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Ladies and gentlemen, it gives me great pleasure to introduce our guest of honour,
one of Walmington-on-Sea's most distinguished citizens.
A banker, soldier, magistrate and secretary of the Rotary Club.
A good fellow all round.
Ladies and gentlemen, Alderman George Mainwaring.
Mr Chairman, Mr Town Clerk, ladies and gentlemen,
when I was first invited to be guest of honour tonight,
at the launching of Walmington-on-Sea's "I'm Backing Britain" campaign,
I accepted without hesitation.
-have always backed Britain.
ALL: "Here, here!"
I got into the habit of it in 1940,
but THEN, we ALL backed Britain.
It was the darkest hour in our history.
The odds were absurdly against us, but, young and old, we stood there,
defiant, determined to survive, to recover and, finally, to win.
The news was desperate, but our spirits were always high.
# Who do you think you are kidding, Mr Hitler
# If you think we're on the run?
# We are the boys who will stop your little game
# We are the boys who will make you think again
# Who do you think you are kidding, Mr Hitler
# If you think old England's done?
# Mr Brown goes off to town on the 8.21
# But he comes home each evening and he's ready with his gun
# So who do you think you are kidding, Mr Hitler
# If you think old England's done? #
'The massive Nazi war machine is pushing its way across Europe,
'laying waste neutral countries with a savagery unmatched in history.
'When Hitler comes up against British troops,
'it's a different story.
'They fight him every inch of the way, giving as good as they get.
'Is Tommy Atkins downhearted? We'll say he's not!
'Why should he be with a leader like this?
'To make Tommy's task more difficult, a new menace has been added to an already brutal struggle.
'Parachutists trained to sabotage lines of communication.
'And who knows? Even our own shores may not long be spared this, Hitler's latest trick.
'We all have our part to play.
'Every effort is being made to confuse the enemy.'
'So look out, Adolf. Every day, our defences are strengthened.
'And if they do come, let's give them a sharp welcome.'
AIR-RAID SIREN WAILS
Ah, going home, are they?
-Well done, Pike. By Jove, these things are heavy.
The sand's wet, sir. If the tide had been out, it would have been easier.
-They'll do. Don't take so long the next time.
-That's not my fault, sir. I had to pick the shrimps out.
Ah, Mr Wilson. On there, please.
It's a reasonable field of fire. It covers most of the High Street.
Oh, yes, I think we can happily say that Jerry's parachutists
will be dead as mutton from Stead And Simpson's to Timothy White's.
We'd see the pavilion if that woman would get out of the phone box.
It's Mrs Hoskins calling her sister.
Let's hope Hitler stays his hand till Mrs Hoskins gets the pips.
And until we get a machine gun.
-Last one, sir.
-They're not high enough.
-There's no more sand, sir.
-There's a beach full of it.
-The tide's in! The water's up to here. It went over my mum's wellingtons.
Your mum's wellingtons are of little consequence
when Europe is writhing under the Nazi heel.
Mum won't see it like that.
-We could get some more sand at low tide.
-Time is not on our side.
How much copper have we got?
-Yes, copper, pennies.
-About ten £5 bags.
-Go get 'em, Pike.
Lay them out along here.
I don't think we ought to do that, sir. It'll cause a penny shortage. It'll be inconvenient.
-They'll have to bear it. There's a war on!
-Head Office won't like it.
This is no time for red tape.
At any moment, hordes of German parachutists may drop on us.
They use disguises. They could come dressed as nuns, set up in that church and you'd never notice.
-would, sir. That's the Methodist chapel.
-Two bags, sir.
-Ah, well done, Pike.
The cashier says shall we open an account in your name and give you an overdraft?
I'll talk to him later.
-KNOCK AT DOOR
-See who that is, Wilson.
-Pike, take this paper, lick it, and stick it in crosses on the windows.
-It's an Army dispatch rider, sir.
-He's got a packet.
-Poor devil. Was it a sniper?
-It's for you, sir.
-Ooh, ah! This is the moment I've been waiting for.
Pipped them to the post, did I?
I sent a letter to GHQ, asking for instructions in case of an invasion.
-I told them I'd served in the last conflict.
-The Orkneys, wasn't it?
I was a commissioned officer, Wilson, and I served in France... during the whole of 1919.
-Yes, but the war ended in 1918!
-Somebody had to clear up the mess.
-Where were you during the war?
-Mons, Gallipoli. I was a sergeant.
Never mind that now.
"Dear Sir, In view of the danger of enemy parachutists landing,
"a force of local volunteers will be formed to guard strategic points.
