One of Ours
by Leslie Sands
Episode Number: 10
Director: Tim Jones
|Edwin Ashton||Colin Douglas|
|Jean Ashton||Shelagh Fraser|
|David Ashton||Colin Campbell|
|Sheila Ashton||Coral Atkins|
|Margaret Porter||Lesley Nunnerley|
|Freda Ashton||Barbara Flynn|
|Susan Reynolds||Rowena Cooper|
|Ken Beaumont||Brett Usher|
|Lofty Turner||Robert Davis|
|Wing Commander Hignet||Philip Brack|
|A Soldier||Michael de Freyne |
|The RAF Base||With David behind the wheel, Walter Smith (or "Smithy," as he is called) tinkers with the automobile's stalled engine until eventually he gets it running again. |
Ken Beaumont walks up to them and asks about their plans for the night—will it be their customary watering hole on a Saturday, The Turk's Head pub?
Smithy begs out, mumbling that he has a date and will be unable to join them.
Moments later, behind Smithy's back, David and Ken vow to do some detective work, checking up on their pal's unconvincing excuse.
|The Ashton Home||Margaret and Jean are preparing blackout screens for the bedroom while Edwin is away at the ARP. |
Margaret comments that the newspaper has an article on the heroic British housewife in wartime.
As Jean reads it aloud, she happens to notice an adjoining article that claims the RAF shot down 185 German planes yesterday.
Jean says that David might telephone tonight, but Margaret is skeptical.
|WVS Study Centre||On a hunch, David and Ken visit the Women's Voluntary Service Study Centre, whose director, Susan Reynolds, invites them into her office. |
They explain that they are trying to find out where Smithy has been spending his off-duty hours of late.
Susan says their friend has been coming there regularly, studying for a school certificate in the hopes of possibly becoming a history teacher someday.
Ken leaves the office, determined (as crew captain) to convince Smithy to pursue their usual Saturday night carousing.
David inquires about Susan's surname, and she acknowledges that she was married to pilot Jack Reynolds, captain of David's former flight crew.
Jack was killed during a bombing run that David missed due to his injured right hand.
David invites Susan to join them at The Turk's Head if she ever wants companionship.
|The Ashton Home||Sheila arrives and offers to help Freda carry the blackout screen upstairs. |
When Sheila makes an innocent comment about the use of leisure hours, Freda snaps back at her about being more careful how she is spending hers.
Jean tries to comfort Sheila by blaming Freda's apparent rude behaviour on lack of sleep.
|The Turk's Head||A dozen or more airmen are raucously singing, as accompanied by Smithy at the piano. |
When David spots Susan Reynolds across the room, he extends to her a friendly word of greeting.
Susan assures David's crew that she is only there to organise refreshments for the WVS social next week.
Lofty Turner, a genial Aussie, provides his nightly entertainment—consisting of balancing a glass of beer on his forehead while leading everyone in a rousing rendition of "Waltzing Matilda."
|The Ashton Home||Margaret, Jean, and Sheila are complaining about how quiet Saturday nights have become. |
Jean encourages Sheila to make allowances for her husband's forgetfulness, which she suggests may only be a product of his dangerous job.
|The Turk's Head||Ken all but accuses David of making a play for Susan's affections, but David protests that she is their former mate's widow, and there is no more to it than that. |
While the others all go their separate ways at closing time, David waits behind to escort Susan.
|The Ashton Home||Sheila has become increasingly dejected because David still has not telephoned, but Jean speculates that he is flying.|
|WVS Study Centre||Susan tells David that she lives in a flat on the top floor—"More of an attic, really." |
She adds that she and her husband sold their house near Purley when he joined the RAF and she began working at the study centre.
Susan gives David a list of study books, which he professes to be interested in reading.
After he tells her that his brother, Philip, went to Oxford, she confesses that she always felt that Jack resented her college degree a bit.
|The Ashton Home||Freda and her father are discussing David's failure to telephone Sheila the night before. |
Enigmatically, Freda declares that maybe it will do Sheila some good to "get some of her own medicine."
Edwin asks what that comment was supposed to mean, and Freda replies that one of Sheila's neighbours sees her and the delivery man together quite often—once even at the pictures.
Edwin says he cannot believe that Sheila would be unfaithful, and he attributes David's alleged womanising to the social confusions of wartime.
|WVS Study Centre||David tells Susan that Smithy is the crew's wireless operator, now his only duty after briefly doubling as an ineffectual gunner. |
As for himself, David declares that he is in the RAF strictly for the money, having had no job when he enlisted.
Susan says that her late husband did it for patriotic reasons—the struggle between good and evil—a philosophy that troubled her at the time because it seemed too simplistic, too black-and-white, for her concept of the world.
David tells her what she wants to hear—that Jack was right.
|The RAF Base||Airmen are relaxing when officers snap them to attention with the flight briefings. |
Doug surprises Ken with the news that Lofty has reported sick and will not be flying.
Wing Commander Hignet announces to the men that the bombing mission that night will be the synthetic oil producing plant at Magdeburg.
When Ken expresses disappointment that the target will not be Berlin itself—to boost public morale—Hignet cuts him short by stating that their job is to hit the enemy, not to keep up morale.
After a hasty discussion, Hignet gives Ken permission to fly without co-pilot Lofty Turner.
