Private Peaceful – Episode 13

Tommo and Charlie hold hands at their final meeting and hum 'Oranges and lemons.'

Private Peaceful: Episode 13 - synopsis

Tommo’s recollection of events from the past have all but caught up with his reflections in the present. Tommo reveals he only knew the day before of his brother’s death sentence...

Tommo is given twenty minutes for a final meeting with his brother. Charlie insists on reading a letter to Tommo from Molly about little Tommo and Big Joe. It is clear she doesn’t know about the court martial or Charlie’s death sentence.

Charlie insists Tommo must tell the truth of what happened when he returns home. He explains the injustice of the court martial, with no witnesses called in his defence. Charlie says the history of his insubordination and being shot in the foot has gone against him (soldiers were accused of shooting themselves in the foot as a way to be sent home injured). Charlie is resigned to the outcome and comforts Tommo. They spend time talking about home and the promise Tommo has made regarding Molly and the baby.

The time draws near for Tommo to leave and Charlie passes him letters for home. They hold each other, humming ‘Oranges and lemons’, then sing louder. Charlie says he’ll be singing the tune as he stands before the firing squad. Their time is up and Tommo must leave.

Tommo returns to the camp and discovers Hanley has died in a freak training-ground accident. He is relieved at the justice but the camp is subdued.

Wanting to be alone Tommo goes to a barn to spend the night - the same barn from which he has been making his recollections. Tommo sees the time moving to six and plans to go outside so he can sense the world alongside Charlie at the end. At one minute to six the past finally catches up with the present. Tommo thinks of the proud way he knows his brother will face the firing squad. Tommo hears the volley of shots and knows it is over. As he returns to camp all the soldiers are standing to attention.

Tommo collects Charlie’s things and visits his burial place. Shortly he will be going to a new ‘push’ on the Somme...but he is determined to survive because now he has promises to keep.

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Clip: 'You're the best person I've ever known.' The final meeting.


More from this series

Private Peaceful – Episode 10
Private Peaceful – Episode 11
Private Peaceful – Episode 12