"This force will be the Local Defence Volunteers."
-It's Anthony Eden!
-On the wireless. They say it's important.
'We want large numbers of such men in Great Britain, who are British subjects,
'between the ages of 17 and 65 - 17 and 65.
'The name of the new force will be the Local Defence Volunteers.
'This name describes its duties in three words.
'Here, then, is the opportunity for which so many of you have been waiting.
'Your loyal help will make and keep our country safe.'
Right! Let's go to it! Back to work, Miss King.
We've got to set up an invasion committee.
-Whatever's the matter, boy?
-I feel sick, sir, licking all this paper.
Now listen, we three are the invasion committee.
-We appoint a properly appointed commander.
-A what, sir?
-Appoint a properly appointed commander - me.
-You will be my second in command.
-Thank you, sir.
What next? Means of conveying information to the public.
An information officer will be appointed. Pike, that's you.
The information officer will be supplied with a megaphone. ..Oh.
-Hold that, Wilson.
-Yes, of course.
You'll find that improvisation is the keynote to...
-Well done, sir.
There's your megaphone, lad.
You're to jump on your bicycle and go round the town delivering this message.
"All local defence volunteers, report to the church hall at 6pm." Try that.
Oh, come here. Let me show you.
ALL LOCAL DEFENCE VOLUNTEERS
TO REPORT TO THE CHURCH HALL AT 6 O'CLOCK TONIGHT!
There we are.
I don't know how you do it.
History repeats itself, Wilson.
Times of peril bring great men to the fore. Wellington, Churchill...
# There's a boy coming home on leave
# There's a girl wants him home on leave... #
The meeting was for 6. It's 6.20.
I could have had time for a round of golf...
-Do you mind? We're waiting for the appointed commander.
-I am the appointed commander.
Ah, there you are, sir.
-Did you get the enrolment forms?
-Had the police station run out?
-I would have had to put in an application form.
-Why didn't you?
-They'd run out.
-I got those, however.
-Don't keep putting obstacles in the way. Get the first man in.
Would you mind stepping this way, please?
-Wilson, come here.
I intend to mould those men out there
into an aggressive fighting unit.
I'll lead them, command them, inspire them to be ruthless killers.
I won't get very far if you invite them to step this way!
-It's quick march!
Not much point. I'm here already.
-I keep a philatelist's shop.
-How do you spell that?
S... Thank you very much(!) I imagine you've not had previous Army experience.
-We can tell. Once a soldier, always a soldier.
I'm a sailor. Chief Petty Officer, Royal Navy - retired.
Are you swearing?
-I never said a word.
-You Army types. Swearing an oath of allegiance!
Oh...yes, yes, of course. We'll do that later. Wait outside.
The Boys' Brigade isnae in it(!)
-Watch that man.
-Bolshy Jack Tars.
Next one, please. All right, quick march!
-How do you do?
Godfrey - Charles Godfrey.
-Retired, but I was 25 years in the Civil Service.
-Really? Indian or British?
-Civil Service Stores.
Any previous military experience?
I was in the sports department. That meant archery and air guns.
Yes, well, no doubt your specialist knowledge will be of great use.
-Sign there, would you?
-I'd love to!
-Is that all?
-For the moment.
-Don't I get a receipt?
-This is a fighting unit, not a dry-cleaner's!
Do that, would you, please?
I'm sorry. Right turn! Quick march! And just bear round to the right.
"Joe Walker, wholesale supplier."
I suppose you won't be with us long. You'll be called up any day.
Oh, no, guv. I'm whatsitsname? Reserved occupation.
-How do you work that out?
-I supply central supplies.
-Any previous military experience?
-A girlfriend in the ATS!
Oh, by the way, any time you gents require anything, just give us a tip.
-We'll bear it in mind.
-Right turn! Quick march!
-Right turn! Quick march!
-You might wait for the ink to dry!
Left, right, left, right, left, right, left, right, left, right, halt, stand at ease!
Evening, Mr Mainwaring, Mr Wilson. You know me.
-Mr Jones the butcher!
-That's right, sir!
-Isn't Mr Jones a little old?
-Old?! Who are you calling old?!
Let me at those Jerry parachutists. I'll sort them out.
-Keenness counts, not age.
-I'm as keen as mustard.
-Any previous military experience?
Now you're talking. I signed on as a drummer boy in 1884.
Later, I saw service in the Sudan, fought the fuzzy-wuzzies.
Their great long knives zip you open. They soon know if you've got guts.
