Upstairs, Downstairs (1971–1975): Season 4, Episode 12 - Facing Fearful Odds - full transcript

Richard receives another visit from Mrs. Virginia Hamilton, the war widow he had met some months before. She again seeks his assistance but this time on a far more personal matter. Her 17 year-old son, an acting Sub-Lieutenant in the Navy, has been arrested and will face a court-martial charged with cowardice in the face of the enemy. He suggests that Virginia hire the family solicitor, Sir Geoffrey Dillon, to represent him and she quickly agrees. In the end, Richard can only but admire Virginia's strength of character and demeanor. Downstairs meanwhile, Ruby is taken to task for stealing food though she claims she has been using it to feed the animals at the zoo. With Edward away visiting his family, Hudson has also had to put up with Daisy's frequent and lengthy absences. The truth comes tumbling out when Hudson receives a visit from a military policeman to advise that Edward is absent without leave. It seems that Edward's regiment is to return to France and it's up to Hudson to try and knock some sense into Daisy and get her to convince Edward to return to his camp.

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Why has everyone
only got margarine?

Don't you have butter
in this house anymore?

Oh, Mrs. Bridges keeps
all the butter for upstairs.

What I do and what I don't do,
Daisy, is my concern.

As for you, Edward, if you don't
bring your rations with you,

you won't get fed.

Well, he can share mine.

That's not the point.

It's an individual
rationing system.

Now that Edward's a corporal...

Acting, unpaid.

He's somebody with a certain
amount of influence.

Or should be.

All right, Mrs. Bridges.

I'll have a word with
the Quartermaster general.

Three years, 266 days.

Aye, it's a weary long time
for a war.

It seems a long time
to spend losing one.

We are by no means beaten,

Ah, the usual
planned withdrawal, eh?

I've been to some of those.

Edward, I am surprised at you,
a soldier,

saying such a thing.

We've been pushed back
30 or 40 miles

and lost over a thousand guns.

They even admit that.

So, how many do you think
we've really lost?

Half the regiment.

The rest are wounded,
killed, or missing,

and some of them
taken prisoners.

Nah, they never stood a chance.

They're really scraping
the barrel up at the depot,

I can tell you.

Even the artful dodgers
are getting drafted now.

Well, you won't have to go
again, will you, Eddie?

Well, they never tell you.

But I don't think so, Daisy.

I'm C3 and you can't get
much lower than that.

Oh, Daisy, you make the tea,
will you?

No use waiting for Ruby.

She's probably got run over
or blown up by a bomb.

Sure to have some excuse.

I've got the meat, Mrs. Bridges.

Here are our cards.

MRS. BRIDGES: What on earth's
that horrible stuff?

It's scrag end of neck,
Mrs. Bridges.

Scrag end, in this house!

I wouldn't give it to the cat.

But there was ever such
a long queue, Mrs. Bridges,

and that's all he had.

And that's all he had.

Did you tell him
who you was from?

Couldn't do that,
Mrs. Bridges,

not in front of all them people.

You take that straight back
to where it come from.

I can't.

You can, and you will.

And you'll ask to speak
to Mr. Gosselin himself,

like I told you.

Tell him that I sent you.

And I want a nice round of beef,

None of your foreign
imported stuff.

Now, get along with you, Ruby.


That girl.

No wonder we're getting beaten.

Please sit down, all of you.

Well, I've got the kettle
to put on, Mr. Hudson.

Mrs. Bellamy was...

Daisy, I asked you to sit down.

Mrs. Bridges, would you mind?
You, too, please.

Now, I will no longer tolerate
the continuous stream

of defeatist talk
that I hear all the time

in this servants' hall.

May I remind you all
that only the other day,

on St. George's Day,
in the raid on Zeebrugge,

the Royal Navy gained
as great a victory

as any in our proud annals.

It didn't stop them advancing
in France.

No, Mrs. Bridges, but it did
coup up those U-boats

that have been sinking our ships

and causing this rationing that
you're always complaining about.

If we are steadfast,
the tide will turn.

Now, I want you all to listen
very carefully

to Earl Haig's order
to the army.

It applies to us all.

"There is no course open to us
but to fight it out.

There must be no retirement.

With our backs to the wall

and believing in the justice
of our cause,

each one of us
must fight on to the end.

The safety of our homes,
the freedom of mankind

depend alike upon the conduct
of each one of us

at this critical moment."

Now, Daisy, you can go
and put the kettle on.

Doesn't sound as though
Earl Haig

thinks we've got
much of a chance.

There's a visitor
in the morning room, my lord.


Mrs. Hamilton, my lord.


Good day?

A rather long one.
I think I'll go and see James.

He's asleep.

