There is a strong case for agreeing with Churchill that the Second World War had been his country's 'finest hour'. He was talking about Britain and the British Empire, but the values of that empire were the values which the English liked to think were something which they had invented. Certainly, the war and its immediate aftermath are the last time in living memory when the English had a clear and positive sense of themselves. They saw it reflected back in films like In Which We Serve, Noël Coward's fictionalized account of the sinking of HMS Kelly. As the survivors of the destroyer, sunk by German dive-bombers, lie in their life-raft they recall the ship's history. What they are really calling up is a picture of the strength of England. The captain and the ratings may be divided by their accents, but they share the same essential beliefs about what their country represents.