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# 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
# Cos 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? #
You've been left holding the baby.
Yes, I have. Do you mind if
-I set this Lewis gun up while we talk?
-Not at all.
It's my first job every morning. In case of a sudden attack.
Quite... Now, the late Mr Johnson...
-As you know...
-Excuse me a moment.
-Tell Carter Patterson
to move their van. It's blocking our line of fire.
Sorry about that, Mr, er...
The late Mr Johnson had no relatives...
Ah, this is my Chief Clerk. He's dealing with Mr Johnson's affairs.
When Mr Johnson died,
his only possessions were the clothes he stood up in
and his boat, the Naughty Jane.
It has to be sold, but not many people want a boat in war-time.
There's another problem.
Unfortunately, his account was overdrawn. Here it is, sir.
Ah... Hmm... In that case, the boat becomes the property of the bank
and can be sold to offset this overdraft.
Perhaps we could put an advertisement in the local paper.
Yes, do that, Wilson.
I'll leave you my account, in case you do manage to sell the boat,
and there's any money left over.
-I'll see you out.
-Good day to you.
Here are the particulars of the rowing boat.
15 feet long, four oars, seaworthy condition.
You can't go rowing about in the sea in war-time!
No, it's on the river. Anybody can go and look at it, if they want to.
Now, I think we... Wait a minute!
-I've had an idea!
-Be careful, sir! Please, be careful.
River patrols! That's it, Wilson!
Half a dozen determined armed men in a boat
could play havoc with the Nazis if they got a foothold!
Swift, silent patrols, hitting the enemy where it hurts most!
Then disappearing into the night, silently cutting through the water.
-Muffled oars, of course.
That's how Wolfe captured Quebec -
rowed up the St Lawrence with muffled oars.
What exactly ARE muffled oars?
Well... We'll ask someone about that.
We're on duty five nights a week.
The Novelty Rock Emporium, Godfrey's cottage,
the gasworks, the railway bridge, mobile patrols.
I mean, really... It... It's too much.
Do I detect a slight lack of enthusiasm?
We must have some rest, sir.
I realise that. I just want to try it out.
We'll try this boat out after tea this afternoon.
I'll want six volunteers.
Detail Pike, Desmond, Frazer, Jones, Walker and Godfrey.
All right, Sir...
Thank you all for coming.
I'd also like to thank Sgt Wilson for mocking up this very good boat.
Thank you, sir. My nanny taught me how to do that in nursery.
Did she? Take your place.
-Now, I want to work out some sort of drill with you.
There may be people watching
when we're on the river and we don't want to make fools of ourselves.
With him in charge, what choice have we got?!
You may not believe this, but until yesterday,
I knew nothing at all about boats.
I was a nautical virgin.
I knew there was only one person who could help - Miss Beckworth.
I told her about it and she gave me a little handbook -
"How to Handle Your Oars."
It's issued to the Sea Scouts.
I can safely say I have mastered the basic points of boatmanship.
If I go wrong, I'm sure Frazer will be glad to put me right.
Aye, I will!
Sorry I'm late, sir. I was playing bowls.
That's a good omen - so was Drake.
-May I enquire what they're doing?
-Sitting in a boat.
-Take your place. Forward.
-The word is "for'ard."
Ah, yes, for'ard. We must get these things right.
-Frazer is the cockswain.
-Cocks'n, yes... I sit next to him here...
-On the aft.
I shall be in overall charge.
Move your legs, boy! Right, pass round the oars, Pike.
I volunteer to do that, sir!
I was disappointed you wouldn't let me be the cockswain, sir.
Oh, all right!
Thank you very much, sir. Right, here's your oars...
Now, hold the oars vertically, with the blades in the air.
Right... Not quite so high, Pike.
Bring it down, boy. That's right. Balance it on your thwart.
Now, when I give the command,
-"Ship oars," lower them down into the...
What did you say?
-Ah! Lower them down into the rowlocks.
Now, on the command, "Catch," sink the blades into the water.
On the command, "Pull," you pull. When he says, "Up," you...up.
When he says, "Feather," you... Let's just try it.
Blades back, boys... Catch! Pull!
Up! Feather! Catch! Pull! Up! Feather...
Hold it... Corporal!
JONES! You're not keeping up!
He ain't half giving the floor a good clean!
Now, if we want the boat to stop,
I give the command, "Hold water." Have you got that? "Hold water."
-Excuse me, sir...
-I can do a little rowing, if it's needed.
-Oh, thank you, Godfrey.
We'll carry on as we are for now. Let's have another go, Frazer.
Catch! Pull! Up! Feather! >
Catch! Pull! Up! Feather!
Pull! Up! Feather! >
Catch! Pull! Up! Feather!