He had another go of the horrors
this morning.


Dr. Foley came and gave him
an injection.

Virginia Hamilton is here.

Virginia Hamilton?

Oh, you remember.

Oh, yes.
Yes, I do remember.

She's the widow from Scotland

who was so persistent
about some charity.


We have to help her, Richard.

She's in terrible trouble.

She came off the Dover train
and arrived at my canteen

in a state of collapse.

She wanted to go to an hotel,
but I insisted she came here.


Her son, who is in the navy,

is in arrest
and being court-martialed.

Hazel, my dear, I am civil lord
of the Admiralty,

a political post,
the very last person in Britain

who can interfere in any way
with a naval court-martial.

I'm not asking you to interfere,
only to help.

Oh, please, don't get up,
Mrs. Hamilton.

How very nice to see you again.

Thank you.

Oh, and my congratulations
on your elevation.

Oh, quite undeserved.

Well, now,
I really must be going.

I've done nothing
but make a great nuisance.

No, really,
I'm quite all right now.

Nothing of the sort.

Sit down and take these.

Thank you.

Mrs. Hamilton has had
a great shock.

Oh, yes.

Hazel explained to me briefly
about your son.

Is that the one you told us
was a midshipman?

Yes, that's right.
Michael, my eldest.

You see, since he was tiny,

he's never had any thought
in his head

except to join the navy and...

Oh, you of all people,

why should I bother you
with my troubles?

No, please, I'd like to know.

Well, about a month ago,
he was so pleased

because he was promoted
acting sublieutenant

above all his term.

That must have made you
very proud.

Two days ago,
I received a telegram to say

that he was in arrest at Dover
and was to be court-martialed.

What for?


Do you know why?

No, not really.

Michael was on
a coastal motorboat

in some action against Ostend.

Oh, yes, that was the same night
as Zeebrugge.

The plan was to block
the entrances to both channels.

The Ostend business
was a failure.

Of course you don't read
about this in the newspapers,

but between ourselves, we think
the enemy had been forewarned.

Well, something happened
to Michael.

Oh, it sounds so silly,

but I couldn't find out
any of the details.

Down there,
it was all so difficult.

Nobody would talk about it.

Well, of course.
The case is sub judice.

It was all very embarrassing,

Several of my husband's
old friends were very kind,

but it didn't seem there was
anything they could do.

Mrs. Hamilton,
have you got a good lawyer?

My...Well, my husband's family
use a firm in Edinburgh.

The man's very nice.

He's a bit of an old

What about Geoffrey?


Edinburgh's rather
a long way away,

and my advice to you,
Mrs. Hamilton,

is that you ought to see
a good lawyer rather quickly.

I'm not speaking now
as civil lord of the Admiralty.

No, I understand.

If you like, I will telephone
Sir Geoffrey Dillon,

who is a personal friend
and a very good lawyer.

- Oh, that would be very kind.
- Yes.

I think you may find
that he, too, at first

is a bit of
an old fuddy-duddy.

Oh, Mrs. Bridges.

Mrs. Bridges.

What is it?

Mrs. Bridges.

Oh, Mr. Hudson.

There will be two extra for
dinner tonight, Mrs. Bridges.

Two extra for dinner?

But only an hour ago,
the mistress...

Mrs. Bellamy asked to convey
to you her apologies

for the sudden
change of plans.

Mrs. Hamilton is coming
and Sir Geoffrey Dillon.

And what am I going to do
about food?

Has anyone thought of that, eh?



Yes, Mrs. Bridges.

Fetch me my war receipt book.

Oh, dear.

Visitors are not going to have

this family's meat ration
for a whole week,

I can tell you that.


This rationing's going to be
the death of me.

Right, well, they can start
with cabbage-leaf soup,

followed by victory oatmeal
rissoles and potato substitute,

and finish up
with sugarless rhubarb tart.

And you can cook it for them,

Mrs. Bridges asked me
to make her apologies

for the somewhat patriotic
nature of the dinner, madam.

Thank you, Hudson.

- That'll be all.

I thought the sweet
was quite delicious.

So nice to have something

not swamped in rich cream
and sugary sauces.


Hardly the usual time or place,

but I think we should
get down to business,

the circumstances being
somewhat unusual.

Yes, please, Sir Geoffrey.

The proceedings come

under the Naval Discipline Act,
part one,

Articles of war, paragraph two,

misconduct in the presence
of the enemy.

I had a word with the judge
advocate, and I have the charge.

Would you like me to read it?

"For that he,

Acting Sublieutenant
Michael Drury Hamilton,

then being the officer
commanding His Majesty's vessel

coastal motorboat 47 B..."

He can't have been in command.

