Oh, yes, please.
- When?
- Sunday.
- What, all of us?
- Well...
- If we keep it down to seven.
All right.
- What time?
- Four? Half past?
- Four.
- Who do we ask for?
Marjorie Gillingham.
Number 12 Ellmore Street.
12 Ellmore Street.
Right. Fall in.
- All right, we'll find it.
- Goodbye.
See you Sunday!
Ring the bell.
Steady. She may be looking
out of the window.
Oh, hello, chaps.
Mrs Gillingham?
That's right. Come in, boys.
How many of you are there?
- Just the seven, Sergeant.
- Oh, quite a party.
- Last man in, shut the door, will you?
- OK, Sergeant.
Charming house you have here.
Bit of a change after our barrack room.
Less congestion.
Yeah, more room, too.
Sit down anywhere.
Mrs Gillingham will be down in a minute.
How are you liking the Army?
- Need you ask?
- I expect you'll get over that.
Been in long?
- Seven weeks. Seems like years.
- I know.
- What are you in? Bombers?
- No, fighters.
- On leave?
- Sick leave.
- You're lucky.
- We could do with a bit of that.
- How do you wangle it?
- Were you really sick?
Well, shot up a bit.
Oh, but I'm all right now, though.
See this wristwatch?
Amazing. It landed five
miles from where I did.
They told me it was still going
when they picked it up.
Some farmer chap found it. Bit of luck, eh?
Of course, I didn't really mean...
Hello. So, you got here all right.
Mother will be down in a minute.
Come on, Buster.
Hurry or we'll miss the beginning.
Well, so long, boys. Going to see that Merchant
Navy picture. Marvellous job those chaps do.
And they don't wear a uniform. Come on.
- Bye.
- Bye.
I wish we wore uniforms with a collar and
tie. This makes you feel like a convict.
Well, what do you think you are?
Oh, how do you do?
I'm Marjorie's mother.
I'm so glad she persuaded
you to come along.
The boys in the battalion before you
always used to come.
Oh, thank you so much.
So did the boys from the ack-ack battery,
until they moved.
I always say, if Marjorie can have her canteen,
I don't see why I shouldn't have mine.
Now, do sit down, please, all of you.
There, that's right.
Yes, that's the comfortable chair.
And you can put your plate
on the table there.
This is extremely kind
of you, Mrs Gillingham.
That's right. Oh, dear.
I'm afraid this place is rather untidy,
but this house is really too big for me.
Now, do make yourselves at home.
Well, and how do you like the Army?
We don't.
Oh, dear, what a pity. Now, hands up
for China tea and hands up for Indian.
And then what does he do? He has us
marching till our feet are nearly bleeding.
I tell you he's a proper b...
A very nasty fellow.
And the officer just smiled and then asked
for volunteers for the camp concert.
Both the sergeant and the officer
are as bad as each other, Mrs Gillingham.
That's right, ma'am. It's true.
Oh, dear, it is a shame, isn't it?
Who'd like another chocolate biscuit?
Well, they haven't taken your appetite
away from you.
The food's not good enough for that,
Mrs Gillingham.
Terrible. Since we've been in the Army,
we haven't had a proper bath.
- Well, a shower's quicker.
- Shut up.
You can always have one here
if you bring your towels.
Only, let me know in time.
I have such trouble with the boiler.
Oh? What do you burn?
What sort of boiler is it?
I could probably show you a saving. I'll pop
in sometime and have a look at it for you.
I wish you would. Marjorie's friend Buster
couldn't do anything with it,
and, naturally,
he knows all about engines and things.
You poor lads. Your life
sounds terribly gloomy.
It is, Mrs Gillingham, it is.
But you said just now
you have concerts and things.
Yes, if we do the acting.
There was a boy in the ack-ack
used to recite a lot.
There was one poem -
The Lynching Of Black Maguire.
How did it start?
It was hot that summer in Kicking Horse...
And the earth was parched and dry.
Full of geographical licence,
but exciting stuff.
- Good old Sid. Why don't you volunteer?
- Maybe I will.
- You know what I told you.
- Och, away, Ted. Let him do it if he wants to.
Well, I thought I was joining the Army,
not a circus.
It's time we went. There's
that fire picket.
Do come again next week,
and, don't forget, bring your towels.
- You're not going already, are you?
- They've got to fire-watch.
Now, don't you let the
other boys bully you.
If you want to volunteer for the concert,
you jolly well do.
- Try it again without holding it.
- Right, sir.
Close them.
Now open.
Oh, that's perfect.
Everything all right?
Yes, thank you, sir. We had a lot of trouble
with the curtains, but they're working now.
Old Colonel Walmsley's coming over
and bringing a band,
and he's also going to do some monologues.
He's been very helpful, sir.
Well, the brigadier's coming.
What are our men doing?
Well, Cook Sergeant Trubshaw
is going to do his bird noises, sir.
- Beck in my platoon's going to do something.
- Good.
"It was hot that summer in Kicking Horse,
and the earth was parched and dry."
- Why parched and dry?
- It's parched and dry.
"And the town was full..."
Get on with it, Sid. The
exercise starts tomorrow.
Three days in the open, firing blanks.
Questions ought to be asked
in the 'Ouse about it. Waste of time.
Listen, listen. Look, would you do it like this
just to make the earth seem parched and dry?
"And the earth was parched and dry."
Yes, that's good.
No, it looks absurd.
Make up your minds. I've
got to do it in a minute.
You ought to have thought of that.
Serves you right.
I'll laugh when you forget your words,
with the brass hats there.
I only did it because Mrs Gillingham...
I know, I know. Come on, my lucky lads.
Oh! After you, Mr Barrymore.
Never mind them, son. Carry on.
Black Maguire in town. Coming?
- In a minute.
- Go on, son.
It might be better
if you sing it, Sid.
The first item tonight is a band.
