Beneath Hill 60 (2010) Script

Dad... Dad!

Lieutenant Woodward.

I'm your new commanding officer.

I'm looking for Sergeant Simpson.

You'll need to talk to Corporal Fraser. He's up top.

I can't seem to find my way out.

Follow the lateral. 30 yards on, it forks. Take the right.

It's pretty narrow but you'll make it.

You'll find a shaft. Left at the top.

25 yards, there's another shaft that'll take you up to daylight.

Thank you.


Psst.


What's your name, sapper?

Tiffin, sir.

I heard something - just through there.


Hear that?

Listen.

You can hear 'em digging, sir.

There. Fritz.

They're gonna break through.

I swear to God, they're bloody breaking through.

Shh, shh!

That sound that you heard, was it like this?

That's it.

That's your heart.

What?

Feel it.

You're hearing your own heartbeat.

Make sure you clip that little fella's claws.

Otherwise the bugger can be dead and still sitting on its perch.

When does your shift end?

Don't make me stay.

Please.

We'll put the billiard room through there, eh?

You ever play billiards, Tom?

Best bloody billiard players in the world, Australians.

Says who? Well, ask anyone.

Best billiard players, best horsemen, miners...

Bullshitters?

Keep a lid on it, you blokes.

Percy, Ginger, go down and relieve the Sneddons.

Righto.

Dug through to China by now.

Well, I'll bring you back some chopsticks, then, eh?


Who are you?

I'm Lieutenant Woodward. I'm your new C.O.

Are you Fraser?

I'm looking for Sergeant Simpson.

He's dead.

Sapper?

Norm Morris, sir.

Except we call him 'Pull Through' or sometimes 'His Lankiness'.

Tom Dwyer, sir. Billy Bacon, sir.

Answers to 'Streaky'.

Morris, I want you to take over the listening post at...

Where were we?

102 drive left.

102 drive left.

Sir.

Better go with him, Dwyer.

Sir.


Show me to the officers' dugout.


Sir. Sir! It's this way.

10 more gone.

Three, two...

Make way! Make way. Keep your head down.

Walking wounded and blind. Make way.

Come on, move! Move!

Walking wounded and blind.

Here you go. Make way.

Come on, sir.

Stretcher bearer!


Forward!

Oh! Oh!

Tiffin! Hey, get up!

Get up.

Come on, son.

For God's sake, Australia.

This is an officer's dugout.

Woodward?

Bill McBride. I was wondering when I'd see you here.

Went to mining school together. Charters Towers boys.

Bob Clayton, Northumberland Fusiliers.

Oliver Woodward, 1st Australian Tunnellers.

An explosive man, right, Woody?

Could blow up at any time.

How long you been here?

Two days. It feels like a year.

And if you survive a year, it will feel like a bloody lifetime.

We nearly came a-gutser.

A Fritz machine gunner got a bead on us.

Yeah, it's Boris. It's a farm building.

They call it the Red House.

Solid as bloody Gibraltar.

Our artillery's been blasting away at it for a week.

Well, a direct hit'd make a bloody difference.

Arggh!

They have their own dugouts, you know.

A bit of air will see him right.

You got a home, son?

Wollongong, sir.

Coal miner?

Gold, right? Silver, lead. Broken Hill.

Sweetheart?

Wife.

Wife?

Sweetheart.

You got a photograph, Tiffin?

She's, um...

My mum, sir.

You're not even real soldiers, are you?

I mean, what in God's name are you doing here?

Tunnelling under German lines.

Protecting your trenches.

From? German tunnellers.

Who didn't show up until you arrived and who are now attempting to do the exact same bloody thing.

Your point being?

That it was bad enough my men being shelled from above and shot at from in front.

Now they're being mined from underneath.

If the man is wounded, Woodward, then for Christ's sake send him to the dressing station.

If he's not, then he should be back on duty.

Either way, he shouldn't be here.

If you want my opinion, neither should you.

Good to feel wanted, eh, Tiffin?

Wouldn't like to think we were over here putting our arses on the line for nothing.

Clayton's alright. He's just got the wind up him, that's all.

Hides it well.

People do.

Seems a shame to waste this.

Spot of tea, old man?

Oh, rather!

Mama!

It's alright, Tiffin. It's alright, son.