I think the commanding officer
had been killed.

"And being a person subject
to the Naval Discipline Act,

on the 23rd day of April 1918,

from cowardice,
did not during the action

between His Majesty's fleet and
the fleet of the German empire,

in his own person
and according to his rank,

encourage his inferior officers
and men to fight courageously."

What sort of person is your son,
Mrs. Hamilton?

I've had a signal, Geoffrey.

You'll be able to talk to him

Thank you.

He's rather shy,
if you don't know him.

But underneath, he's...he's
very determined and very brave,

which sounds rather silly.

To me, he's thoughtful,
unselfish. He's funny.

My other children adore him.

In the navy, he's always been
rather a success,

perhaps too successful.

When you saw him at Dover,
what did he say to you?

Oh, not much, I'm afraid.

He didn't want to talk to me
or seem to be able to talk.

He just said
how terribly sorry he was

and how he'd let
his father down.

Quite clearly, the less he has
to do with his own defense,

the better.

Who do you suggest defends?

Well, no specific qualifications
are called for,

according to the regulations.

You know, the navy has retained
some customs

going back
to before Nelson's time.

For instance,
if the accused is found guilty,

they point his sword at him.

Quite barbaric.

I expect you've heard
the old adage

that inside every solicitor,

there's a barrister
pleading to get out.

I must confess I would be
most interested,

that is, if I were acceptable
to Mrs. Hamilton.

Of course, Sir Geoffrey.

Thank you.

I shall do my best.

The proceedings will be held
at Dover Castle,

a most interesting place.

It contains the pharos,
you know,

the Roman lighthouse

in which they kept
a constant fire blazing

to guide their ships
across the channel.

Excuse me, my lord.

Sublieutenant Michael Hamilton
and escort.

I was lying on the deck
sort of shivering.

I was very, very frightened.

Not very surprising.

What were you thinking?

Well, I was hoping
no one would notice

and trying to pull myself

when Chief Webb came
and knelt beside me.

I think he thought
I'd been wounded.

I see.

He told me
the skipper had been killed.

That meant I was in command.


I mean, I knew that
perfectly well.

I knew it was my duty to go
to the bridge and take over,

but...l just couldn't move.

I mean, I just couldn't.

My body
just wouldn't move somehow.

And what happened, then?

Well, I managed to say
something, and Webb went away.

He's a ripping sort of fellow.
He never said anything.

But he knew I was funking it
as well as I did.

When the firing had stopped,

Well, I felt all right again.

But that doesn't alter the fact

that I behaved
like a rotten coward.

I mean, I shall have to
tell them that, shan't I?

It's no good shirking the truth.

I shall have to say that I...

It seems to me that you've said
a great deal already.

Are you willing
to have me defend you?

But Mother and Lord Bellamy

The final choice must be yours.

Well, yes, sir, please.

In that case, you must do
exactly as I tell you.

Yes, sir.

You will plead not guilty.

But, sir, how can I?

You will not be required
to speak in your own defense.

I shall do the talking.

But if I think
I'm really guilty...

GEOFFREY: It's not what
you think that matters.

It's what the officers
of the court think.

There'll be senior
naval officers

with a great deal more
experience of the navy than you

and, quite frankly, much better
able to judge your behaviour

than yourself.

I see, sir.

Now, you want a fair trial,
don't you?

You want to know what people
think of your actions.

Well, yes, of course.

Now, from now on,
you'll keep your mouth shut.

Anything you want to say,
you'll say to me.

Now, I want you to sit here and
write down every single thing

you can remember
about that night.

Yes, sir.

Well, he was quite young,
but he looked really fierce.

I bet he's used that sword
before now.

What was it all about?

Well, it's Mrs. Hamilton's son
in trouble, if you ask me.

I wonder if they'll make him
walk the plank.

[Telephone rings]


This is Lord Bellamy's

Who is that?


Edward, what on earth...



Oh, hold the line.

Daisy, Edward is wishing to
speak to you, on the telephone.

On the telephone!

You'd better come
and speak to him, then.



[ Laughs ]
You do sound funny.

Edward, on the telephone.

Edward telephoning?

I never did.
Whatever next?

That instrument was not
installed for the likes of us.

It is for the use of those
upstairs and for no one else.

Daisy, I would like
to make it clear to you

and you to make it clear
to Edward

that never again,
under any circumstances,

may he telephone this house.

Well, he said he was sorry,
Mr. Hudson,

but it's an emergency.

What sort of an emergency?

Well, he won't be able
to get up here today.

I don't call that an emergency.

But he wants me to take an
omnibus and go up there to him,

if I could have
the afternoon off.

Please, Mr. Hudson.

