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N THE SPRING OF 1941 HIGH COURT JUDGE MR JUSTICE JARDINE AND HIS CLERK, SILAS HOLMES, ARRIVED AT OFFICIAL LODGINGS IN CORNWALL AT THE START OF A CIRCUIT TOUR OF THE WEST COUNTRY. THE JUDGE WAS SURPRISED TO SEE THAT SINCE HIS VISIT THE PREVIOUS YEAR A LARGE UGLY CONCRETE STRUCTURE HAD BEEN BUILT ON A NEARBY HEADLAND.

I

GOOD HEAVENS, WHAT AN ABSOLUTE MONSTROSITY! WHAT ON EARTH CAN IT BE?

SOMETHING TOP SECRET RELATED TO THE WAR I SHOULD IMAGINE, JUDGE. PERHAPS THE HOUSEKEEPER KNOWS.

STORY ALAN HEBDEN ART MIKE WHITE COVER MIKE WHITE


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4 AS SILAS HAD SURMISED, THE PURPOSE OF THE STRUCTURE WAS INDEED TOP SECRET. EVEN LIVING NEXT TO IT THE HOUSEKEEPER, MRS PENDRAGON, HAD NO IDEA WHAT IT WAS FOR.

THE HEADLAND WAS SEALED OFF AND AN ARMY OF WORKMEN ARRIVED TO BUILD THAT HORRIBLE THING. IT’S GUARDED BY ROYAL MARINES SO IT MUST BE TO DO WITH THE NAVY.

AH WELL, OURS IS NOT TO REASON WHY. I’M SURE IT’S IMPORTANT TO THE WAR EFFORT. SHALL WE GET SETTLED IN, MISTER HOLMES?

JARDINE’S LONG-SERVING CLERK, CYRIL MYCROFT, HAD RETIRED RECENTLY DUE TO ILL HEALTH. MRS PENDRAGON COULDN’T HELP WONDERING ABOUT HIS YOUNG AND ACTIVE REPLACEMENT.

HE LOOKS LIKE HE OUGHT TO BE SERVING IN THE ARMED FORCES, NOT FETCHING AND CARRYING FOR YOU, MISTER JARDINE.

HE DID SERVE, MRS PENDRAGON. HE WAS A GUARDS OFFICER UNTIL A CHUNK OF SHRAPNEL GOT LODGED IN HIS SKULL AT DUNKIRK.

SINCE THE METAL WAS TOO DEEP TO RISK SURGERY AND DOCTORS FEARED THAT ANOTHER KNOCK TO THE HEAD MIGHT KILL HIM, SILAS WAS DISCHARGED ON MEDICAL GROUNDS. AS HE WAS A LAW GRADUATE THE JUDGE HAD TAKEN HIM ON.


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5 CIRCUIT JUDGES SUCH AS JARDINE PRESIDED OVER CASES DEEMED TOO SERIOUS TO BE DEALT WITH BY MAGISTRATES ALONE. NEXT DAY AT THE LOCAL ASSIZES HE WAS HANDING DOWN SENTENCE IN JUST SUCH A CASE.

YOU HAVE BEEN FOUND GUILTY OF BLACKMARKETEERING, FOR WHICH I AM MINDED TO PASS A SENTENCE OF THREE YEARS IN PRISON. HOWEVER, I NOTE THAT YOU ARE A CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTOR EXEMPTED FROM MILITARY SERVICE.

THAT WAS EXACTLY WHAT THE JUDGE MEANT. BEFORE LONG AN EAGER NEW RECRUIT WAS LEAVING COURT.

JARDINE PLOUGHED ON. IT IS MY BELIEF THAT YOU PRETENDED TO BE AN OBJECTOR IN ORDER TO CONTINUE YOUR CRIMINAL ACTIVITIES. SHOULD YOU WISH TO TAKE UP ARMS, THOUGH, I MIGHT SUSPEND YOUR SENTENCE.

