WORRALS OF THE ISLANDS
by Captain W. E. Johns
IV. “ONE AIRCRAFT FAILED TO RETURN” (Pages 43 – 57)
Worrals plans to fly really low so it is less likely they will be spotted by a high flying plane. Frecks’ job is to watch the sky whilst Worrals watches the islands. The plan is to fly straight across small islands, twice in two directions and then circumnavigate it by following the beech two of three times. This should give anyone there the chance to reveal themselves and wave. When Frecks sees a group of nine Japanese Zero fighters, Worrals lands as it is better to hide than be seen and outrun. They hear a sound, a human hail. Waiting, they see a brown man with a beard and wearing shorts waving at them. The man swims out to the plane and identifies himself as Corporal Henry Timms, R.A.F., a Cockney known as Harry. He’s a “Wopag” – a wireless-operator/air gunner. Worrals takes him to their island base (much to his disappointment) and when he asks for a “gasper” she says “Sorry, but we don’t smoke. Bad luck”. Harry explains he had been marooned 4 months ago following his plane going down when his pilot was killed in an attack by Japanese Zeros. Harry had to land the plane and has only seen two natives in that time. He couldn’t speak their “lingo” and was frightened they might hand him over to Sammy, Prince Sammaru, “He’s the Jap in charge of the islands”. He personally cuts the head off any white troops who fall into his hands. When told that Worrals is looking for nine girls, Harry wonders “if that’s what them two fuzzy-wuzzies was trying to tell me”. They had scratched a row of funny things in the sand and pointed north-west. Nine of them. Worrals says they need to concentrate in the direction given. Worrals offers to run Harry to Darwin the next day but he declines and agrees to act as their wireless operator. Worrals agrees to use the scissors to cut Harry’s beard off.