Well, with Rose away
on her holiday at Southwold,

that could hardly be
more inconvenient, Daisy.

Well, I can manage.

Yes, Ruby, I'm sure you can.

But not until upstairs luncheon
has been cleared.

Oh, yes, Mr. Hudson.
Thank you, Mr. Hudson.

And mind what I said
about the telephone.

DAISY: Yes, Mr. Hudson.
Thank you, Mr. Hudson.

And three bags full, Mr. Hudson.

The news seems better today.

What does it matter?

No one's going to win this war.

Well, the Americans are
in action for the first time

in France.


Just in time
to pick up the pieces.

What's gone wrong in this house?

You can ring and ring
and nothing ever happens.

We are rather short of servants
with Rose on holiday.

Whenever I ask, I'm told
there are visitors to meals

-and goodness knows what.
RICHARD: Now, James.

- After all, it's my house!
- My dear boy.

Evidently nobody seems to care
about me anymore,

least of all Hazel.

Now, don't be absurd.

Anyway, what's she doing

going off down to Dover
with this woman?

Mrs. Hamilton's having
a rotten time.

You know how kindhearted
Hazel is.


Mrs. Hamilton isn't being
court-martialed, is she?

No, but her son is very young.
He's only 17.

Damn silly, sending a boy
like that into action.

We wouldn't have had a trooper
of that age in the regiment,

let alone an officer.

I will inform their lordships
of your opinion.

[Knock on door]

Ruby, what on earth
are you doing in here?

I'm sorry, sir.
Daisy's got...

Take this tray down.
It's been waiting an hour.

Yes, sir.

And tell Mrs. Bridges she's
giving me far too much to eat.

I can't take any exercise,

so I don't want to be stuffed
like a goose.

Yes, sir.

Chief Petty Officer Webb,

during the operations
against Zeebrugge and Ostend,

known as Z.O.,

you were coxsvvain
of coastal motorboat 47B.

Yes, sir.

Will you describe to the court,
in your own words,

what happened to your boat

after she departed
from Strewn Bank whistle buoy.

Yes, sir.

We proceeded in shore
towards Ostend Harbor,

on a course set
for the Bell buoy,

which was our start point
for laying smoke.

Well, when we heard the surf,
it was a bit of a mystery,

us not knowing as we did later

that the enemy knew our plans
and had moved the buoys.

Please confine your evidence
to what actually happened.


As we turned to starboard
and began to lay smoke,

the enemy opened up on us
from the shore.

It was as if they knew that...

The boat was exposed
to very heavy gunfire

and machine guns at close range.

The wind being
unfortunately offshore,

we were shown up
against our own smoke.

I have never experienced
such heavy fire.

It was like the sea
was boiling all around us.

The boat was hit
by three or four shells

and raped by machine-gun fire.

I observed two of the four
deck Lewis guns

with their crews
blown into the sea.

It was like hell.

It was a miracle
anyone stayed alive out there.

The skipper, Lieutenant Twiss,
I should say,

was hit by a shell splinter
and killed instantly.

I put over the helm and turned
back into our own smoke

and the firing decreased
and became inaccurate.

I proceeded to the foredeck

to find
Acting Sublieutenant Hamilton

who was in command
of the Lewis guns.

I found him lying inert
on the deck.

At first, I thought he was dead,

but he was breathing
and his eyes were open.

I knelt beside him and asked him
if he was all right.

He did not reply.

What happened next?

I informed
Acting Sublieutenant Hamilton

of the death
of Lieutenant Twiss.

He did not reply.

I again asked him
if he was wounded.

He replied, "No."

Did he say anything else?

Yes, sir.

He said...

He said,
"You carry on, Beattie."

What did he mean by Beattie?

Well, sir, I imagine it was
a reference to the time

when Acting Sublieutenant
Hamilton was a middie --

a midshipman, sir.

I was
his navigation instructor,

and some of the young gentlemen
referred to me

in a playful manner as Beattie,

on account of the angle
I wore my cap.

All right.

Proceed with your evidence.

I returned to the bridge
and put the boat back on course.

After it had lain in the smoke,

I was joined by Acting
Sublieutenant Hamilton,

and on his orders, we proceeded
back to the rendezvous.

Did you discuss
what had happened?

No, sir.

There was too much to do.

There was the dead
and wounded to see to,

and the boat
was near to sinking.

When Acting Sublieutenant
Hamilton told you

that he was not wounded,

yet made no move to get up or
follow you back to the bridge,

what did you think?

I don't rightly follow you, sir.

Did you conclude that he was
incapable of doing so

through fear?

I object.

The prosecuting officer
is putting words

into the mouth of the witness.

Objection allowed.

The witness's thoughts
are irrelevant.

