Here's chapter 1 of my first fanfic of one of the best sitcoms ever and a farewell to one of it's best characters.
A single cloud was drifting towards the sun as it shone over Walmington-on-Sea. The bustling high street was filled with talk over recent news of the Allies attack on the Axis forces in Egypt. In the Manager's Office at Swallow Bank, George Mainwaring sat at his desk, looking over bank notices. Since the War had started, this office had undergone a few changes, there was a propaganda poster on the wall, military papers were stacked in a pile on the desk, and a machine gun was prompted up against the window, which covered the high street from Stead and Simpson to Timothy White. Aside from being manager of the bank, Mainwaring was also Captain of the Walmington-on-Sea Home Guard and it was for him, his greatest triumph in that he had turned many of the town's eldest residents and shop-keepers into, in his eyes at least, a well-trained, elite, fighting unit.
There was a knock on the door and in came Frank Pike, his young assistant bank clerk.
"Sorry Mr Mainwaring, but a letter has just come through from HQ. Looks urgent."
"Ah yes, thank you Pike" said Mainwaring, as he took the letter from Pike's hand, "This'll probably some new piece of information on how we can improve our actions against Jerry." He chuckled proudly. He was just about to open the letter when he saw Pike still standing over his shoulder, "Well go on Boy, go see to your duties."
Pike quickly left the office. Mainwaring slowly opened the letter and began to read. As his eyes scrolled down, his face began to slowly begin to drop and by the time he'd reached the bottom, his mouth was hung open in horror and the colour had been drained from his face. He folded the letter back up and slowly sank into his chair, his head in his hands. He didn't even notice the door opening again as his chief clerk entered.
"Sorry sir, but Mr Heston wishes to open another account for his ra…" Wilson stopped and saw Mainwaring sitting at the desk, not moving, "Everything alright, sir?"
Mainwaring didn't answer. He pulled out his pocket-watch out of his waistcoat and looked at it. There was 5 minutes before lunch. He again didn't react when the door opened again as Pike walked in. He wasn't use to not hearing Mainwaring and Wilson's conversations.
"Would you please remember to knock, Frank?" groaned Wilson, rolling his eyes.
"What's wrong with Mr Mainwaring, Uncle Arthur?" asked Pike.
"I really have no idea" said Wilson. Mainwaring finally looked up to see Wilson and Pike looking anxiously at him. He pocketed the letter and stood up.
"Wilson," he said, in an unusually shaky voice "I want you to go around town and round up all members of the platoon, and tell them to meet in the church-hall in fifteen minutes."
"Fifteen minutes sir?" said Wilson, surprised, "I hardly think we'll have time to change into our…"
"No, I just want a quick word with them."
"But couldn't it wait until we go on parade?"
"No." Mainwaring answered back, sharply, "In fact, also tell them that I'm cancelling tonight's parade."
Pike and Wilson stared at their officer. Mainwaring never cancelled parades, unless it was a request from the Vicar.
"No parade?" asked Pike, in bewilderment.
"Yes. Also Pike, I want you to go out on your bicycle and have the Vicar be there as well."
Wilson could definitely tell something was wrong, "Are you quite sure that everything's alright sir?"
"Just do it, that's an order!" rapped Mainwaring. Pike and Wilson quickly left the office, leaving Mainwaring deep in thought.
The platoon had never looked so unusual with everyone in their day clothes instead of their uniforms.
"Och, what's that fool Mainwaring thinking he's doing, dragging us here in the middle of the day?" grumbled Frazer, wearing his Undertaker's black coat and Top-Hat.
"Now then, Mr Frazer," said Jones the Butcher "when a commanding officer would call you in, you called in. I can remember when we was in the Sudan, Colonel Kitchener would often call us in, which was very rare, because he never usually called us in you understand, he never usually called us in, and when he would call us in, we would all stand in line, like how we're all standing in line now, and then we'd all stand to attention when we would hear…"
"Platoon, attention!" came Wilson's voice from the church-hall door. All the men stood to attention at once, except for Jones, who was always a second behind everyone else.