Hello? Is anybody home?

I found these two little rascals down by the creek.

They don't belong to you, do they?

Oliver, is that you?

Mrs Waddell.

Colin, Gordon, round the back.

Clean yourselves up before your father gets home. Now, please.

Hey, hey, wait. That's not fair!

I was hoping I might catch Moffat.

Ah. Well, you're too late, I'm afraid. He's joined up.

Light Horse?

Of course.

How was Papua? You know, we thought the headhunters might have got you.

They took one look at my head and ran away.

Tell you something, though, Mrs Waddell, I could have stayed there forever.

Just... why don't you put the nag in the stable and come inside?

We want to hear all your stories.

Come on, mate.

Is that you, Isabel?

He's a major now. Not surprised.

At school, we called him 'Captain'.

He was captain of everything.

And were there complaints?

No, sir. No.

We wouldn't dare. Well, that's our Moffat.

Woody, Woody, Woody! Yes?

Gordon reckons he can hold his breath for one minute and thirteen seconds.

Can he really? Watch.

One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten...

Where's he posted now?

Well, we don't know. Egypt, we think.

...sixteen, seventeen...

It'll be the engineers for you, now, I'd imagine.

I'd hate to think I wasted my time training you up.

They've asked me not to join up, sir. They need to keep the mine running.

Well, it's copper for the war effort.

We can't get it out of the ground fast enough.

God knows how many shells they think they'll need.

34, 35... Well, an army needs munitions.

No, an army needs good men, first and foremost.

...38, 39... Woody!

When did you get back? How was Papua?

What are you doing now? Are you going to stay with us again?

Are you? Oh, can he, Mama? Just slow down a minute, Marjorie.

And it's Mr Woodward.

Go and play with Gordon, little man.

Come on, let's have a battle. Alright.

Marjorie. Mr Woodward.

The answers to your questions are - two days ago, hot, I'll be working at Mt Morgan mine and, thank you, but I have my own accommodation in town.

Is this for me? Oh, yes, but it's very silly.

They make them for kids. No, it's beautiful.

I love it. Thank you.

Doesn't he look wonderful?

Some men are just born to be in uniform, don't you think, Woody?

It's Mr... Mr Woodward.

Yes.

May I have some tea, please, Mama?

Yes, if you refill the milk jug first.

And you can re-tie that ribbon, young lady.

Yes, Mama.

She's so grown-up.

Well, she thinks so but, between you and me, I think she still has a long way to go.

It's alright.

What now?

Hey, I outflanked him. No, you didn't.

Actually, I believe that Colin has outflanked yours, see?

And my left flank moves forward...

Mr Woodward? Yes?

Do women ever go down mines? I don't think so.

Bad luck, they reckon.

Well, that's good because I don't know that I'd like to be so deep underground.

It must feel awfully claustrophobic.

It's funny. I quite like it down there.

Really? Why?

Snug.

Hmm. Snug.

Marjorie!

Sorry, I... Are you OK?

Yes, I just...

Just go and clean yourself up immediately.

I'm so sorry.

One moment she's an adult, the next minute she's a child.

16 is a very difficult age.

Now, while Moffat's away, I want you to visit whenever you can.

You promise me? I promise.

Right.

Mr Woodward, I hope you'll forgive my silly indiscretion at the table.

Of course. Think nothing of it.

Well, goodbye, all.

Oh!

Marjorie Waddell, did you have something to do with this?

No, no. It's my own stupid fault, I'm afraid.

He got into the lucerne this morning and suffered terrible flatulence on the ride over.

I think that's perhaps how we got here so quickly.

So, when I arrived I loosened the girth.

Must've forgotten to cinch it up. Stupid of me.

Are you sure you're not injured?

No, I'm fine, honestly.

Thank you for the tea, Mrs Waddell.

Mr Waddell.

Oliver.

Isabel.

Anything?

There's something wrong with this bloody candle.

It's just making it darker.

It's not the candle, Pull Through. It's the air.

Not enough oxygen for it to burn.

Oh, Jesus Christ!

Could be worse.

Oh, Tommo, how could it possibly be worse?

Well, they could send us to Hill 60.

What's Hill 60?

Messines Ridge, just across the border, near 'Wipers'.

