Raiders in the Sky (1953) - full transcript

Wing Commander Tim Mason (Sir Dirk Bogarde) leads a squadron of Lancaster bombers on almost nightly raids from England. Having flown eighty-seven missions, he will shortly be retiring from flying, but the strain is showing. He tries to make sure his men concentrate only on their job, and so keeps women away from the base, but then he meets Naval Officer Eve Canyon (Dinah Sheridan).

That was wing commander Mason in V-Victor.

Took off 23:30.

B-Baker. - B-Baker coming up now.

B-Baker away, 23:32.

B-Baker, flight lieutenant Brown,

airborne at 23:32.

That's the third one now.


Pilot officer Greeno airborne in S-Sugar,

23:33, Roger.

Give me the operations room, please.

Operations here.

Hi, Toby.

All three airborne, 23:33. Right.

Oh, Toby, have you got the answer
to 17 across?

- No?
- Group operations, please.

Well, you've got seven hours
to think about it

- before they get back. Right.
- 9-2 base here.

Hello. Operations here.

Yes. Observer corps?

Three of them?

Yes, yes. They're ours.

Thank you. Thank you very much.

Hello, control?

Our three lancasters have
been sighted coming in over the coast.

North of Lowestoft.
- North of Lowestoft.

Yes, isn't it good?

Good bye.

Make that 05:41 hours, Bridges.

Very good, sir.

Oh, Sandy, the leader's
just sent out the codeword. Buster.

Buster? Successful.

- Intelligence, please. Are you scrambled?
- Group captain Logan, please.

Morning, Tim. Success, I hear?

Yes, sir, I think so. As far as I can see,
we got it all right.

Had a bit of a trouble with a fighter.
Got the rear gunner.

I'll go and have a look at him.

Hey, that was a pretty ropey landing, brat.

Why don't you learn to fly that thing?

Quiet, bushwhacker!

Have you got a fag, Ackroyd?

Scrounging again, sir?

- Well?
- It's a bad one, sir.

I'll let you know when I've got him to bed.

Hello, sir.

Thanks, Mac.

My new rear gunner's, sir.
Took over when Anderson got hit.

Well done, Baker.
How do you like it?

I prefer the cockpit of a b-17, sir.

Got a fighter, ju-88,
been tailing us for hours.

Oh, I don't know.
Everybody had a shot at it.

That's right, Mac.
I don't think you got him.

Is that right?

- Good morning, sir.
- Morning, flight.

You collected a packet there, all right.

- Where did that come from?
- Port Rudder, sir.

All the controls are sheared on that side.

I saw his cannon shells going by, sir.

I didn't realise he actually hit us.

Close thing, Tim.

- Flight sergeant.
- Sir.

Well, it's a nice clean flesh wound, sir.

I think he'll do.
Keep him flat on his back for a few days.

I really came to see Mason.

At group they think he's done
too much flying. How is he?

Oh, he's all right, sir.
I've been watching him.

He doesn't sleep well.
He's highly strung.

But he's set his mind
on finishing this tour of ops.

- What's the group captain think?
- He'd hate to lose him.

Mason's the best wing co
we've have on this station.


I'd better go and see him, all the same.

He should be in his office, sir.

Hello, Smithy. - Morning, sir.

He's expecting you.

Hello, doc.

Just waiting for the news to come through.

I hear it all went very well.


How's my rear gunner?

I've just had a look at him.
He'll mend all right, Tim.


Buchanan tells me
you've not been sleeping too well.

That doesn't mean anything.

It's my job to keep awake at night.

You didn't come all the way
from group to tell me that now, did you?

How many trips have you done now, Tim?

As if you didn't know.

87. That's too many.

It's time you stopped flying.
- I'll stop when I said I would.

When I've done 90.

Do you know how many crews on an average

get through 30 trips in bomber command?

I have no idea. It's part of my job to
keep the casualties down in the squadron.

Only four crews in ten.

You've done 87.

Last night wasn't so funny from what I hear.

Why don't you pack it up now?



Thank you very much, sir.

Yes, I'll tell him right away.

About five minutes.


They've got the pictures
and we've wrecked the place.


Oh, come on, doc. 90.

Then I'll do anything you like.

Tim, you're an idiot.

All right.

But I'm going to keep my eye on you.

Smithy, get hold of Bill Brown
and the brat.

Report to the co's office immediately.

All right, sir.

Goodbye, doc.

Got a call for you, sir.

Thank you.

Hello. Major Baker speaking.

This is general Wannerberg.

I've just had a report in about you.

Now, listen, major,

your job here is liaison
with the British air force.

You are not assigned to fly
around Germany nights.

I know, sir, but I thought as this
was a special mission I might-...

That was none of your business.

You've had all your flying missions.

From now on you sit behind a desk.
Is that clear?

- Yes, sir.
- Then see to it that you're strictly

non-operational, Baker. Okay?

Yes, sir. Thank you, sir.

Hi, Mac. - Hi, Mac.

- Where are you guys going?
- Co sent for us.

I'll wait for you in the bar,
with a poultice.


Come in.

Have you anything to say first?

Well, this time what you've been up to
seems to have gone further than usual.

As far as the air ministry.

Have you anything to say?

Well... - No, sir.

Flight lieutenant W. Brown,
pilot officer P.D. Greeno,

I have been requested to inform you...

You two chaps have got the dfc.

Immediate awards.

The signal was originated
at 11:47 hours this morning.

Very well done, both of you.
- Thank you, sir.

Thank you, sir.

How about the skipper, sir?

Bar to his dso.

So you've all been taken care of.

Going up to group this afternoon
to see the photographs.

- We'd better meet in the mess.
- 12 o'clock.

I'll run you down
to Dobbie's pub aftennards.

- Sounds like a bit of a party, sir.
- Could be.

They've even given me
the date of your investiture.

Buckingham Palace,
exactly a month from today.

That'll mean two days leave
for both of you.

- You'll have to fit yours in, Tim.
- Yes, sir.