"Just like that." Jones said to Frazer "We'd all stand to attention when he said…"
"Would you mind not talking in the ranks please, Jonesy?" asked Wilson.
"So sorry Sergeant," said Jones, "you see I was explaining to Private Frazer on how we…"
"Yes, alright." said Wilson, turning to face the men. He then noticed that there was a gap between Frazer and Private Godfrey "Has anyone seen…?"
But before he could ask, Mainwaring marched in followed by Pike who had brought the vicar and also the verger, Mr Yeatman.
"This had better be important Mr Mainwaring." huffed the vicar
"Yes, his Reverence hates to disturbed when his sermons need writing." butted in the verger.
"Thank you, Mr Yeatman." the vicar said impatiently.
"I assure you Vicar, this is a matter that can concern you." said Mainwaring. He turned on his heel and walked over to Wilson, who saluted him as he approached "Are all the men here, Wilson?"
"Permission to speak sir!" said Jones quickly, "All the men are here, except for Private Walker, sir."
"No doubt the damned fool is out on some ridiculous smuggling business." growled Frazer "He'll get himself done in one of these days just you…"
"Private Walker is dead, Frazer." Mainwaring called out, loudly.
An eerie silence fell across the hall at this statement; even Frazer had gone slightly paler than usual.
"I had just received the message from GHQ." said Mainwaring, trying to sound calm "Turns out that Walker was doing… business over at Eastbourne when that air-raid two days ago happened. It was unfortunate that as Walker attempted to get back home, he had run into a Nazi parachutist…"
"Was he dressed as a nun, Mr Mainwaring?" Pike blurted out, stupidly.
"Now please, Frank." said Wilson firmly, although there was a slight shake in his voice as he said this.
"As I was saying," continued Mainwaring, "after encountering this threat, Walker attempted to stop it, but unfortunately, he was shot in the stomach, but he still had enough energy to shoot the cold-blooded fiend down himself and by the time they were found, well…"
Mainwaring looked at the men. They all had the same look of horror and sorrow on their faces. Jones' lip was quivering slightly under his moustache, Frazer was twirling his hat slowly in his long fingers and Godfrey was blowing his nose in an embroided handkerchief. Walker had always been a valuable member of the platoon, always going out to supply the men and others in the town with rations that were in short supply, or always trying to sneak in more ammunition for when they would go out on parade. But now, it looked like all that was over.
"Now, I am allowed to send some men out to Eastbourne tomorrow to collect Walker and bring him back home to Walmington." Mainwaring added to the deadened silence.
"Permission to speak, sir." replied Jones, sounding like he was holding back tears, "I would like to volunteer to go out to Eastbourne tomorrow to collect Walker and bring him back home to Walmington, I'd like that very much I would sir."
"I volunteer as well sir." said Frazer quickly.
"If you don't mind sir, I would like to go and see if I could be any assistance to them." came Godfrey's quiet voice.
"Yeah, I'm going too!" Pike said, in his stroppy, sulky tone.
"Thank you men." said Mainwaring shortly and he slowly turned to Wilson, who was wiping his eyes, "Send a message to Eastbourne and tell them that our section 1 platoon will be collecting the… deceased tomorrow."
"Very well sir." said Wilson quietly, and he left the hall. Mainwaring dismissed the men and he walked over to the vicar.
"I do apologise Mr Mainwaring." said the vicar, calmly "I feel say this may greatly affect the platoon."
"Possibly." said Mainwaring, etching his shoulders as he spoke, "Now vicar, it's best to get this out of the way and discuss dates for the funeral. When's the nearest opening?"
"Well, if I remember my schedule, there is an opening for next Thursday." the vicar answered politely, "Would that be alright?"
"Yes, fine." said Mainwaring, distractedly, and with that, he turned to face door and marched out back down the road to the bank.