We are lucky to have with
us the six Pollocks,
who have come all the way from Hacklesfield
to entertain us.
The men always like a dance band.
One, two, three.
Gentle pastoral tune
Who are these people?
The Pollocks.
Corporal Langley, Military Police,
with prisoner and escort.
Advance, prisoner and escort.
I wonder why I do not care,
For the things that are
like the things that were.
Does half my heart lie buried there,
down by the Rio Grande?
- All ready, Beck?
- Yes, sir.
- Now, what do I announce?
- The Lynching Of Black Maguire.
Does the applause warrant an encore?
- Well, there's Beck here, sir...
- That's quite all right.
Now, come along, come along.
Yes, that's all right. That's all right.
For an encore, I propose to give you
that well-known dramatic poem,
The Lynching Of Black Maguire.
It was hot that summer...
I'll bet Perry knew this
was going to happen.
The earth was parched and dry.
And the town was full of
the frontier force...
Though nobody seemed to know why.
That was my piece, sir!
- Can you do anything else?
- Nope.
May I have a word with you, sir?
What is it?
Men looked with their eyes,
nor was there a sound...
For looks were as hard as knives.
- If what?
For looks were as hard as knives.
For looks were as hard as knives.
The MPs caught him trying to board the
London train. I've got him outside now, sir.
- I'll see him as soon as this thing's over.
- Very good, sir.
As the sun went down, all there could see,
Against the glowing ball of fire,
hanging from the highest tree,
The body of Black Maguire.
Go on, Parsons.
Well, when we were married,
we didn't think about a war and...
and I got all the furniture
on the hire purchase.
Well, I was called up and with the money not
coming in, we got behind with the payments.
They've been bullying the wife.
Lawyers' letters and people at the door.
Now they're going to
take the furniture away.
She's sick with worry, and with the baby coming
and everything, she doesn't know where to turn.
- So you were off home?
- Yes, sir.
How were you going to deal
with all these lawyers?
Well, they don't do that kind of thing
when there's a man around.
It's just because she's a woman.
I don't think a deserter
would be much help to her.
I don't know what I was going to do, sir.
May I see one of these letters?
Being in the Army has a lot of disadvantages,
but there is one compensation.
You're not alone any more against anyone.
Germans or furniture shops.
- Do they know you're in the Army?
- Well, yes, sir.
Well, I can put your mind at rest
about one thing, Parsons.
This is not from a lawyer. It's a cheap debt
collector's letter dressed up to look frightening.
They can't touch your furniture.
- But it says there, sir...
- It's just a trick.
I only wish you'd seen
me about this before.
Well, I'm sorry, sir. You know how...
No, nothing, sir.
Well, it's rather out of
my hands now, Parsons.
You'll go before the Colonel in the morning. In
the meantime, you'll remain in close arrest.
- What time is Orderly Room?
- Eight, sir. We march the exercise half past.
Right. I'll be there, Parsons.
I'll do what I can for you.
- All right, Sergeant Fletcher.
- Sir.
All right, Parsons, fall in.
Highland Laddie
I think Parsons is well out of this.
I'd rather be here than in the glasshouse.
I wonder why he didn't
tell us about it before.
Whatever it is, we won't recognise him
when he gets out of that place.
Persecuted for a few sticks of furniture.
I reckon they'll give him field punishment.
Having a nice time?
Come down here and I'll tell you!
Ruddy gunners.
I bet they slept in that
lorry the last two nights.
Actually, it's not as comfy as a ditch,
if you put a groundsheet down.
- I slept very well myself.
- Oh, put a sock in it.
Into the left. Keep into the left.
Cor! Look.
Why don't you look where you're going?
And, remember, Perry, everything depends on your
getting that bridge quickly and holding it.
Until you do,
the Company can't get on with its job.
- All right?
- Right, sir.
Section commanders, over here!
Look at this! That's B Company.
Where are they going?
Out of it already, Corporal?
Umpire ruled us dead.
We got caught in the open.
- They had a Bren gun on us.
- Oh, bad luck.
Good luck, I call it.
Now, listen carefully.
Our job is to take the bridge,
which lies just over that hill.
We've got to get there without being seen,
so make the best use of the ground.
And whatever happens, keep your heads down.
Not this way. They'll see us.
Stop the section. I'll go round
here to the right and have a look.
This is too stupid for words.
Think of the other blokes.
They'll be home now.
I am thinking of them. Why should we stay
out here for hours? Why can't we get back?
Easy said, mate.
Easy done, too. We could get killed.
It often happens on battlefields.
- What, killed intentional? That's not fair.
- Shut up.
- This is all right. Tell them to come on.
- Very good, sir.
Best use of ground.
Lloyd, what do we do?
Follow me. When I give
the word, do as I do.
- Watch your front.
- There they are, sir.
Loch Lomond
Won't be long now.
Home sweet home. I wonder what's for tea.
I don't care as long as there's pickles,
then a lovely, long pint of beer.
I'll come with you, mate.
- Look who's here.
- Where did you come from?
Did they give you hell?
- Or haven't you been?
- Yes, I've been.
- What did they do to you?
- Gave me 48 hours.
What to do?
Go to London, get things straightened up.
- There, you see.
- I thought you weren't coming back till tonight.
Oh, we did extra special well,
so they said we needn't stay.
We've Evan to thank for that. He should be
the officer. We'd do all right, eh, boys?
You'd better get your wet things off
instead of talking.
What happened with the Colonel?
Of course, I had the wind up at first,
but Perry was there and spoke for me.
The Colonel chewed me up properly,
but it wasn't too bad.
Perry's fixing up about a War Emergency
Grant for me. Hilda's ever so pleased.
- How did you come to get back?
- Influence.
Well, we're home again, anyway.
Oh, you lovely bed.
I wonder what the others are doing.
Probably still capturing bridges,
covered with mud.
Serves 'em right.
Blimey. Look out. Here he is.