Well, that's the appointment.

London in a month's time.

All right, chaps.

Thank you, sir.

Hello? What's this?

Looks like she might need some help.

No, you're too young,
I think I'd better deal with this.


Anything wrong?
- Well, it just stopped.

Better have a look at it.

- You all right for petrol?
- Yes, there's plenty of petrol.

I'll check the ignition.

The lead's loose for a start.

Nice looking car.

When it goes.

Comfortable too, I'll bet.

It's all right.

He really knows more about scooters.

There you are. All ready.
- Thank you very much.

Not at all.
I wish it had taken longer.

Perhaps I can do better next time.

Yes, and with fewer people looking on.

Get back on board, skipper,
I'll meet you down at the pub.

Oh, I think I'd better drive her
in case the motor stops again.

You're a fast worker.

Will you join us? - Thank you.

- Good morning, Dobbie.
- Morning, sir.

Hiya, Dobbie. - Morning, all.

- Good morning, madam.
- Good morning.

Well, now to introduce ourselves.

My name's Logan,

this is flight lieutenant Brown
from Australia,

flight officer Greeno
from nowhere in particular,

and wing commander Mason.

And Mac over there has probably
already given you a false name.

My name's Canyon, Eve Canyon.

I'm very grateful to you all.

Well, this is a celebration, Dobbie.

Five bitters. And, miss Canyon...?

- Er, Mrs..
- Mrs..

Cider, I think, please.

- Cider, Dobbie.
- Right, sir.

Dobbie, here's a piece of tin
for your collection.

My word, what's this? Something special?

A piece of very old, tired lanc.

When did this happen, wing co?

Last night, something bumped
into us in the blackout.

- Mac shot the offender down.
- That's the routine.

He stuns them. I shoot them down.
Think nothing of it.

- Come on, brat, I'll beat you at darts.
- Okay.

Thank you.

Give us a light for the dartboard, Dobbie.

So, you're all celebrating?

Well, sort of. We'll do it properly
tonight with the rest of our crews.

I'd like to ask questions
but I know I can't.

Where do you work? Somewhere locally?

No, London. Whitehall.

Oh. Government offices, eh?

And your husband, is he...

I'm a widow since dunkirk.

I'm sorry. -that's all right.

Army? -no, Navy.

- Are you married?
- Hm? Me?

No, no one's ever asked me.

Well, keep trying, you never know.

Look, why don't you stay up tonight
and come to the party?

Dobbie could fix you up.

Well, I'd like to. I could.

- I don't have to be back until tomorrow.
- Good.

Have you got a room for mrs Canyon tonight?

Hey, hey, hey.
Who's working fast now?

Yes, I've got a room, madam.

Attaboy, skipper!

Look, you fix it up with Dobbie,
we'll be down this evening.

We've got a lecture
to attend this afternoon.

Yes, some naval intelligence stooge
is coming down to shoot his mouth off.

Well, come on, fellas, drink up.

We've got to leave.


Ishahleave all the details of the damage

to be described by the naval
intelligence people

who've made a special study of the target.

Most of the damage
is in the right place, as you can see.

Below the waterline.

Would you come in now, please?

May I have your pointer?

Good afternoon, gentlemen.

I must apologise for the fact
that such distinguished airmen

should have to be addressed by a woman,

but even in the admiralty, there's
considerable call on the services of...

Stooge intelligence types.

Now, the assessment
of last night's attack is as follows.

Yes, I know them all.

And a lot of the wives too stay here
when the boys are not flying.

Not only the wives either

but I have to be very careful
because of the wing commander.


Doesn't like girlfriends around
when the boys are up flying.

Doesn't matter who it is.

He says it lowers the morale.

- Good evening, Dobbie.
- Good evening, sir.

Good evening, sir.

I ought to call you ma'am but I don't
know how any of us can face you.

Did mrs Canyon tell you about
our second meeting, Dobbie?

No, sir. Why?

- She put us all smartly in our places.
- I'm sorry.

Not at all. You did it very well..

Have another drink.
- Thanks, I'd love a gin.

Dobbie, two large gin and tonics...

Funny how you can hear that.
Even with all this noise.

It's been going on every night now
for the past three weeks.

Must be a relief to know
you haven't got to do that tonight.

Yes, it is, in a way.

I don't understand
how you ever get used to it.

I never have and I never will.

Then how do you go up?

By being scared that someone
will see how afraid you are.

Anyway, that's the usual excuse.

I have no excuses.

I just scuttle like a rabbit
and I don't mind who sees me.

I'd awfully like to see you again sometime.

I'll save you a place in the shelter.

I'll be in London about
the end of the month.

I live at 49, mount square.

Western 00-09.

You'd better write it down.

I think I'll remember it.

Now we'd betterjoin the others.

Boy, I'm hungry, let's go and eat.

No, you go ahead, I'll join you.
I'm just going to make a phone call.

It's pilot officer Greeno here.
Can I have telegrams, please?

Vveh, isuppose
you'll head straight for Piccadilly

and drink enough liquor
to float yourself over a wall.

Ah, not me, brother.
I've got another idea.

I made a date with Eve Canyon.

- Oh.
- Yeah, oh.

Any messages?

No, thanks, I can deliver my own messages.

- Contact.
- Contact!

You know, Tim,
you're one of the best losers I ever saw.

Good luck!

What are you going to do
after the war, Brownie?

Back home to Australia
and take up sheep farming.

That's a funny sort ofjob for a guy
who's been a bomber pilot, isn't it?

Well, there's nothing funny about it,

One of the best jobs out.

You need lots of space
and lots of sunshine.

You ought to come out there and see it.

Yeah, I've often thought
I'd like to go to Australia.

I'd like to travel.

I've never been abroad except
for all over Germany, that is.

You know, after the war,
I'm going to become a lounger.

I'm going to settle down and...

Do nothing and just think how good
it is to be alive.

Yeah? What are you gonna use for money?

I don't know and I don't care.

