BIGGLES DEFIES THE SWASTIKA
by Captain W. E. Johns
III. ACROSS THE FRONTIER (Pages 36 – 50)
Biggles is recognised immediately and bluffs it out (in German). “So there you are,” he said cheerfully. “I was hoping you’d come along. I’m dreadfully sorry for what happened this morning, but I was in the dickens of a mess – and in a hurry. I should have been at the aerodrome the moment our troops arrived, but the fool woman at my hotel forgot to wake me. You were all busy, so rather than worry you I tried to get to the aerodrome by myself. As you saw, I borrowed a bicycle. Then, after the accident, knowing that you’d have no difficulty in getting another machine, I borrowed yours and dashed along here. I would have seen to it that you got it back, of course”. With some help from Kristen, the German accepts the explanation but not with very good grace: He says Biggles had no right to take his machine. “I admit that,” agreed Biggles readily. “But don’t make a fuss about it, there’s a good fellow, or it may lead to trouble for all of us”. Biggles agrees to return the motor bike by leaving it at the garage of the Nordic Hotel. Returning to the bike, Biggles comes up with the idea of trying to get over the frontier to Sweden, which is still a neutral country. He sets off on the motor bike. Germans are everywhere and it is obvious that far more Germans have landed than he had first supposed. The Nazi armlet and swastika pennants allow him to go anywhere “indeed, on more than one occasion Nazi troops held up the traffic to let him pass”. Before he reaches the border, Biggles hides the motor bike in a deep ditch and covers it over with rubbish, leaving his armlet under the saddle. Queuing at the border, Biggles tells the immigration officials that he is British and he persuades them to take him to the British Consul, who will vouch for him and take responsibility for him. Two Swedish policemen take him to Rodas, where he meets the British Vice-Consulate and is able to tell his story in private. The Vice-Consulate gets Colonel Raymond on the telephone and Biggles explains what has happened. Raymond wants Biggles to go back to Norway. “Fate or fortune has put an astounding opportunity your way ….. we should learn every move …..”. Biggles is reluctant to go back. Raymond says “I can’t order you to go. But, frankly, you’re not the man I take you to be if you let this golden opportunity slip”. Biggles is talked into going back. Raymond says he will make arrangements to get in touch with Biggles to allow him to report. Biggles has one request. “If you could get Lacey and Hebblethwaite somewhere handy, somewhere where I could reach them in emergency, I’d be grateful. As you know, we always work as a team, and I need a little moral support, anyway”. Raymond agrees, saying he has already recalled them from France. Biggles tells the Vice-Consulate to tell the two Swedish police officers that he refuses to take responsibility for Biggles. Half an hour later, Biggles is gently but firmly shown back across the frontier into Norway again. Biggles goes to recover the hidden motor bike and puts his armlet back on. He then drives back to the aerodrome. Here, Kristen hurries towards him and asks him where he has been. “Only for a ride,” answered Biggles casually, “Why?”. “Baron von Leffers has been asking for you” is the reply. Biggles says he will report to him at once.