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.