Blokes from the 40th were sent off yesterday.

Fritz has got the high ground.

Our blokes are trying to fight in bogs - bloody marshland.

Trenches running like rivers of blood, they say.

That's just talk, probably.

Shush, you little bugger.

You'll get us all killed.

Norm...

Aarggh!

Aarggh!

Aaaarggh!

Oh, my God.

How'd you know it wasn't me?

Lucky guess.

Jesus Christ.


Is he dead?

Call it even, eh, Tommo?

Shit!

McBride.

Location?

Say again.

How many?

Right.

102 drive has been crumped.

Casualties?

Two missing - um, Morris and Dwyer.

How's the air?

If they were near the face...

Not a chance. Not a fucking chance in the world.

...they may have found an air pocket.

This strata holds up sometimes.

We struck some in Papua. It's kind of... dense...

It's pointless - the whole miserable stunt.

Lively, boys.

Steel soles.

German.

Stupid pricks. Hear 'em coming a mile off.

Mate? I need you to move back.

Mate, are you alright?

Help me here.

Aarggh!

It's Tommo.


Shh!

Boys, it's Pull Through. Boys? Is that you, boys?

Hang on, Pull Through. We'll just...

Easy.

Can you get me out? I thought I was a goner.

Watch out for your specs.

Easy. Easy.

Didn't think you'd get out of the bloody war that easy, did you, old son?

Morris, can you hear me?

Tommo?

Tommo! Morris, can you hear me?

Tommo! Tommo's in there.

There's a man buried. Tommo! Tommo! No!

Take Morris up to the dressing station, Fraser.

Come on, Pull Through.

One arrives nearly every day - no stamp, no return address, of course.

But what do they mean?

That I'm a coward.

But you're not. You're staying here and doing your duty.

Shush now, Marjorie.

Mr Woodward knows how to stop the feathers.

So, you agree with them?

Well, let's just hope that there won't be any more.

On the contrary, just a few more feathers and I'll have a whole chicken.

Isabel!

Are you missing Papua?

I worry about the local workers.

Bougainville is just up the coast. It's a German colony.

If they send the German fleet down...

Good Lord, man! What would the Germans want with Papua?

They've bitten off more than they can chew in Europe.

Anyway, the word is the whole thing will be over by Christmas.

Marjorie, clear away the plates now.

Yes, Mama.

Best put those back, Woody.

William...

It's Moffat.

Mama?

Take the children to their rooms, please, Marjorie.

Isabel, boys, come on. Now, please.

William, tell me.

It's not good news, I'm afraid.


Why would they send the Light Horse to Gallipoli, Oliver?

It's just cliffs, isn't it?

Is it not all just cliffs?

I don't know, sir.

I don't know.


Marjorie.

You don't have to go. Just because Moffat, you know...

You don't have to go to the war.

I just couldn't bear it.


The point is...

The point is I was kaput, finished, and he got me out.

The point, Pull Through, is you shouldn't have been there in the bloody first place.

Still don't know what I heard, but.

Maybe it really was me heart.

Maybe I never heard no Germans.

Of course you heard 'em.

Don't make no difference.

Oh, fuck, man.

Good on you, Streaky.

Courtesy of the Northumberland Fusiliers.

Oh, bloody generous of 'em. Send 'em our regards.

Probably not a good idea, Corp.

Mmm.

Tiffin?

We was ready to give up on you, Pull Through.

We wasn't. Well, we was.

Well, you was. You said.

Finish your letter, Walt, or get some more shut-eye.

But the Lieutenant knew about the strata, Dad. How it holds up, like.

And that's why we kept digging.

The fact is Tom Dwyer's dead because Woodward made a blue - a bad one.

Won't be the last either.

He's alright, he is. Yeah?

Then why'd he join late?

Does anyone want the last of the axle grease?

I was over here, killing Germans, months before his fuckin' number was dry.

Evening.

Stay there.

Surprised to see you here.

Me hearing came back.

Tommy doctor checked me out, couldn't find a bloody thing wrong with me.

Too bad.

Smoke? Yeah, thanks.


It's bad luck.

Bad luck lighting three smokes with one match.

First one, Fritz sniper sees you.

Second one, he gets an aim.

Third one, he blows your fuckin' head off.

