by Captain W. E. Johns



II.    MEET BILLY MAGUIRE  (Pages 21 – 33)


Five weeks later Worrals and Frecks arrive in Darwin, Australia, and a further week has passed whilst they plan and prepare.  Assisted by Flight-Lieutenant Dan Lynch from Australian Headquarters Intelligence, they have selected a flying boat of the Scud type, a civil transport twin-engined amphibian aircraft with the eight passenger seats removed.  Worrals notes the nearest island is Timor, some 400 miles away, and then islands are strung out all the way to Singapore, some two thousand miles away.  The map has been divided into divisions each bearing a letter.  The plan is to search systematically.  Frecks suggests they set up a base among the islands to save time “beetling backwards and forwards” and Worrals agrees.  Frecks also says what they really need is a man who knows the islands.  They ask Dan Lynch and he suggests Billy Maguire, who can be found on his lugger, Annie.  Dan warns them that “his adjectives, when anything upsets him, are not the sort you’d hand round in a Sunday school”.  “I don’t care two hoots about that as long as he knows his stuff,” declared Worrals.  Worrals and Frecks go off to see Billy, who is a six foot six giant.  Billy is friendly and helpful and suggests an island known as Ingles Island for their base.  It even has a billabong, a water hole with fresh water.  Billy warns them to watch out for the “scalies” but the girls don’t ask him what he means.