The War Office Regrets

by John Finch

Episode Number: 7
Director: Michael Cox



Edwin Ashton   Colin Douglas
Jean Ashton   Shelagh Fraser
David Ashton   Colin Campbell
Sheila Ashton   Coral Atkins
Margaret Porter   Lesley Nunnerley
Freda Ashton   Barbara Flynn
Sefton Briggs   John McKelvey
Harry Porter   Patrick Troughton
Celia Porter   Margery Mason
Bob O'Connell   James Beck
Mrs. Ironside   Rosemarie Dunham
Charlie   Michael Percival
Wally   Malcolm Patton
A Policeman   Peter Childs
The Vicar   Joseph Berry



A Canteen   Sheila reveals to a NAAFI co-worker, Mrs. Ironside, that her sister-in-law, Margaret, has not heard from her husband for three weeks, ever since the Germans invaded France.

A delivery man, Bob O'Connell, offers to give Sheila a ride home, saying that he already knows her address.

The Ashton Home   Freda and Edwin express their mutual fears about John's whereabouts.

In Church   Margaret listens as the vicar prays for the deliverance of stranded soldiers at Dunkirk.

The Ashton Home   Jean arrives home and tells her husband that Margaret is visiting the Porters.

Edwin cautions his wife not to assume the worst about John's fate, but Jean says that is exactly what Margaret is doing.

David's and Sheila's Flat   Margaret startles Sheila with a surprise visit.

As she puts the kettle on, Margaret (who is now six-months pregnant) says she feels a bit giddy and sits down.

The Porter Home   Celia complains to her husband that Margaret still has not arrived.

Harry is trying to repair John's old wireless receiver for the air-raid shelter, a precaution which upsets Celia.

Harry asks his wife, "Can't we help each other?" and Celia snaps back, "When did you ever need any help from me?"

David's and Sheila's Flat   Margaret and Sheila are discussing David, saying they fear for his safety in the bombing runs.

Margaret reveals to Sheila that David always writes his mother that he is just taking a flying course.

Sheila says David's life now is just like the old days, when he was a bachelor.

Embarrassed by Margaret's presence, Bob O'Connell arrives to take Sheila back to her job at the canteen.

The Ashton Home   Jean asks Edwin how they can find out if John has been taken prisoner or killed.

Edwin answers that, in either case, Margaret would receive a telegram, probably delivered to the Porter address.

The Porter Home   Harry and Margaret are washing dishes, discussing John's possible fate.

Though they both agree that Celia is difficult to be around, Margaret promises to come by more often.

Margaret tells Harry that she went to the train station recently and "saw" John three times.

Harry offers to pay Margaret's fare home, but he drops his wallet and a folded telegram to the floor.

Bending over to snatch them up, he feels very faint and explains to Margaret that he has not been sleeping well.

After Margaret leaves, Harry pours himself a drink and then re-reads the telegram, which states that John Porter is missing and believed to be killed.

A Canteen   Bob O'Connell, the delivery man, has brought Sheila to work, and she begins to clear tables.

Two soldiers, Charlie and Wally, try to become friendly with Sheila, and Bob intercedes.

He and Charlie shout at each other, but nothing comes of it.

David's and Sheila's Flat   David arrives home, only to discover that no one is there.

The Ashton Home   Jean is putting important papers in a sack for safe-keeping.

Margaret arrives home with a surprise visitor, David.

The Porter Home   Harry is reminiscing to his wife about when they were younger, but she tells him not to waste time on such thoughts.

Celia says she knows he has begun drinking behind her back.

She also accuses him of dallying with Connie Edwards of the ARP.

Celia says she clings to Harry's promise that John will be safe from harm.

Harry brings his glass and bottle in the room, and Celia storms out.

Harry opens a drawer to reveal a service revolver.

The Ashton Home   Margaret thinks back to when John expressed his love for her and his happiness at being her husband.

At the table, Margaret serves Edwin tea, and David says he cannot stay long this time because he is not supposed to be away from camp.

As David is leaving to see his kids, Margaret urges him to be faithful to Sheila.

David's and Sheila's Flat   Bob O'Connell has driven Sheila to her home.

Sheila offers to prepare something for them to eat.

A Canteen   David is trying to find his wife, but Mrs. Ironside informs him that Sheila has left for the night.

"She wasn't expecting you, was she?" the lady quips.

David's and Sheila's Flat   Bob finishes his meal and has a smoke.

Sheila asks him why he is no longer with his wife, and he says he thinks it was because of his lame leg.

Sheila insists that it must be something other than that, confessing that she likes him very much but that he should not get "keen" on her.

They agree to remain friends, and just then David arrives and sees them together.

The Porter Home   Harry takes his revolver from the drawer, careful not to awaken Celia, who is sleeping in a chair just a few feet away.

She does wake up, however, and asks where he is going.

Just for a walk, he answers, and she says that is an odd thing to do in a blackout.

Celia asks Harry to read to her, and he agrees.

David's and Sheila's Flat   Bob O'Connell leaves, apologizing to Sheila for making her husband angry.

David and Sheila argue about the delivery man, her job, and the kids.

David says the kids should be evacuated for their safety, but Sheila tells him that she will wait until she feels there is no choice but to do so.

When David persists in complaining about her relationship with the delivery man, she asks him if he knows someone called Peggy, from whose home she has received a letter.

The Porter Home   Harry continues to read to Celia until she falls asleep, and then he slips out of the house, the revolver concealed in his coat.

David's and Sheila's Flat   David and Sheila discuss the girl named Peggy, whom David denies knowing.

They each accuse the other of not having enough trust.

David asks to read the letter from Peggy's home, which claims that it was he who made her pregnant.

David neither accepts nor denies the allegation, saying, "All right. You've shown it to me. What now?"

Sheila takes the letter and tosses it into the fireplace.

David becomes amorous, saying he still has two hours before his train.

Outside a Pub   Harry exits the pub, unsteady on his feet.

Three soldiers bump into him roughly as they pass.

A policeman approaches, and the inebriated Harry tells him that his son is still over there.

The officer assures him that the boy may yet return.

Harry says a telegram has been received from the War Office, indicating otherwise.

He refuses the policeman's kind offer to call for a taxi, claiming that he is on foot.

The Ashton Home   Edwin is appending some remarks to Jean's letter for Philip, who is stationed in Alderney, when the doorbell rings.

Freda answers the door, and Sefton storms in, demanding to know if Tony if there.

Sefton tells Edwin and Jean that Tony apparently has enlisted in the Navy.

He resents his son's decision, alleging that Tony is shirking his responsibility to the firm.

Margaret lashes out at her uncle for his hypocrisy in the war effort, claiming that his mercenary attitude belittles her John's willingness to fight for a just cause.

Harry arrives, showing the telegram to Edwin and Jean.

Margaret overhears their talk and asks to see the telegram too.

The Porter Home   After listening to a radio address by J. B. Priestley, Harry gives his service revolver to Edwin, asking that he turn it in to the police for the LDV (Local Defence Volunteers).

Harry confesses that he nearly used the revolver on himself, explaining that he could hardly cope.

"But you did cope," says Edwin, adding that Margaret is coping too.

The Ashton Home   Margaret is looking out the window, and she notices that the swing set has been removed to make room for the Anderson shelter.

Jean says, "Yes. Well, you're all a bit big for it now, aren't you, love?"

Margaret bursts into tears, and Jean comforts her with a motherly embrace.

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