by Captain W. E. Johns



XVI.                        STRANGE MEETINGS  (Pages 203 – 216)


The plane’s engine cuts out completely and through the snow, attempts to land on the top of the rock.  As the wings come towards him, Ginger grabs the top of the port wing, slowing it down and turning it, avoiding it going over a cliff edge.  Algy is onboard.  His face pale and drawn with strain.  “Nice work, big boy,” grunted Ginger.  “Have you any chocolate aboard?”  Algy had thought he was landing on the sea.  Algy explains what has happened, including the fact that the German flying-boat is theirs.  He had just returned from bombing the German supply depot.  Ginger shows Algy the way he came up and the tiny ledge twenty feet down, they would need to get to.  “Crikey! ejaculated Algy as he stared down into the void, although the sea was hidden from view by the snow”.  They hear a long-drawn-out howl and then Flight-Sergeant Smyth emerges slowly on to the ledge below.  Algy laughs and shouts “What do you think you’re doing, fooling about without any clothes on?” Algy tells the Flight-Sergeant to come up and fix the engine on the aircraft.  Algy still has with him the rope that he and Biggles might have needed to enter the supply dump through the skylight.  Ginger wants to go down to get a change of clothes and something to eat.  “Yes, I think it’s time you went down,” said Algy seriously.  They lower the rope down and haul the Flight-Sergeant up.  Ginger then climbs down and swims the lake to meet Briny, who helps him out.  With a torch, they are able to help each other down the face of the rock where Ginger lost his torch originally and they make their way back down the tunnel.  Ginger doesn’t see Roy until he trips over him.  Seeing the two code-books, they realise that something must have happened back at base. Ginger can only think that an attack would send Roy up here with the code-books, yet they had heard no firing.  Leaving Briny to look after the still unconscious Roy, Ginger turns off his torch and hurries back to the base.  He hears the Germans before he sees them.  He then sees Biggles come out and eight German marines form a firing squad.  Biggles says “Get on with it and get it over” in English.  Ginger gets to the stores and grabs a Bren machine-gun and ammunition.  Biggles is smoking a cigarette with his back to the wall.  As the Germans present arms, Ginger cries out “Biggles! Run this way!” and opens fire with the machine-gun, spraying everything and everyone in sight.  Biggles manages to reach Ginger and snatches the machine-gun from him.  “Steady with your ammunition” he says and then fires short bursts.  They run down the tunnel.  Biggles asks if Roy is down there.  He is told yes.  “Has he got the code-books?”  “Yes”.  “Thank God for that,” said Biggles earnestly; “that’s all I care about.  You know the way.  Lead on, Macduff.”