I have no further questions.

Does the defense wish to
cross-question the witness?

If you please.

Acting Sublieutenant
Hamilton's job

was commanding the foredeck,
was it not?

Yes, sir.

GEOFFREY: A very important one.
- Yes, sir.

And your job as Coxswain was
to steer and navigate the boat?

Yes, sir.

Now, if Acting Sublieutenant
Hamilton had decided,

even though in command,
to remain on the foredeck,

would that have surprised you?

No, sir.

Which, it seems,
is exactly what he did.

Thank you, Chief Petty Officer.

The witness may stand down.

[Clears throat]

OMB 47B rejoined the flotilla at
02:47 hours at the rendezvous.

Owning to her poor condition,

I took her in tow and took
her crew on board my own boat.

On the orders
of the force commander,

we then proceeded back to port.

On the passage, Sublieutenant
Hamilton was ordered to my cabin

to make a report of the
operation, as was customary.

He said to me, "Don't ask me
what happened, sir.

I funked it
and let you all down.

If you want to know
what happened, ask Webb.

He saved the day.
He ought to get a medal."

I asked him to explain,

but he became incoherent
and broke down.

On return to port, I put Acting
Sublieutenant Hamilton in arrest

and charged him
with his present offense.

Sir Geoffrey Dillon,
please proceed with the defense.

Thank you.

I call this witness,
Lieutenant Lightfoot.

Lieutenant Lightfoot
is prosecuting officer.

He is also the accused's
commanding officer

and a very vital witness
in this case.

May I refer you
to the Admiralty memorandum

on court-martial procedures,

section 685, paragraph 2.

"The prosecutor
is a competent witness,

as is a member of the court,

and whether previously objected
to or not by either side

is not necessarily disqualified

from being examined
as a witness

should it be found that he can
give material evidence."

Please carry on.

You bear an especial
responsibility in this case,

do you not?

A very grave responsibility.

Yes, I do.

If Acting Sublieutenant Hamilton
had not come to your cabin

and confessed to you
his supposed failure,

do you think he'd be here now?

That is a hypothetical question
which I'm unable to answer.

Now, you have told us that
he made incoherent statements

and broke down.

Did you not consider that he was
in a state of shock?

I think everyone's in
a state of shock to some extent

after an action.

It did not occur to you
that he was ill

and ought to see a doctor?

He did not request it.

As it happened,
the one doctor then available

had 23 wounded men to attend to,

some of them dying.

[Clears throat]

Now, you have quoted the accused
as saying,

"Don't ask me what happened,

I funked it
and let you all down.

If you want to know
what happened, ask Webb.

He saved the day.
He ought to get a medal."

Is that all
Hamilton said to you?

I believe so.

I don't think that was all.

You have your report.
Pray consult it.

He did make one other remark.

"I'm terribly sorry, sir.

It won't happen again.

I'll know what to expect
next time."

Thank you, Lieutenant Lightfoot.

I have one more question
for you.

Do you think
that instead of arresting

Acting Sublieutenant Hamilton,

you would have been wiser

to tell him
to pull himself together

and forget the whole thing?

I believe I did my duty.

Thank you, Lieutenant Lightfoot.

Acting Sublieutenant Hamilton

has not yet attained
his 18th birthday.

He is a young man whose record
up to this point

in the Royal Navy

has been irreproachable.

He would hardly have been
selected for promotion

at this tender age
if that had not been so.

He was chosen to take part

in this possibly difficult
and dangerous operation

for that very reason.

No one could have known
that within a few minutes

of Acting Sublieutenant Hamilton

going into action
against the enemy,

he would undergo an ordeal
of shot and shell

that few sailors
are called upon to endure

in their whole careers.

"The sea was boiling all round.

The foredeck, which was Acting
Sublieutenant Hamilton's command

was like hell.

It was a miracle
that anyone stayed alive."

Those are the statements
of the prosecution witness,

a chief petty officer,
an experienced sailor,

a man not given,
I would imagine,

to making statements of a wild
or exaggerated nature.

Yet one man on that foredeck
did survive.

Acting Sublieutenant Hamilton.

Is it surprising

that as a result of the shocking
explosions all round him,

his brain and body suffered
a temporary paralysis?

Yet in spite of that,

Acting Sublieutenant Hamilton

was able to summon up
enough common sense

to order Chief Petty Officer
Webb to carry on,

knowing that he himself
was temporarily incapable.

Every man is entitled
to his own opinion,

but I don't think

that fair-minded
and experienced officers,

such as you gentlemen,

can have any doubt,
as I have not,

that this young man

went to his senior officer
and blamed himself,

quite wrongly as it happened,

risked his whole career

so that his chief petty officer

should receive the recognition
which was undoubtedly his due.