Tea's ready in the cookhouse, sir.
Shall I march them down, sir?
Pity we didn't see it through, sir, eh?
When this regiment was formed,
our country was doing pretty badly.
Napoleon's armies were just across
the Channel, getting ready to invade us.
We'd had defeat after defeat and a great
many people thought we were finished.
We weren't, but not because we were lucky.
When the first battalion of this regiment
marched, it was against Napoleon.
Talavera, 1809. That was the first
battle they made their own.
They marched 42 miles in 24 hours
of a Spanish summer,
and every man jack of
them carried a 60lb pack.
Talavera - it's on your cap badges.
The other battles, too
- Barossa, Sabugal...
At Sabugal, with four companies of riflemen,
they defeated five times Napoleon's troops.
Salamanca, Orthez, Waterloo,
Alma, Sebastopol,
Tel el Kabir, Mons, Ypres, Somme.
Those are battle honours.
You're allowed to wear that badge
with those names on it
to show that you belong
to the regiment that won them,
and that when the time comes,
you'll do as well as they did.
Last year, that badge was in France.
This year, in Libya.
It hasn't been disgraced yet.
Now you're wearing it.
I know what went wrong today.
It so happens that Captain Edwards doesn't.
You needn't worry. I'm
not going to tell him.
He's quite depressed as it is to think that it was
his company that let the whole battalion down.
But I just want to tell you this.
If you ever get near any real fighting -
I don't suppose you'll ever be good enough -
but if you do, you'll find that you're
looking to other men not to let you down.
If you're lucky, you'll have soldiers like Captain
Edwards and Sergeant Fletcher to look to.
If they're lucky, they'll
be with another company.
All right, Sergeant Fletcher,
they can have their tea.
Platoon, 'shun!
All right, get the rest of your stuff off
and fall in outside in five minutes.
What's up?
To hear him talk, you'd
think we'd lost the war.
He'll be as bad as the sergeant now.
Come on, Johnson! Come on!
Mr Perry's miles ahead! Let's catch him up!
One more go
for the day you missed on the exercise.
Was that any better, sir?
- 17. Sergeant Fletcher!
- Sir?
- What was it this time, sir?
- 17.
- That's better than the other platoons, sir.
- Yes.
Hoo! 17 minutes.
That doesn't sound humanly possible.
You didn't do it in 17.
You were right behind.
- So was Bert. Weren't you?
- Just in front of you, though.
Ah, what does it matter? He doesn't
care if we break our perishin' necks.
How much better do we have to be
to get a thank-you out of him?
- I don't blame him.
- What?
- Listen who's talking.
- He's been jolly decent to me.
You weren't there, you twerp, so shut up.
We only did it for a joke, anyway.
You'd think he'd be decent
enough to see that.
- Parsons!
- Sergeant.
Over here.
Well, we've asked for it and we've got it.
For the duration.
Cunning little beggar, sucking up.
- If Bill doesn't come soon, there'll be no tea.
- Good. Serve him right.
I wonder what he was sucking up
to Perry and Fletcher for.
Trying to get some more
leave, I should think.
- So long, boys.
- Cheerio, Marjorie.
- Steady on with that sugar.
- Here are the scones.
Isn't Bill down yet?
I do hope the bath water's still hot.
- How's the leg now, Bert?
- Thank you.
It's rather worse since
I put the iodine on it.
It'll be better later, I expect.
You should see my leg, Mrs Gillingham.
It's got a bruise as big as that plate.
Just put those down there to keep hot, Ted.
It's agony to move it.
I did it on that perishing tree obstacle.
Take it slower if you can't do
it without hurting yourself.
I didn't notice you taking it slower. You were
so busy trying to impress our loving officer.
- Look here!
- Shut up, both of you.
Boys, boys!
I don't know what's come over you lately.
- Well...
- Now, stop quarrelling and eat your scones.
You ought to be ashamed of yourselves.
Ah, here's Bill. Now, he's not grumpy.
- Sorry I've been so long.
- That's all right.
Ted, give Bill a scone.
Oh, do have a scone, Lord Fauntleroy.
Oh, I wonder who that can be.
Sure you wouldn't rather sit here, Bill?
It's more comfy.
Thanks, Geoff. Very nice of you.
Oh, it's another soldier.
- It's Fletcher.
- What?
He asked me about baths at the camp.
So that's what it was.
- And you told him about this place?
- Yes.
You... BF, you.
- Mrs Gillingham?
- Yes.
I heard you were kind enough to let
people have baths, and I wondered if...
Oh, yes. Do come in.
It's no trouble at all.
I know how difficult it is
for you boys at the camp.
Perhaps you'd like some tea
while the water heats up.
Oh, thank you very much.
- Er... What's your name?
- Perry.
This is Perry, boys.
Oh, we have met.
You know each other. That's splendid.
I hope you haven't got the same dreadful
officer these poor lads have got.
Same one.
Well, not really dreadful.
- I suppose you find it very trying, too.
- Yes.
I'll pop down and tune up the boiler again.
It's no trouble.
Oh, dear.
He doesn't really understand it very well.
- Sugar?
- Please.
I...I think perhaps I'd better go down
and see what he's doing.
Charming woman, Mrs Gillingham, sir.
Yes, she seems very nice.
Aye. She... She lets us have
baths here every week, sir.
Oh, you're lucky. No thanks, I've got some.
Any truth in the rumour, sir,
that the sergeant major's got bronchitis?
Just lost his voice on parade, I think.
- Shouting, sir?
- Just giving orders, Stainer.
Yes, sir.
- Will you have a cake, sir?
- Oh, thank you.
You shouldn't have bothered, Ted.
- Here, Mrs G?
- Yes?
You know that officer we was talking about?
- Who, the horror?
- That's him.
- Oh, what did I say?
- I know.
Oh, my goodness!
I wonder what I'd better do now.