Well, he'd be a crack shot if he could get me down here.

Well, you never know who's watchin', do you, sir?

I'll be writing to Tom Dwyer's family.

If he had any possessions to send back, bring them to my dugout.

Officer approaching! Attention!

Woodward? Yes, sir?

I understand you're a demolition man.

I'm trained in mining explosives, sir, not...

You're aware that the Germans have placed a machine gun in the Red House, such that they can enfilade our trench?

En... enfilade?

Fire down it lengthwise.

Oh, yes, sir.

And how much explosive charge would you need to demolish that building?

Depends where you placed it, sir.

How much would you need to do the job properly?

50 pounds.

Do we have that in the stores or do we have to requisition it?

We have it on hand, sir. There's a listening post at 105 Drive.

That'd put you about 70 foot from Boris.

If we drove north from there, we could be under it in, what?

Oh, three shifts, 30 foot a day - we could do it in two or three days.

Let's have it done before sun-up, 0400.

Clayton, you'll have to cut a gap in the wire.

I'll have the artillery give you one hour.

Sir. Sir!

He couldn't get out of here fast enough.

Word is that bastard won't catch a train in case it's going down a tunnel.

It'll mean going over the bags...

...crossing no-man's-land, setting a charge.

I'll need two men.

I'll go, sir.

You don't have to, Morris. Want to, sir.

Sit down, Tiffin.

I'll go.

Here.

A bit out of your element, aren't you, Australia?

I heard you tunnelling chaps were wombats.

Come up for some air, have you?

Actually, we've been invited to blow up the Red House.

Apparently you blokes keep missing.

Set the exploder up over there.

Right. That's us.

They'll start up again at dawn.

You've never been over the bags before, have you?

Christ.

When you get over the top, stay low, don't bunch up.

If a flare goes up, freeze.

Don't bloody go to ground. Fritz machine-gunners look for movement.

Keep one eye closed until the flare drops - then you'll see better when it's dark again.

Thank you.

Did your boys cut the wire? Yeah.

Lieutenant Clayton took a couple of lads out earlier.

He ain't back yet. I'll cover you.

Let's go.


Fuck!

It's Boris, alright.

He hasn't spotted us, but. The bastard's just trying his luck.

Right. Let's go.


Ready?


We'll have to go under.

There must be a cellar.


Corp!

Oh, Jesus Christ.

What? We're short.

Do you think you can get the exploder?

Sir, we could try again tonight.

They'll have found the charge by then. Can you get it?

I think so.

Stay on your bloody stomach and when you get close, give a low whistle to identify yourself.

The Tommies see any movement.

Oh!


Who's the fastest man in our company?

You need a runner?

Yes.

Yeah, Streaky's bloody quick.

Christ.

Is it one of our boys?

There's no way of knowing.

Poor bastard.

Stay here.

Morris will be back any minute now.

Wait.

Wait, sir!

Who are you?

Clayton?

Where did they get you?

Mary, Mary.

You're set now, mate. We're gonna get you home to your Mary.

OK? Everything's OK.

Come on. Come on, Captain.

Come on.

Help.

Field dressing.

Where is he injured? Left leg, above the knee.


Christ.

No! Wait.

Bastard's got a pattern. Thanks, mate.

Captain.


Just pray they haven't broken.

Thank you.

Sir, are you wounded?

I don't think so.


Hello, Mr Woodward. Marjorie.

How is everything at home?

We're coping.

They've formed a mining battalion.

It's a secret, I think.

They're looking for miners and engineers.

I've joined up.

In a few weeks, I'll be leaving for training, and after that, I expect I'll be sent off to the war.

I see.

Marjorie, I'm nearly 10 years your senior.

You're only 16.

I'll be 17 in a month.

I signed the papers this morning.

I would like to ask you if I could write to you while I was away.

I would be happy if you wrote to me...

...but if you're asking me to wait for your return, then you must first ask my father.

Thank you for taking the trouble to see me.

Come in close.

If they're going to put on a big push, it'll happen right now.

They're gonna hit us where we're most vulnerable.

Our left flank.

Whatever happens, we need to hold our line, understand?

You convicts gonna play or what?

OK, lads. Kick it off. Three points all. Next to score wins.

Come on, Australia.

Let's go!

