by Captain W. E. Johns



XIV.                        WAR ON THE ICE  (Pages 175 - 188)


Biggles takes off and makes a skilled landing with the heavily loaded machine, two hundred yards from the 'Svelt'.  Biggles and the Skipper search the ship which Ginger guards their rear.  Lavinsky's men, seeing what is happening do their best to return to their ship in haste.  Before they can, Larsen is found clapped in irons.  He has been wounded and is half dead from loss of blood.  The Swede is taken to the aircraft and made as comfortable as possible.  Biggles can smell petrol and it is discovered that one of the petrol tanks has been holed by a bullet.  A temporary plug with chewing gum allows them the change to fly back to their original camp, where Ginger will have time to mend the hole properly.  They will also be able to pick up the remainder of the gold.  Ginger is hampered doing the job by the need to wear clothes.  Bare flesh sticks to the metal and risks frost-bite.  Two hours later he is still at it.  Meanwhile Lavinsky has not been idle.  Having recovered his ship he now launches a two pronged attack on our heroes.  Biggles tries to start the engines on the plane but the starboard one won't start - it is cold and has to be heated.  "The temperature was twenty-eight below zero the last time I looked at the thermometer" said Ginger morosely.  Shots are exchange between both parties but no one is hit.  "This non-effective shooting, by people whom he knew to be first-class shots was, thought Ginger, on one of the most surprising things of the expedition.  He could only assume that it was due to the peculiar white light".  Eventually Grimy is shot in the left arm.  From overhead comes the vibrant drone of a low-flying aircraft.  Algy has returned.  He lands and out of his Wellington come 'bluejackets' - armed naval personnel.  Lavinsky's men seeing the situation through down their weapons and flee.  "Thus might hooligans have fled on the arrival of a squad of policemen".  Lavinsky himself makes off for the 'Svelt'.  Biggles thanks the naval officer for his help.  They agree to divide the load and set off back to the Falklands.  A sloop can be sent down for Lavinsky in due course.