Well, it'll take at least a half an hour
for this to heat up.
- I wonder if we could tell him that...
- That it's going out?
I'm sure the lads would
appreciate it, Mrs G.
Oh, I don't quite like to do that.
Well, you see, it's very awkward.
Him and us don't get on well together.
- Still...
- This'll go out in any case. You see this?
- It don't work.
- No.
I always do... this.
Yes, well, of course you can do that.
Well, of course, if you don't get on together,
perhaps it would be better if he went.
- I'll tell him.
- Thanks, Mrs G.
The thing I never discovered was
who did lynch Black Maguire.
- Well, sir, I was just going to explain.
- Oh, it was suicide.
It was not suicide, sir.
The whole poem is really based on fact.
Actually, a lot of people believe
that Black Maguire was never lynched.
Mr Perry, the water will
be hot in a few minutes.
Oh, thank you.
Well, the next time we have a concert, sir,
I expect Luke could play us the bagpipes.
Certainly. If they'd like it.
As long as he doesn't
practise in the barracks.
- It's a bit near the company office.
I used to study jazz, sir.
If there is another concert, I could
probably do some hot drumming or crooning.
Spare us that.
- What are you doing in the next concert, Ted?
- Concert? Who, me?
Oh, I couldn't do nothing, sir.
We wouldn't want a shambles like last time.
There must be something you can do.
Well, I might... tell a few of my stories.
I don't think the brigadier
would like that.
Maybe he wouldn't like 'em in public, sir, but
if I could get him alone, he'd be delighted.
I don't know. I tried that once.
Captain Edwards seems quite pleased
with the platoon.
- What, with us, sir?
- Apparently, we've improved a lot.
How do we compare with the others, sir?
Oh, they've been at it a good deal longer
than we have.
- Well, we can do anything they can do, sir.
- Yes!
I'll hold you to that.
By the way, I heard something
else that might interest you.
Leave starts next week.
What, for all of us, sir?
Here, sir?
Have you heard that one about the old man
with the long white beard in the nudist camp?
This is Crewe. Crewe Station.
Passengers for Liverpool, Shrewsbury...
..and Hacklesfield should change here.
Come on, London train.
- What will you do when you get home?
- Put slippers on.
- What after that, Ted?
- Send the kids off to the pictures.
- Hello.
- Good afternoon, sir.
- Have a good leave.
- Thank you, sir.
Two whiskies.
Are those the awful men
you wrote to me about?
No, that's another lot. Quite different.
- So that's his missus, eh? A nice bit of stuff.
- Turn it up, will you?
- Porter, Cardiff?
- 10.43. This platform.
- What's happened to the old 10.31?
- Took it off.
Go on! Lovely service, that was.
- Is the Glasgow train over the bridge?
- Yes.
Is that us?
- Certainly is.
- Kensal Rise, here I come!
- Come on, Ted. Ta-ta, Geoff. Ta-ta, Luke!
- See you down there, eh?
Home sweet 'ome.
Workers' Playtime!
- Turn it off.
- I want it on.
- Turn it off, I say.
- No!
- Turn it off!
- Ted!
She's your daughter.
She's got a mind of her own, too.
All right. Turn it up a bit louder.
- I suppose the Army's still all potato-peeling.
- No.
You should have joined the Welsh Guards.
They sing beautifully.
Light Infantry move faster, Mrs Daniels.
- What's this on your cap?
- Badge.
I know that, Evan, I'm not daft.
But what does it say? Tala...
There you are. Talavera
was a battle we fought.
- Did you win it?
- Of course. Those are battle honours.
Look at the rest - Busaco,
Barossa, Sabugal.
- You can't fight any war without infantry.
- Infantry stuff's as old as the hills.
Air power, tanks - they're the new weapons.
Engines of war.
The only engine the infantryman has
is his body, which has limitations.
I don't agree.
- What I mean is...
- Listen, Sam.
An infantryman is one of the most
highly-skilled technical men in the Army.
He has to be a mechanic, a gunner, an explosives
expert and an athlete, to begin with.
He has a greater variety of weapons
than all the rest of the Army put together.
Then he has to be trained in not just
one sort of tactics, but in every sort.
Street fighting, tank hunting,
wood clearing, and all the rest.
That's what we're going
onto when I get back.
Has the quality deteriorated, Mr Thyrtle?
Not really, Mr Davenport. It's old stock.
Of course, those cupid birdbaths that used to
be two guineas, they come out at 4.10.0 now.
Purchase tax, of course.
If I were the public, Thyrtle,
I'd do without a birdbath.
- That's what it does.
- It does?
But the public must be made to buy.
Has the war completely
deprived us of initiative?
Yes, madam. What can we show you?
What happened to Betty and Joyce, then?
Betty's in munitions, Joyce is in the ATS.
Got her commission.
Should've thought you'd
have got yours by now.
Oh, they tried to get me to take one.
I didn't want it.
No stripes, no pips, no responsibility.
Just a nice easy life with the boys.
Ssh, Tracy!
Mummy, there's an enormous stickleback.
- She is sweet.
- It's been such fun, Jim.
Back tomorrow.
I wonder how much longer it'll last.
Stands to reason, Rommel or no Rommel.
Attack Italy. That's what I say.
Only, let the Dogs do it.
Leave it to the Guards, or the Greencoats,
or the Skirts, or the Umbrella Danglers,
and it ain't worth doing.
But put the old Duke of Glendon's
Light Infantry...
I daresay, I daresay.
But the reason why we won't do it, is because
Rommel's going to be in Cairo by Christmas.
In any case, Hitler intends to synchronise his
Egypt push with a blitzkrieg on Gibraltar.
He'll have to do more than that, eh, Dicky?
It's all very well for you to laugh.
You'll see.
This time next year, we'll have
our back to the wall, and who's to blame?
The people at the top, what are they doing?
Sitting back and doing nothing.
Absolutely nothing.