I'm going to be an old married man
with a squad of kids

and forget all about aircraft.

Well, we've got a lot
more trips to do before then.

The skipper's certainly got a jinx on him.

Those night fighters just can't miss him.

Attention, please.

All operational crews report to crew room.

Well, here we go again, boy.

All operational crews report to crew room.

- Hey, brat.
- Yeah?

What's doing?

Oh, I'm waiting for an air test.

It'll have to wait a bit longer,
skipper wants you.

Wants me? What for?

Dunno, boy, but I wouldn't
keep him waiting too long.

Nothing wrong, is there, sir?

Haven't a clue.

Come in, Greeno.

You're here because the security police

find it necessary
to check on your activities.

The charge being that every time
you come back from an operation,

you send a telegram
to London from the officer's mess.

Yes, sir.

And each time in code.

- Yes, sir.
- Why?

It's a private matter, sir...
no, it's not!

Why can't you use what brains you've got?

Perhaps you've forgotten
that German fighters

were waiting for us on the mulheim raid.

No, sir.

Who did you expect
to receive these telegrams?

Or rather, whom did you hope
would receive them?

Agirl, sir.

You mean to say you've been deliberately
risking the security of this squadron

for a girlfriend?

I didn't think of it in that way, sir.

Then you'd better start thinking now!

Yes, sir.

Your love life's nothing to do with me.

But your flying life is.

And when the one interferes
with the other then I step in.

If you get through
this tour of ops in one piece,

you can send telegrams to every girl
in england as far as I'm concerned.

But at the moment you're a member
of this squadron and your duty's here!

Yes, sir.

I can square this with the security people

if I take personal responsibility

for your future conduct.

Is that a fair risk?

Yes, sir. -then wake up!

All right. That's all, you can go.

Thank you, sir.

- Hello.
- hello, Mac. You're punctual.

I thought you might
get held up in the rain.

I took shelter in the bar.

I thought there was no harm
in being mildly conventional.

Oh, Mac, they're marvellous.

- Where did you get them?
- I won them.

They were decorating the bar I was in.

How's everyone up in Lincoln?

Oh, just fine.
Couple of them sent messages to you

but I'm too bashful to repeat them.

How's Tim Mason?

He's a bit of a sorehead sometimes
but he's all right.

You don't sound too sure about it.

Yeah, well, he's doing too much.

Anyway, why are we talking about him?

Well, why not?

You like him, don't you?

Don't know of an englishman I like better.

Whisky all right for you?
- Yeah, straight, please.

There you are. -thanks.

- Well, cheerio.
- Cheers.

- All right?
- Fine.

I don't know if you feel like going out
but I've arranged dinner for us.

Oh, Mac, I can't, I'm on duty tonight.

Oh, no!
- Well, it isn't my fault.

They can't do this to me.

I'd like to have
a nice long chat about you.

And about me.

About you and me.

Anyway, tomorrow we can...
What time do you come off duty?

Long before you'll be awake.

- Goodnight, Todd.
- Goodnight.

Taxi? -mac!

Morning, sir.

Flight lieutenant Saunders
is coming down to see you, sir.


Ops room want you, sir.
Maximum effort tonight.

Oh. Jump in.

Skipper's in a hurry.
- Yeah, anotherflap on I suppose.

You'll just have to write to this girl
and tell her no more telegrams.

That'll drive her crazy, Bill.
I don't know what to do.

Well, it's better that way, brat.

You know, there's only one way to treat
women when you're on this job.

When you're with them everything's serious

and when you leave them it's all forgotten.

And if they never see you again,
nobody get's unhappy...

Yeah, but this is different...
yeah, I know...

Yeah, but this really is different.

Oh, I don't know what to do.

You know, sometimes you
can put a jinx on yourself

getting mixed up with a girl.

And we don't want
any jinxes in this outfit.

Well, I've done all right up to now,

We've crashed one aircraft
so we can only put up 15.

Of course, everyone's very tired
after last night

but we'll do it all right.

They know at group that it's a big order,

flying some of them two nights running.

Especially after last week.

Yes, sir.

We'll manage somehow.

You going to take the night off, Tim?

No, I'll take charge of the ops room.

What is that noise?

It's Greeno, sir.
- What's the matter with him?

He's in love.

I think it eases his soul.

Poor chap.

- So long, Tim.
- Goodnight, sir.

G'day, brat-o, what's the dirge in aid of?

Hiya, Bill. Do you have a good sleep?
- Yeah, like a baby.

I'm off now, the skipper's
just confirmed my leave.

Is there any more news from Devonshire?

Well, the town clerk
at some place called Dereford

has raked up 37 browns
for me to have a look at.

Say, if all 37 buy you a drink
the results should be quite lively.

Well, I'm off.

- See you.
- Yeah, see you.

- Goodbye, Bill.
- So long, brat.

Is she ready yet, Ackroyd?

Can't find the ruddy leak yet, sir.

Well, it's not much, you know.

We'll have to get in the top line
if you're going again tonight.

Briefing's at 5:30,
they were asking for you.


I've had it.

You will also be able to feel

that every time

a convoy gets through safely

you will have played
a large part in helping it home.

So, good luck to you.

Just a minute, please, everybody.

Those of you who flew last night
as well as tonight,

can draw a double ration of oranges.

We can't raise your wages.
It's the best we can do.

You're leaving in daylight

but you'll reach the enemy coast by dusk.

- Look out for the...
- Trouble, skipper?

No, Charlie.

You're going in
over a moderately defended area

so keep your eyes open
for those first searchlights.

Look out especially for
the blue marker searchlight.

It's his job to pick you out.

- Young beggar.
- Good pilot, though.

- What are you doing here?
- I'm on duty crew, sir.

- Where did you get that?
- This, sir?

It's mr Greeno's, sir,
he dropped it getting into his aircraft.

I've been polishing it up a bit, sir.

I see.

I wondered what the noise was.

Well, it's not much of a mouth organ,
sir, it's a bit out of tune.