Get right, boys. Go right. Tiffin, get in there!

Boom, boom, out right!

Go, go, go, go!

One man down. Get up.

OK, mark.

Come on. Turn it up. Get back.

Come on, boys.

Pass it! Pass it! Get out of here!

Get onside! Get in there! Come on! Tackle!

Scrum.

Come here, boys. Come on. Scrum down. Tiffin in the middle here.

Pack it in, boys. Come in hard.

It's out! It's out!

Push! Push out! Run!

Where's my runner? Get him, boys!

Come on, Billy! Go, Billy!

I'm with you, Billy.

Billy, go! Go, Streaky!

Victory to the 1st Australian Tunnellers, six points to three.

Parlez-vous?

Mademoiselle from Armentieres, parlez-vous?

They'll do it for wine, they'll do it for rum They'll stick your finger up your bum...

Hinky-dinky, parlez-vous?

Oh, Mademoiselle from Armentieres, parlez-vous?

Mademoiselle from Armentieres, parlez-vous?

We're the boys from Townsville and Dandenong We're coming for you with our donkey dongs Hinky-dinky, parlez-vous?

Oh, Mademoiselle from Armentieres, parlez-vous?

Mademoiselle from Armentieres, parlez-vous?

She's really fat and she's got big ears...

What's up, Lieutenant? It's Captain, actually.

Well done, sir.

Thank you, Sergeant Fraser.

Hey, Sarge!

As you were!

We're moving up the line.

We load up at midnight.

How come you bastards get to leave this shithole before us?

Because only real soldiers get to move up the line.

Where we heading, sir?

Belgium.

Hill 60.

Better get your gear.

Righto, you blokes. Let's go.

Keep your heads down, lads.

I nearly forgot - a present from Fritz.

He said to say, "Thanks for all your help".

Cheers, mate.

You'll be right, lads.

Thanks, mate.


Too early for the grey hen, sir?

Never too early.


I'm right. Take 'em.

You're just skin and bones.

Come on, son.

She'll send me another parcel tomorrow, more than likely.

Decent fit.

My Elsa's a first-rate knitter.

When we get back, she'll have probably knitted herself a new husband.

Want to be a bit better-looking than the old one.

Your boy's gonna make a great prop forward.

Don't I know it? And he's still growing.

You join up together?

One of them recruiting blokes came through town.

Gets the young fella all excited with his stories of adventure and seeing the Pyramids and what have you.

Never spent one bloody night away from home and he's quit the pits and joined up.

Elsa's nearly had bloody kittens, hasn't she, Walt?

Yep.

Well, you can't unjoin.

So, after Walt went to bed, I said to Elsa, "I've looked after him all his life. I'm not gonna stop now".

I told her if I joined up, I could bring him back safe.

Elsa didn't know what was worse - her boy going off to the war by himself, or both of us going.

And she's been knitting like buggery ever since.

Douse them flaming lights!

Stay low! Stay low!

Stay here!

Where's Fosse Way? It's north, that way!

He said that way!

Or south to Hill 60?

Fraser! This way!

Let's go!

Keep down!

Come on, boys!

You alright, Walt? Come on, come on, get up!

Get up! Go!

Where are the others?

Sir!

We left the bloody kids behind.

Who's missing?

Young Sneddon, Tiffin and Bacon.

Walter!

Walt!

Arggh!

How can Fritz get to us? We're behind the line, ain't we?

He's got the high ground.

Walter!

Over here!

Oh, fuck!

We've missed it.

Sap's over to the right. About 25 yards.

You ready?

Walt, we can't stay here, mate.

Tell you what, I'll go to the left and draw crabs.

Soon as you hear that MG open up, you run like buggery.

Don't bloody stop until you get to the sap!

No.

I'm twice as fast as you blokes.

Probably make it before youse do.

Come on, Walt!

Stay low! Tiffin!

Walt!

Over here, mate!

Come on.

Streaky's still out there!

Billy!

Billy Bacon!

Streaky!

Did they get home?!

They're home!

Streaky! Streaky!

Run!

Billy! Go on, Billy!

Billy! Come on, Billy!

Come on, Streaky!

Run, Billy! Come on!

Arggh!

Stretcher!

Stretcher bearers!


Streaky?


Oh, this is God's flamin' handiwork, is it?