Catch! Pull! Up! Feather!
-Good idea of mine to have a practice.
-It was indeed, sir.
There's quite a few people watching.
-I think we're making a good impression.
-Yes, sir, awfully good.
-Keep it up, son!
-Yes, come on, Pike.
You'll throw the whole stroke out.
-I can't help it. I feel sick.
-But it's as calm as a millpond!
I still feel sick!
-You're showing us up in front of the public!
-I can't help it.
Lie down in the bottom of the boat. I shall have to take your place.
-Is that wise?
-You can observe
the correct procedure for walking about on a boat.
Catch! PULL! Up! Feather!
Permission to stop catching up and pulling and feathering, sir.
-It's getting a bit foggy.
-It's only a bit of sea mist.
I know this stretch of water like the back of my hand.
We'll just row to the mouth of the river, then turn back.
I can hardly see to read.
-Blimey, it ain't half coming up.
-Oh, all right, turn the boat round.
Aye, sir. You, stop rowing. You two, catch, pull, up, feather!
Catch! PULL! Up! Feather!
All together! Catch! PULL! Up! Feather!
-Are you sure you've turned the boat round?
-Of course I have!
-Can you see the bank, Wilson?
-I can't even see YOU.
-You'd better relieve me, so I can concentrate on the navigation.
Pike... PIKE! Get in the bottom of the boat...
-OW! You trod on me!
-Frank, I'm sorry.
I didn't know you were there.
-I'll take over the steering.
-You know nothing about it!
-Is that wise?
-I didn't ask you!
Right, all pull together. Come on, PULL!
PULL! Put your back into it, Wilson!
-It'll soon be dark.
-We won't be able to see a thing.
-It's hardly crystal-clear now!
Right, PULL! PULL...
Right, rest on your oars, men.
Thank goodness the mist is lifting. We should be well upstream by now.
Can you see the bank, Frazer?
I'm having nothing to do wi' this. I wash my hands of the whole affair.
No need to sulk about it.
-I feel awful. Can I have a glass of water?
Don't be absurd! I don't have one!
Hang on, I'll get you water...
- That's full of germs! - Do you want a drink or not? There.
Eurgh! It's all salty!
-SALT?! It IS! It's salt!
If it's salt, we're at sea.
DON'T PANIC! DON'T PANIC!
-I thought you were a sailor!
-YOU took over the steering!
Quiet, everybody, and let me think.
Permission to speak, sir! Why don't we all shout, "Help"?
-Wouldn't "Ahoy" sound more urgent?
Yes, perhaps you're right. Right, we'll all shout together...
ALL: AHOY! AHOY!
I don't think anyone heard us, sir.
If we rowed north, that would take us back to the shore.
Good thinking. Where's the north, Frazer?
Why ask me? You know it all!
Take another look at the back o' yer hand!
-You're being very childish!
Now, anybody here got any suggestions?
Moss grows on the north of trees,
-if that's any help.
-No, it's not!
Point the hour hand of a watch at the sun,
halve the angle between it and 12 o'clock, and that's south.
-It happens to be dark, Corporal!
-We could point it at the moon...
No, it must be the sun. We used to find our way like that in the Sudan.
There was a lot of sun out there, except at night, of course.
-The North Star might be a help.
-You need the Great Bear for that.
That's a group of stars that looks like a milk saucepan.
The handle points towards the north.
If it was a saucepan,
-that's where you'd pour the milk.
-Hence the Milky Way!
Walker, I've rebuked you many times for passing stupid remarks,
but I'm glad the gravity of the situation
has not killed your lively Cockney humour.
Chaps like you are the backbone of England.
I'm only trying to keep us cheerful.
Precisely. It's comforting that we're all sticking together.
-I'd like to apologise.
-I've behaved very badly.
-Thank you, Frazer.
Now, perhaps you'll tell us where the north is.
-Because I don't bloody well know!
Do ye think I'd be sitting here wi' you stupid Sassenachs if I knew the way?!
-What about the stars?
-It's too cloudy!
Sir... If you take a piece of cotton
with a needle on the end and dangle it over your hand,
it always swings towards the north.
That's for pregnant women, to see if they'll have a boy or girl!
Yes, it's good for that, an' all.
-What is it?
I read a story in "Hotspur" once
about some men who were adrift for days and days in an open boat.
In the end, they got so hungry,
they had to draw lots to decide which one of them to eat.
-You stupid boy!
I don't think I'd like to eat Mr Mainwaring. I know him too well.
Oh, don't be silly, Frank!
-What is it?
Do you think I'll go blind?
-What are you talking about?
-They say if you do it, you'll go blind.
