A Ribbon of Lincoln Green

Episode #11
Aired 1947-08-31
Read Overview

A Ribbon of Lincoln Green

Quiet, Please! #11

Wyllis Cooper

Sun. Aug. 31, 1947
10:00-10:30 PM EDST

Mon. Sept 1, 1947
10:00-10:30 PM EDST

Fri. Aug. 29, 2:00-5:00 PM Studio 15
Sun. Aug. 31, 8:00-10:00 PM Studio 15

CHAPPELL: Quiet, please.


CHAPPELL: Quiet, please.


ANNCR: Quiet, Please for tonight, written and directed by Wyllis Cooper, and featuring Ernest Chappell, is called "A Ribbon of Lincoln Green."



HOOD: Hood is my name. H-O-O-D. Late Captain in the King's Royal Rifle Corps, the old Sixtieth, in His Brittanic Majesty's Army. Civilian now. Civilian ever since June 1940.

Oh, I'm an American.

There were half a dozen Americans in the KRRC. Maybe more. This young fellow, what's his name, Charles Guy Bolte, started the American Veterans' Committee, didn't he? He was in the Rifles. From Connecticut. There was quite a few of us.

Well there IS a kind of reason, I suppose. The name of the regiment when it was organized in 1755, was the Royal American Regiment. They changed that name when the Revolution started, and in 1830 they changed the name to the King's Royal Rifle Corps; so I guess a few of us Americans that joined it had some kind of – you know, sentimental idea in the backs of our heads about being in an American Regiment in the British Army before our own Country got into the war.

I was young and full of stuff back in 1939 when I first joined up at Winchester, at the Rifle Depot. They were kind of tickled at having an American in the outfit, even though I was only second-generation American, and they saw to it right away that I went to Officers' Training School. So I got my commission early, and I was in France as a very Junior Captain when the phoney war ended and the shooting war started.

Time flies.

That was seven and more years ago.

May 1940.

Everybody knows about Dunkerque and how the British Army got away to England.

A lot of people have forgotten about Calais.

We were at Calais.

We and some others; and quite a lot of Germans.

They say that if the Rifles hadn't made a last stand there at the Calais Citadel, the rest of our people wouldn't have gotten off at Dunkerque.

It's probably true.

But it wasn't just the Rifles that did the standing off.

We had help.

That's what I wanted to tell you about.

We had a pretty rough time. Lot of good people killed; and finally Jerry captured a lot of us. One-eyed Major Lord Cromwell; that big tall baronet with the glasses – what was his name, Lieutenant Hawley; little Jewish Capt. Monico from London ... there was a boy! Baldy Gilliat ...a lot of good Joes fought till they didn't have anything left to fight with, and a lot got snaffled by Jerry.

Me, I got lost.


HOOD: You ever been in a battle?

Well, I suppose battles are different. I've only seen this one, at Calais, and it was plenty. I'm not going to try to give you a blow-by-blow description of it, because after all I didn't see much of it.

But what I did see:

It's very much like one of those dreams:

You're looking out of a window at a house burning and people running out of it; and all of a sudden

You're looking at a guy you ought to know lying on the ground in front of you and he's saying I haven't change for a shilling old man or something just as silly, and you look again.

And there's a bridge and a German on a motorcycle, and

Then there's a bell ringing somewhere and

Then you're running from something, and

You hear people shouting, and you'd swear it's your voice, and it is, and

There's the loudest noise you ever heard in all your life,



HOOD: ...stars and flames and blackness and voices...

MAN 1: Colonel Hoskyns copped it.

MAN 2: Stretcher-bearer!

MAN 3: Leftenant Scott! Leftenant Scott!

MAN 2: Stretcher-bearer!

MAN 1: Ho, you there, rifleman! Give's a hand here!

MAN 3: Scotty! Hi, Leftenant Scott!

HOOD: ...and the sounds of motors and the bloody German planes diving and somebody's playing an organ, it sounds like.


HOOD: And the drumming of guns somewhere...


HOOD: And you struggle to your feet in the dark and you start to get out of that place, and there's the grand father of all noises.


