The Last Escape


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4. Chapter 4

Some time later, the truck pulled up in a small town. Barcombe peered out from under the tarpaulin as the driver walked up to a nearby house and knocked on the door.

“Now’s our chance,” said Barcombe. They undid the tailgate, Barcombe dropped to the ground and helped Kilby down. The road ran downhill into the centre of the town and beyond that Kilby and Barcombe could see something they hadn’t seen for nearly two years – the English Channel. Beyond it the sun was reflecting off the white cliffs they’d flown over on the night they’d been shot down.

They found a bar on the seafront and went inside. Barcombe ordered two drinks, which he and Kilby took on to the terrace overlooking the bay.

“Woofer! Kilby!” called a voice.

Barcombe recognised the voice and looked across the terrace. There was George Wiffen, his bomb aimer, and with him Gerry Roberts, his navigator, Keith Norman, the wireless operator and Brian Colby, the mid-upper gunner. The six of them shook hands and embraced each other joyfully.

“There were days we thought we’d never see you chaps again,” stated Barcombe.

There was a familiar sound of four Rolls Royce Merlin engines and a lone Lancaster flew low over the town just as theirs had done that fateful night.

“It’s just a shame Stinker didn’t make it,” Kilby commented.

Wiffen opened his mouth to speak, but didn’t get chance.

“We meet again, gentlemen,” said an accent Barcombe and Kilby knew only too well. They turned to see the black leather boots, grey clothing, blonde hair and stern blue eyes that they least wanted to see. Kirchausen.

“I believe you know Stinker’s granddaughter,” explained Wiffen.

“Indeed we do,” Barcombe replied. “But we never knew she was related to Stinker. She’s the matron of our nursing home.”

Kirchausen smiled. “I don’t know how you two got here, but if I’d known you were planning to come, I’d have given you a lift.”

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