BIGGLES IN THE BALTIC
by Captain W. E. Johns
VIII. DISCOVERIES (Pages 98 – 110)
“It was typical of him that he finished what he had begun”. Biggles fires the flare into the petrol tank and sets the Dingo alight. With Ginger onboard, Biggles then takes off under shell fire from the destroyer. Biggles and Algy then both fly west as if returning to England as they cannot return directly to their base whilst being watched. The weather worsens and when well out of sight, Biggles turns to try to return to their base at Bergen Ait. Petrol is low and when Biggles sees some land through a hole in the clouds, he dives towards it. It seems to consist of a long sandy beach fringing a large bay. Biggles lands and a freezing cold Ginger asks where they are. Biggles doesn’t know. Algy comes in to land. They both pull their aircraft up onto the beach as the place is deserted with no housing in sight. They burn drift wood to get a fire and remain there all day. As Ginger goes further and further to collect driftwood, he discovers that they are on a sandbank and beyond it is a narrow strait, with the mainland in the background. Ginger sees a sign in the distance and goes to look at it. He reads the German word verboten (forbidden) and Heil Hitler, so he knows whose sandbank it is. At the northern end of the strait, Ginger sees a liner come out of the mist and he races back to Biggles. Biggles goes to look and recognises the liner as the Leipzig. (‘Well, upon my life, if it isn’t the Leipzig,’ he gasped - is the illustration on page 107). Biggles knows the Navy’s been looking for the German luxury liner since she left South America about three weeks ago. Biggles suspects that the Germans will use it as a troopship and he wishes he could torpedo it. The liner disappears into the mist and Algy suggests they fly off before darkness falls. Biggles looks at his map and thinks they are on an island just off the coast of East Prussia. They fly for twenty minutes back to base. The sea has gone down sufficient for them to land with no great difficulty or danger. Biggles calls for Briny only to be told by Flight-Sergeant Smyth that Briny has gone. He thought Biggles was down on the water and went to look for him in the launch. Biggles says it’s nearly dark so they will have to look for him in the morning. Biggles orders Ginger to put some dry clothes on and then join them in the mess for something to eat.