ALAN: (OFF) Captain Hood! (A LONG PAUSE) Captain Hood!

HOOD: (AFTER A PAUSE, LABORIOUSLY) I can hear someone calling me.

ALAN: (OFF) Captain Hood! (TO SOMEONE ELSE) I know he's about here somewhere, but I can't find him in the dark!

MARIAN: (INDISTINGUISHABLY) Can't you light a torch?

ALAN: (OFF) Can't have a light here! (CLOSER) Captain Hoooood!

HOOD: I try to raise myself, but it's too much. I try to answer, but I have no voice.

MARIAN: Captain Hood!

HOOD: That was a woman's voice.

MARIAN: Captain Hood!

HOOD: What is a woman doing here in the ruins of Calais on this twenty-sixth day of May in 1940?

MARIAN: Captain Hood!

HOOD: Or is this Calais ... is this ... I was dreaming.

ALAN: (CLOSER) Captain Hood!

HOOD: I'll turn over and go to sleep again. I was dreaming about Calais, and Colonel Hoskyns was killed ... I'll be all right when I wake up ... it's so dark ...

MARIAN: Captain Hood....

HOOD: 'Tis a woman's voice. Well, if they want me, let 'em come and find me.
I'm sleepy.

ALAN: (CLOSER) Captain Hood...

HOOD: I won't answer. I want to go back to sleep.


HOOD: What was that? By gad that WAS a gun! That was a shell or something! I wasn't dreaming!

ALAN: Where are you, Captain Hood?

HOOD: Who the devil are you?

ALAN: Marian! Here, Marian! I've found him!

HOOD: Who are you?

ALAN: (COMING CLOSER) Why, Captain Hood, good even to you! We thought we'd lost ye, and we've been prying this place over this long – where are ye, then, in the dark?

HOOD: I'm here, and I want to know who you are! Take it easy, I've got a pistol here....

ALAN: (LAUGHS) Why, Captain, I'd've thought ye'd recognize my voice.

MARIAN: (CLOSER) Where is he, Alan?

ALAN: Leastwise ye'll know Marian's voice, Captain....

HOOD: Marian! Who's Marian?


HOOD: Answer me! Who are you?

ALAN: Why, Captain, we be the Sherwood Foresters as ever was! What's wrong with ye? Are thy senses knocked from thy head?

MARIAN: (CLOSER) Where, Alan?

ALAN: Here, lass. Give me tha hand. So, now, mind the fallen stones –


MARIAN: Where is he?

ALAN: Here – tha'll tread on him; take care!

MARIAN: My love – my dearest love – we have looked for thee high and low – oh, and art tha hurt, then?

ALAN: True, we thought we'd lost thee again, for good, Cap'n.

MARIAN: Dearest, dearest – where is thy hurt? Kiss Marian! Ah, kiss me, love!

HOOD: (BEING KISSED) I don't know who you are –

MARIAN: Why, love, art thy brains addled, then? 'Tis Marian – Marian, thy own true wife! Kiss me!


HOOD: No, friend. So far as I knew, I had no wife on the twenty-sixth of May
1940. and I certainly had no wife named Marian, speaking with a North-Country accent and talking about my being gone from here AGAIN. Nor could I understand how the Sherwood Foresters, which is the nickname of the Notts and Derbyshire Regiment, could have come to Calais, when I knew from Army orders I'd seen that they were not within hundreds of miles of us that night. And this Alan, who traveled with her. Who was he? I asked about my own people, the King's Royal Rifles, and there were vague about them.

I asked what we were to do, alone in the ruins of the Citadel, and Alan spat into the darkness and gave me his answer.

ALAN: Well, Cap'n, I'm not sure I know. We heard, as you know, that the English was in a strait here, bein' surrounded by the enemy on all sides except the sea, and we was to come and see what we could do to help.

MARIAN: And we mustered the Foresters, and we come, love.

ALAN: Ay, so we did. And so here we are, but it's quiet and – Cap'n, have the English won, then?

HOOD: I don't know, my friend.

ALAN: Where did they go?

HOOD: I don't know.

MARIAN: Hold my hand, Love, I'm feared in the dark.

