BIGGLES FOLLOWS ON
by Captain W. E. Johns
XIV. VON STALHEIN IS ANNOYED (Pages 151 – 158)
Biggles is furious as the shot will alert the whole camp. Biggles turns off the light in the hut so as not to draw further attention to them. Bertie is told to take the deserters through the cut wire fence and he sets off at the double “followed by a crocodile of men hugging various garments and other possessions”. Von Stalhein and two other men run towards the compound. Biggles hides round the corner whilst the men go into the hut and then go over to the fallen sergeant. Biggles then locks them all in the hut. Von Stalhein sees him and cries out “Bigglesworth!”, shooting through the door. Biggles tells him he has left him a souvenir and he takes off and hangs the red spotted black tie (which he was still wearing) on the door handle. Biggles runs to the peasant’s hovel and finds Bertie and his party there, but no sign of Gimlet. Wung arrives alone and reports that the others are on their way. Biggles tells Wung to start off with the gang of deserters back to the coast. He tells Bertie and Ginger to stay with him in case Gimlet needs help. A few minutes later, Gimlet and his two assistants arrive. Copper and Trapper make the necessary connections to their batteries whilst Bertie talks to Gimlet about Gimlet’s horse Seagull. Bertie asks if he wants to sell her, but Gimlet says he is hoping to win next year’s Grand National with her, riding her himself. Copper tells Gimlet they are all set and Gimlet tells them to “pull the plug”. The plunger is pushed home and a dozen explosions erupt. Pylons fall and blue sparks fly as electrical connections snap and short out. “I don’t think there will be any Music While You Work from this station for a day or two” says Gimlet. Everyone sets off after Wung and the deserters and they overtake them just before they reach the coast. They transfer over from the dinghy to the Scorpion, now loaded to capacity and Algy takes off and sets a course for base. Biggles finds Ross and congratulates him for his splendid work. “By the way,” he went on, looking round. “Which of these lads is your friend, Macdonald?” Ross says he isn’t there. He was shot some days ago, trying to escape. “He blamed himself for getting me into this business”. The Scorpion reached its base without trouble of any sort and after a day’s rest, Biggles takes off on the return flight home. He takes Ross with him. “The other repentant deserters were left behind, having been handed over to the proper military authority for disciplinary action”. Guardsman Ross was subsequently awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for his part in the affair. It turned out that Ross knew the names of some of the renegades who had volunteered to act as spies behind the lines in Korea. Army Intelligence Officers soon picked them up. A raid was made on the village of Fashtun, their headquarters, by a force of Marine Commandos with satisfactory results. A letter for Biggles arrived sometime later. Biggles smiles as he says it is from “Smith, our friend in Prague. He’s home and wants us to have a meal with him”. “How did he manage it?” asked Bertie. “He doesn’t say,” answered Biggles. “But it should be quite a story”. “And it was. But this is not the place to tell it”.