You don't go blind from drinking sea-water. You go mad, instead.
-Will I go mad?
-Don't be silly.
-The Ancient Mariner did.
-He drank rather more than you did!
-What's the time, Wilson?
-What? I'll just sit up a bit. It's rather difficult down here.
All right, pay attention, men.
It'll be light soon. We'll be spotted by a boat.
-What happens if we're not spotted?
-There will be plenty of boats about.
Suppose it's a German boat, sir?
There are no German boats in the ENGLISH Channel!
-Permission to speak, sir.
-I can hear voices from over there!
There they are again, sir!
By Jove, you're right! We must be near the shore!
-Let's all shout "Ahoy" together.
-Is that wise?
If we start shouting,
they might mistake us for Germans and shoot at us.
Yes, good thinking, Sergeant.
We'll row in very quietly and then we'll all shout together.
Then they'll know we're British.
-Why don't we muffle our rollocks so they won't hear us?
Good idea. Did you find out about that, sir?
-We could use our forage caps.
-That's how it's done, sir.
All right. Take your places.
Well done, men. We made it.
When I say go,
we all shout as loud as we can,
"Ahoy there, we're British!"
MEN SINGING: # Aupres de ma Blonde... #
Permission to speak, sir... I don't think we're in England.
My God! We've drifted across the Channel!
Perhaps we should surrender.
We are armed and in uniform.
I'll pretend I never heard that!
We can't fight the German Army!
Why don't we shove off again?
No, that's no good, Walker.
It'll be light again soon. We'd be spotted at once in the open water.
We must creep ashore and hide
until the dark gets in. Start taking off your boots.
(Keep close to the wall.)
-Could I be excused for a moment?
-We were an awfully long time in that boat, sir.
-You should have taken advantage of it!
-My feet are killing me!
Look, there's a railway siding.
We'll hide in one of the trucks. Come on.
Get in to one of these trucks.
< SINGING CONTINUING
- Give us a light, mate. - Sure.
That racket's been going on all night! Some party, eh?
They know how to celebrate, those French-Canadian pilots.
- What's it in aid of? - Shooting down 50 Nazi planes.
- Has no-one complained? - After what they did?!
You're right. Good luck to 'em!
Come along, come along!
-Right, everybody here?
-Right, start putting your boots on.
-But what will we do next?
Hide here till dark, then go and find the boat.
We'll be here for a whole day!
-We shall starve!
Nonsense! It'll do you no harm. You eat too much as it is.
All right, settle down. We may as well get what rest we can.
# The last time I saw Paris... #
-Permission to worry you, sir.
-What is it, Corporal?
-Did-de-dum, did-de-dum, did-de-dum!
-The train's moving!
Good heavens! We're in the heart of the country!
We're in the middle of France!
DON'T PANIC! We're in France!
-We're in the middle of France...!
-All right, all right, settle down!
-Immobilise the weapons,
-so that they don't fall into enemy hands.
Take the bolts out of your rifles and throw them out of the door.
-Take the spring out of that.
-We'll have to surrender, after all.
-Of course we won't!
-We'll drop off one by one and head back to the coast.
-In these uniforms?!
Take your blouses off.
We've got civilian shirts on.
-Roll up your tunics and tuck them under your shirt.
-Is that wise?
-Just get on with it.
-We'll get shot as spies!
-No, we won't.
If the worst comes to the worst, put the tunics back on.
Then they can't touch you.
You're our inspiration, sir! What would we do without you?
We wouldnae be in this awful mess!
Line up. Come on.
We're in a very tricky spot, but the situation isn't hopeless.
Every time the train stops, we'll drop off one by one.
Then it's up to every man to get across the Channel the best way he can.
I'd like to say thank you to you all and wish you good luck.
Chin up, chin up.
-Good luck, sir.
-Good luck, Frazer.
You stick with me, Godfrey.
-Well, this is it.
-Don't overdo it, sir.
Right, Corporal, you're first. Open the door.
You're still wearing your hat, sir!
-We've stopped at a station!
-I hope that man didn't see us!
-Of course he saw us!
We'll bluff our way out. What's French for, "What is this station?"
Er... Qu'est-ce que c'est, la gare? Qu'est-ce que c'est, la gare?
Right, open it.
Bonjour, monsieur. Qu'est-ce que c'est la...la gare?
Qu'est-ce que c'est la gare?
Oh, er, la gare est Eastbourne, actually.
-Why are you speaking French?
-Because we're Briti... Er...
We're in England!
What are you doing here?
-Waiting for the 12:30 to Walmington.
-We can be back in time for lunch!
We're not getting on any train. We're going back up that track for those rifle bolts.
Subtitles by Chas Donaldson BBC Scotland 1992