If you were the only girl in the world
And I were the only boy
Nothing else would
matter in the world today
We would go on loving in the same old way
A Garden of Eden just made for two
With nothing to mar our joy
I would say such wonderful things to you
There would be such
wonderful things to do
If you were the only girl in the world
And I were the only boy
Are we all here?
- Come on, Macready.
- Sorry, sir.
Well, I've called this meeting
because I've got some news for you.
The information I have is security,
so I know I can depend on you
to keep your mouths shut about it.
- Is that understood?
- Yes, sir.
I don't know very much about it myself,
but we're going abroad.
The circumstances are rather unusual,
because, for security reasons,
we're not getting ordinary
embarkation leave. Instead...
- Are they still there, Sergeant Major?
- I don't know.
It would be something
if we got our marching orders.
The lads need it. They're fully trained
and fighting fit. They want action.
I don't blame 'em.
The papers may have forgotten
Greece and Crete, but I haven't.
- What do you say?
- Yes, I reckon you've earned it all right.
- Well, so have you.
- I'm getting on, Ned.
Mobile war's a young man's job.
Office work's more in my line nowadays.
I can see it in the old man's eye.
- Ah, you're kidding. Office work, you?
- Well, I've got plenty of it, ain't I?
- Good evening.
- Good evening, sir.
- Hello. I thought you'd be in the mess.
- No, sir. Just clearing up one or two things.
Well, the Colonel's given
us some good news.
Oh, yes, sir? What er...
sort of good news, sir?
We're going on a two months' course,
towards the end of October.
- What er... kind of course, sir?
- Something new.
- Must be. We've done nearly everything now.
- It's important. Leave's been put forward.
I see, sir.
Everybody has to have their seven days
by the end of September.
Very well, sir. I'll see the sergeant major
in the morning about the leave roster.
- Sergeant Fletcher?
- Yes, sir?
When you tell the men...
don't tell them what you're thinking.
- No, sir. Good night, sir.
- Good night.
And I was the only boy
- Nothing like a good old sing-song.
- Horrible noise coming from somewhere.
- I think it was Fletcher's lovely voice.
- It's this lot, harmonising.
- I used to sing in a choir till my voice broke.
- Aw, then they called you up.
- Just a moment.
- Ten minutes till lights out, Sergeant.
All right, I haven't said a word, have I?
Now, listen. I've got
some good news for you.
In October, we're all going off on a
special course of two months' training.
And I should say... it's
going to be very tiring.
So the CO has brought all
leave forward a bit.
That's something, anyway.
Well, I thought you'd like to know,
so that you can write home and so forth.
That's all.
The new leave list will be out tomorrow.
Good night.
Good night, sarge.
- We get our leave early, anyway.
- And the next later, don't forget.
I wonder what it is.
We've done everything twice already.
Well, I can tell you what it is.
They've got no real fighting for us to do.
So somebody says,
"What shall we do with the 9th Dogs?"
Somebody else says, "Why not give them a bit
of training? That always keeps them quiet."
Still, leave won't be so bad, will it?
I read in the paper the other day that we're
not going to open a second front till 1947.
If we don't get some action soon,
I want my cards back.
Perhaps we're going to be paratroops.
I'd like to see a battalion of motorised
infantry dropped by parachute.
- Who's room orderly tomorrow?
- I am.
Better clean out the inside of that stove.
It's full of fag ends.
I wonder why the sergeant was so pleased
with himself.
He wants to get home to his wife.
Yes, I suppose that's it.
She has my sympathy.
Fancy seven whole days with him by numbers.
It's a funny thing, but there was a time
when I couldn't imagine him having a wife.
Pity seven days is so short, eh?
- Goodbye, dear.
- Goodbye, Bill. You'll be back soon.
That's right, Hilda.
- Hello, Ted.
- Aye, aye.
- Hello, Bert. Have a nice leave?
- Yes. Fine, thanks.
It's very nice of you
to come and see me off, Thyrtle.
Pleasure, Davenport.
Pleased to have seen you again.
Take your seats on the 10.40.
- Hello, Luke. Have a good leave?
- Oh, grand, Sergeant, thanks.
- Will I take your coat?
- Thanks.
- Well, goodbye, dear.
- Bye-bye.
Funny sort of war, isn't it?
Here one minute and gone the next.
That's right. Is that Mr Perry over there?
- Yes.
- Looks all right.
Good as a regular... almost.
Goodbye, dear.
It's funny how much of our lives
we seem to spend on platforms.
Yes, the amount of times we've said goodbye
on this one in the last three years...
I wonder what we'll look like in 1970.
Darling, don't wait.
if you should ever go away
without saying goodbye to me...
..I'd never forgive you, you know.
- You'd better get in, Geoff. We're due out.
- OK, Sid.
Now, don't forget. Any special thing
you want... It's your birthday soon.
- I'll let you know, Dad.
- Bless you, son. Take care of yourself.
I will.
I won't wait.
Goodbye, darling. See you soon.
Don't be too easy with Phyllis.
- Goodbye. Take care of yourself.
- I will. See you in a fortnight's time.
- Goodbye, dear.
- Goodbye.
- God bless you, dear.
- God bless.
Blinds down!
She won't half be wild.
"See you in a fortnight," I said.
Don't worry, Ted.
We're going abroad to a nice warm climate.
I can taste the bananas already.
- Hello, sir.
- Hello.
- Any idea where it is we're going?
- The rumour's Burma.
- Jungle fighting.
- They say it takes a year to learn it.
Oh, not our platoon, sir.
Perhaps we're going for
a trip round the world.
I don't care where we're going. I'm ready
for anywhere, except maybe Iceland.
- We wouldn't go there with all this transport.
- They've made mistakes before now.
Not that way. Put the ring over the hook.
I wonder where we are going.
Ssh! Listen.
We're moving.
One, two!
One, two!
