By Captain W. E. Johns



IX.                   VISITORS AT LUCKY STRIKE  (Pages 94 - 102)


Biggles carries on until dawn and then drops the refugees at a narrow creek on one of the many small islands around.  He will return and collect them as soon as he can.  Biggles is now able to fly the Cayman back to base.  "We aren't a fighting unit any longer," he told his officers bitterly.  "We're a blooming transport company".  The Cayman will have to make three trips to pick up in excess of 30 people on the island, with the remaining two Beaufighters as escort and then the Liberator will have to make two trips to Australia.  However, after the first trip the Liberator makes, it comes back with two more Liberators flown by members of the Royal Australian Air Force, all loaded to capacity with oil and petrol.  By this time the remainder of the escaped prisoners have been ferried to Lucky Strike and so are transported on to Australia.  Algy goes with them and comes back in the spare Beaufighter to replace the one that was lost.  The next morning Biggles is awaken by an aircraft.  It is a Japanese Mitsubishi Navy H-96 reconnaissance bomber, a flying boat.  Suddenly it comes in to land, thinking the blue moss is water, and crashes and bursts into flame.  The natives all rush out triumphantly.  Another Japanese aircraft, a Nakajima fighter sees the smoke and not doubt sees the people and immediately turns and rushes away.  Biggles is furious that their secret base has been discovered.