HOOD: What are you two doing alone here?

ALAN: Why, I said I was lookin' for 'ee, Cap'n. Marian and me.

HOOD: Where are the rest of – the Foresters?

ALAN: Prowlin' the streets, Cap'n, lookin' for the enemy in the dark.

HOOD: How many men do you have?

ALAN: Why, tha knowest, Cap'n, there are three-and-thirty of us.

HOOD: Thirty-three men! What do you expect to do with THEM?

ALAN: Why, Cap'n, we're the foresters o' Sherwood!

MARIAN: Ay, Cap'n, love.

HOOD: And are you in command of them?

ALAN: (LAUGHS) Why, tha knows I'm not, Cap'n!

HOOD: No? Who is, then?

ALAN: Cap'n art tha sure tha's not been knocked silly by that great bomb?

HOOD: What?

ALAN: Why, who's ever in command but thy good self, Cap'n Hood?


HOOD: I said to myself, Hood, you have been knocked silly by that great bomb. I said, Hood, either you have been knocked silly, or you are dreaming, or maybe you're dead ... I said, look Hood, only a few minutes ago the German planes were diving on this place and the German shells were smashing into the parapet where Captain Bower and Leftenant Scott and Colonel Hoskyns and I were standing. Only a few moments ago, the German armour was coming across the bridge down there, and there was a corporal with a Lewis Gun standing up by that corner of the citadel firing at them. You saw him die, I said. And now you're sitting here, and there's not a sound anywhere, except the voices of two strange people, one of whom says she's your wife. What is this, Hood, I asked myself. Are you silly or are you dreaming, or – are you dead? The man said I am in command of the Sherwood Foresters. I am in command of the Sherwood Foresters. I heard him:

ALAN: (BACK) Why, who's ever in command but thy good self, Captain Hood?

HOOD: And slowly, idiotically a thought forms in my mind.

My name is Hood.

Do you know what my first name is?

Although I am six feet two and I weighed two hundred and ten back in 1940, my friends in the regiment called me "Bobbie."

Bobbie Hood.

My name's Robert.

My mother had ANOTHER nickname for me when I was a kid; and there in the blackness of the ruined citadel in Calais, with these two people I could not see, I remembered something.

I remembered some names.



I remembered some others.

And I wondered what would happen if I tried something. I'd find out whether I was dead, or silly, or dreaming. I felt foolish, though, at first, when I spoke, in the dark.

I said Alan.

ALAN: Eh, Captain?

HOOD: Alan, where's Friar Tuck?

ALAN: Who?

HOOD: I felt more than foolish, but I repeated the name, Friar Tuck.

ALAN: Oh, Tuck? He's likely in some cellar, Cap'n, seekin' wine.


HOOD: I tried to keep my voice steady. Marian, I said, have you see Will Scarlett?

MARIAN: Will and Little John and the Miller bide on the parapet, watching, Robin.


HOOD: Robin. Robin Hood.

Robin was the nickname my mother had for me.

And Marian.

Maid Marian, beloved of Robin Hood, dressed in the Lincoln Green of the company that ranged Sherwood Forest, eight hundred years ago.

Alan-a-Dale, the Northern Minstrel, who played the harp at Robin Hood's wedding while the Sheriff of Nottingham lay in wait to take the wedding party and rid the forest of the man who shot the King's own deer at their pleasure. Do you remember what we did to him, Alan, I said.

ALAN: Did to who, Cap'n?

HOOD: Why, the Sheriff, the High Sheriff of Nottingham, Alan!

ALAN: (LAUGHS) Ay, and he was a rueful man, wasn't he?

HOOD: Long dead these eight hundred years.

ALAN: Dead! Why the Sheriff of Nottingham's not dead, Cap'n!

HOOD: What?

ALAN: Latterly he's become a better man, Cap'n.

MARIAN: Ay, and didn't he come boldly into the Forest only yesternight and say he, too, had heard Englishmen were in peril, and he'd join us to their rescue?

ALAN: Ay, Robin, England hath need of all her men this day. The good and the bad alike, and what Englishman, though he be ranger or high sheriff shall bide at home at such a time?