What could be more honest,
more unselfish, more honourable?

I believe that
in judging this young man,

we should talk of courage
not of cowardice.

I ask you to acquit
Acting Sublieutenant Hamilton,

to give him
that honourable discharge

which he so justly deserves,

let him prove to you
by his own future conduct

that your trust in him
has not been misplaced

and that the steel of his
courage has been tempered

by his first
and terrible ordeal.

It is now for the prosecuting
officer to sum up.

[Clears throat]

This country is facing

one of the gravest crises
in her history.

The whole service awaits your
verdict with great interest.

Any weakness in your judgment

might give the backsliders

a chance to let their country
down in action.

Let your verdict
on Sublieutenant Hamilton

be an example to them all.

Clear the court.

[ Indistinct conversations]

Thank you, Sir Geoffrey.

I thought
you were quite splendid.

After that, they couldn't
possibly find him guilty.

They simply couldn't.

I don't know.

These men are naval officers,
you know, not judges.

They think differently.
They have different standards.

And, of course,
they put the navy first,

just as your son did,
Mrs. Hamilton.

And my husband.

Yes, that's quite true,
Sir Geoffrey.

The court is reassembling.

The court finds

that Acting Sublieutenant
Michael Drury Hamilton,

through cowardice, did not
during the action

between His Majesty's fleet and
the fleet of the German empire,

in his own person
and according to his rank,

encourage his inferior
officers and his men

to fight courageously

and is guilty
of the act charged against him.

The court sentences

the aforesaid
Acting Sublieutenant

Michael Drury Hamilton

to be reprimanded.

Ruby, what's happened
to my meat scraps?

They've all gone.

All them scraps the major left.

Oh, it must be the mice again.

I'd like to see the mouse

that can climb up
the side of that saucepan,

lift off the lid,
and put it back on again.

Human mouse, if you ask me.

But I'm not asking me, Ruby.
I'm asking you.

Have you been stealing
my scraps?

Have you?

Oh, no.
Honest, Mrs. Bridges.

What is the matter now,
Mrs. Bridges?

Ruby's been stealing
my meat scraps.

That's what's the matter.

Though, of course,
she won't admit it, not to me.

Have you, Ruby?

Well, I did take one or two
very little bits.

Nothing more than grease
and skin,

for the poor animals at the zoo.

Animals at the zoo?

Yes, poor things.

They were so grateful.
They're half-starved.

Oh, to feed the animals
at the zoo

is a very Christian gesture,
Mrs. Bridges.

I think she may be forgiven.

Oh, time for the major's tea.

It's all ready in the kitchen.

Where is that girl?

Oh, Daisy's gone to lay down.

Well, she was feeling poorly.

I'll take the tray up,
Mr. Hudson.

You will do nothing of the sort.

I will take it up myself.

I hope it's nothing more
than poorly.

What with the rationing
and the U-boats

and the Germans on our doorstep.

And if you so much as touch one
tiny scrap in this house again,

I'll have Mr. Hudson take you
down to the station

and clap you behind bars.

You see if I don't.

Yes, Mrs. Bridges.

Sounds like a great hoo-ha
about nothing to me.

The sort of thing the colonel
dealt with every day himself

when we were in action.

I'm sorry
that you felt neglected.

Richard said that you had.

Forget about it.

Just me making a fuss about
nothing in my usual spoilt way.

When Rose comes back
from her holiday,

she's giving up her job
on the omnibuses.

She'll be here especially
to look after you.

Well, why should Rose
spoil her life just for me?

Well, I could get Nurse Wilkins
back if you prefer it.

Forget about it.

Don't worry me about it.

I'm not worth it.
I'm useless.

Just a burden to everybody.

And I'm not getting any better.

Dr. Foley says that you are.

It just needs time.

That's what all
the bloody quacks say.

That's what they're paid for.

Why can't he be honest?

Why can't anyone be honest?

If I was a horse or a dog,

I'd be for the bullet
and good riddance.

[Knock on door]

- Hudson.
- HUDSON: Madam.

Thank you.

Hudson, come in.

Don't you go sneaking off
like that.

You found a way
of winning the war yet?

Well, not exactly, Major.

The soldiers will find a way,

You want the kaiser,
Little willie, and Hindenburg

in one front-line trench,

Lloyd George, Haig, Foch,

and all the froggy generals
in the one opposite.

Give them a thousand bombs
to throw at each other,

the war will be over in a week.

[ Laughs ]

Very good, Major.
Very good, indeed.


Hudson, when Miss Elizabeth and
I used to come to your pantry,

you'd do a trick for us.
Do you remember?

I can't say I...

