WORRALS OF THE W.A.A.F.
by W. E. Johns
XII. A SOUND EXCUSE
(Pages 206 - 220)
(On original publication
this instalment was called "A Perfect Landing")
As the machine roars earthwards there is
the harsh sound of machine-guns. The
fuselage is lashed with bullets. Worrals
pulls the machine out of its dive.
"At the finish she was so low that she saw the grass lie flat under
the rush of air." Looking in the
reflector she sees only the German pilot bleeding. Looking out she sees a Spitfire with the
letter E painted on it and she recognises Bill Ashton's machine. Bill, seeing the German markings, has tried
to shoot the machine down, not knowing that Worrals and Frecks are
onboard. Worrals also sees that the
Rectory is a blazing ruin. Clearly the
bomb has done its work. Three more
Spitfires approach and Worrals lands the plane on the golf course, with her
port engine on fire. "All three men
had been hit by bullets, and Frecks must have owed her escape to the fact that
she was lower than the others, who were holding her down. Corton lay in a crumpled heap on the
floor. Carl had sagged into a seat,
either dead or unconscious; his automatic lay at this feet. The German officer appeared to have been
struck only in the arm; deathly pale, he was conscious, but too weak from loss
of blood to have any fight left in him".
Both girls get out on the grass.
Frecks thinks she is going to faint.
"Oh, no you're not," Worrals told her emphatically. "There's no time for that
now." However, "Suddenly,
without warning, the scene became blurred, then dark. Her legs seemed to go weak. "Heavens," she thought, "it's
me that's going to faint." She sat
down abruptly and let her head hang forward between her knees, fighting a
deadly nausea. After a minute she began
to feel better, and became aware that someone was shouting". A Spitfire has landed and Bill Ashton has got
out. "You don't happen to have a
cup of tea on you, Bill, I suppose?" asks Worrals. Another Spitfire lands and it is Squadron
Leader McNavish who gets out this time. He says that she has had the temerity to
overstay her leave. "I never offer
excuses, sir," Worrals says stiffly.
"But if you'll take a look in the cabin of that Rockheed you'll find
an explanation. In the pocket of the man
on the floor you'll find a chart showing certain bridges in this country which
have been mined." The girls are
taken back to their aerodrome and tell their tale to senior officers, including
Lady Thornton-Bates, the Commandant-in-Chief of the Women's Service. Bill explains he had the telephone call
traced and all local post boxes checked and so got the important letter
containing the colour marked map. The
girls are offered promotion but chose to remain where they are currently
based. Squadron Leader McNavish says "There you are - there's loyalty for
you. No officer of mine has ever
willingly left me," he boasted.
Then he asks Worrals and Frecks to join them for lunch.