Grab his disc and pay book.

We'll bury him in the morning.

Come on, Frank.

Gas masks on now!

Captain Woodward.

1st Australian Tunnellers.

McBride! Captain McBride, actually.

Where you been? Been waiting for hours.

Hell of a place, eh?

Your men can bunk down in there.

Stow your kits. Get a couple of hours' sleep.

Couple of hours?

Gee, sir. They'll turn soft on you.

Come on!

Have you seen the tunnels?

You've got a big surprise in store for you.

Come on.

Officers' dugout's down this way.

I might just bunk down here for the time being.

Wetter in here than it is out there.

More rats than in frickin' France.

At least they're Belgian rats.

Change is as good as a holiday.

Keep your gas bags within reach.

At least we're back underground.

And we'll be staying underground.

One way or another.

What's that supposed to mean?

This is how it goes from now on.

We'll be dodging shells and shrapnel and out of the blue, you cop a bullet in the guts like poor old Streaky.

And it's no game of skill down here, neither.

Get eaten by rats, get murdered by Fritz in the dark, or buried alive for our fucking troubles.

Well, that cheered us all up.


Mr Waddell.

Oliver.

When do you set off?

About three weeks.

Right, well... you'd better come in, then.

Actually...

...I'd like to ask you something.

I would like your permission to write to Marjorie while I'm overseas.

And...

...I'd like to spend some time with her before I leave.

I know. Damn it.

Oh.

Emma. What?

I'm gonna take my walk now, if you'd care to come.

Your walk?

Aye.

If you'd care to come?

Oh... of course.

They've never taken a walk together in their lives.

When I get back...

...I'll take you walking every day.


Ja.


Can't see it.

Keep going.

Mate, can I have a bo-peep?

Yeah, help yourself. Thanks.

Hey, Pull Through. Hill 60- take a look.

Is that it?

What were you expecting, Morris? The fuckin' Matterhorn?

I was expecting something bigger than a railway cuttin'.

So, why 'Berlin Sap'?

It goes so deep under German lines, they reckon it almost reaches Berlin.

It's just mud and slurry. Like sinking a mine in a bog.

Yeah, the blue clay's further down.

This whole area is below sea level.

Keeping the water out was their main problem.

Was?

Now it's ours.

We're 90 feet down now.

Right below German lines.

Hill 60 is directly above us.

Eh, eh, eh? Shh-shh. Shh.

The blue clay of Flanders.

Beautiful.

Major North, 3rd Canadian Tunnellers.

Fritz has set up in the swim sand.

He can't get at us. Oh, no, no, no.

If you will.

53,000 pounds of ammonal high explosive.

8,000 pounds of guncotton.

I've never seen anything like this before.

No, nobody has. Nobody.

500 feet down there is a caterpillar mine.

That one's 70,000 pounds.

There's 21 of them.

We've undermined the whole of the Messines Ridge, nearly a million pounds of ammonal.

Mm-hm?

You know, when this thing blows, it'll be the biggest explosion the world's ever seen.

Each mine has detonators and leads running to the surface.

Mm-hm.

All we have to do is keep the bloody thing dry and keep it secret from Fritz.

No, no, no. No. Fritz has got no idea.

He thinks we're digging wells.

Well, this'll finish the war.

End it altogether.

Think of that, huh?

When do they plan to detonate?

They're pulling me out.

It's up to you now.

It's all up to you.

Poor bugger.

Yeah, he sleeps down here.

He hasn't been to the surface in three months.

So, when are they gonna blow them?

No-one knows.

Could be months away. What are they waiting for?

Well, I'm a miner not a general...

...but I reckon it's simple arithmetic.

If we blow the mines now, we'll kill a few hundred Fritz at best.

But if they think there's an attack coming, they will stack those trenches above us like bloody sardines.

And kill thousands.

Time it right, tens of thousands.


Nein.

Ja.

Jim, check every prop and every stay, starting here, all the way to the bottom of the Berlin Sap.

Take Walter and Ginger. Sir.

I'll do the same for Caterpillar. Righto.

Pull Through, there are 26 listening posts. Check them all.

Take Percy. Righto.

Fraser, you check the water line.

I want to know the depth from the surface.

I want to know where the water is ending up.

