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Synopsis: Lilian Bader, a mixed-race war veteran of Barbadian-English descent, had enlisted into the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF) in 1941 as an instrument repairer, and rose to the rank of Corporal. The story begins in Bournemouth 1960, where Lilian enrols as a mature student. During her studies into the historical textbooks, she discovers the exclusion of black people allied to the British in the first and second world wars. After receiving countless rejections from school textbook publishers regarding the omission and of the inclusion of black people, Lilian attempts one more endeavour by writing to the headmaster of her son’s school, requesting he include people of colour in historical lessons regarding the war.
Some weeks later, after sending the letter to the headmaster, she receives a knock on the door and is greeted by Edith Gimble, an old WAAF colleague she once shared a hut with during the war, notoriously known as Light Fingered Eddy. At the time, their friendship had become close with Lilian acting like a big sister to Eddy, only for Eddy to steal five shillings from her purse on their last day together. When Eddy holds up the letter she had sent to the school, declaring to be a part time secretary to the headmaster, Lilian’s curiosity gets the better of her suspicion and allows her in the house.
Lilian’s hopes are soon dashed when Eddy announces that the headmaster has no intention of doing anything regarding her request. Lilian begins to spiral into self-doubt and anger, pouring animosity onto Eddy, suspicious of her intentions of coming to her door to deliver the bad news. Before it’s too late, Eddy confesses to Lilian the true nature of her visit.





Run Time

16 minutes


Cathy Tyson (Lilian Bader)
Katy Brittain (Edith Gimble)

Directed by

Cathy Tyson

Written by

Kammy Darweish

Produced by

Natasha Marburger

Edited by

Vitor Vilela

Production Designer

Elaine Xu


Chris Dodds

Director's Statement

This is my first project as a director. Ive been acting for nearly forty years and throughout my career Ive always been interested in helping to tell the stories of black people from history. I learnt of Lilian Bader, one of the first black women to join the Royal Air Force, about a decade ago. In late 2019 I read her memoir and was compelled to bring her story to peoples attention. Lilian faced many difficulties alone. She faced rejection from the army because of her colour. But persisted in her efforts to contribute to the war effort. She joined the RAF in 1941. Training to be an instrument repairer. And rising to the rank of corporal. For me, its important to show black peoples lives in Britain pre Windrush. There is a history of black British life pre both World Wars that is worth discovering and sharing on the big screen. The project has been transformational for me. And I hope it will inspire people whatever their colour to preserver.

The experience Ive had on my first shoot has been inspiring. As an actor, the thought of directing has felt insurmountable in the past. Especially as Ive not got any technical skills around the camera. However, my producer has been very encouraging. Truly making me feel welcomed into a new world. Natasha has been a great teacher. Her confidence in me built trust in my own capabilities. I truly hope I can be as generous in passing on what Ive learned. Im keen to learn so much more. The thought of spending a year on a project would have daunted me before. But now that Ive experienced what that feels like, Im excited to do more. Helping to create and realize a project has developed skills such as time management. Ive learned to go with my imagination. Dare I say it, I started to believe that things are possible. Being a director helped me to think on my feet and importantly, make decisions. People trusted me to make those decisions and I am indebted to them for having faith in me.

Director's Bio

I am making my film directorial debut with Lilian. Prior to this my background is as an actress. Ive been acting for forty years across all mediums. Ive directed for stage once. A young persons project with Haringey Shed. This involved forty young people. Ive spent my acting career around building stories. On preparing Lilian, I used my actors instinct to guide me as a director. I was influenced by the creatives around me such as the DP, producer, writer and 1st AD. Ive started late and know that Ive got a lot to learn. Especially around the technical area. However, I am drawn to performance and I hope that I can use my strengths in this area to help me in other areas involved in film making.

Production Year


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