David Marshal, a battle weary Canadian fighter pilot is shot down and wounded in Italy. After a period of recuperation leave, he joins a training Squadron located near Cambridge. There he meets Dianne Schofield, the beautiful daughter of a local doctor. He falls in love with her, but there are problems. The girl is presently going steady with a younger pilot in his squadron and the girl has a daunting mother who favours the younger pilot.
The story follows David Marshal’s RAF career through the Normandy landings, the flying bomb era and finally his stint attached to the American air-force operating from the Netherlands.
Dianne has a potentially great singing voice, and David encourages her in this. She goes on to study music and singing under an irascible music professor.
A Nightingale Sang
Marshal turned around to see Bertie Grover-Smith enter the room with Dianne on his arm. At that moment Marshal had eyes for no one other than Dianne. Dressed in a plain black dance frock that clung tightly to her slim body, and with her hair curled and caught up on top of her head, she looked exquisite. As they moved into the room, Dianne looked over and smiled at Marshal and then quickly looked away. They selected a vacant table quite near the dance floor, where Dianne sat with her back to Marshal.
“Put her down,” said Sanderson, grinning all over his face.
Marshal returned to the present. “Lovely, isn’t she?”
“I told you, spoken for, old chap.”
Marshal shook his head. “I’m not so sure she is.”
“Well, Bertie thinks she is and our beloved leader thinks she is.”
Marshal sat up straight. “What do you mean? What’s he got to do with it?”
“Wolf knows the Schofields. Distant cousin of the mother, or something.”
“Well, that’s a turn-up for the books.” He returned his gaze to where Dianne sat, still with her back to him. “How can someone like her be related, even distantly, to someone like Wolf?” Then turning back to Sanderson, he said, “The point is, does she know she’s spoken for?”
Hatch went over to ask one of the girls at a table nearby for a dance, while Marshal went to the bar to buy another round of beer. Upon his return, Sanderson had also taken a partner and joined Hatch on the dance floor. Marshal sat alone at the table. Bertie and Dianne were dancing and periodically he could see them moving in and around other couples on the crowded floor. There were plenty of other would-be partners, but Marshal preferred to sit and watch. Besides, he had eyes for only one girl in the room.
The evening wore on and two other couples, both pilots and their girlfriends, sat at Bertie’s table, while Marshal sat brooding, drinking beer and enjoying himself not at all. Marshal wrestled with his feelings. There had never been any shortage of girls in his life, but he had never felt like this about any of them before. He pondered what to do and came up with two alternatives. He could either go back to the station and write the evening off as a complete disaster, or he could go over and ask her to dance with him and see where it went from there. Faint heart never won fair lady; he rose from the chair.
They were talking and laughing as he came up to the table and upon seeing him all were struck dumb. Ignoring the others, he looked straight at Dianne and raising his eyebrows said, “Dance with me?”
She smiled. “Why, David, certainly.” And she got lightly to her feet and he led her on to the dance floor. “I wondered if you were going to ask me,” she said, as he placed his arm around her and moved her gracefully into a foxtrot.
“How could I not? You look so beautiful.”
“Thank you.” She smiled and looked up into his eyes.
They danced well together. He knew the steps and his athletic body moved with style and rhythm, and she followed well. More people joined them on the floor as he guided her in, out and around.