The fuzzy-wuzzies were the only ones that could break the British square.
Those Jerries couldn't break the skin off a rice pudding.
They don't like the cold steel. They don't like it up 'em...
Get him a chair, Wilson.
-Do sit down, Mr Jones.
-They don't like it, you see.
Thank you, sir. I'm not as young as I was.
But that won't stop me being in there with bayonets, cold steel...
-I think you've made your point. Sign there.
When did you leave the Army?
1915, sir! I was invalided out, sir. The old minces.
-I couldn't focus.
-Presumably that's why you signed the table.
I beg your pardon, sir.
Right. Thank you, Mr Jones.
-There's a couple of pounds of steak, sir. Compliments of the house.
-By the way, sir, what about my stripe?
-I was a lance corporal for 14 years. Can I keep it?
-I'm afraid you can't.
In that case, I'll keep the steak.
Let's not be too hasty about this.
-We shall be needing NCOs.
Jones's previous experience could stand us in very good steak...stead.
-Right. That's all...Lance Corporal Jones.
Thank you, sir! Well, TTFN. About turn!
Left, right, left, right, left...
Can I do you now, sir?
Yes, very good, very funny. Awfully good.
Oh, we'll share this later.
MAN SHOUTS >
-Who's in charge here?
-I am. Why?
-Get this hall cleared out at once.
-History is taking place in there.
-In five minutes, an ARP lecture is taking place in this hall!
-I'll requisition this hall for military purposes.
-Too late, mate.
It's already been requisitioned for the civil defence. Get them out.
-You're asking the Army to retreat?
-You've had practice!
-We don't want to get excited. I've got my job and you've got yours.
If you want to carry on in this office, fine, but get this lot out quick sharp!
-We've only enrolled four.
-We'll have to dispense with formalities. Get them all in here.
-Right, come on!
-At the double.
All right, gather round.
Quickly, please. We all in?
Now, men, you answered your country's call today.
We're all here to defend our homes and our loved ones. I know you will not shirk that duty.
With no guns, we are naked, but we have one invaluable weapon -
-ingenuity and improvisation.
I want you all to go to your homes,
gather what weapons you can and come back here in an hour's time.
From tonight, whatever the odds, we Englishmen...
we here are going to be able to say,
"Come on, Jerry, we're waiting for you!"
Don't forget gas masks. Dismissed.
# Wish me luck as you wave me goodbye
# Cheerio, here I go, on my way... #
Try to get it right. Stand at ease!
All right, sir. The men are all ready for your inspection.
Very smart, Corporal.
..What's that supposed to be, boy?
-You said tie a knife to a broom handle.
-I didn't say keep the brush!
-You should've said!
-Insubordination. Take his name, Sergeant.
YOU should know. You've been my mum's friend since before I was born.
Well, see it doesn't happen again.
-Where did you get that gun?
-THE GUN, where did you get it?
-It belongs to my friend, actually.
-He's got a friend...a gun!
-Yes, I can see that, sir.
-I'm the officer.
-You're the sergeant.
-We ought to have that.
-Ask him for it.
-It would have more authority coming from you.
Um, excuse me...
-Mr Mainwaring would rather like your rifle.
-He can't have it.
-Godfrey, hand over that gun.
-Why should I?
-Are you refusing to obey an order?
We could have you shot for this.
Tricky. He's the one with the gun!
-Permission to speak, sir!
-Permission granted, Corporal.
-Why don't we take it in turns to have the gun, sir?
-Draw up a rota. Put my name at the top.
-That's looks formidable.
-I pull him in with that then gie him that.
You needn't have bothered to dress.
As a matter of fact, it's my wife's birthday. We're going out for dinner.
-Do you think you'll be long?
-That depends on Jerry.
-We don't want to interfere with... social arrangements.
-It's all right.
-We haven't really been introduced.
-May I introduce Captain Mainwaring? I didn't catch your name...
-What are you doing?
-I don't know. I thought he might ask me too.
-Your wife's birthday today?
-Got her a present?
-I haven't had time.
Hang on. ..Hold that, Taffy.
Anything there you fancy?
There's a nice little thing. 15 jewels, 18 carat, Swiss-made.
Ten quid and it's yours.
-That's extraordinarily generous of you. Thank you very much.
Can I interest you? ..Thought not.
Squad, stand at ease! Stand easy.
Splendid turnout, men. Splendid.
If in one hour, we can achieve this formidable fighting potential,
think what we could do with a week's training.
-GHQ are rushing weapons and uniforms down here.
Meanwhile, time is not on our side. The enemy may strike tonight.