Deep! Get that lovely
fresh air in your lungs!
Come on, Mr Perry. I can see you.
Come on, sir. Come on.
Steady! Break off!
It's going round the ship
that we passed Gibraltar during the night.
- Is there any truth...?
- I have no idea.
- I think I saw the outline of the Rock, sir.
- It was the shadow of that ship out there.
I haven't heard anything.
When I do, I'll pass it on to you.
Where do you think we are, Beck?
Oh, I should say one...
no er... two days from the Cape, sir.
All right, sit down.
Well, we've just had some very good news.
Major Edwards is telling the rest of the
Company and I'm passing it on to you.
The 8th Army have just won a big victory at
El Alamein and Rommel is in full retreat.
Whoa! You haven't heard half of it yet.
Now, we, in this convoy, are part of a big
invasion force, American as well as British,
that is going to French North Africa
to remove the enemy from there
and then cut Rommel's only line of retreat.
We land about 40 hours from now.
I can't quite tell you where yet,
but I can tell you this.
This is the first step
in the great offensive
that's going to make Hitler and Mussolini
put up the shutters and go out of business.
Now, in the past,
we've all had our ups and downs,
and many of us have been pretty fed up
at times.
Not people like Brewer and Davenport,
of course.
However, that's all behind us now,
and it looks as though all this training we did
is going to come in pretty handy after all.
Now, I'll just give you what details I can.
Now, if we land at Phillipville,
there's a three-star hotel there
with an American bar
which would doubtless have beer in stock.
Those who prefer more exotic beverages
will find your curiosity amply satisfied
at the mysterious bazaars and coffeehouses
of the kasbah, or Muslim Quarter.
They ought to make you a corporal for that.
We did a brochure on Algeria in '38. Of course,
it's not the kind of beer we're used to.
He only started to drink ginger beer
before we left home.
I can't see us having much time for beer.
No, action, eh? With all this equipment.
Yes, I shan't be sorry
when we get going with it.
We won't half have something
to write home about now, eh?
Jerries are round again.
- What's that noise, mate? Guns?
- No, depth charges.
I shouldn't let anyone
catch you smoking in here, if I were you.
- Good evening, sir.
- Good evening.
- Good evening, sir.
- Brewer.
- I'll be glad when...
Stand still!
Now, walk to your boat stations.
Do that up, Luke. Rifle, Sidley.
Fletcher, go to the boat station.
No-one is to go near a
boat till they're told to.
- All right here?
- What was it? Torpedo?
Yes, on the port side.
Fire started in No.4 hold, sir.
Get that hose along! And
tell the engineers!
Clear that gear away from the bridge!
- Hodges?
- Sir!
- Woodward?
- Sergeant!
- Livingstone?
- Sir.
Call the roll.
- Stewart?
- Sir.
- Jackson?
- Sir.
- Peters?
- Sergeant.
Get that hose over here!
That hose! Look out!
- Are you all right over there?
- OK!
Mr Mate!
Yes. What is it?
The cargo's shifting!
Can I have some more hands below?
- You fellows there, come with me.
- Leave your rifles here. Follow me.
Yes. What is it?
Starting on the upper twin deck.
Fire on the upper twin deck, sir.
Get below.
Keep the magazine cool with the hoses.
You, you three, go with him.
The rest of you, lose as much weight as
possible from this side of the ship.
- Start with this transport.
- Over the side with these trucks!
Unship those rails!
- Can't we get that stuff out of the magazine?
- 200 tons of it.
Come on, get a bloody move on!
- All our new stuff, eh, sir?
- I know.
Right, brake off!
Take this rope! Make it fast there!
Make it snappy!
Chuck that sling over them rails! Look out!
Chuck that rope round the back of it!
Now put a chock in front of that carrier.
Get another hose on that magazine!
That magazine'll save us
the trouble in a minute!
- Hold it! Hold it!
- She's going! She's going!
12 feet of water in No.4!
No.5 bulkhead's bulging!
Brake off!
Bosun! How's it going? What's the position?
- I can't hold it any longer.
- Right, I'll tell the skipper.
The fire's out of control down there!
We can't hold it any longer!
Right! Destroyer coming alongside!
Abandon ship!
Abandon ship! Destroyer on starboard side!
Other side! Abandon ship!
That soldier there!
Destroyer calling trooper,
am coming alongside.
Get your men down as fast as you can.
Look out for my heaving lines.
Let down your nets.
I'm sending some men aboard to help you.
Come on down, mate.
Want to have a look at the bonfire?
Don't look down, Bert.
Keep clear of the nets.
Take it easy, men. Don't rush. Don't rush.
Get that rope!
Round the wheel!
How many more men are there?
Time we were leaving.
Come on, sir, it's time we were away.
Get your nets adrift. Get down, men.
Keep your heads down.
She may go any minute.
I knew we needn't have bothered
with them carriers.
She might have gone up sooner if we hadn't.
A nice lot of transport, that.
The best we've had.
- All right here, boys?
- Yes, thank you, sir.
How's the sergeant?
The doctor says he'll be all
right in a week. He was lucky.
What happened to your hand, Stainer?
A burn?
It's just a graze, sir. It's nothing.
- Take care of it. Have you got a dressing?
- Yes, sir.
I expect the Colonel will be pretty disappointed
when he finds himself with only half a battalion.
They can't start without us, though,
can they, sir?
In this ship, we'll get there before them.
Yes, that's right.
I'm sorry, boys. I'm
afraid we're out of it.
We're being taken back to Gibraltar.
The Hampshire Regiment,
the Lincolnshire Regiment
and units of the Guards.
I don't know.
They seem to have forgotten all about us,
they do.
No wonder they've made
no progress in Tunisia.
There's not a sign of the Dogs anywhere.
Not since Crete.
Too many Guardsmen up the top,
that's the trouble.
Still, the 8th Army ain't doing so bad.