I want to know at exactly what depth the sand becomes clay.

Take Tiffin with you. Sir.

Come on, Tiffin.

To the left. Yeah.

Yep, yep, yep. That's another. That's good. You got it.

Come out!


Nah. No, you're alright.

Bit bloody close.

Sniper shell, by the size of it.

Would have made a mess of your melon.

Saw one bloke hit by one of them - half his head blown off.

Only his smile left.

How old are you?

16.

When they found out, they made me a stretcher bearer.

Keep me away from the horrors of war.

Stretcher bearers! Stretcher bearers!

Over here.

Stretcher bearer!

Alright, come on. Let's go.

It's like trying to stop the tide with a bloody sandcastle.

Top level's mostly sand. Clay starts around 30 feet.

Water seeps down, pools above the clay.

Where it finds a tunnel, it funnels down like a bloody creek.

We have 60 blokes manning the pumps night and day just to keep the water level down.

If we lose even a few of those men, bloody mines'll be useless.


Where did they get this lot?

The sappers are getting it wherever they can find it now, sir.

All the forests have been cut down or stonkered by shellin'.

That's oak.

Me dad's a carpenter.

After the war, I'm gonna get me apprenticeship.

Get out of them bloody pits.

More 'an likely, it came from that ruined church in town.

Church?

Cathedral. Ypres Cathedral.

Probably.

That's the lowest point in the sap. 90 feet, yeah.

What if we sink a shaft directly to that point and get the water out that way?

Canadians have tried it. So have the Tommies.

The whole middle section is unstable.

Shaft walls collapse after about six feet.

Besides, 90 feet vertical is a bloody long way to move water.

We've got electricity down there, don't we?

We propose sinking a shaft down to a gallery beneath the Berlin Sap, right here.

Install electric pumps. Should free up 60 men at least.

Rutledge?

This is over 90 feet deep.

I shouldn't have thought an electric pump would lift water that high...

The new ones will, sir.

And this shaft simply isn't feasible.

This is not a new idea, sir.

It's impossible to go through the wet sand without the walls collapsing.

Have you been down there, Colonel?

Alright. That will be all.

Thank you, sir, and I apologise for taking up your valuable time.

General, our plans differ from the ones previously tried.

How? We don't dig from the surface, sir.

We build the shaft head 20 feet below ground level.

We construct galleries large enough to house all the tunnellers and hide the blue clay.

Captain Woodward, 20 feet down will put you right in the middle of the quicksand.

You are wrong, Colonel!

It would set us just above the wet sand. That's the point.

We'll use steel sections to control the water and stop the walls collapsing.

We use jacks from the roof of the gallery to force the steel sections downwards.

And how many months or years do we imagine that this folly will take?

Rough estimate? How long?

Three weeks, give or take.

Go, go, go!

Go! Keep going.

Aarggh!

Run! Run, boys, keep going. Come on!

Aarggh!


One more.

Yep.

Shh. Shh.


We're nearly there.

Bucket it out. Get those jacks back up.

Have that steel section ready to go on my order.

Drive it further into the clay.


It's going, sir.

Not exactly gushing.

What's happening, Tiffin?

I don't know, sir.

It seems to be working.

No idea. It's working at that end.

Ridiculous.

Must be too much pressure.

I'm sure we...

Full report by the morning.

Yes!


What if the pump fails? We have backups standing by, sir.

Off the shaft head, we've built two listening posts and two diversion tunnels.

What diversion tunnels? I'll show you, sir.

There's no need.

It's no trouble. There is no need.

There's more activity in the second diversion, sir.

I think Fritz is coming at us again.

That means it's working.

He's been quiet for four minutes.

I reckon he could be ready to blow.

Let them.

Is it just the two of you down there?

Just me, sir. Where's Walt?

He's up getting me a billy of tea.

What? He abandoned his post?

No, he just... Put it on the report.

Why aren't you at your post?

As I said, I think Fritz... Have you been ordered out?

Sir, the listeners have permission...

I know the orders, Captain!

Get back down there.

If you see Walt, you tell him... you tell him not to...

Sir...

My dad likes a cup of tea around now.

Jim.

Jim!

Dad!

Dad!

Dad!

Jim!

Dad!

Daddy, can you hear me? Dad!

