Angels One Five

Angels One Five
DVD cover
Directed byGeorge More O'Ferrall
Produced byJohn W. Gossage
Derek Twist
Written byPelham Groom (story)
Derek Twist
StarringJack Hawkins
Michael Denison
Dulcie Gray
John Gregson
CinematographyChristopher Challis
Edited byDaniel Birt
Templar Productions
Release date
  • 19 March 1952 (1952-03-19)
Running time
98 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
Box office₤258,199 (UK)[1]

Angels One Five is a 1952 British film directed by George More O'Ferrall, and starring Jack Hawkins, Michael Denison, Dulcie Gray, John Gregson, Cyril Raymond and Veronica Hurst. Based on the book What Are Your Angels Now? by Pelham Groom (who was also technical advisor to the film under his full title of W/Cdr. A. J. C. Pelham Groom), the plot centres on a young fighter pilot immediately before and during the Battle of Britain in the Second World War. Some scenes in the film were shot at RAF Uxbridge, home to a wartime operations room.

"Angels One Five" refers to RAF radio procedure words, from the Second World War, indicating the altitude of a radar contact is 15,000 feet. The film was the first British post-war production to deal with the Battle of Britain.[2]


In 1940, a replacement, Pilot Officer T. B. "Septic" Baird (John Gregson), is landing his Hawker Hurricane at "Pimpernel" Squadron's airfield. Just as he touches down, however, a straggler from an earlier mission taxis across his path. Septic's quick reactions allow him to "leapfrog" the other Hurricane, averting a costly disaster. His action, however, causes him to crash his replacement aircraft into the bungalow of Squadron Leader Barry Clinton (Cyril Raymond) at the end of the runway.

This earns Septic the wrath of his new squadron leader, Bill Ponsford (Andrew Osborn), because he damaged his fighter aircraft. The crash also injures the ligaments in Septic's neck, which he is able to self-diagnose, as he had been a medical student before the war. The next morning, Septic is told by Group Captain "Tiger" Small (Jack Hawkins) that he will not be able to fly until his neck is healed, so he will instead serve in the operations room for the time being.

Several days later, with the risk of a bombing attack on the airfield, and all of Pimpernel Squadron's Hurricanes scrambled, Tiger orders all aircraft to take off and fly out of harm's way until the raid is over. With Tiger quickly assembling all available pilots and finding aircraft to fly, Septic wins a foot race with Small to claim the last spare Hurricane for himself. He then proceeds to shoot down a Messerschmitt Bf 110 from the attacking force. His delight is short lived however when he is admonished by Small and Sqn Ldr Peter Moon (Michael Denison) for leaving his radio set to transmit, preventing the returning Hurricanes from being diverted to an undamaged airfield. A crestfallen Septic returns to his ground duties.

Eventually a reinstated Septic joins in Pimpernel's operations, but he is mortally wounded while shooting down another enemy aircraft. His last words are heard over the Sector control room tannoy (public-address system), when he tells Small that their planned return foot race will have to be "postponed indefinitely". Small replies "Your message received and understood. Out." The final shot is of Squadron Leader Clinton's wife Nadine (Dulcie Gray) hanging an oil lamp in the ruins of their bungalow to aid returning pilots.

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