JAMES: Yes, yes, a very
good trick with matches.

Oh, yes.

Do it for me here.

Well, it's a...

It's quite some time since I...

Let me see, now.

There were the two supports,

A wee bridge across the middle.

Light the fire.


May I do it now?

It could hardly have been
a better verdict

in the circumstances.

No, it's a great relief.

I don't know
what would have happened

Without your dear Sir Geoffrey.

I can't thank you enough
for finding him.


Oh, Geoffrey's
a tower of strength

when it comes to a crisis.

He pretends to be
such a dry old dragon.

He really has a heart of gold.


I just hope everyone...

I hope Michael won't think
I played the interfering mother

using money and influence
to get him off lightly.

When my son was wounded
at Passchendaele last October,

I was easily persuaded,
against all my principles,

to go out in a private ambulance
and bring him back.

We're only human.

But now it's all over,
you can forget it.


I wish I could persuade Michael
to do that.

Oh, he will.
Don't worry.

He'll get another chance.

This verdict won't damage
his career in the long run.

He's young.

I wonder.

I know the navy so well.

It's such a small family,

Oh, of course
that's its great strength,

but it has its disadvantages.

In the future,

whenever Michael's name
comes up for a job

or even in ordinary conversation
on a ship or at a dinner party,

"Michael Hamilton,"
they'll think,

even if they don't say it,

"That Charles' boy
who was court-martialed

for that business at Ostend.

very sad."

Oh, yes, I know so well.

He'll just have to take
his chances

and prove them all wrong.

- Good evening, sir.
- Hello.

We ought to go, Mother.
I've kept the taxicab waiting.

Michael's taking me
out to supper,

and then we're going on
to see a show.

"Chu Chin Chow,"
for the third time.

We both adore it.

Now, I must go up and tidy.

Hazel said I might use her room.

Don't be too long.

I won't be two shakes
of a duck's whisker.

We've all heard that before.

Would you like
a glass of sherry?

Thank you, sir.

Oh, would you prefer a cocktail?

No, a glass of sherry,
thank you, sir.


Thank you very much
for your help, sir.

Well, all's well that ends well.

Put it down to experience.

Yes, sir.

I'm sure you'll be all right
next time.

Yes, I think I will,

but I don't expect there'll be
a next time for me,

not in this war.

It wouldn't be fair

with so many of the other
fellows wanting a chance.

That's true.

No one's fault but my own,

but I just would have liked
the chance

to show them all
I was all right,

for Mother's sake as much as...

Well, well, that's quick.

Enjoy "Chu Chin Chow" again,
for the third time.

[ Footsteps approaching ]

[Door opens, closes]



I thought
you was supposed to be poorly.

Oh, I was.

I just popped out
for a breath of fresh air.


Mr. Hudson gone on patrol yet?

Well, what's wrong?

There's a sergeant,
I mean soldier sergeant

with "MP." on his arm
outside with Mr. Hudson.

Well, what's that
supposed to mean?

That's what we wondered.

MP. means military police.

I'd better go and lay
the dinner.

It's just his lordship
and Mrs. Bellamy, isn't it?

Sit down, Daisy.

That was the provost sergeant

from the Middlesex regiment's
depot at Mill Hill.

MRS. BRIDGES: Whatever
did he want, Mr. Hudson?

He wanted to know
the whereabouts of Edward,

who is absent without leave.

Oh, my lord.

Hope he's not ill again.

I don't know, Mrs. Bridges.

If he was, the correct procedure
would have been

for him to apply to see
the regimental doctor,

which he has so far
made no effort to do.

Well, what's the use of that?

That doctor was the one who said
he was fit to go abroad again.

Was he, Daisy?

Was he, indeed?
How interesting.

Especially as it happens
Edward is one of the draft

due to leave for France


That's not right.

No, it's not right, not Edward.

No, it certainly isn't right.

You all know as well as I do

if Eddie has to go through

another barrage of shelling
like before,

he's gonna be stark-staring mad
for the rest of his life.

A sort of half-portion of a man,
like the poor major upstairs.

this is a national emergency.

We are fighting
at the last ditch

with our backs to the wall.

So you keep saying.
Well, why haven't you gone?

They're calling up
married men of 50,

and there's nothing wrong
with you.

Daisy, how dare you talk
to Mr. Hudson...

If you want to know, I have
applied two or three times.

I am told that there is no time
to train me

and that, anyway, my job here
is of vital national importance.

And quite right, too.

I am told that there are many
worse than Edward going out.

And anyway,
they're only to be employed

in replacing lines
of communications,

troops fit for the front.

That's what they say.

Where is Edward, Daisy?

How should I know?

I think you do know.

