by Captain W. E. Johns



XIX.        BIGGLES GETS BUSY  (Pages 213 – 225)


Biggles puts a warning finger on his lips and whispers “Be careful – there may be dictaphones”.  They then begin what would sound like a “normal” conversation for the situation where two prisoners don’t know each other.  Algy says he had engine failure and he came down in enemy country.  Quietly, Biggles says “I’m going to try to get you out before I do anything else; I can’t tell you how exactly because I don’t know myself, but I shall think of something presently.  When the time comes you’ll have to take your cue from me and do what you think is the right thing.  For heaven’s sake don’t make a slip and say anything – or do anything – that will lead them to think that we know each other”.  In due course the Germans arrive to take Biggles away again.  “Come – you,” said the N.C.O. in the harsh German military manner.  He beckoned to Biggles”.  The guards know what is going on and know Biggles so he is free to do what he wants.  Biggles hears and sees a Halberstadt proceed to the far side of the aerodrome “which means that friend Erich is going off on one of his jaunts” thinks Biggles.  Biggles enters the fort where both the Count and von Stalhein have their offices but instead of going there he goes out the back door.  He goes back to his room to check that Brunow is still unconscious, which he is, and he then changes back into his German uniform.  He then goes to the prison and tells the N.C.O. to bring the officer-prisoner as Hauptmann von Stalhein wishes to speak with him.  The soldiers march Algy to the main entrance of the fort and Biggles tells them to wait.  He then takes Algy down the corridor and out the back door.  “Little beads of perspiration were on his forehead as he opened the door and they both went outside, for he knew that if either the Count or von Stalhein had come out during the few moments they were walking through the corridor all would have been lost”.  Algy and Biggles go to his room but climb in via the outside window.  Biggles tells Algy he has to fly the Bristol back to the British lines and take Brunow with him.  Biggles gives Algy his German uniform and Biggles puts on his overalls.  They then pass Brunow out of the window.  (Between them they got the limp figure to the ground – is the illustration opposite page 218).  Biggles says “It’s a good thing you got shot down to-day after all.  I should never have managed this job alone.  He’s heavier than I thought”. (Continuity error here - Biggles is wrong, Algy wasn’t shot down, he had engine failure we were told).  They cross the deserted aerodrome and put Brunow in the back seat of the Bristol.  Biggles tells Algy that he will follow in the Sopwith Pup.  Algy is reluctant to leave Biggles and wants him to go with him, leaving Brunow behind.  Biggles insists Algy leaves; “because when I start a job I like to finish it,” snapped Biggles.  Biggles swings the propeller and Algy takes off.    Biggles then goes into the hangar only to find that the Sopwith Pub has had its engine taken out for an overhaul.  Biggles is not worried by this as he had another more audacious idea in any event.  Biggles goes to where the Halberstadt is standing, engine running, at the far end of the aerodrome waiting for von Stalhein.  Biggles tells the pilot, a man named Greichbach that he is to go back as the Count wants him urgently.  “I have been sent out to relieve you” says Biggles.  “What is the course to-night?” asked Biggles carelessly.  “They told me, but I had no time to write it down; I think I remember but I’d like to confirm it”.  “Jebel Hind – Galada – Wadi BaroudPauta,” replied the other without hesitation.  “Where do you usually land?”  “You may not have to land, but you will know in the air about that”.  Biggles tells Greichbach to return via the boundary so he doesn’t run into him taking off, although his real reason is that he doesn’t want him meeting von Stalhein on the way back.  Biggles firstly removes the joystick from the back cockpit and then puts on his flying cap and goggles and waits.  A few minutes later a tall figure in Arab costume gets in the back and taps him on the shoulder and says the word “go”.  Biggles takes off.  “Biggles saw the lights of the camp below him, and knew that whatever happened he was looking at them for the last time”.