Mum's Army

Mum's Army is the ninth episode of the fourth series of the British comedy series Dad's Army that was originally transmitted on Friday 20 November 1970.


Captain Mainwaring's plans to involve the women of the town in the platoon becomes rather too personal.


Mainwaring is convening a parade, and is growing fed up of Jones' slowness. Walker suggests nodding his head whenever he wants them to come to attention, and Jones will understand. Mainwaring dismisses this, but Jones takes it on-board, standing to attention and standing at ease whenever Mainwaring nods his head.

Mainwaring informs the platoon that the women of Walmington-on-Sea want to join their platoon to help the war effort. He and Wilson thought that this was a good idea, as it would allow the men of the platoon to 'grapple' with the enemy. Mainwaring suggests that they could serve in the canteen, and Frazer adds that they could sew on their jacket buttons. The platoon are asked to bring as many female volunteers as they can.

The next evening, Mainwaring enrols some of the women, including the flashy Mrs Fox, the quiet Ivy Samways, and the tarty Edith Parish, who were recruited by Jones, Pike and Walker respectively. Frazer informs Mainwaring that his recruit, Miss Ironside of the Gas Light and Coke Company, won't be available until tomorrow, as will Mrs Pike. As Wilson leaves to dismiss the parade, a lady of about middle-age enters and introduces herself as Mrs Fiona Gray. Mainwaring is immediately smitten with her, and it is clear that the feelings are reciprocated.

She is from London, she had to bring her mother down because the bombing was too much for her, and is now living in Wilton Gardens, not far from Mainwaring lives. She remarks that her life only consists of morning coffee, and making dahlias grow. Mainwaring admits he's fond of dahlias... but Elizabeth isn't!

The following parade Mainwaring teaches the women, who now include Miss Ironside and Mrs Pike, the rudiments of foot drill, including left turns, right turns, and the attention and at ease positions. He criticises everyone, except Mrs Gray, who is 'very good'. Walker passes several lewd remarks about Godfrey and the ladies, and is eventually ordered home.

Some time later, Mainwaring makes a visit to Ann's Pantry, a café where he knows Mrs Gray regularly visits. Indeed, it isn't long before she arrives, and Mrs Gray's order willingly joins Mainwaring's bill. However, while trying to have a quiet chat, they are interrupted by Godfrey, Jones, Walker, and eventually Pike, who informs Mainwaring that the bank inspectors have arrived, forcing Mainwaring to abandon his chat. Mainwaring leaves as the waitress returns, Mrs Gray has to pay for both coffees.

Jones' section are commenting on Mainwaring's recent behaviour. Edith remarks that they went to the pictures together twice over the past week, and Pike says that they have coffee every morning together, however they now frequent the Dutch Oven, due to wagging tongues. Frazer thinks Mainwaring's making a fool of himself. Unbeknownst to them, Wilson is listening, and decides to confront Mainwaring.

Wilson skirts round the subject, trying to subtly tell Mainwaring that he's making a fool of himself. However, Mainwaring misconstrues Wilson's incomprehensible speech, and announces that he's disbanding the ladies section, except for a few special helpers, which should, he believes keep Mrs Pike out of Wilson's hair! Wilson is shocked.

Mainwaring notices that Mrs Gray is not on parade. Ivy tells Pike that she saw Mrs Gray head towards Walmington station with two heavy suitcases. Walker reminds Mainwaring that there's only one train at this time of the evening: the 8:40 to London, and Mainwaring quickly makes himself scarce.

He confronts Mrs Gray at the station, admitting that he lives from one meeting to the next, and she confesses that she's exactly the same, and that's the reason why she's leaving. Mainwaring doesn't want her to go, and tries to persuade her to stay, but she boards the train. However, as the train steams off, Mrs Gray promises to write. As the train disappears, Mainwaring is left, standing alone on the station, his face broken with hidden emotion.


  1. This episode is obviously based on the film Brief Encounter. The final scene in the station cafe seems to pay homage to this, as does the emotional farewell on the platform.
  2. It is one of the more poignant episodes, showing a deeper more passionate side to Captain Mainwaring than is usually portrayed.
  3. This is David Croft's favourite episode.


Cast Characters
Arthur Lowe Captain Mainwaring
John Le Mesurier Sergeant Wilson
Clive Dunn Lance Corporal Jones
John Laurie Private Frazer
Arnold Ridley Private Godfrey
Ian Lavender Private Pike
Carmen Silvera Mrs Gray
Janet Davies Mrs Pike
Wendy Richard Edith Parish
Pamela Cundell Mrs Fox
Julia Barbury Miss Ironside
Rosemary Faith Ivy Samways
Melita Manger Waitress
David Gilchrist Serviceman
Jack Le White Porter


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