by W. E. Johns



VI.   FRIENDS IN THE CRYPT  (Pages 68 - 79)


Worrals thinks about the situation and concludes the French peasant must be a British agent.  He must have been summoned by the barmaid.  The door in the church porch

opens and the girls are invited in and taken to a crypt.  The man who asks them in is the French peasant, but this time he speaks in faultless Oxford English.  At the entrance to the crypt they meet a priest, the French curé of the church, Father Giraldus, and down in the crypt are around a dozen men, British ‘Tommies’ and some Air Force personnel, survivors from Dunkirk.  The peasant says they can call him Captain Charles and Worrals explains how they came to be there and about the dropped message.  Worrals asks the men present in the crypt if any of them happen to be fitters and one of them, a Cockney called Tim, is.  Worrals tells him if he can fix their engine they can take him home.  Worrals tells the rest of the men that she can only take one but she promises that a plane will come back to fetch the rest, even if she has to fly it herself.  Captain Charles goes to try and retrieve the message passed to the Germans and the padre agrees to show the girls to the leaning signpost by where they landed.  Finding the right field, Worrals' heart sinks when she discovers two men talking by their plane.  She thinks they are German.  One goes, presumably to report their find, and the other stays behind to guard the aircraft.  Tim soon takes care of the guard, knocking him out.  Using the padre's torch, it takes Tim the best part of an hour to find the fault in the ignition.  It then takes him another couple of hours to do a temporary fix.  There is a hail as returning Germans try to find the guard in the fog.  The padre answers the hails and leads the Germans away from the plane.  Tim finishes the work and the fog starts to lift.  Tim squeezes into the gunner's seat with Frecks.  As the fog lifts they see a line of men, just a hundred yards away running towards the aircraft.