If the government only kept its eyes open
and put the Dogs in when there was trouble,
the war'd be over by now.
It ain't the government's fault, Bobby.
That's who I blame.
The government, the men at the top.
I wonder what they have done with the Dogs.
What does your husband say, Mrs Brewer?
He says things are still very dull.
Well, they all say that, don't they?
I don't care how dull it
is as long as he's safe.
They're glad they've left the Rock.
Of course, he couldn't say Gibraltar
because of the censor, but I know.
They must be either in Algeria or Tunisia,
mustn't they?
If only we knew.
- Perhaps it's better we don't know.
- Mm.
Ted says there's a stripe
going, and old Perry...
He says your husband's
certain to give it to him.
You've no more recent news than that,
have you?
Bill says something about a stripe, too.
He says he has a sporting chance.
- I wonder whether you...
- I'm afraid I don't know.
All Jim writes about are the flies.
Where the hell are we?
- You're driving.
- What a dump.
Not even a flick house with an army picture.
I'd hate to be an Arab in peacetime.
How about them harems?
I haven't seen any yet. Nothing but flies.
Talk about "the mysterious East".
I reckon Lyons Corner House, Coventry Street's,
got more mystery than what this has.
This isn't strictly speaking the East.
What is it, then?
You could call it the Middle East,
or the Near East, at a pinch.
Heaven preserve us from the Far East,
that's what I say.
Perry! That's your area over there.
By Rispoli's cafe.
Right, sir.
You come with me.
Good afternoon.
Beck, tell him that this
is the platoon area,
and we hope he'll cooperate with us
while we're here.
Monsieur le Lieutenant dit qu'ici est le
centre de l'Arrondissement de notre platoon
et qu'il invite votre coopration
pendant notre sjour.
- Ah, oui!
- He laughs at the idea, sir.
Tell him we're going to kick the Germans
out of his country. Maybe he'll like that.
Monsieur le Lieutenant dit que nous voulons
vous dsemparer des boches.
- Et srement vous voulez la mme chose.
- Je veux qu'on me fiche la paix.
Says he's a pacifist, sir.
Monsieur, il y a des batailles qui se droulent
dans le nord et dans le sud et dans l'est.
Ici, il n'y a rien. Allez l-bas
dans les grandes villes, Sutre.
Je n'ai pas le droit de vous permettre
de rester ici.
Dites-lui, s'il veut des batailles,
que je peux lui donner des renseignements.
He says to tell you, sir, that the fighting's in the
north, in the south, in the east, but not here.
He's telling us.
And that he cherishes the
peace in these parts.
He invites us to go to Sutre,
where there are many Germans.
He says that Sutre's a bigger place than
this. That is a fact, incidentally, sir.
If you wish, he can give
us an address or two.
That's very cosy of him. Our orders
are to stay here, and here we stay.
- Monsieur...
- Je dteste les soldats!
Je dteste le bruit! Allez vous-en!
He's not very fond of
noise, sir, or of troops.
Repeats that he's a pacifist
and invites us to go.
Allez, filez!
- He says...
- I've got it. Sergeant Fletcher, we'll move in.
Very good, sir.
Rock, nothing but rock.
Fancy having to farm
this stuff, poor devils.
- Well, it ain't exactly a picnic for us.
- Aye, but we haven't got to live here.
Why should the enemy
want to take this place?
No such luck. We won't
even see him from here.
Now who's worrying?
It couldn't be you, could it, Brewer?
No, sir, it's Luke here.
He's worrying about how the farmers get on.
Let's hope we won't be here long enough
to find out.
- Are we moving, sir?
- Not yet. That's what I'm here to tell you.
- All here, Fletcher?
- Just coming, sir.
At the double, there! Hurry up!
Are we going to have an ENSA concert, sir?
No, I think the concert parties
are a little further forward.
- All here, Fletcher?
- Yes, sir.
I'll give you the full details later,
but the form is roughly this.
Our battalion's in reserve
in these villages here,
and a long way out in front,
our troops are in contact with the enemy.
You may see the German
Verey lights at night.
Well, we're still a long way from them,
but there's no reason why
we shouldn't keep on our toes, is there?
Cheer up, Davenport. What's that?
Some sort of tortoise, sir.
There's a lot of them.
Some of the men keep them as pets.
I'm glad somebody in the place is friendly.
Now, this cafe.
The man there doesn't seem to like us much.
He may improve with care,
so try not to break the place up,
and be on your best behaviour, right?
- Right, sir.
- Very good, sir.
Nice, friendly country, this.
Look at him. What's up?
He hasn't read the Beveridge Report,
that's what's wrong.
I haven't read it myself, come to that.
He wanted us to leave him alone,
fight somewhere else.
- I don't blame him. I don't blame us, either.
- Here.
What about this? Couldn't we have a game?
Go on, Sid, ask him.
Ahem! Er... Monsieur le patron!
Est-ce que vous serez trs incommod
si nous jouons un peu de darts?
Vous avez de l'objection?
Go on, put it up and play.
Come on, Beck. It's time
to go and get orders.
Och, come on.
Cor! Look at that!
Verey lights.
I wonder if they're ours.
Pretty near, too.
Kind of creepy, isn't it?
Come on.
Nothing like it.
Well done. 39.
Ah, well, it's been a nice game, boys.
We'll court the audience.
Er... 21.
- How do we stand, Bert?
- You're 19 down.
- Hey, what's the idea?
- Go on, let him have a go.
- Let him break up the game?
- It doesn't matter. Let him have a go.
Look, he's taking cover.
Thinks it's a spear.
Very good! Very good!
Sacr crtin!
Tu veux voir ma maison en ruines?
Idiot, espce d'andouille... Un grand trou.
- Well played, sir!
- Beautifully played!
- Why can't you play like that?
- Beginner's luck.
Vous voyez, il n'est pas ncessaire
de dsacrer les maisons d'autres.
