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The Powell & Pressburger Pages

Dedicated to the work of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger and all the other people, both actors and technicians who helped them make those wonderful films.

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One Of Our Aircraft is Missing
Written, Produced and Directed
The Archers Film Production, Limited
Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger

From: Progress of British Films, Part 1
McKenzie, Vincent & Co. Ltd. 1946

The Cast
Crew of "B for Bertie"
Sir George Corbett Godfrey Tearle
Tom Earnshaw Eric Portman
Frank Shelley Hugh Williams
Geoff Hichman Bernard Miles
John Glyn Haggard Hugh Burden
Bob Ashley Emrys Jones
Else Meertens Pamela Brown
Jo de Vries Googie Withers
Burgomeister Hay Petrie
De Jong Robert Helpmann
In the darkness of a Sunday morning, Somewhere in England, a Wellington bomber, with the identification mark of "B", comes flying homw across the North Sea with nobody on board, it is rapidly losing height, it sweeps in over the coast just clearing the trees, an electricity pylon bars its way, and with a blinding flash and deafening explosions, the aircraft collides with the high-tension wires ....

One of our aircraft is missing !
What is its story?
What happened to the crew of six?
Their story starts fifteen hours earlier ....

Here are the crew: John, the Pilot, Skipper of the aircraft and the youngest in the crew; Tom, second pilot and once a Yorkshire business man; Frank, the Observer, an actor famous in the West End and on Broadway; Bob, Radio Operator, a football star; Geoff, Front-Gunner, garage proprietor; and Sir George Corbett, K.C.I.E., C.M.G., F.R.G.S., D.S.O., M.P., and Rear-Gunner of "B for Bertie".

They leave for a raid on Stuttgart. They reach the city and bomb the target. On their return they are hit. Their port engine gone, they try to limp home, but over Holland the other engine starts to go. They bail out. While they are in the air the engine picks up again, and the aircraft goes on back to England.

They are in occupied country; they find one another, all but Bob, and hide in a wood where some children discover them. They prove friendly and take the five airmen to a farm where the people, at first on their guard, finally protect them and give them disguises.

With these new friends they travel westwards to church, where they are nearly caught by the Nazis. From there on they are passed from hand to hand across the country, all the Dutch knowing of their presence, the Nazis suspecting it but never getting any proof! They have hairbreadth escapes from soldiers and quislings, but finally reach the North Sea, where, in a seaport town, Jo de Vries, a heroic woman who is smuggling people across to England, although the Germans have their H.Q. in her house.

At one point in their journey Bob is restored to them, and they are a complete crew once more as they escape at night down the river. They are seen and fired on. George Corbett is wounded, but by dawn they have reached a rescue buoy ot in the North Sea, where they take refuge. Their adventures take an unexpected turn, but after hair-raising suspense, they all get back to England. George recovers from his wound, and the last we see of the six comrades they are taking off in a giant four-engined Stirling to bomb Germany again.

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