By Captain W. E. Johns



IV.                   BIGGLES MAKES A WAGER  (Pages 34 - 46)


Biggles flies in a Typhoon to Jangpur, the Indian terminus of the China route.  He finds the station commander, Squadron Leader Frayle tired and unshaven and close to breaking point.  Biggles says he will fly the next transport to Chungking.  The South African flying officer due to go, a man called Bargent, insists on going with Biggles.  There is a Wellington bomber loaded ready to go.  Biggles wants to have it unloaded and everything examined but he is told this is a waste of time as they have done it a dozen times in the past and never found a thing.  Biggles has the spare Wellington bomber loaded with other urgent stores waiting to go.  Bargent doesn't fancy his chances of coming back from this trip.  Biggles says "I've done quite a lot of flying and I've never seen in the air anything capable of knocking a machine down without showing itself.  I doubt very much if there is such a thing.  So far, anything I've seen I've been able to dodge.  It may sound like conceit, but I fancy my chance of going on doing that".  He makes a wager with Bargent, for 200 cigarettes, that he'll be in Chungking and back for dinner tonight.  Before leaving, Biggles has a guard put on his Typhoon and then Biggles and Bargent set off.  The journey is uneventful.  They get to Chungking and without stopping for anything other than unloading they set off on the return journey and return safely.  Biggles tells Frayle "I know we got away with it this time, but that trick may not work again.  By changing the planes at the last minute we slipped a fast one on the enemy".  Biggles flies back to Dum Dum, again without incident.  Biggles tells the team he intends to do a sortie over Burma the next day.  He is persuaded to allow another pilot to go with him and after drawing lots, Tug Carrington is pleased to have won the first draw, and possibly the last, of his life.