I reckon it's...
More of a mascot, like, sir,


You're in mr Greeno's crew, aren't you?

Yes, sir. Fitter, a.

I've been with him ever since
I've been in the squadron, sir.

Where do you come from?

Sheffield, sir.

- Any family up there?
- aye, they are that, sir.

Missus and two kids.

Father and mother, like.

You've got two children, have you?

Yes, sir.

We've got another on the way too, sir.

Good heavens. You managing all right?

As well as can be expected, sir,
with the bombing and all that.

Missus, she gets a bit lonely

but I keep telling her
it's not as if I'm flying.

No, it's not like flying.

Will it be very late tonight, sir?

Back some time after 5 o'clock
if everything goes all right.

I shouldn't Polish that up too much.

He wouldn't like it to taste nasty.

Oh, tastes pretty fruity already, sir.

- Goodnight.
- Goodnight, sir.

Right, keep in touch.

Salmon coming in on three engines,
badly shot up.

That's another one accounted for.

- Flight sergeant salmon, Bridges.
- Very good, sir.

Hello. Yes, observer corps.

I- Ink, H-Harry, K-King.

Yes, that's ours. Thank you.

K-king, sir, he's just crossed the coast,
he seems to be in trouble.

Tell control.

- What a shambles.
- Control, please.

- Something's gone very wrong here.
- Hello, control...

Hello, Finch. You made it all right.
Now what happened?

No go, sir. No dice at all.
Never saw the target.

- Too many searchlights?
- No, very light defences, really.

The whole target was obscured by haze.

You couldn't see a trace of it.

What about fires?

Bombing was scattered all over the shop.

I saw at least a dozen sticks
of incendiaries in the open country.

The jinx was too strong tonight, sir.
- Now, look here, Finch, I'm...

What about fighters?

Quite a few, sir.
He saw one lanc shot down.

It was just that everything seemed
to go wrong from the start.

All right, Finch,
go upstairs and tell them.

All right, sir.

They're standing by for a crash landing,
sir, r-roger.

Let me talk to control.

You're too high, skipper.
You won't make it.

You won't make it. Go round again!

Right. Full power.

- She won't make it.
- Get control!

On the grass! Left, skipper, left!

Look out!!

They don't think any survivors.

No one had a chance.

I saw some idiots miles away.

Bombing Munich, stupid clots.

It was fighter weather.
They just sat above us and picked us off.

And then about fifty miles
on our way back, we were attacked again.

Air-sea rescue report p-Peter
crashed in the sea off yarmouth.

No survivors have been picked up.

These are the absolute maximum times
for the remaining aircraft, sir.

Edward, oboe, X-ray overdue.

And sugar?


Two minutes.


Get out a squadron order.

118 squadron standing down
for seven days as from today

- for intensive training.
- Very good, sir.

Tell the flight commanders
I want them up here in three minutes.


He's taking off now.

Very good, sir.

Send these off, Smithy. -yes.

How are the chaps coping, flight?
It's a pretty tall order.

Well, the blokes are all a bit quiet, sir.

A night light that shakes them
but they're working very well.

Anyway, we'll have the new aircraft
in a day or two.

And some new crews to fly them.

Well, I'll do that right away, sir.

Oh, thank you, flight.

Mulvaney's been talking to me.

They're getting very restive up at group
about your leaving the squadron.

You've been flying too long, Tim.

I persuaded them to let me finish
my tour of ops, sir.

I've got to keep on the right side of him

because one word from him to the aoc
that I'm tired and I'm out on my neck.

I'd prefer to hand over
after I've been to London.

You're all right, aren't you?

Except for a terrible thirst.

You know, when I first called you up,
it was for fun.

Now it's got serious all of a sudden.

Still fun but... mostly serious.

Mac, it can't be, for me.

Eve, you can't spend the rest
of your life looking backwards.

You think of the past because you're here.

My roots are here.

America's not all that far away.

Like to try?

Mac, I was...

That's on account.

You've given me a wonderful evening again.

You've given me a wonderful leave.

I'll see you next time I'm in town.

I hope so.

And I warn you, I don't give up easily.

Two years and a woman's putty in my hands.

Flight officer Cranston.

Room 41, sir.

Oh, thank you.
- The new intake, sir.

Name, sir?
- flight officer Johnson.

You're here because you've been chosen
from a pretty long list.

That's as it should be.

This is the best squadron in the command
and I have to be choosy.

The squadron is stood down for a week,

which means you've got seven days to make
yourselves at home and prepare for work.

Have any of you ever been
on a bombing operation?

Then you have seven days
to get ready for that too.

Any questions?

All right, that's all.

You've got five days to bend it straight.

- We'll try, sir.
- You won't try, you'll do it.

- Put on day and night shifts.
- Yes, sir.

Control want you on the phone, flight.
You can take it in my office.

Oh, thank you, sir.

Bearing up?

- Quite well, sir.
- Jolly good.

One final day's training tomorrow,
then you'll get two days off.

Jolly good, sir.

Then we're giving a party for you
in the mess here.

- Hello, Tim.
- Hello, sir.

- Is everything all right?
- Yes, fine.

- You'll be ready by Monday?
- Top line, sir.

Good for you.

Hello, Smithy.

I just had a telephone call
from mrs Greeno, sir.

From who?
- er, pilot officer Greeno's mother, sir.

She wants to visit the squadron
to see you, sir.

Ah. When?

Tomorrow, sir. - Tomorrow?

- Hello, Mac.
- All right, Tim?

I see you've put the pressure on round
here since I've been away, huh?

Anything I can do?

You can take this to the office
and do some of my papennork.

It's about all you're allowed to do now.

They've warned me again about your flying.

Have a good leave? -yeah, fine.

- How's Eve?
- She's fine too.

I'll be seeing her myself in a day or two.

Oh, how come?

I have some stuff to deliver
to the admiralty.

- Anyway, do you mind?
- Yes, I do mind.

For all the good that does me.

- Excuse me, sir.
- Yes, flight.

