5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
One of only two movies that cover the RAF's Air- Rescue in WW2,
This review is from: For Those In Peril [DVD] (DVD)
There are only two movies that show the work of the RAF's least-known section, that of the Air Rescue Service. This is one and 'The Sea Shall Not Have Them' is the other. Both are little-known now and neither is easily available.
The service, as it was then used fast light power-boats rather similar to the more famous motor torpedo boats, but with rather less fire power. They did not have RADAR and used radio and maps to find the downed flyers.
A fighter or bomber flying over the North Sea or the English Channel may well come under attack from the Germans. A plane that may have been on a raid could easily be severely damaged and some of its crew killed or wounded. For the pilot of a fighter, he would for the main part be alone in his aircraft and if shot down he would have a Mae West lifejacket but probably not an inflatable dinghy as there would rarely be room for one. A bomber may have one or two dinghies to accommodate its crew of seven or more.
Without a dinghy, the sea was unbelievably cold and survival often one of minutes rather than hours. In a dinghy, it could be hours or a day os so, but not usually days. The cost of training a pilot was high and losses of pilots and planes almost unsustainable. If a plane could not be recovered, hopefully, its pilot could be.
It wasn't only Allied airmen who would be rescued; a significant number of enemy crews were also saved from the sea. Nowadays, helicopters are used, but it was not a commonly seen craft and not then used by the Allies. A few years later, in the Korean war, they were commonplace.
Although neither of these movies is expressly about the men of the Rescue service but more so the downed airmen, both give an impression just how welcome a sight they then must have been. They were often the difference between survival and a frozen death.
A very good film but rarely seen on TV, ever! It is one of the many retrospective 'war hero' movies of the mid-50s.