MARIAN: Ay, so 'twill ever be. Let no Englishman despair, dear love, in time of need, for we who love her will be ready at her call.


HOOD: Marian! Marian!


HOOD: Marian! Alan! Where are you?


HOOD: Marian! Marian! Alan!

FORSYTHE: (OFF) Stop where you are, or I'll fire!

HOOD: Who're you?

FORSYTHE: (OFF) Stand still, I tell you! Who are you?

HOOD: I'm Captain Hood, King's Royal Rifles!

FORSYTHE: (OFF) Come this way, so I can have a look at you. Come on!


HOOD: Where did they go?

FORSYTHE: (CLOSER) Where did who go? Stop there now.

HOOD: I was talking to them –

FORSYTHE: Let me get this torch on you – ah. You a British officer?

HOOD: I told you I'm out of the KRRC.

FORSYTHE: Who were you yelling at?

HOOD: There was a – a man and a woman ...

FORSYTHE: You dotty, old chap?

HOOD: I TELL YOU – who are you?

FORSYTHE: Forsythe, Major, first battalion. By George, I know you. You are Hood! The American!

HOOD: I certainly am. I think I know you, too.

FORSYTHE: Well. We're all that's left, I think, Hood.

HOOD: What!

FORSYTHE: The others cleared out to take up another position. What are you doing here?

HOOD: Knocked out by a shell.

FORSYTHE: I've got a little bunged up a bit. Can't move much. I say, what was that rot you were taking about a woman in here?

HOOD: I – (HE TRIES TO LAUGH) – Guess I got smacked harder than I thought.

FORSYTHE: Dotty, eh? All right now?

HOOD: I....yes, I'm all right.


FORSYTHE: I say, you hear anything?

HOOD: Wait. (HE LISTENS) Motors.

FORSYTHE: German armour.

HOOD: Couldn't be our people?

FORSYTHE: Not a chance.

HOOD: We'd better get out of here.

FORSYTHE: I can't go.

HOOD: Maybe I could carry you.

FORSYTHE: (LAUGHS SHORTLY) No good, old chap. Not with this leg.

HOOD: Let's have the light. (A PAUSE) I see what you mean.


FORSYTHE: You'd better hop it, hadn't you. This time the Jerries'll be coming through, you know?

HOOD: No, I'll stay. Maybe....

FORSYTHE: What about these people you said were here?

HOOD: I was thinking about them.

FORSYTHE: Who were they?

HOOD: They were...our people.

FORSYTHE: Well, then, they and the two of us are all that's left.

HOOD: I know.

FORSYTHE: They're trying to get the rest of the Army off down at Dunkerque. A mess, isn't it?

HOOD: Right.

FORSYTHE: And if we can't hold Jerry here, it'll be too bad for the rest of our people down there.

HOOD: Yes.

FORSYTHE: Well, old chap. I don't know where your people have gone – didn't you say a woman?

HOOD: Did I?

FORSYTHE: Thought you did. No matter, though. Look, be a bad thing if we didn't do what we could toward stopping the blighters, wouldn't it?

HOOD: I've got a pistol with I think five rounds.

FORSYTHE: Well...there's a Bren gun over in that window – or there was. Think you could drag me over there.

HOOD: Well...

FORSYTHE: Might get in a lucky shot or two, you know. Doubt it'll do much good, but we might accidentally pop off a tank driver and hold them up a little while. Suppose every second counts down there at Dunkerque.

HOOD: Well, we can try, Major.

FORSYTHE: Good. They're getting close. Just drag me, I think. Sorry to be so much trouble...

HOOD: It isn't going to do that leg much good.

FORSYTHE: I suppose not. But it isn't much good anyway. Lost a lot of blood,
I'm afraid.

HOOD: Get your arms around my neck.

FORSYTHE: Better hurry if we're to do any good. Blasted dark in here, isn't it?

HOOD: They'll make it light enough if they spot us.

FORSYTHE: Quite. Easy, now. There. Good. Here they come.

HOOD: Look at the – got lights and everything.

FORSYTHE: Oh, of course. They know they've got us. Arrogant beggars. Well, we shall see. Eh?