YOU…YOU MEAN IF I JOIN UP I SHAN’T GO DOWN?

CONSTABLE, ESCORT THIS MAN TO THE NEAREST RECRUITING OFFICE. AND SEE HE SIGNS UP.


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6 THE MORNING PASSED QUICKLY AS JARDINE DEALT WITH A STRING OF CASES IN HIS USUAL STERN BUT FAIR MANNER, HIS NO-NONSENSE STYLE ENSURING THINGS MOVED ALONG RAPIDLY. RETURNING TO COURT AFTER LUNCH HE WAS TAKEN ABACK BY A BEVY OF BARRISTERS AWAITING HIS PRESENCE.

ALL STAND!

GOOD HEAVENS, IT SEEMS I AM ABOUT TO BE ENTERTAINED BY A LEGAL CIRCUS.

THE COURT’S SMOOTH PROGRESS HAD, QUITE LITERALLY, RUN INTO A BRICK WALL. THE WALL IN QUESTION SEPARATED THE PROPERTIES OF TWO WEALTHY GENTLEMEN WHO HAD BECOME LOCKED IN COMBAT OVER IT. TO BACK THEIR ARGUMENTS THEY HAD HIRED A HOST OF BARRISTERS. MY CLIENT, SIR GILES MOFFAT, SEEKS REDRESS OVER THE DELIBERATE MIS-ALIGNING OF THIS WALL BY HIS NEIGHBOUR, SIR HENRY BLYTHE, RESULTING IN AN UNLAWFUL ENCROACHMENT ON MY CLIENT’S PROPERTY.

THE ORIGINAL GROUND PLANS SHOW THE WALL HAD ACTUALLY BEEN ENCROACHING ON THE PROPERTY OF MY CLIENT, SIR HENRY BLYTHE, BEFORE THE RE-ALIGNMENT.

BEFORE I MAKE ANY DECISION I SHOULD LIKE TO SEE THE GROUND PLANS FOR MYSELF.


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7 SILAS BROUGHT THE PLANS TO THE JUDGE, WHO PEERED AT THEM INTENTLY.

IT WOULD SEEM THIS MIGHTY LEGAL MOUNTAIN IS LITTLE MORE THAN A RATHER SMALL MOLEHILL! THE DISPUTED ALIGNMENT IS LITTLE MORE THAN TWO FEET, AND THE AFFECTED PROPERTIES ARE EACH SEVERAL ACRES IN EXTENT.

TWO FEET CAN BECOME TWO YARDS, THEN TWENTY YARDS, YOUR HONOUR!

AN ENCROACHMENT IS AN ENCROACHMENT!

BY NOW SILAS KNEW JARDINE WELL ENOUGH TO SEE THAT HIS PATIENCE WAS BECOMING SORELY FRAYED. SILAS WAS RIGHT — THE IRATE JUDGE SNATCHED UP HIS GAVEL AND BROUGHT IT DOWN WITH THE FORCE OF A SLEDGEHAMMER. IN THE STUNNED SILENCE THAT FOLLOWED HE ROSE IMPERIOUSLY TO HIS FEET AND POINTED AT THE TWO FEUDING KNIGHTS OF THE REALM.

COURT IS ADJOURNED! THE TWO PLAINTIFFS WILL ACCOMPANY ME TO MY CHAMBERS!

I SENSE AN EXPLOSION COMING.


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8 AS THE PLAINTIFFS HURRIED TO OBEY, THEIR RESPECTIVE LEGAL TEAMS SCRAMBLED TO FOLLOW UNTIL A STEELYVOICED JARDINE ORDERED OTHERWISE.

JUST THE PLAINTIFFS, NOT THEIR OVERPAID, OVER-VOLUBLE SCRUMS OF LEGAL BLOODSUCKERS!