Control have rung through. They're after
the new aircraft that's just landed, sir.

- So we're up to schedule.
- Thank you very much.

Come on, let's go and see some new lancs.

Mrs Greeno.

Oh, yes. Well, show her in, will you?

Would you come in, mrs Greeno?

Won't you sit down?

You know, I think there must be some
sort of mistake.

No. No mistake.

I'm mrs Greeno.

You know, he never told us he was married.

Perhaps that was your fault.

I'm sorry. I didn't mean to be rude.

I wondered if you could give me
a few details about what happened.

I'm afraid I can't tell you very much.

Was it very bad that night?

Yes, it was.

Were you there?

No, I'm afraid I wasn't.

It's all right.

I know you don't like married men
in bombers.

And I'm afraid I wasn't much help either.

I used to try and telephone him at silly
times and that got him into trouble.

So then he started to send me telegrams.

So it was you.


I hated you when he told me
what you said to him.

Yes, I'm sorry.

I had to make him think of nothing
but flying to get the best out of him.

But you did get the best out of him.

He was tremendously proud of the squadron.

Do you have to get back tonight?

I hadn't thought.

No, I wondered because there's
a pub down the road...

Oh, yes, he told me about Dobbie's.

It'll give you a bit more time and...

You could meet some of his friends.

It's funny, isn't it?

When Peter was here, my name
wasn't even allowed to be mentioned.

Now that he's gone,
I'm given the freedom of the aerodrome.

I'll get someone to show you the way.

Oh, no, it's quite all right.

I'll find my own way, thank you.


I'll see you there myself later.


- Goodbye.
- Goodbye.

Hello, Tim. Am I late?

No, I was early.

Eve, it's all right
about dinner tonight, isn't it?

Yes, of course.

See you on the 17th, hodge.

- Have a nice leave, ma'am.
- Thank you.

How long have we got?
- Three hours.

Got time to change?

Mm. I've got to catch the 11:30
from king's cross though.

They always lead up to the same question.

Were you there the night that it happened?

That night...

The night that Greeno went was...


You see...

It might have been my fault.

I don't honestly know
how much I was to blame.

But I can't help thinking...

Did I go wrong?

How much of it was due to me?

Surely you're taking too much on yourself?

You can't be responsible for everything.

But there are some things
you've got to be responsible for.

Little things that show you
if a squadron's slipping or not.

Once they start banking on their luck
instead of their training and discipline,

you know instinctively
what's going to happen next.

The accidents start.

Accidents which could have been avoided.

Then you've got to convince them
they're not dealing with a jinx

but with themselves.

I wish I could help.

But I can't.

No, I know.

I'm sorry.

But it did help, getting it...

Getting it off my chest.

Hiya, Mac.

Bill. Hiya, fella.

- How was Devonshire?
- Great.

- Hello, Dobbie.
- Welcome back, digger.

- Come on, have a drink.
- You bet.

Pint of bitter, Dobbie.

Well, you got backjust in time.

Going to be a big party
in the mess tonight.

Why, what goes?

The skipper plans
to decorate the mess ceiling.


Part of the process
of breaking in the new boys.

What new boys?

Yeah, squads of them.

Been some changes
around here since you left.

Anything wrong?

There was
but it's pretty well fixed up now.

The squadron lost five
and crashed two more last week.

Something always goes wrong
when I'm not around.

You, erm...

Won't be seeing
the brat round anymore, for one.

Don't tell her tonight, anyway.

- See you later.
- Okay, sir.

Hello, Bill. I didn't know you were back.

Hello, skipper, how goes it?

All right.

You heard the news, I suppose?

Yeah, Mac told me.

Now, come on. We're having a party.

How's the soot coming?
- enough for the whole squadron, sir.

- There you are, sir.
- Oh, good.

Come on, Eric, this is your job.

I think Mac ought to start this, sir,
he's got the biggest feet.

That's a good idea.

Come on, Mac, you're a member
of the squadron, now you start it off.

There's your brew, skipper!

Come on, new boys next.
Masters, you get up there!

Things are warming up.
You enjoying yourself?

- No, no, no.
- You're going up now!

Oh, yes, jolly good, yes... what?

You're in front. Here you go, boy!

Go on!

Just a minute, Eve.

Get his feet up!

Keep it in character!

I'm so glad you could come.

I want you to come
and meet a friend of mine.

Mrs Greeno. Eve Canyon.

- Hello, mrs Greeno.
- How do you do?


Did you ever meet my husband, mrs Canyon?

Yes, I did. The day he won the dfc.

He never told me he used
to get up to this kind of thing.

Come on, son. Get yourfeet in.


- It was a jolly good party, wasn't it?
- Yes, it was fun.

You're sure Bill's taking Pam Greeno back?

They were right behind us when we left.

I talked to Pam quite a lot tonight.

About her husband.

She's such a child, Tim,
it seems so much worse.

And I talked to Mac... about you.

He told me you only had one more op to do.

He said...

Tim, do you have to do it?

No, not really.

But then why?

Oh, I don't know.

I've got to do it
because I've set my mind on it

and a lot of people know I have.

Besides, I...


Well, if! Don't do it, I shall spend
the rest of my life wishing I had.

Will it be soon?

Might be.

Wish it could be while I'm still here.

Yes, so do I.

Well, group have confirmed, sir.
Maximum effort tonight.

They want to know
how many you're putting up.

- What did you say?
- 25.

Make it 26. I'm going.

That's good.

How's it going?

All right, sir.
We should be through by 6:30.

We've done the incendiary packs
and the rest are being loaded.

Ten 500's and a cookie.

Good show. Keep them at it.

All right. Bombs away!

- Afternoon, sir.
- Good afternoon, flight.

How's that starboard inner Magneto?

Well, we had to change it, sir.
It was cutting out dead.

- I think I'll just give it a run out.
- Right, sir.

- Well, flight. Everything all right?
- Everything all right this end, sir.

- You'll have your 26 aircraft.
- Good.

