by Captain W. E. Johns



XX.                 HOME  (Pages 254 – 256)


Forty-eight hours later, after landing at an R.A.F. Marine Base on the East Coast, Biggles, Algy and Ginger report to Colonel Raymond at the Air Ministry.  Biggles is expecting criticism, but finds only satisfaction amounting to jubilation.  Raymond waves aside Biggles apologies for losing the base and the machines.  He is told the code-book was worth a hundred machines.  Raymond lists all their achievements.  “But we’ve lost the secret base” says Biggles.  A secret base – yes; but not the only one we possess” says Raymond.  “Do you know how long the Higher Command estimated the base would last after you took it over, before it was located by the enemy?”.  “Six months?” guesses Biggles.  “Twenty-four hours at most” is the reply.  “You didn’t tell me that,” murmured Biggles reproachfully.  “Naturally – we didn’t want to discourage you”.  Raymond says that he never expected to see them again.  “We’re difficult people to kill,” murmured Biggles, winking at Ginger.  Raymond asks for a full report in writing on what happened at Bergen Ait and says they can then take a few days leave, but not to go far as they may be needed again.  “Biggles nodded.  “I had an idea you might,” he said slowly as he walked towards the door.  “Goodbye, sir.”  The Colonel smiled.  “Perhaps it would be better to say au revoir,” he suggested softly.