HOOD: Here they come. (PAUSE) Motorcyclists.

FORSYTHE: We could pop them off, couldn't we?

HOOD: Think we'd better save our ammunition for more profitable targets.

FORSYTHE: Oh, of course, old man. (PAUSE) Hello! What's this?

HOOD: What?

FORSYTHE: The cyclists! There's another – someone's shooting at them!

HOOD: But, who –

FORSYTHE: There's more of us here, old boy! Look there goes another off his cycle! Good chaps! And another! I say, though, I don't hear any shooting!

HOOD: Neither do I –

FORSYTHE: Could it be the people who were with you, d'you s'pose?

HOOD: I don't -

FORSYTHE: Ruddy good shooting! Jerry's stopped! Look, man! Look! They're knocking them over like ninepins! Who's doing that?

HOOD: I know who it is!

FORSYTHE: They're stopped! They're stopped!


FORSYTHE: No – here come the tanks! Now for it – look! Hood, look! Hood, do you see what I see? Look, man!


HOOD: And as the searchlights on the noses of the German tanks crept slowly around the ruined buildings at the edge of the bridge, I saw.

Out from the shadows beneath us, out from the shelter of the smashed citadel walls, came a figure. The glare from the light on the leading tank shone full on him,

and he was dressed in Lincoln green.

The light picked out every detail of the man. I could see the feather in his cap; I saw the great long-bow in his left hand; I saw the quiver of cloth-ell-
longyard arrows slung across his back. A shooting glove was on his right hand, a bracer on his left wrist, and he grinned up at us as he reached over his shoulder and drew an arrow. He planted his feed wide apart, thrust out the great bow, and I heard his shout

ALAN: (FAR OFF) Ho, the Sherwood Foresters!

HOOD: (CONT'D) as he drew the pile of the arrow to his ear, and loosed the string


HOOD: (CONT'D) and the arrow, silver in the brilliant light, flew straight to the turret of the tank -


HOOD: (CONT'D) and the tank simply disappeared in a cloud of orange flame and smoke.

And then the snout of another tank moved forward through the dust and smoke, its gun blazing, and behind the lone archer there came a line of other men in Lincoln green with their seven-foot bows. There was a huge man, seven feet tall or more and thin as a rail, and I saw Little John. and one tore at a monk's brown robe and flung it on the ground, and Friar Tuck took his place in the line. And Alan-A-Dale, with his little harp banging against his shoulders...the Miller, who leaned his long quarterstaff against a fallen block of stone...three-and-thirty men of the Foresters of Sherwood, opposing their cloth-yard arrows against the might of the German armour. And the street below the bridge was filled with smoke and flame and the silver streaks of arrows, and from the window above, Forsythe and I shouted with the Foresters and fired our puny weapons at the enemy below. And then, as the tanks started to retreat back the way they had come, the line of men in Lincoln green pressed forward and some tank gunner below at last saw the flashes of our Bren gun from the window above him, and



FORSYTHE: (WEAKLY) Hood ... I say, Hood...

HOOD: Wha – what?

FORSYTHE: You saw it, didn't you?

HOOD: I saw it. (HE COMES TO A LITTLE MORE) Are you all right?

FORSYTHE: Afraid not, old boy. Did we see that?

MARIAN: Ay, you saw it, friend.

FORSYTHE: Who's that?

HOOD: Marian!

MARIAN: Ay, Robin, love. They're gone, the enemy, now, for a while.

FORSYTHE: I saw it.

MARIAN: Who are you, friend?

FORSYTHE: Why, why, Maid Marian, I'm afraid I'm a dying Englishman, my dear.

MARIAN: (AFTER A PAUSE) Aye, I'm afraid thou art, friend.

FORSYTHE: It was a good fight.

MARIAN: Ay. Hold, friend, have I not seen thy face before?

FORSYTHE: Why, not my face, lass; but it could be tha's seen a face like mine once...

MARIAN: Who are tha, then?

FORSYTHE: Why, Marian, Robin and his men have played many a trick upon an elder forbear of mine in the Forest o' Sherwood...

MARIAN: Who art thou?

FORSYTHE: And now tonight the band o' outlaws from the greenwood hath played a merry trick upon his so-many-times removed grandson...


FORSYTHE: Remember thy wedding, Marian, and him that laid in wait to take you?

MARIAN: The Sheriff! The Sheriff of Nottingham!

FORSYTHE: Who else? I am thirteenth in line from him. So...so small world, eh, Hood, eh, Hood, old boy? Robin?


HOOD: So it was that I fought with the Sherwood Foresters, who called me their Captain. So I fought with another Englishman, who died and was the only other man in the world to see it, and can never help me prove what I saw that night in Calais.

After Forsythe died, I lay there for a while in the darkness. It was quiet again, and the only light there was came from the smouldering German tanks on the bridge below. And Marian held my hand in the dark, and we didn't speak. And when, after a long time, I had my thoughts arranged somehow, I asked her a question.

Marian, I said. Marian, what comes after this? I had only vaguely heard the German airplane that, attracted by the fires below, had come closer to investigate. I said again, Marian, what do we do now? And she started to answer me.

MARIAN: Why, Robin, thou knowest –



HOOD: When I awoke this time, there was no light.

It was black night everywhere.

And I could hear a new sound. It took me quite a while to decide what the sound was.

It was waves on a beach. I was lying in the sand.

I was alone.

I thought I was alone. And then I heard Alan-a-Dale.

ALAN: Captain. Captain Hood.


ALAN: Yes, Captain.

HOOD: Where's Marian?

ALAN: Marian.

MARIAN: (COMING UP) I'm here, dear love.

HOOD: Never leave me, Marian.

ALAN: Cap'n, we've got to go now.


ALAN: Ay, cap'n. But we'll be back for ye.

HOOD: Marian, stay here.

MARIAN: No, my love, I must go with the band.

HOOD: You'll come back.

MARIAN: We'll come back, Robin.

ALAN: Y'see, Cap'n, there's more of these people to fight so's our people can get off the beach down there, and we must hurry away.

HOOD: All right.

ALAN: We'll leave yer weapons with you, Cap'n, gin they come against you ere we come back –

MARIAN: But we'll come back, dear love – we'll come back for you –

HOOD: Marian....Marian...

ALAN: Ye would not have us fail England, Cap'n...

HOOD: Marian –


HOOD: No. They didn't come back. Or if they did, I wasn't there. It was a fisherman from Dover who picked me up at the beach at Calais two days after, and got me back to England.

No, I didn't know anything about it.

All I know is they found me there with...my weapons.

They found me clutching a seven-foot bow and a quiver of cloth-yard arrows. And a ribbon. A ribbon of Lincoln green, such as a young girl might wear in her hair.

That's all.

You'd love to see them?

I would, too.

I've NEVER seen them.

I'll never see anything in this world again. But I've seen Maid Marian. The last thing I saw before the airplane bomb landed and put my eyes out was Marian, standing in that window, in Calais.

But maybe I'll see her again. Maybe I'll see her tie this ribbon of Lincoln green in her hair some day.

She promised, you know.


Evacuation at Dunkirk
ANNCR: You have listened to Quiet, Please, which is written and directed by Wyllis Cooper. The man who spoke to you was Ernest Chappell.

CHAPPELL: And Pat O'Malley was Alan-a-Dale. Forsythe was played by Court Benson, and Nancy Sheridan played Maid Marian.

The music for was composed and played by Gene Perrazzo. And now for a word about next week's Quiet Please, here is our writer-director Wyllis Cooper.

COOPER: You've often heard that there are two sides to every story; but our next week's Quiet Please goes the saying one better: it's called Three Sides to a Story.

And we're very happy to present next week as our guest stars, something of a family gathering, Claudia Morgan, star of the stage, screen and radio, and who in private life is Mrs. Ernest Chappell; her father, another famous star whose work you have enjoyed in many a Hollywood picture and Broadway play – Ralph Morgan – will both be with us. It promises to be entertaining. We hope you'll listen.


CHAPPELL: And so until next week at this time, I am quietly your Ernest Chappell.