Well, this is a big day, sir.

Yes, this is it.

I phoned mrs Canyon
at Dobbie's, sir, but she's out.

Shall I try again?

No, leave it till later.

If she calls me, tell her I'll ring back.

Right, sir.

All right, sit down, fellas.

This is a straightfonnard saturation
attack by the whole of bomber command.

The target is a new town built by the enemy

in the last year
for the assembly of new secret weapons.

The whole place has got to be wiped out.

Let's hear how we're going to do it.

Navigation officer.

The squadron will rendezvous over the wash

with the main bomber stream at 18,000 feet.

You will then set course
for the Dutch coast.

Over the Dutch coast,

the pathfinders
will drop sky markers on track.

Er, these markers will be red clusters

at 15,000 feet.

Bombing leader.

All bomb loads in the squadron
will be the same tonight.

One 4,000 pounder and mixed he.

Zero hourfor the main force is 01:15.

Bomb aimers, check your drift
on the bomb site all the way,

especially after the first turning point.

Signals officer.

Command on the phone, sir.

The master bomber will be in a mosquito,
over the target-...

Can't hear at the back!

- Huh?
- We can't hear at the back!

the master bomber will be in a mosquito,

over the target 15 minutes before
the main force attack.

He'll be broadcasting on VHF, button D.

He will contact main force
by using the call word "bulldozer".


Look out for it.

Gunnery leader.

Full moon, chaps.

So the enemy will probably
put up fighters in a solid formation

and try to vector them onto
the main bomber stream.

Test your guns over the sea
when you're 25 miles out.

And keep your eyes skinned.


There's a Ridge of high pressure
right across north-west Europe.

Full moon will be at midnight,
visibility unlimited.


There will be some haze
near the target area

but not enough to interfere
with target indicators.

Bases will be clear for your return.

There'll be 615 aircraft
over the target in 20 minutes,

so we needn't feel lonely.

Bomb at the right time
and your right height.

And let's get this job done all in one go.

- You want to say anything, sir?
- Just a minute, Tim.

You're not flying tonight.

I want you all to know I've just received
a very definite order from bomber command.

Wing commander Mason
will not be flying tonight.

Other instructions as before.

Well, good luck.

- Tough luck, skipper!
- Bad luck, Tim.

Sorry, Tim. No use my arguing.

Doug Simpson went west
on his last trip yesterday

and the CNC gave the order himself.

Now, take it easy, fella.

They're right, you know. You've done
more than your share already.

Sorry, corp. My fault.

Hello, wing co.
I didn't expect to see you.

Mrs Canyon about? -no, sir, no.

She and young mrs Greeno went out together

about, ooh, about a half an hour ago.

Give me a small scotch, will you?

Yes, sir.

Anything wrong, sir?


No, nothing's wrong.

Just been given a nice, steady office job.

I've been pensioned off.

Well, sir, I'd...

I'd be the last
to ever want to see you leave.

But I'm glad to hear what you just said
and I don't mind saying so.

There's been a very funny
atmosphere around here this last week.

Everyone getting worried about you.

Worried about me? Why?

Well, sir, the fact is,

everyone up the road thinks
that if you do any more flying, well...

You may not be coming back
one of these mornings.

Hello, Mac. -hi, Toby.

Hiya, Bill. - Hiya, Mac.

Coming down to see us off?

Sure thing. I can't wait to see
the back of you.

Then we'll get some peace
around here for a couple of hours.

Thanks, Dobbie.

You might be right.

Don't say anything
to mrs Canyon about this, will you?

No, sir.

I'll see her myself.

I'm glad the skipper's out of it tonight.

- I had a nasty feeling about him.
- Yeah, me too.

Well, keep your eye on him, Mac.
You can do it better than anyone.

And when we get him to London
we can give him a real party.

Yeah, sure thing.

I'll see you down at the take-off.

See ya.

I'll see you when we get there.

We've had to re-enter
your 4,000 pounder, sir.

One of the studs sheared.
Will you have a look at it?

All right, corporal.

Well, she looks okay to me.

Now you be good.

Okay, corp.

Come on, Steve!

Hang on a minute.

Just getting a breath of fresh air.

All set, digger?

- All set?
- All set.

Well, see you're not late back tonight.

I won't be late, boy.


Ready for starting. Contact, port outer.

Cut the engines!

Cut the engines!

All right, hold her up!

Can't hold her!

Hold on!

- Round the other side!
- Look out!

She's going, look out!

Get the ambulance!

Get the detonators out
and try hoisting it off!

Right, sir.

Take my aircraft, V-Victor.

You'll be a gunner short.
How about me?

- Fine. Flight?
- Sir.

Tell ops major Baker's going with V-Victor.

- Right, sir.
- Come on, up to the end of the line.

Got your harness?

V-Victor. Wing co's aircraft.

Hurry, Tim.

Send out a harness!

We've got a jinx on us tonight, all right.

Listen, Bill, there's no jinx on this crew
or any other crew.

I'm sorry, skip, but that shook me.

Why don't you scrap it, Tim?

No, I promised maximum effort.

Get aboard, I'm coming too!

Well, this is going
to take a lot of explaining, brother.

I'll think about that tomorrow!


Check bomb door shut.

Prepare for take-off.

Give me full power.

Air speed 60.

Air speed 70.

Air speed 80.

Air speed 90.

Air speed 100.

Undercar up.

Undercars up.

Goodbye, fellas.

Throttle back.

Let's go inside, eh?

- Good evening, mrs Canyon.
- Hello.

- Mrs Greeno.
- Good evening.

Awful din, isn't it?
- oh, never heard anything like it.

Comforting, though, after the blitz
and their bombers.

Thank goodness I never heard
any of theirs as close as that.

My word, I shall be up
all night counting them home.

So shall I. I'm on duty at midnight.

- Have you just come from the aerodrome?
- Yes.

Was wing commander Mason there?

No, but he must be about
because he's not flying.

Well, I would like to get a message to him.

