A Matter of Life and Death.
Powell & Pressburger
J: Request your position, request your position, come in Lancaster, come in Lancaster
P: Position Nil, repeat nil, age 27, 27. Did you get that? That’s very important. Education interrupted, violently interrupted. Religion church of England, Politics conservative by nature, labour by experience. What’s your name?
J: I cannot read you, cannot read you, request your position, can you see our signals?
P: Oh give me my scallop shell of quiet, my staff of faith to walk upon, my strip of joy immortal diet, my bottle of salvation, my gallon? of glory hopes true gage and thus I’ll take my pilgrimage. Sir Walter Raleigh wrote that, I’d rather have written that than flown through Hitler’s legs.
J: I cannot understand you, hello Lancaster, we are sending signals, can you see our signals? come in Lancaster, come in Lancaster,
P: But at my back I always hear, times winged chariots hurrying near, and yonder all before us lie, deserts of vast eternity. Andy Marvel, What a Marvel. What’s your name?
J: Are you receiving me? repeat are you receiving me? request your position. Come in Lancaster
P: You seem like a nice girl, I can’t give you my position, instruments gone, crew gone too, all except Bob here my sparks, he’s dead, the rest all bailed out on my orders time 03.35, d’you get that?
J: Crew bailed out 03.35
P:Station Warrenden bomber group A G George, send them a signal got that?
J: Station Warrenden bomber group A apple G george.
P: They’ll be sorry about Bob we all liked him.
J: Hello G George, Hello G George, are you all right? are you going to try to land, do you want a fix?
P:Name’s not G George its P Peter, Peter D Carter, D’s for David, Squadren Leader Peter Carter. No I’m not going to land, undercarriage is gone, inner port’s on fire, I’m bailing out presently, I’m bailing out. ……Take a telegram.
J: Got your message, received your message, we can hear you,
P: Telegram to my mother, Mrs Michael Carter, 88 Hamstead Lane, London North West.
J: 88 Hamstead Lane, London
P: Tell her that I love her, you’ll have to write this for me but what I want her to know is, that I love her very much, that I’ve never shown it to her, not really, but that I’ve loved her always, right up to the end. Give my love to my two sisters too, don’t forget them
J: Received your message, we can hear you, are you wounded? repeat are you wounded? Are you bailing out?
P: What’s your name?
P:Yes June I’m bailing out, I’m bailing out but there’s a catch, I’ve got no parachute,
J:Hello, hello Peter, do not understand, hello hello peter, can you hear me?
P:Hello June, don’t be afraid its quite simple, we’ve had it and I’d rather jump than fry. After the first 1000 feet what’s the difference I shan’t know anything anyway, I say I hope I haven’t frightened you.
J: No, I’m not frightened
P: Good Girl
J: Your sparks you said he was dead, hasn’t he got a chute?
P: Cut to ribbons, cannon shell. June? Are you pretty?
J: Not bad I …
P: Can you hear me as well as I can hear you?
P: You’ve got a good voice, you’ve got guts too, its funny I’ve known dozens of girls, I’ve been in love with some of them but its an American girl whom I’ve never seen and never shall see who’ll hear my last words, its funny, its rather sweet. June, if you’re around when they pick me up, turn your head away
J: Perhaps we can do something Peter, let me report it.
P: No, no one can help, only you. Let me do this in my own way. I want to be alone with you June. Where were you born?
P: That’s a place to be born, history was made there. Are you in love with anybody, no, no don’t answer that.
J: I could love a man like you Peter
P: I love you June, you’re life and I’m leaving you. Where do you live? On the station?
J: No in a big country house about 5 miles from here, Lee Wood House
P: Old house?
J: Yes very old,
P: Good I’ll be a ghost and come and see you, you’re not frightened of ghosts are you? It would be awful if you were.
J: I’m not frightened.
P: What time will you be home?
J: Well I’m on duty until 6, I have breakfast in the mess and then I have to cycle half an hour, I often go along the sands. …This is such nonsense.
P: No it not it’s the best sense I’ve ever heard. I was lucky to get you June. Can’t be helped about the parachute, I’ll have my wings soon anyway, big white ones. I hope they haven’t gone all modern I’d hate to have a prop instead of wings. What do you think the next worlds like? I’ve got my own ideas
J: Oh Peter
P: I think it starts where this one leaves off or where this one could leave off if we’d listened to Plato and Aristotle and Jesus. With all our little earthly problems solved but with greater ones worth the solving. I’ll know soon enough anyway. I’m signing off now June, goodbye, goodbye June
J: Hello G for George, hello G George, hello G George, hello……….
Not on radio:
P: So long Bob, I’ll see you in a minute. You know what we wear by now, prop or wings.