Stockbroker Wolf Merton (Jack Hawkins), an ex-colonel in the Tank Corps, returns to his Belgravia home to find an intruder rifling his desk. The man escapes, but not before Merton has recognised him as ex-soldier Ginger Edwards (Michael Medwin) – one of the bravest men in his old unit and a fellow who had distinguished himself under his command.
Distraught at the thought of how casually he has lost touch with his men, Merton determines to track Ginger down and find the reason behind this desperate act and the extraordinary transformation of Ginger’s character.
Interviews with Ginger’s comrades, coloured by appropriate combat flashbacks, are the main props, and Hawkins (superb as the colonel) galvanises them into purposeful and thrilling screen fare, culminating in a perfectly timed man-hunt.
Wolf calls on John Summers (George Cole), an ex-corporal now working in Covent Garden, who had always been friendly with Ginger. At first, John is evasive, and by the time he admits to seeing Ginger, Ginger has moved on.
Merton then interviews ex-Captain Leonard Pirry (Dennis Price), now a senior executive. Although Ginger had saved Pirry’s life and preserved his honour, Pirry not only refuses to take an interest in Ginger but informs the police.
Merton extends his inquiries to Bertram Slake (Arthur Howard), the headmaster of a private school, but he is unable to help.
Donald Cope (Duncan Lamont), a much-married farmer, is the last on Merton’s list, and he tells Merton that Ginger’s troubles started when he accidentally killed a sadistic uncle who had beaten his small brother, Dickie and that he is now an escaped convict. He then confesses to harbouring Ginger.
When Ginger declines to give himself up, Merton offers to hide him in his car, but at the last minute, Ginger – unwilling to incriminate Merton – surrenders.
Jenny Jones (as Frances Gowens)