Allez, filez, filez!
C'est trs dsagrable!
Et vous, vous vous conduisez comme a devant
les Anglais... Une honte! C'est terrible, a!
- Come on, George! Come on!
- You can do it easily. That's the stuff.
Not bad, eh?
Here, now what you want is double two.
- Two, two.
- Two, two.
- Good job!
- Oh, beautiful, eh?
What about beginner's luck?
He's played like this for three weeks.
All right, all right.
- What's the lecture today, sarge?
- Aircraft recognition.
..has been as fine
as anywhere in England.
Yes, it's been a good year all round
in Berkshire.
The potatoes and sugar beet
look like coming on nicely.
And other crops are also satisfactory.
Of course, Michaelmas has been considered for
ages the termination of the farmers' year.
But things have altered.
Thousands of boys and girls on holiday from
school have been helping in the fields,
and working like Trojans
in the harvest camps.
It warms a farmer's heart
to see a thing like I saw last week
in the village of Redshaw-by-Farrow.
A little girl,
she couldn't have been older than five...
Switch it off. Platoon, 'shun!
All right, sit down. Smoke if you want to.
I had hoped that we would have seen
rather more enemy aircraft round here,
so you could have kept up with your aircraft
recognition without using these models.
However, all we have seen is a couple of
dreary-looking reconnaissance planes,
so we'll run through the German types,
to make sure you haven't forgotten them.
We'll start off with a few questions.
What's this one? Davenport?
- Messerschmitt 109F, sir.
- That's right.
This one? Luke?
- Stuka, sir.
- That's right.
- Brewer?
- Focke-Wulf 190, sir.
- Stainer?
- Lysander, sir.
Parsons, what's the difference between
a Lysander and a Henschel 126?
The wings of the Henschel are swept back,
and on the Lizzy
they look as if they're swept forward.
- Steiner, have you got that machine of yours?
- Yes, sir.
Well, play it. And the rest of
you, for heaven's sake, sing.
Lily Of Laguna
..lady love
She's no gal for sitting down to dream
She's the only queen Laguna knows
I know she likes me
I know she likes me
Because she says so
She is my lily of Laguna
She is my lily and my rose
She's my lady love
She is my dove, my baby love
She's no gal for sitting down to dream
She's the only queen Laguna knows
I know she likes me
I know she likes me
Because she says so
She is my lily of Laguna
She is my lily and my rose
I wonder what's up.
One hour's notice and then stand-to.
Look at it now.
I suppose that's what the
papers call an inferno.
How many magazines have you got?
The Jerries have attacked
and broken through up forward.
- All right here?
- Yes, sir.
- Lummy, I could do with a fag.
- Ssh!
I say, Corporal?
Quiet, Beck.
Thank you.
Watch your front!
Watch your front!
Listen. What's that?
- Sergeant Fletcher?
- Sir?
Do you hear that?
I'll go over and have a
look at that section.
Here they come.
Section! Enemy in front!
Come on, come on.
- Your men all right?
- Yes, fine, sir.
Good. Listen.
They've broken through behind B Company
and we've been ordered back to the village.
- Maria, aux caves!
- Mais...
C'est un ordre!
a y est! a y est! Au secours!
At the double! Davenport, Luke, over here!
- Where the hell is it? Can you see it?
- No, sir.
Let's try down below.
I think I've spotted it!
- Where?
- There! Firing from behind that wall.
Follow me, Beck.
Brewer, come on.
Come on, Fletcher! Luke! This way!
Fletcher, see that six-pounder across the
street? I'm going to try and get it working.
Luke and Brewer will come with me as cover.
- I want you too, Beck. You take over.
- Very good, sir.
- Now, across the street... and run like hell.
- Good luck, chaps.
See that Vickers? Take it into
Rispoli's and cover us from there.
If we keep their heads down on that hill
it will be all right. Go on.
- Venez donc!
- Non, laissez-moi!
Now, Beck.
What's the matter with it, Luke?
Dry. Bone dry.
And ruddy hot!
Pass auf! Pass auf!
Come on!
- Look who's here.
- Attendez! Attendez!
- a va aller.
- Here.
Right, Beck.
That's the last one, sir.
One of them gone, anyway.
- Are you both all right?
- Right, sir!
Well, come on back with me, quick!
- Check the ammunition, Lloyd.
- Yes, sir.
- What have you got, Geoff?
- Four magazines and a bit.
- Luke, how much ammo?
- About 25 rounds.
- Ted?
- About 20.
- Davenport?
- Only about ten.
- Beck?
- About 20.
Four magazines
and about 20 rounds a man, sir.
Right, well, go easy on it.
Something happening over there!
They've surrendered! Gosh, I didn't
think it would be as easy as that.
It may be a trick.
If you resist us more,
you will be destroyed completely!
If you lay down your arms,
we promise you good treatment and food!
Who the hell does he think he's talking to?
- Yeah, that's right.
- What a nerve!
I await your immediate reply!
I'd like to take a pot at him.
Beck, tell him in German to go to hell.
Can you hear me?
Yes! Your answer, quick!
Wollen Sie so gut sein in Dei...
In Dei...
Sorry, sir, I've forgotten the German for
hell. I've never had to use it much.
He knows English.
Go to hell!
- Everybody OK?
- Yes, thank you, sir.
Feeling a bit hungry, sir.
Breakfast may be a little
late this morning.
All right, Brewer? Plenty to grumble about?
- Yes, thank you, sir.
- Good.
Jimmy, this is what we're going to do.
- Is that clear?
- Right.
Lloyd! Lloyd, we're going in!
Start from here when the smoke comes down!
- Did you get that?
- Yes, sir.
I'll go and see the other sections.
Here it is.
I'm sorry I forgot the
German for hell, sir.
It's Hlle.
That's all right, Beck.
Come on, lads.
Once more for the day
you missed on the exercise.
Military March