Well, you could ring the mess.

Well, it's rather...
well, why not go up there?

It'll be all right if you're in uniform.

And from what I hear, the wing co could do
with some cheerful company just now.

All right, I will. Thank you.

- Goodnight.
- Goodnight, mrs Canyon.

Do you wanna fly, skipper?

No, I'm finished flying.

I'll just hang around a bit
and see how things go.

Engineer to skipper.
We used a lot of petrol last hour.

- Keep the revs down a bit, mate.
- Right-oh.

- Oh, hello, mrs Canyon.
- Good evening, Simon.

I'm afraid I've come at a bad time.

I hoped I might see wing commander Mason.

I wish you would. Cheer him up a bit.

Have you had dinner yet? -no.

Well, why don't you join us?

We'll leave a message for Tim to come down.

Thank you, I'd love it.

After dinner, perhaps you'd like
to come along to the ops room.

We've a very progressive
signals officer here

and he's fixing up
something rather special.

Hello, Bill. Mac calling.

We'll be company tonight, eh?

You cold back there?

Down to my stomach.

I might be court martialled for this.

Well, we all got to go sometime.

There's Pascal and his box of tricks.

- Hello, Pascal.
- Good evening, sir.

Does it work? - I hope so.

There's nothing really wonderful about it,

it's just a vhf set tuned into the master
bomber's wavelength and amplified.

We should be able to hear him
bang over the target.

Good. Saunders, you haven't seen
wing commander Mason, have you?

No, sir.

Navigator to pilot.

The gee's packed up.

We're on dead reckoning from now on.


Skipper, Terry here.

Dutch coast coming up
in about five minutes.


Engineer to pilot.

Radiator flap's closed.


We're on track, on time.

Pilot to gunner.

Okay to test your gun.

Okay, skipper. Testing gun.

Made sure gun's okay, skipper.

Good, let's hope we don't need it.

Bomb's selected on all switches.

Give me the intelligence scrambler,

Logan, 92 base.

When you get a trace of enemy fighters,
let me know, will you?

Thank you.

Dutch coast coming up.

Okay, chaps, we're crossing the coast.

Keep the lights down and dog all your fags.

Bomb aimer to navigator.

We're just passing over a river
with a railway bridge crossing it.


Stand by, everyone.

Master bomber's broadcasting.

Master bomber calling bulldozer.

Master bomber calling bulldozer.

Your a-route markers are accurate.

A-route markers accurate. Out.

Good, their a-markers are going down
on the coast, they've got that far safely.

Master bomber calling bulldozer.

Master bomber calling bulldozer.

Your a-route markers are accurate.

A-route markers accurate. Out.

What's the situation?

Strong enemy troops
are approaching, general.

They are on the Dutch coast at the moment.

Master bomber to main force.

Watch the sky markers for drift,

watch the sky markers for drift.

Don't straggle to the south. Out.

Can't our radiomen stop this?

We are doing everything
in our power, general.

But it's not enough.

- Luftwaffe.
- General?

- Give the order to go into action.
- Yes, general.

Attention, attention.

Everyone in place a...

Peter used to tell me to listen in.

Hearing the German raid warnings
was a sort of link, really.

Being awake and...

Knowing it was him keeping
everyone awake there.

I've never done this before

and I've been next
to a bomber station all the war.

Attention. Enemy
aeroplanes flying over west Germany,

north friesia and Hanover areas.
Flight direction - east.

What's he saying? "Hanover"?

Yes, I heard the word Hanover.

Here we are.

Hello, skipper and navigator.

The b-markers are just bursting now.

About five miles ahead.

There they go.
That's the German frontier.

Blimey, they're giving
the master bomber a warm welcome.

Master bomber calling bulldozer.

Your b-route markers are accurate.

Your b-route markers are accurate. Out.

Bomb aimer to navigator.

There's a large lake
or reservoir on our starboard bow.


The forefront of the squad
is above droneburg, general.

Yes, droneburg.

Deploy all available machines
over droneburg immediately.

Free hunt between 300 and 6,000 metres.

Pass this on.

Intelligence on the line, sir.

Widespread enemy fighter
activity developing now.

Any sign of their general direction yet?

Not yet, sir.


It's too quiet around here.
You sure we're going the right way?

We're on track-...

Sorry I spoke.

Bomb aimer to pilot. Weave a bit, skipper.

We're just going over
a night fighter beacon.


Calling deputy, calling deputy.

Master bomber calling deputy.

Back up those k-route markers!

Back up those k-route markers!

The wind is turning. Fire at will!

Master bomber to deputy,
master bomber to deputy, hang on...

Are we going to lose them now?

Not necessarily. Sometimes they fade
for a bit and then come back.

How far are they off the target, Joe?

Some way yet.

Master bomber's
got about half an hour to go.


Very heavy enemy fighter
opposition developing now, sir.

But it's too far east
for accurate plotting.

Mac, do you see any fighters yet?

Not a thing, skipper.

I can only see lancasters everywhere.

What I want to know is
is this really worth a court martial?

Don't worry, Mac.
After this you'll enjoy a court martial.


I had all targets
besides droneburg removed.

Yes, droneburg.

- Alert, heavy artillery!
- alert, heavy artillery!

Run-up north! -run-up north!

- Launcher up.
- Launcher is up.

Navigator, how far off the target are we?

21 minutes exactly.

Master bomber to main force.
Master bomber to main force.

Your z-markers are two miles south,

two miles south.

Filter two miles north

to the north of the z-markers.

Filter two miles to the north
of the z-markers. Out.

Well, that's that.

We might as well try and get some rest.

It'll be at least four hours
before they begin to come in.

Master bomber to deputy.

I want to have a closer look at this.
I'm going in now, going in...

That's it. Pathfinders are just
starting their attack.

Master bomber to illuminator.

Master bomber to illuminator.

I want more light, I want more light.

Bomb aimer to pilot.

The pathfinder corridor's burning a treat.

First squadron's just beginning
to Mark the target now.

