by Captain W. E. Johns



III.                   SOUTHWARD BOUND  (Pages 36 - 49)


15 days later, an elderly Wellington bomber, "once the pride of the R.A.F., but now obsolete" flies southward about the Antarctic sea.  In it is Biggles, Ginger, ex-L.A.C. Grimes, "now known for the purposes of the expedition as Grimy" and Captain Grimes who is referred to as Skipper.  Biggles knows that it will be a race with Lavinsky to get there first.  There base was the Falkland Islands, that formed the southernmost colony of the British Empire.  Biggles has been adamant about having 10% for the people going.  "In the end he had had his way, possibly because, as the authorities grudgingly admitted, he usually brought his undertakings to a successful conclusion.  But a definite limit had been set to expenditure, following the usual official custom - as Biggles complained bitterly - of risking the ship for a ha'porth of tar".  They were using two Wellingtons, modified with extra tankage, heating equipment installed and the fitting of skis over the wheels so just a few inches of tyre projected below them, so they could land on snow as well as on hard surfaces.  Algy and Bertie are left at Port Stanley, the capital of the Falklands as a reserve and possibly a rescue party.  Ginger is appalled by the desolation they fly over - ice and more ice.  The only mammals that can live so far south are Weddell seals but there are also rokkeries of penguins and birds called skuas.  They reach the location the "Starry Crown" was sighted and even Biggles has difficulty landing.  "How does it feel to be on the bottom of the world" asks Biggles.  "Pretty chilly" replies Ginger.