Restore, establish and strengthen you forever and ever, amen.

Amen.


Sir?

I've been wanting to give you this...

...for that girl of yours, sir.

I made it from that wood you liked...

...from the cathedral.

It's beautiful.

This box was made from the timbers of Ypres Cathedral by a nice young chap named Frank Tiffin.

I'm sure you'll get to meet him after this is over and thank him for his handiwork.


What is it? Not sure.

15 degrees, about 20ft forward, 15ft down.

Nothing.

An attack tunnel?

No, it's different.

I think it's some kind of shaft. Through the wet sand?

No. Can't be.


Come on!


Come on!


Du, nach oben.


Woodward? Woodward?

Woodward!

Captain Woodward, get up!

We're firing the mines Thursday morning, just before dawn.

That's in 36 hours.

You'll be firing the Hill 60 and caterpillar mines.

McBride, you'll have the back-up exploders.

Sir.

There'll be 21 blasts in all.

Yours will be the final two in the sequence.

It's critical to the entire operation that each mine goes off precisely in the right order.

Yes, sir.

Firing orders.

Attention.


You were on listening duty?

All quiet, sir, apart from a few squeaks.

Rats? Probably.

Probably rats mating, sir, by the sound of them.

Why do you say that?

They were kind of regular squeaks, if you get my drift.

Where?

Lower listening post, Berlin Sap.

Windlass.

It's a shaft.

Right here.

That's right on top of the mine at Hill 60.

We've been counting the squeaks for 15 minutes now.

I've calculated the depth... Yes.

63 feet, sir.

We blow in 10 hours.

When do you predict they'd hit the mine?

At their current rate of progress, nine hours, sir.

I hold you personally responsible.

Do what you have to do, Woodward.

We're driving an attack tunnel. From where, sir?

Lower Berlin Sap listening post to position 6-0.

That's just above the mine. Yes.

That's suicidal.

That's an order, Sergeant.

Let's go.

Come on, let's go!


They're 10 feet forward, 15 feet up.

Morris.

Resistance is good.

Check it again.

Were the leads reconnected after the last test?

Mm-hm.

29 minutes.

I'm going back down.

Clear, please.

Out of the way!

Some tea coming.


On three.

One...

...two...

...three.

They're almost on top of us.

I've gotta set the charge.

No. That'll set off the main mine.

Wait till they're a few feet away.

Then use the camouflet.

A few feet?

Another four feet forward.

There's no time.

Four feet forward, Fraser.

Then set the charge.


Set the charge.

Finish the backing, boys.


They did it.

Guess what, Mutter?

I'm coming home.

Voomp!

Splat!

Go easy, boys.

Load up. Let's get out of here.

Nein, nein! Schnell! Schnell!

Fritz will be landing in Berlin right about now.

All clear below? Yes, sir.

The German shaft has been crumped.

All circuits are complete.

Five minutes!

Five minutes!

Five minutes! Five minutes!

Five minutes!


This is our great occasion.

Yes, sir. Yes, sir.

Good luck.

Four minutes to go.

Did it easy. Yeah.

Man buried!

Who is it? It's Tiffin! He's back there!

Fuck.

Go! Go!

Tiffin!

Tiffin!

Sarge?

It's gonna take some time to shift this.

I'll get them to hold the mine.


Well, what do we do?

Tiffin!

Just go.

No point in all of us dying.

Fraser will get them to stop!

We'll come back when we know!

Righto!

'Bye, Tiffin!

Come on, Walt! Come on!

Cheerio, lads.

One minute!

Out of the way, please! Move!

Fuckin' move!

Fix bayonets!

Out of the way! Move!

Out of the way! Make way!

Out of the fuckin' way!

20 seconds!

Out of the way! Move! Out of the way!

Out of the fuckin' way! 15 seconds!

Tiffin's still in there.

What happened? Collapse.

Sir, please.

10 seconds!

He's still alive. Nine!

Eight!

We'd have him out in a few minutes.

Seven!

Six!

Five!

Four!

Three!

Woodward! Two!

For Christ's sake! It's Tiffin!

Fire!


That's your heart.

Feel it?

You're hearing your own heartbeat.


Woodward. People are waiting.

Woody, are you alright?

I'm fine.

I'll be out shortly.


You right?