And you're not leaving this room
till you tell me.

Ruby, I think you know, too.
Where is he?

Anyway, what business is it
of yours?

It is my business because
as long as I'm butler here,

I shall not stand aside and
see disgrace, scandal, or worse

brought on this house.

He is a former employee
and his wife works here and...

And I am very fond of the boy.


Well, you're so fond of him,

you'd send him to a loony bin
for the rest of his life.

You are his wife, Daisy.

Are you prepared to ruin
his life and yours forever?

That's nonsense.

It's only AWOL.

He might have to do a week
or two in the glasshouse,

and that's better than France
any day.

Oh, you have been strangely
misinformed, my girl.

Deliberately missing
a draft for France

is considered as much desertion

as running away from the enemy
in action or worse.

Especially when the crime
is committed by a corporal

and an old soldier.

It is the worst crime
a soldier can commit,

a terrible example to
the young men in his regiment.

And there is a dreadful
punishment for it.

A firing squad at dawn.

I don't believe you.

Mrs. Hamilton's son was
court-martialed for cowardice,

and he got away with nothing
worse than a telling-off.

That was quite different, Daisy.

Daisy, for pity's sake, tell us.

- Mr. Hudson, Edward's...
- DAISY: Ruby!

He's in his father's house
in Watthamstow.

It's been bombed and it's all
boarded up and they're away.

Thank you.

Ruby, fetch me the money box.

But that's for our holiday.

Fetch it!

Now, Daisy,
you will find a taxi meter,

drive to Watthamstow,
collect Edward,

and take him immediately
to Mill Hill

and report to the guard room.

Walthamstow to Mill Hill
in a taxi meter cab?

Who's going to pay it all back?

When I get
to the police station,

I will telephone
the guard room at Mill Hill

and explain that Edward
has been suffering

from temporary loss of memory
and is now better.

Now, is that clear now, Daisy?

Yes, Mr. Hudson.

Well, off you go now, my girl,

What about dinner
and the bedrooms?

Mrs. Bridges and Ruby
must hold the fort.

Away you go, girl.
Quickly now, quickly.

Oh, my God.

Whatever next?

So that's what the meat scraps
was for.

Feeding the poor animals
at the zoo.

One of these days, my girl,

that tongue of yours
is going to frizzle up

and stick to the roof
of your mouth.

Well, then,
what about them vegetables?

Oh, the wickedness there is
in this world.

Daisy, how's Edward?

Sir, my lord.

What's the matter with Daisy?

Oh, Edward went back to France

on a draft this morning,
my lord.

Oh, poor girl.

Now, will you please find
Mrs. Bellamy and Mrs. Hamilton

and say I'd be very obliged

if they'd come to
the morning room immediately.

Ah, my lord,
I think that Mrs. Hamilton

is already a wee thing late
for her train to Scotland.

- Do as I say.
- My lord.

[ Indistinct conversation]


You're back so early.

Virginia, my dear, do sit down.

You know how fond
we all are of you.


Michael was killed in action
in Ostend last night.

I've just been on the telephone
to Dover.


Please tell me
everything you know.

The night
you went to the theatre,

I had a talk with Michael.

The next day, I ran into
Roger Keys of the Admiralty.

I'm afraid I'm not explaining
this very well.

I understand.

Roger Keys is a great admiral,
a great man, a great leader.

He knew about Michael,
of course.

I think even before
I mentioned it,

he'd decided to give him
another chance.

There was this new business
at Ostend being planned.

Keys was Michael's great hero.

Do you know what happened?

I have a report.

I'll leave it here.

Read it now, please.

- Are you sure?
- Yes, I'm sure.

Michael was on the coastal
motorboat ordered to lead

and escort the block ship
vindictive up the channel

to the lock gates at Ostend

and to place a calcic phosphate
light buoy in position

to guide her.

As the port torpedo was
discharged at the lock gates,

the boat came under heavy
and accurate enfilade fire

from the western
and eastern piers.

Commanding the foredeck,
Acting Sublieutenant Hamilton

continued to return enemy fire
with his Lewis gun,

in spite of the fact
that he was badly wounded.

When the signal came,

he somehow managed to launch
the marker buoy single-handed

and light the fuse
before dying at his post.

There is no doubt that the
success of the whole operation

was ensured
by the consummate bravery

and the complete disregard
for his own safety

shown by this very gallant
young officer.

Please forgive me, Virginia,
for my part.

Don't apologize, Richard.

If Michael's father
had been alive,

it is exactly
what he would have wished.

"For how can man die better

than facing fearful odds

for the ashes of his fathers
and the temples of his gods?"

That was Michael's...

I'll go to her.

Is there anywhere in the world
a woman braver than that?

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