by Captain W. E. Johns



II.                    BIGGLES ASKS SOME QUESTIONS  (Pages 19 - 28)


The Navy, Fleet Air Arm and Coastal Command have all be on the look out for U-517 but it has dodged all anti-submarine patrols.  Unfortunately, Muller didn't know the name of the island as it was just referred to as "The Island".  Air Commodore Raymond explains about the various islands that are on the map with "E.D." after their names - "existence doubtful".  Some islands are reported as being seen and the position noted and subsequent ships then find nothing.  Many islands are uninhabited and haven't been visited for thirty or forty years.  Kerguelen Island is mentioned as being 45 miles long by 8 miles wide and some 2100 miles from the nearest inhabited land.  Raymond explains that to search a large area effectively they need to employ aircraft.  They plan to set up a base on Kerguelen Island and to that end a British supply-sloop called the "Tern" is already on its way there with food, stores, oil, petrol and other things likely to be required.  Biggles says finding a needle in a haystack is a far simpler matter.  Biggles is told not to sink U-517 if it has the gold on board as he is to get the gold back.  The U-boat has a crew of 25 including the Captain.  Biggles is to fly out in a flying-boat but if he misses the island, there is nothing between it and the South Pole.