THE TWO KNIGHTS SAT LIKE NAUGHTY SCHOOLBOYS SUMMONED TO THEIR HEADMASTER’S STUDY FOR A RIGHT ROYAL DRESSING DOWN. JARDINE DIDN’T DISAPPOINT THEM. THIS NONSENSE HAS GONE ON LONG ENOUGH. INSTEAD OF WASTING MONEY ON LEGAL FEES YOU SHOULD BE BUYING WAR BONDS. I ORDER THE WALL DEMOLISHED AND REPLACED BY A WOODEN FENCE ALIGNED BY AN INDEPENDENT SURVEYOR!

AS A PARTING SHOT, HE ADDED THAT IF EITHER THEM SOUGHT TO CONTINUE THE SORRY AFFAIR JARDINE WOULD HAVE THEM PROSECUTED FOR BRINGING VEXATIOUS LITIGATION.


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9 THE SHELL-SHOCKED LITIGANTS AND THEIR LEGAL TEAMS STUMBLED OUT OF COURT LIKE NAPOLEON’S RETREAT FROM MOSCOW. SILAS COULDN’T HELP GRINNING.

THAT’S ONE WAY OF SORTING IT OUT, JUDGE. SOMETIMES IT JUST BOILS DOWN TO BANGING A PAIR OF SILLY HEADS TOGETHER.

THE JUDGE AND SILAS WERE MEMBERS OF THE HOME GUARD AND INTENDED TO OFFER THEIR SERVICES TO THE LOCAL UNIT. AFTER COURT THAT EVENING MRS PENDRAGON TOLD THEM WHERE TO GO, THOUGH SHE CLEARLY HELD THE LOCAL HOME GUARD IN LOW ESTEEM.

I’M SURE THEY CAN’T BE THAT BAD, MRS PENDRAGON. THE CHURCH HALL YOU SAY? LET US MAKE OUR WAY THERE, MISTER HOLMES.

THEY MEET AT THE CHURCH HALL MOST EVENINGS AT SEVEN, THOUGH HEAVEN HELP US IF THE GERMANS REALLY DO INVADE. THAT SHOWER IS WORSE THAN USELESS!


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10 EN ROUTE THEY PASSED THE RAMSHACKLE LOCAL INN, AN ESTABLISHMENT WHOSE OMINOUS NAME MADE SILAS SMILE.

THE WRECK AND PLUNDER, EH?

ONCE A COMMON OCCUPATION IN THESE PARTS, THEY SAY.

THE RATHER SLOVENLY HOME GUARD UNIT GATHERED AT THE CHURCH HALL COULD QUITE EASILY HAVE PASSED FOR A BUNCH OF MODERN-DAY WRECKERS. WHO SHOULD WE REPORT TO?

TRY SARN’T ‘ICKY IN THE OFFICE THERE.

IF POSSIBLE, SERGEANT EDDIE HICKY WAS EVEN MORE SLOVENLY THAN HIS PLATOON. RELAXING IN A CHAIR WITH HIS BOOTS ON THE DESK THEY FOUND HIM MUNCHING HIS WAY THROUGH THE BIGGEST CORNISH PASTY EITHER OF THEM HAD EVER SEEN. AHEM…WE SHOULD LIKE TO OFFER OUR SERVICES FOR THE TIME WE ARE HERE.

OH AY, THAT’S RIGHT GENEROUS OF YER…


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s a High Court judge, Mr Justice Jardine had a fierce reputation as a hard man. Hard but fair. His judgements were respected even by those on the receiving end of a verdict. When he joined the Army’s legal branch he remained the same hard but fair man. His working environment changed, though. Gone were the woodpanelled courtrooms, replaced by tents or makeshift offices. And another thing changed too. He picked up a rifle‌to deadly effect.

9 770262 262188

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£1.45 No.4378 STORY ALAN HEBDEN ART MIKEWHITE COVER MIKE WHITE SOMETHINGTOP SECRETRELATED TOTHEWARISHOULD IMAGINE,JUDGE.PERHAPS THEHOUSEKEEP...

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