Peter is the bully of the gang, very proud of his position as “Number Two” (though later “Number Three” after John beats him in a fight) after Wallace Wilson. Most of what he says is said to boast to the other boys. He is one of the strongest physically but is not too bright as Willie tricks him into believing that dirty apples are dropped all over Germany. He is the most violent of the gang, as he is the most enthusiastic about killing the squirrel and cutting off his tail. He regularly bullies Donald Raymond and is annoyed when John stands up to him. Peter is jealous of the others when it looks like they might be better at him in any way.
When it looks like Raymond may be going to beat him in a bet, he cheats to ensure that he wins which annoys John, who is fair. This leads to a fight between them that he loses. It is Peter that is the most keen to pretend that he was miles away from the barn where Donald is finally killed.
John is the fairest of the gang. At first he ranks under Peter but after fighting with him he becomes “Number Two”. He backs up Raymond when Peter bullies him, and when the children are hiding from the escaped Prisoner of War he is looked up to as the person who is going to look after them. However, he sometimes gets into little arguments with Audrey as she doesn’t like his taking the lead.
He gets into an argument with Peter because Peter has been bullying Raymond and cheating him. John is also cynical and isn’t fooled when the other boys begin to pretend or suggest unlikely comments.
Willie is light-hearted and easy-going. He is often playing, and loves to pretend to be a Spitfire. He isn’t very strong physically but is intelligent enough to trick Peter into not eating his apple. He is easily overpowered by Peter but is able to stand up to him, for example when Peter starts threatening Willie and he is able to say “Oh leave I alone will ya!”, which makes Peter back down.
Willie is often the one who makes the best suggestions, and often manages to make the others laugh, for example the mimicked Italian voice. He is the first to realise what is happening with Donald in the barn, and is the first to try and open the door and encourage Donald out.
Raymond is the lowest member of the main gang. He is the gentlest of the gang and also he stutters, and he is often teased because of this. He is quiet and a pacifist; he is very upset that the others have killed the squirrel and might be going to cut off its tail. He is pleased that John is standing up for him when Peter cheats him when on their bet.
Raymond is pleased to be accepted by the boys as a friend, even if it does mean that he is teased occasionally and is sometimes bullied by Peter. He is probably the one that feels the most sorry for Donald at the end of the play and doesn’t, as the others do, claim that he had seen nothing and had been miles away.
Donald is not really accepted by the other boys as a friend. He is bullied and ridiculed by the boys and is abused and beaten up by his mother. He is desperate to be liked by the others and is happy to play House with the girls in order to be accepted by the others. However, when the girls turn on him and start tormenting him horribly he turns scared.
He tries to flatter Peter when he is in the barn but Peter still doesn’t accept him, scowling and shouting at Donald. He is regularly being threatened by his mother and by Peter, and he desperately wants his father to return (he has been taken by the Japanese). Donald is a pyromaniac and spends a lot of his time in the barn, lighting the hay, trying to start a fire. When he finally manages to get one started, it spirals out of control and when the other children lock him in, it ends in his death.
Angela is the prettier and more popular of the two girls. When the children have to hide in the hollow Angela is the most scared of the children but she enjoys getting pampered and looked after by the boys. She isn’t so interested in the boys’ personal arguments and is generally nice, but she and Audrey gang up on Donald when they are playing House in the barn.
Audrey is overshadowed by Angela’s prettiness. She is a bit of a tomboy and very independent; she doesn’t mind getting dirty or muddy. She feels a bit annoyed that she is not given the same protective treatment as Angela when they are hiding in the hollow: John is very comforting towards Angela when she wails, but no-one seems to listen to Audrey. This gives her a bit of a chip on her shoulder, and she often has a go at the boys, accusing them of being afraid and saying “Wallace Wilson would go” accusingly to John.