Just before take-off, Smithy catches Doug writing a letter that begins, "In case I don't get back…"
He advises Doug to burn the letter, implying that it is bad luck to write a goodbye message before any mission.
|The Ashton Home||When Jean presses him on the issue of their daughter-in-law, Edwin informs her that there is mean gossip circulating that Sheila does not miss David all that much and that maybe she has found herself a bit of consolation in his absence. |
Edwin is amazed to learn that Jean knows all about these charges, having been informed by Mrs. Ironside at the NAAFI.
He quips that perhaps Jean should re-muster to the Secret Service.
|The Bomber||Individually, the crew members check in with their skipper, Flight Sergeant Ken Beaumont, and the Wellington bomber takes off for Germany.|
|The Ashton Home||Upon hearing the now familiar sound of air-raid sirens, Jean switches off the lights.|
|The Bomber||Later that evening, David informs Ken that their estimated time of arrival is five minutes flat.|
|The Anderson Shelter||Jean, Margaret, and Sheila are shivering none too happily in their drafty shelter—beneath its galvanised corrugated steel panels—but both Philip and Edwin had agreed that this approach to self-preservation would be a safer option than remaining indoors under the stairs. |
The baby is in Margaret's arms, and she confides to the other women, "It seems an awful thing to say, but I think he's getting used to it."
German heavy bombers are heard overhead.
|The Bomber||David is giving navigational headings and calculates that they will be over the target in two minutes. |
High above Magdeburg, three fighters attack from the rear, and Doug shoots one of them down in flames.
The target is reached, and navigator/bombardier David releases the load of explosives.
|The Anderson Shelter|| |
Sheila is painfully aware that some malicious gossip is being spread about her, and she insists that these allegations be cleared up here and now or she will not be coming around again.
|The Bomber||As they approach the English coast, the crew's spirits are high. |
But suddenly the plane is jolted, ostensibly by friendly fire—"Must be our own shore batteries," says David.
They decide to climb above the clouds to avoid the deadly ack-ack.
The plane is struck repeatedly, and the rear gunner, Doug, no longer responds over the intercom.
Smithy volunteers to check on Doug, and Ken orders David to do what he can to assist.
To his astonishment, David sees that the tail section is on fire.
|The Anderson Shelter||Edwin arrives and, awakening his wife, tells her that the all-clear has sounded, so everyone else is in the house. |
After Jean leaves to go inside, Edwin muses aloud, "I wonder what our David was up to last night."
|The Bomber||As the plane limps home, Smithy reports over the intercom that he has extinguished the flames. |
When Ken inquires about the feasibility of bringing the injured Doug forward, David speaks up, saying, "There's a hole in the floor a mile wide."
By the time Smithy makes his way to Doug's turret, he sounds to be losing his mind from the grisly sight that greets him.
Choking on the smoke and giggling like a madman, he reports over the intercom that half of Doug's head has been blown off.
"I tried to tell him," sobs Smithy. "He wrote too many bloody letters."
Ken asks David to help Smithy forward, and when David hesitates, Ken re-phrases that request in the form of an order.
David arrives in the tail and is shocked to see that Smithy has been badly burned in fighting the flames.
|The Ashton Home||Edwin tells Freda that he is angry at her for helping to spread the gossip about Sheila, and Freda talks back to him before quickly apologising. |
Margaret sides with Sheila, affirming that she does not believe David's wife would ever be unfaithful to him.
Sheila walks right into the middle of the argument, much to accuser Freda's embarrassment.
When Sheila tells all about Bob O'Connell, Freda is genuinely ashamed of herself, telling Sheila how sorry she is for having doubted her.
Sheila reflects that the war is a terrible ordeal for a still-young wife and mother such as herself.
She reveals to the others what she told David the last time she saw him—that if his injured hand became septic enough for amputation, then they would be compelled to send him back to her—"And I meant it," she emphasises. "I meant it!"
Just to show that there are no hard feelings, Sheila offers the contrite Freda a cup of tea.
|The Bomber||David drags the grievously injured wireless operator forward.|
|The Ashton Home||When Jean asks Edwin whether it is now peaceful between Freda and Sheila, he says, "As right as it'll ever be, I suppose." |
Jean tells her husband that Sheila has received a mysterious letter about David, but then she goes no further, admitting that there is nothing they can do about the relationship.
|The RAF Base||Wing Commander Hignet confides to Ken that he has been reprimanded for permitting his crew to proceed on their bombing run short-handed. |
Ken complains that "no one expects their own side to start shooting at them."
Hignet suggests that some of the coastal gun crews are a bit trigger-happy after all they have been through for the past month.
As he turns to leave, Hignet informs Ken that doctors say Smithy's wireless operating days are over.
David rings the study centre and tells Susan that Smithy is in hospital.
He asks if he can see her at the centre to read up on "what it's all about," the political side of the war.
Ken comes in and tells David that Smithy will survive his injuries.
David wants to visit their mate at the hospital, but Ken discloses that will not be allowed, as surgeons will be removing Smithy's left arm.
"It’s hard lines," he adds stoically. "There's a war on."
David is furious at what he considers to be Ken's coldly unfeeling attitude, saying, "That was Smithy—remember!"
Then, as Ken retreats from the confrontation, David shouts after him, “SMITHY!”
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