by Captain W. E. Johns



X.    SHOT DOWN  (Pages 108 – 120)


Biggles tries to work out where he is and he is just about to ask Mayer for a map when their plane is attacked by another plane from out of the sun.  Biggles doesn’t even get to see the attacker, so swift is the attack.  Mayer is hit and their plane spins helplessly out of control.  The German machine is dual control, and Biggles has to firstly screw in the rear joystick before gaining control of the machine and bringing it out of its spin.  He is able to make a crash landing where the machine somersaults and is smashed.  Covered in petrol, Biggles gets out and drags Mayer out of the wreckage.  Mayer’s head has been struck a glancing blow by a bullet but his leg is broken.  Mayer tells Biggles to leave him but Biggles won’t do that.  Biggles gets the map and plots their position.  Using the wheels and other pieces of wreckage, Biggles builds a makeshift perambulator and sets out on a walk of at least 15 miles to the nearest oasis, dragging Mayer with him.  The journey in the hot desert, without water, is torturous and Mayer soon lapses into unconsciousness.  Eventually, Biggles reaches the oasis and discovers that it is the one he landed at with von Stalhein’s hut.  Biggles is able to have his fill of water and give water to Mayer although he doesn’t fully come round.  Exhausted, Biggles falls asleep.