by Captain W. E. Johns



III.                   BIGGLES MAKES HIS PLANS  (Pages 36 – 46)


“As he drove back to the Yard, Biggles decided that he had every reason to be satisfied with his visit to Caterham”.  “Biggles wondered how many men had already been recruited from the Western Powers; for it seemed safe to suppose that if British troops were being taken, there would be others.  The title International Brigade suggested troops of several countries”.  Back at the office, Biggles decides he will have to tell Air Commodore Raymond about what he has discovered.  He is also considering letting Ross accept the offer, so they can follow him.  Inspector Gaskin arrives to report further.  He has searched von Stalhein’s room and found a piece of paper with letters on it.  He has copied them down and when he shows them to Biggles, they are recognised as the registration letters of their various police aircraft.  Gaskin has also found a box of eleven neckties, black with red spots.  Ginger says that von Stalhein was wearing such a tie, presumably the twelfth from a box of twelve.  Biggles tells Ginger to walk round the West End in the morning and see if he can buy one or two such ties.  Biggles then gets a telephone call from the adjutant at Caterham.  His friends wait the best part of two hours whilst Biggles goes there and returns.  Ross has seen von Stalhein again and reported the following information.  “When he is ready to go he is given a suit of civilian clothes, money, passport and an air ticket from London to a European airport.  There he will be met by a man who will tell him what to do next”.  Biggles goes to see Raymond but he has already left for home.  Going to his home, Biggles catches Raymond just as he is leaving for dinner at his club.  Raymond invites Biggles to join him.  Biggles tells Raymond what he has found out.  Raymond points out all the problems of trying to follow Ross behind the Iron Curtain.  “Once in, you would probably disappear as completely as a stone dropped in the middle of the Atlantic”.  Biggles suggests they would set up a rendezvous for Ross to meet him in case they lose him.  He asks if the Intelligence Service would give them the address of an agent behind the Iron Curtain, ideally in Czechoslovakia, as all clues point to going there.  Ross had a letter from his friend Macdonald postmarked Prague.  Returning late, to his flat, Biggles finds his comrades are still up waiting for him.  Biggles says that Raymond has agreed to a plan for Ross to go and be followed by them, although “he wasn’t happy about it”.  Biggles suspects he will go on Saturday if he has a weekend pass.  The team will follow him and they mustn’t forget to change the registration letters on their aircraft.