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Went the Day Well? (1942)


Warning: screenonline full synopses contain 'spoilers' which give away key plot points. Don't read on if you don't want to know the ending!

The village of Bramley End, England, after the end of World War II. In the churchyard, the verger points out the German graves and begins to relate the events leading up to the 'battle of Bramley End'.

Saturday 23rd May, 1942. A convoy of army lorries arrives unexpectedly in the village. The commander, Major Hammond, explains they are to review defences in the area, and requests billets for 60 men. At the vicarage, where the vicar and his daughter, Nora, offer him a room, and suggest the church hall for the bulk of the men. Hammond is introduced to Oliver Wiltsford, Corporal of the local home guard; the two leave to discuss military matters.

At Wiltsford's home, he and Hammond discuss plans - Hammond is really a German officer, with orders to hold the village for three days in preparation for an invasion; Wiltsford is a collaborator.

As the men unload their equipment, one soldier deals too forcefully with a nosey local boy. Mrs Collins, the postmistress, remonstrates with him, complaining he is no better than a German. That night, the soldiers drink in the local pub. Mrs Collins remembers a telegram, which she left at the church hall. She retrieves it from some soldiers, who have been using it to score their card game.

At the Manor House, Mrs Fraser is entertaining. Mrs Collins arrives with the telegram. Nora sees the figures, and becomes suspicious when she notices the continental-style '7' and '5'. Mrs Fraser is dismissive.

Sunday 24 May. The home guard leave for their exercises. Meanwhile preparations are underway for a wedding. At the vicarage, young George Truscott goes through Hammond's things and finds a German chocolate bar. Nora is alarmed, and reports her suspicions to Wiltsford, now with his arm in a sling: he has feigned injury to evade his home guard duties. He suggests that it is a test of citizens' alertness, but agrees to make enquiries. Relieved, Nora heads for the wedding.

Wiltsford raises the alarm, and the Germans initiate 'Plan B'. They round up the villagers in the church, interrupting the service. Hammond reveals himself as Commandant Ortler. The vicar rings the church bells to signal invasion, but is shot. The villagers, horrified, elect Wiltsford as their spokesperson.

On patrol, one home guard soldier hears the bells, but his colleagues refuse to believe him. Peggy and Ivy write a message on an egg and give it to a delivery boy. But the eggs are smashed when he is knocked off his bike by a careless motorist, on her way to visit Mrs Fraser. The home guard return from exercises and are gunned down by Germans. Mrs Fraser slips a note to her guest, but she uses it to stop a rattling car window, and it is dislodged as she drives away.

Mrs Collins throws pepper in the eyes of her guard, and kills him with an axe. But her attempt to telephone for help is ignored by a gossiping switchboard operator, and she is killed before she gets through.

Young George escapes from the Manor House and heads for the woods. Wiltsford and another man escape from the church into the graveyard, where Wiltsford stabs his co-escapee in the back. Wiltsford makes his way to the Manor House, where he is overheard talking to a German officer by Nora and Mrs Fraser. George meets up with poacher Bill Purvis in the woods. Bill shoots one German before being shot himself; George is hit, but gets away to nearby Upton, where he collapses. In the church, the villagers overpower their guards, then liberate the post office, where they get a message to Upton.

Monday 25th May. British troops begin a counterattack. The villagers hold up in the Manor House, aided by Wiltsford. He is attempting to take down a barricade when Nora finds him, and shoots him. Mrs Fraser is killed protecting the children. The Germans storm the house, but are overcome by the advancing British.

The verger concludes his story, expressing his pride for the small part the villagers of Bramley End played in defeating the Nazis.