The population of the small Norfolk (UK) village of Saltingsby battle the Royal Air Force which intends to use the small “Island of Children” in the Norfolk Broads as a firing range to train pilots using the Vampire jets based at the local (fictional) Fallowfield RAF base.
One of the locals discovers an ancient act in which Henry VIII had given the island – which is now a bird sanctuary – to the church in gratitude for the town helping to quell a long-forgotten rebellion. While the claims are being investigated, the RAF decides to continue the exercise anyway.
The residents take to their small boats and ‘occupy’ the island to deter the live-firing exercise. unfortunately, they accidentally damage the field telephone link used by an RAF spotter on the island, who is then unable to warn the RAF base to abort the exercise.
The low cloud cover means the approaching aircraft don’t see the ground until the last seconds. The occupiers wave frantically, and just as the order is given to fire the missiles, the lead pilot spots the danger and aborts the exercise.
The Air Force sequences were shot at RAF Leconsfield, a gunnery school in Yorkshire, and the Norfolk Broads made a picturesque location when filmed in glorious Technicolor.
The film was released in the US as Fuss over Feathers.
Cpl. Bill Morris
Sqn. Ldr. Parsons
Flt. Sgt. Campbell
Wg. Cmr. Rogers
Sqd. Ldr. Davidson
Flt. Lt. Edwards
Mr Wentworth/Col. Wentworth
Charles Lloyd Pack