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Wings (1977/78) – S02E12 – “No Medals” – Tim Woodward, Nicholas Jones, Michael Cochrane, David Troughton


This Episode

The pilots of “C” Flight are dispatched to Veuve-sur-Meuse under the command of Captain Boucharlat to assist in fighting a surprisingly large number of Eindeckers. Gaylion is delayed on take-off and is shot down by an Eindecker. Boucharlat shows a lack of sensitivity and Alan reacts violently to his apparent lack of concern over the missing pilot. Having destroyed his aircraft, Gaylion is befriended by a Frenchman who knew his uncle at The Hague. He informs Gaylion of the Germans’ plans for a massive offensive, something Triggers and Starling have begun to suspect from the Germans’ movements. Boucharlat refuses to listen and irritates the pilots of “C” Flight, especially Starling, with his mocking attitude towards the British equipment and their lack of medals. Their housekeeper’s 16-year-old daughter grows attached to Triggers, who finds her attentions amusing and takes an interest in her collection of souvenirs. When he agrees to give her one of his spare buttons, the girl responds by kissing him, but her mother enters the room at that moment, jumps to the wrong conclusion and locks her in her room. Boucharlat accuses Triggers of attempting to seduce the girl. Charles Gaylion’s French acquaintance is killed, but Charles makes it back across the lines with the intelligence; Starling is surprised when Boucharlat confesses he has suspected the truth all along. In the meantime, angered by Boucharlat’s attitude, Triggers and Alan take to the air, determined to show that they can shoot down an Eindecker. They succeed, but the plane crashes into the church, killing several civilians including the housekeeper. The British pilots are obliged to leave the area.



Wings is a drama series about the Royal Flying Corps that ran on BBC television from 1977 to 1978. It stars Tim Woodward as Alan Farmer, a young blacksmith turned fighter pilot in World War I.

Nicholas Jones played his teacher and mentor, Captain Triggers, and Michael Cochrane played his upper-class friend, Charles Gaylion, who began a relationship with Farmer’s girlfriend while Farmer was believed dead, shot down over France.

The series reveals that the British pilots are struggling with aeroplanes which are both unreliable and inferior to the German machines, and with an Establishment that classes voicing an opinion to that effect as being tantamount to cowardice. The airmen must also face the resentment of British soldiers who see them having an “easy” life. The rigidity of the British class structure is highlighted when Farmer becomes an officer in the second series – he faces resentment both from some officers because of his class and NCOs because of his new rank. The series takes great care with historical accuracy, covering the early days of the parachute, the fitting of weaponry to British biplanes (lacking the Germans’ interruptor gear, they had to be fired at an angle rather than through the propellers) and the horrors of trench warfare. Wings depicts a Britain that is, in some areas, struggling to adapt in the face of change, at a period that was a turning point for many people’s way of life MORE AT LINK

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