How far do you reckon
we are from it, Terry?

Eight minutes to go.

there comes the green target indicators.

Pay no attention to the aircraft
burning on the ground.

Pay no attention to the aircraft
burning on the ground!

Bomb on the green!
Bomb on the green!

Stone the crows, they're
getting it warmed up for us tonight.

Target search, attention, fire!

Master bomber calling bulldozer.

Master bomber calling bulldozer.

You're bombing short!
You're bombing short!

Bomb on the green markers!
Bomb on the green markers!

Master bomber to bulldozer.
Master bomber to bulldozer.

Aim at the Greens, aim at the Greens.

Ignore the reds, they're miles out.

Aim at the Greens.

They got one of our fellows behind.

- Just starting our bombing run, skipper.
- right.

Five minutes straight and level.

Airspeed 1-8-0 indicated.

Steady at 180.

People! Attention!

We're coned.

Dive, Bill. Go on, go on, dive!

Do you see what I mean about jinxes?

Coming up nicely, skipper.

Easy does it.

Master bomber to bulldozer,
straight on, straight on!

Keep it up, keep bombing on those Greens.

Aim at the Greens.

Master bomber to deputy,
the Greens are going out.

Back up the Greens.

Say, what was that?

A lanc blew up.

Keep her steady, skipper.

Air speed steady at 180.

Steady at 180.

Indicated height 17,000.

Indicated height 17,000.

Something up behind us, skipper.

It's a fighter! Fighter!
Dive, starboard, go, let's go!

He's breaking off!

Where is he now?

He's on us again!
Coming to get us again!

Target coming up.

It'll have to wait
till we lose this basket.

Where is he, Mac?
- It's all right, skipper.

We've scared him. He's gone home.

If we don't drop these bombs quickly,
we'll have to go round again.

Oh, no, we won't, brother.

Bomb doors open!

Bomb doors open. That's better.

Coming up. Steady...

Master bomber to deputy,
master bomber to deputy.

Where the hell are you?
I want more Greens, I want more Greens.



Left a bit. Steady...


Steady... right a bit!

Steady... steady...


Now say back a bit.
- shut up! Steady...


Master to deputy, what's happened to you?


Steady... steady...

Master bomber to main force,
master bomber to main force.

I'/I have a bash at this myself,
watch out for my markers.





Bombs gone!

Master bomber to main force.
Master bomber to main force.

Yes, I can see the aiming's fine.

I can see the aim. I'm going to put
some green flares on the aiming points.

My god, we're on fire.

Dammit. I'll hold it. No, I can't!

I can't! Bail out! Bail out...

Got the master bomber.

Right in the middle of the blessed attack.

Come on, deputy, where the hell are you?

It's going to pot.

Where are you, deputy? Where are you?

Never mind, I'll stick your money,
pay the ruddy cow.

Bring her round a bit, Bill,
so I can see the target.

Vhf to transmitter. I'm taking over.

Panther leader calling bulldozer.

Panther leader calling bulldozer.

Don't scatter your bombs!

Don't scatter your bombs!

Aim at what's left of the green ti's.

The green ti's.

- That was Tim.
- Can't be.

Come on, bulldozer, come on,
get some weight onto those fires.

It is Mason.
- What are you going to do?

He's taken over.

They must have gone after all.

How the blazes
am I going to explain this to group?

Panther leader calling bulldozer!

That's wizard, you're doing well.

Now aim between
the southern reds and the green tl's.

The southern reds and the green tl's!

That's what I want!

Someone's put a stick of incendiaries
in exactly the right place.

We won't make it today.

The incendiaries that have just gone down!

A coconut! It's a perfect hit!

Nice work, skipper.

Hello, yes?

Yes, that's all of them.

Except V-Victor.

Yes, of course,
I'll let you know straightaway.

V for Victor's coming in now!

Hello, Pennant. Hello, Pennant.

This is pan for V-Victor calling.

Sorry we 're late. Over.

Hello, Victor. This is Pennant,
receiving you loud and clear.

Come straight in.
Runway 2-4-1-0-0-1.

V-Victor's just landing.

- All right, sir?
- All right.

Attention, please.

Wing commander Mason is just landing.

Come on, chaps!

Wing commander Mason is just landing.

From the ground crew, sir.
- Thanks, flight.

I did two hours persuading bomber command

that last night's episode
had better be forgotten.

Apart from disobeying CNC's orders,

you turn up and start shouting

in the middle of a carefully prepared
pathfinder attack.

Waiting for the deputy, sir.
We couldn't hear him.

Well, of course you wouldn't.
He'd been shot down too.

You better ring up pathfinders
and talk to them.

Then you'll be sent
on a special mission to the far east.

Straight from London.

Before you have the time
to make any more trouble in this command.

Yes, sir.

Get in, you blighter.

Put ten years on my life!

Can't understand this.

How do you feel, Tim,
now that you've done it?

Now that I've done it...

It's over now.

Eve, I'm going overseas
almost immediately, I've just heard.

For how long?

I don't know.

What I wanted to say was...

Hi, adj.

Oh, hello, Mac.

Why aren't you in bed?

Just on my way.

Thought I'd better remind you of that
hotel reservation in London tomorrow.

We're all staying at Hampden's.

- Hi, Smithy.
- Hello, Bill.

Hey, Mac, what'd I tell you?
I got my letter from Devonshire.

It's Nadia Brown
and she's definitely related.

Can I see the wing co a minute?

I'll see.

I'm going down there
after our party in London.

Yeah? You mean what's left of you.

I'm afraid the wing commander's engaged.

Come on, Smithy.
You're coming too, aren't you?

I'm afraid not, Tim,
I've got to get back to the station.

The new wing co arrives tonight.

Poor old Smithy.

Another one on your hands.

Yes. Another one.

Well, goodbye.

And good luck.

And thanks for everything.

Come on!

Okay, driver. Chocks away.

- Where to, sir?
- Buckingham Palace!

Go on, we mean it!