BIGGLES DEFIES THE SWASTIKA
by Captain W. E. Johns
X. ON THE RUN (Pages 156 – 170)
For a minute neither spoke, then Biggles asks Algy “Where the dickens did you spring from?” “Oh, I was just hanging around, you know, in case I was wanted,” returned Algy lightly. Biggles asks if Algy knows whose car this is and Algy confirms he saw von Stalhein get out. “Biggles laughed hysterically. “Strewth! Last night I pinched his plane; now we’ve got his car. We shall have to drop him a line and thank him for providing us with transport”. Biggles tells Algy that Ginger is waiting for them at the fiord but they will never get there in that car. Biggles tells Algy to drive to Oslo, they should be there in twenty minutes and that will not be enough time to get road blocks set up. “For your information”, Biggles informs Algy, “I’m a member of the Gestapo; I mention that because I’ve got a pass in my pocket which may help us”. Even if von Stalhein gives orders that the bearer is to be arrested, it will take a bit of time to notify every German in Norway. They hear British bombers coming to raid Boda and are pleased at the timing as “the people there will have something else to think of besides telephoning to Oslo about us”. “I hope that a bomb lands right in von Stalhein’s lap,” muttered Algy vindictively. “That would be a pity,” protested Biggles reproachfully. “It would take half the interest out of life”. “As they sped down the road Biggles gave Algy a brief account of his adventures since he last saw him at Narvik, and Algy described his”. They are only stopped once and the Gestapo pass works. In Oslo, they park near Gestapo head-quarters as Biggles hopes to steal an aircraft but they find none in the harbour. Biggles is surprised as there were a dozen or so there when he was last there. Biggles goes off to speak to some German troops and returns ten minutes later. “Here, don’t leave me like that again,” protested Algy when he returned. “I can’t speak German like you can, and if I’d been questioned by anybody I should have been sunk”. Biggles tells Algy what he has found out. The British have landed an expeditionary force, in fact two or three as far as Biggles can make out. The nearest is just south of Bergen, the best part of a hundred and fifty miles away, and another landing has been made at Trondheim. A man in civilian clothing walks past and Biggles recognises him as Brandt. “Recognition was mutual and instantaneous”. “The German opened his mouth to shout, but the only sound that passed his lips was a grunt. Biggles’s left fist shot out and took him in the pit of the stomach; then, as his head jerked forward, Biggles’s right flashed up in a vicious hook to the jaw. (‘Biggles’s left fist shot out and took him in the pit of the stomach’ - is the illustration on page 165). Brandt went over backwards; his head came into violent contact with the wall at the back of the pavement, and he lay still. The whole incident occurred in two seconds”. “This fellow knows me” he said by way of explanation to Algy. They bundle the body onto the rear seat of their car and it slides to the floor. Biggles gets in and drives, the plan being to go to Bergen to try to contact the British forces, if they can’t, they will go on to Fiord 21. They plan to dump Brandt at some lonely place “from which it will take him a long time to get into touch with Oslo”. After twenty miles, they drop a semi-conscious Brandt in a wild stretch of country. Algy says Gestapo policy would be to bump him off to remove all risk. “Probably you’re right, but Gestapo policy isn’t ours,” returned Biggles briefly. When they are within ten miles of Bergen, they are surprised that they can’t hear the sounds of battle. When stopped by a German patrol they are told that the British have gone, the Germans have kicked them back into the sea. Biggles and Algy decide to press on to Fiord 21. Biggles tells Algy to have a nap and then he can relieve Biggles at the wheel. “The worst of these jobs is, one doesn’t get time to eat or sleep”. When dawn arrives, Biggles wakes Algy and they swap. Algy then wakes Biggles when they reach the fiord. They hide the car in a narrow gorge, the sides of which are thick with stunted firs. “Thank goodness,” ejaculated Biggles. “If Ginger hasn’t got into trouble we’re as good as home”. Looking down into the fiord from the top, they find that Ginger’s machine is not there. “But the fiord was not abandoned. On its placid surface floated a squadron of Dornier flying-boats”.