-We must learn how to deal with it. Squat on the floor.
-At the double!
-How can they squat at the double?
Sgt Wilson has kindly drawn this representation of a German tank.
I want you to observe the following points. Heavy armour at the front, usually four inch plating.
40, 50 or 60mm repeating canon here. Heavy machine guns here and here.
Light machine guns here, here and here.
High pressure flame-thrower here in the front.
And I'm told on very good authority two hand grenade throwers.
A formidable opponent, but we're going to tackle it.
-The question is - how?
-How about some sugar, sir?
-How would you use it?
-Stick it in the petrol tank and the engine fizzles out.
-I see. A very good idea.
-Yes. Shall I apply for an extra sugar ration?
Yes, if it doesn't work, we can put the rest in our tea.
-How about some spuds?
Yes. You stuff one up the exhaust pipe and that stops gases coming out of the engine and the engine stops.
These Nazi tanks are equipped with very long, thin exhaust outlets.
We could use long, thin spuds.
-Charnock beauties are long and thin.
-What about a carrot?
-Shall I order potatoes?
-If it doesn't work, we can have chips.
Your suggestions have stimulated a very lively discussion, but today we'll concentrate on my methods.
Now, here are the weapons.
Blanket, tin of petrol, crowbar, petrol bombs and a box of matches.
Now, this is the procedure.
First of all, we take cover, concealing ourselves from the tank.
-We hear the tank coming, and as it draws level,
the first man soaks the blanket in petrol and rushes towards the tank.
We need a tough, commando-like boy. Pike.
The second man will light the matches and set fire to the blanket.
-Sir, can I volunteer for that?
-Very well, Corporal.
-Do you think that's wise, sir?
-..All clear so far?
Fraser, you'll prise open the lid of the tank with the crowbar.
Walker will have bombs which will be pushed into the aperture.
-What are you going to be doing?
I shall be observing from behind cover and deciding whether or not to send in a second wave.
Now, you must understand that the most important part of the whole operation is the decoy.
It is essential that one man draws the attention and fire of the tank gunners to him and away from us.
You'd better be the decoy. Bracewell - you, you.
Let's try it. Get your weapons.
Right, decoy, over here. You work over here in this corner.
Godfrey, you're in charge of the tank at the other end of the room.
Sgt Wilson will blow a whistle when we're ready.
-Sarge, can I put the petrol on now?
-This is a dummy run.
That's no good! Draw their fire. Do it again.
I-I say, you Fascist beasts!
-Where's the blanket?!
-Sorry, I didn't hear them coming.
Start again, start again.
-This time, make a noise like a tank.
-I say, you Fascist beasts!
Blanket! ..Right, set fire to it!
I can't get the matches to light, sir!
-Wait a minute! Wait a minute!
-Right, back to the start. Start again.
Here we are, sir.
Pike, take charge of the matches.
-All right, sir?
-I'll have the blanket, sir.
Vroom, vroom, vroom...
# We're going to hang out the washing on the Siegfried Line... #
Walker, get the bombs in! Pike, light the...
FRANK! It's your bedtime!
Mum, I'm blowing up a tank.
You'll have to blow it up tomorrow.
Arthur! I'm surprised at you. You know what time he goes to bed.
Go along, Frank.
-Yes, go along, Frank.
-Will you be round later, Arthur, for your usual?
Please! Later. All right, fall in.
A lorry! A lorry from GHQ, sir.
Ah, this is it, men! Our weapons and uniforms have arrived.
-Captain Mainwaring, sir!
-Just sign there, sir.
-Sergeant, get the men to unload.
-That won't be necessary, sir.
Your uniforms and your weapons.
-..Thank you, sir.
-Good Lord. Pepper.
-Pepper - enemy, for throwing in the face of. Five feet.
Perhaps not quite what we expected, but every weapon in our armoury is another nail in the enemy's coffin.
Hand out the armbands, Corporal. Sergeant, dish out the pepper.
Have it with you always. If you see parachutists, let them have it.
-That and the cold steel, sir.
-That's the spirit. We're making progress.
A short time ago, we were undisciplined. Now we can deal with tanks.
We could kill with our pikes and make them sneeze with our pepper.
Even the Hun is a poor fighter with his head buried in a handkerchief.
But remember, men, we have one invaluable weapon on our side.
We've an unbreakable spirit to win,
a bulldog tenacity that will help us to hang on while there's breath left in our bodies.
You don't get that with Gestapos and jackboots.
You get that by being British.
Come on, Adolf! We're ready for you.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd