“In Which We Serve” is a British wartime drama film released in 1942. It was directed by Noël Coward and David Lean and starred Noël Coward himself, along with John Mills, Bernard Miles, and Celia Johnson. The film tells the story of the crew of HMS Torrin, a British destroyer that is sunk during the Battle of Crete in 1941.
The film opens with the sinking of the Torrin, and then flashes back to tell the story of the ship and her crew. The ship is commanded by Captain Edward Kinross (Noël Coward), who is a strict but fair leader. The crew includes Ordinary Seaman “Shorty” Blake (John Mills), Seaman Freda Lewis (Celia Johnson), and Stoker Petty Officer “Ali” Hakim (Bernard Miles), among others.
Through a series of flashbacks, we see the crew members’ personal lives and how they came to be on the Torrin. We see the ship’s training exercises and its deployment to the Mediterranean, where it participates in the Battle of Crete. During the battle, the Torrin is hit by a bomb and sinks, but the surviving crew members are rescued.
The film ends with the crew back on shore, reflecting on their experiences and their comrades who did not make it back. In the final scene, Captain Kinross addresses the families of the fallen crew members, telling them that their loved ones “died in a service they loved and understood.”
The film was a critical and commercial success and was nominated for several Academy Awards. It is widely considered a classic of British cinema and is noted for its patriotic message and portrayal of the courage and sacrifice of the British Navy during World War II.
Noël Coward, David Lean
Noël Coward, John Mills, Bernard Miles