by Captain W. E. Johns



XIII.       HIGH SPEED SORTIE  (Pages 158 – 171)


At 12.00 noon they take off and spend precious time and petrol trying to find the right island.  They see the ‘Tamaroa’ and Pam recognises the island.  The ‘Tamaroa’ has returned to near to where they picked Pam up and it would appear the ship is heading right for where the stranded girls are currently located and will be there in ten minutes.  Worrals flies right over the ship, risking the gunfire in an effort to pick the girls up in time.  Worrals lands on the beach, facing danger from the rising high winds and the girls can be seen making their way to the plane.  One of them, Julia Carson, is being carried.  She was down with fever when Pam left.  Frecks gets out and runs to the high ground to see how close the ‘Tamaroa’ is and to her horror, Frecks sees that they have lowered a boat packed with sailors and that they are coming “flat out for the shore”.  Worrals realises that the sick girl being bought down to the beach won’t get there in time, so she takes off with Harry and they shoot the sailors in the boat to pieces.  They then go on to try attacking the ‘Tamaroa’ but Harry is wounded and his guns put out of action.  Landing and collecting the girls, Worrals has to face another difficult take off to avoid fire from the ‘Tamaroa’.  “She took no more chances with the ‘Tamaroa’ although it seemed to be on fire”.  On the flight home, Worrals says to Frecks “This air combat is a dangerous game.  It goes to your head.  I know now why Bill Ashton, that day he was shot down and baled out, ran like a lunatic to another machine and tore into the air for more”.  (This is the only mention of the previously regular character, Bill Ashton, in this book).  They land back at Ingles Island and when Frecks asks how much petrol they have left, she is told “About a pint”.