by Captain W. E. Johns



XIII.                        OUT WITH A BANG  (Pages 152 – 159)


“Whether or not Biggles had seen them, or the submarine, they had of course no means of knowing; but he could not have failed to see the ice, or the flying-boat in the bay”.  It was too late to stop Biggles landing.  All the waving in the world wouldn’t help him as he would merely think they were greeting him.  Biggles lands safely in the bay and nothing happens.  Whilst Biggles drops his anchor, his four comrades take the dinghy out to meet him.  “The cabin door opened and there stood Biggles, regarding them with askance and a suspicion of annoyance”.  “What do you fellows think you’re up to” he demanded.  “I was ready to write your obituary notices, but I thought I’d better have a look round first”. Algy tells him he has just landed over a minefield.  “In as few words as possible Algy narrated the events of the past two days”.  “Biggles’ eyes opened wide as he listened.  “By thunder!  You have had a time,” he admitted.  “We’ll push off.  But first I must have a look at this gunnery outfit.  It shouldn’t take more than a minute or two”.  Ginger paddles Biggles ashore and they set off up the Dogs Head at the fastest speed possible whilst the others get the machines ready for a “snappy take-off”.  “Biggles whistled when he saw what was inside the gallery.  He took out his pocketbook, made a quick sketch map and jotted down some notes.  “We might as well get our facts right while we are here,” he remarked”.  They hurry back and on reaching the open, they see the submarine surfacing about half a mile beyond the right hand promontory, heading in a direction that would give it a view inside the bay.  They race down the hill, where the others start the engines of both machines.  They get onboard the nearer of the two machines just as the submarine starts shelling them.  Leaving the dinghy, Biggles tells Algy to “Get off!  Don’t wait!”  Algy is fired upon as he takes off.  “Some bullets struck the Sunderland.  Ginger saw the gun that had been firing at Algy swing round to cover them, and he thought “This is it”.  It was, but not as he imagined.  With his eyes still on the submarine he saw a sheet of flame hurl a pillar of water high in the air”.  The submarine has hit a mine and sinks with all hands.  By now, both machines are in the air and they circle low looking for survivors, but see none.  Biggles says “Well, it’ll be some time before the people who sent the submarine here will realise that it isn’t coming back, and that should give our people plenty of time to come out and have a look at this set-up.  No doubt the same sort of thing has been going on elsewhere.  When the enemy realises that his game is rumbled he’ll probably pack up.  Meanwhile, we’ll get home”.  Biggles sets a course for Cape Town.  In due course, Biggles makes his report to Air-Commodore Raymond and later attends several Security meetings at high level. A joint British and French Naval Mission, accompanied by Marcel, goes to Hog Island and removes the guns and blows up the gallery.  “Biggles gathered from what the Air-Commodore said that the nations of all the Western Powers owning islands anywhere had undertaken to make a thorough search in case the liberties taken with the Crozets had been repeated elsewhere”.  The Hydrographic Office put Algy’s lake on the naval charts and accepted his name for it – Lake Desolate.  “In conclusion it may be said that the unlucky Cockney castaway, Alf Robinson, on whose tragic experience so much had depended, recovered from his injuries, and later, changing his mind about the sea, joined the Royal Navy”.