by Captain W. E. Johns



IV.                   BY AIR – TO WHERE?  (Pages 47 – 55)


“At a quarter to three on the following Saturday afternoon Biggles sat in the cockpit of a police Proctor aircraft that had been put in a place convenient for the observation of passengers who had booked for the three o’clock British European Airways service to Paris”.  Inside that plane, which is due to take off, is Ginger.  Ross has told von Stalhein that he has decided to accept his invitation to join the International Corps.  Surveillance by Gaskin’s men has already exposed two more members of the spy organisation, a photographer and a printer in the East End of London.  Ross was to meet von Stalhein at the ‘Stand Easy’ café at a quarter past one and had then gone to von Stalhein’s Grosvenor Hotel.  Ross emerged wearing a dark suit, soft hat and red-spotted black tie and carrying a suitcase.  Biggles guesses the ties are for identification purposes.  Luckily, Ginger has bought a couple in Piccadilly so now, both he and Biggles have them on.  Biggles has done significant preparation, including ringing up Marcel Brissac at the International Police Commission in Paris and informing him of the situation.  Biggles has asked Marcel to meet him at Le Bourget airport.  Air Commodore Raymond has already got them a name and address in Prague that could be used as a hide-out if needed.  When Biggles sees Ross board the Paris bound plane, he takes off in advance and flies to Le Bourget, Paris.  Marcel Brissac is waiting for him.  Marcel has already found a man wearing the red spotted black tie at that airport and discovered that this man has two tickets for Prague.  Biggles sends Marcel to get two tickets for himself and Ginger to go on the same flight to Prague.  Whilst he is waiting, Biggles, who himself is wearing the red spotted black tie, is approached by the man in the same tie and asked in German “All is well, I hope?”  Biggles plays along and says he is going to Prague.  The man tells him he is meeting the London plane, then going to Prague as well.  Biggles asks if they will meet at the usual hotel in Prague and he discovers it is Hotel Schweiz in Moldaustrasse where they are to go.  The man grumbles about how little money there is in their business.  The London plane lands and Biggles goes to meet Ginger, wearing the same tie.  That leaves the unknown man meeting Ross, which he does.  Biggles and Ginger go towards the aircraft bearing the O K registration letters of Czechoslovakia.