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N THE SUMMER OF 1950 TWO BOYS WERE ENJOYING THEMSELVES IN A PROVINCIAL PARK IN CANADA'S MARITIME PROVINCES WHEN ONE OF THEM SLIPPED AND LOST HIS FOOTING AT THE EDGE OF A STEEP RAVINE.

I'M FALLING...YAAARH!

BILLY!

STORY ALAN HEBDEN ART VILA COVER IAN KENNEDY


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DAVID, BILLY'S FRIEND, PEERED DOWN AND WAS RELIEVED TO SEE THAT HIS PAL HAD LANDED SAFELY ON A NARROW LEDGE BELOW. ARE YOU OKAY?

YEAH, BUT I'M STUCK HERE. YOU'LL HAVE TO GO AND GET SOME HELP.

HELP ARRIVED SOON AFTER IN THE STURDY SHAPE OF MOUNTIE SERGEANT MEL FALMER AND HIS YOUNGER PARTNER. IT WASN'T THE FIRST TIME THEY'D BEEN CALLED OUT TO AN INCIDENT OF THIS SORT. WOULDN'T BE THE SUMMER VACATION WITHOUT SOME KID FALLING DOWN ONE OF THE RAVINES. AT LEAST THIS ONE DOESN'T SEEM TO HAVE HURT HIMSELF. READY WITH THE ROPE?

READY WHEN YOU ARE, SARGE.


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MEL DESCENDED TO THE LEDGE AND SECURED BILLY TO THE ROPE BEFORE CALLING UP TO HIS PARTNER.

OKAY, YOU CAN HAUL THE KID UP, THEN DROP THE ROPE BACK DOWN FOR ME TO CLIMB OUT.

AS SOON AS BILLY HAD BEEN PULLED UP TO SAFETY THE ROPE WAS DROPPED BACK DOWN TO MEL. HE WAS ABOUT TO FOLLOW WHEN SOMETHING BELOW CAUGHT HIS EYE. HOLD ON A MOMENT. PLAY OUT SOME MORE ROPE. I WANT TO CHECK SOMETHING AT THE BOTTOM OF THE RAVINE.


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AS MEL DESCENDED TO THE BOTTOM HE COULD HARDLY BELIEVE HIS EYES. AS A WORLD WAR TWO COMBAT VETERAN HE KNEW EXACTLY WHAT HE WAS LOOKING AT.

HOW THE DEVIL DID A STUKA DIVE BOMBER END UP HERE?

IN DUE COURSE AN R.C.A.F. RECOVERY TEAM ARRIVED AT THE SITE AND WAS SOON HAULING THE WRECKED STUKA OUT OF THE RAVINE. THE RECOVERY TEAM WAS LED BY GROUP CAPTAIN LEW BUCHAN WHO STOOD WITH MEL AS THE OPERATION GOT UNDER WAY. I’LL ADMIT I'M MIGHTY SURPRISED. FINDING A STUKA HERE IN THE MARITIMES IS A BIT LIKE FINDING A WELLINGTON BOMBER ON THE MOON. HAVE YOU ANY IDEA HOW IT GOT HERE?

IT WAS A CAPTURED GERMAN AIRCRAFT SHIPPED HERE FOR EVALUATION DURING THE WAR AND RAN INTO TROUBLE DURING BAD WEATHER. THE R.C.A.F. CREW BALED OUT AND WERE PICKED UP A FEW MILES AWAY, BUT THE PLANE WAS NEVER FOUND, UNSURPRISINGLY.


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AS LEW WAS DRIVEN AWAY IN HIS STAFF CAR A GLANCE BACK AT MEL CONVINCED HIM THAT HIS EXPLANATION HADN'T BEEN BELIEVED.

THE FOLLOWING DAY LEW ARRIVED AT MEL'S OFFICE, HIS SUPERIORS IN OTTAWA HAVING AGREED TO HIS SUGGESTION THAT THE MOUNTIE DESERVED TO KNOW THE TRUTH. WHICH PART OF THE STORY DIDN'T YOU BELIEVE, SERGEANT?

THE MOUNTIE ISN'T BUYING IT, AND NOR WOULD I IN HIS SHOES. I'M GOING TO HAVE TO GIVE OTTAWA A CALL AND SEE IF I CAN GET THE GO AHEAD TO TELL HIM THE REAL STORY.

THE EVALUATION PART. THAT STUKA STILL HAD ITS NAZI MARKINGS. IT WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN FLOWN OVER OUR TERRITORY IN WARTIME WITHOUT A NEW PAINT JOB. LEW NODDED AND SAT BACK AS HE BEGAN TO UNFOLD WHAT WOULD TURN OUT TO BE A VERY STRANGE TALE INDEED.

“IT WAS BACK IN 1942. DARK DAYS FOR US, PERHAPS THE DARKEST OF THE ENTIRE WAR. THE ATLANTIC CONVOYS WERE UNDER THREAT FROM U-BOATS AS NEVER BEFORE. SHIPS WERE BEING SUNK FASTER THAN THEY COULD BE REPLACED. UNLESS SOMETHING COULD BE DONE, THE WAR WOULD BE LOST…”


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THE CREWS OF ONE U.K.-BOUND CONVOY A COUPLE OF DAYS FROM HOME FELT FAIRLY SECURE BECAUSE THEY WERE LUCKY ENOUGH TO HAVE ONE OF THE NEWLY-INTRODUCED ESCORT CARRIERS ACCOMPANYING THEM, ITS AIRCRAFT HAVING ALREADY SEEN OFF ONE ATTEMPTED U-BOAT ATTACK. SHE'S ALWAYS SENDING UP RECONNAISSANCE FLIGHTS. ANY U-BOAT GETS WITHIN FIFTY MILES OF US WILL BE SPOTTED BEFORE IT CAN THREATEN US.

IT CERTAINLY LOOKS LIKE WE'VE FINALLY FOUND AN ANSWER TO THAT MENACE, SKIPPER.

THE FAIREY FULMAR WHICH HAD JUST TAKEN OFF FLEW A WIDE CIRCLE BETWEEN FORTY AND FIFTY MILES AROUND THE CONVOY. AFTER AN HOUR IN THE AIR THE PLANE'S LOOKOUT SPOTTED SOMETHING BELOW. PERISCOPE BELOW. IT'S A U-BOAT!

PROBABLY PREPARING FOR A NIGHT ATTACK. CALL IT IN.


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IN RESPONSE TO THE WARNING, THREE BOMB-CARRYING MARTLET AIRCRAFT TOOK OFF FROM THE ESCORT CARRIER A FEW MINUTES LATER. TIME TO SEND OUT A MESSAGE LOUD AND CLEAR…U-BOATS NOT WELCOME HERE!

IT TOOK THE MARTLETS LESS THAN TEN MINUTES TO REACH THE REPORTED SIGHTING. THEY RACED IN TO ATTACK.

GOT YOU NOW, FRITZ. YOU'LL NEVER DIVE DEEP ENOUGH IN TIME TO ESCAPE OUR BOMBS!


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NONE OF THE MARTLET PILOTS PAID MUCH ATTENTION TO THE SKY AROUND THEM. THEY WERE HUNDREDS OF MILES FROM LAND AND THE CLOSEST LUFTWAFFE BASES. IT THEREFORE CAME AS A TERRIBLE SHOCK WHEN HALF A DOZEN ME109S DIVED ON THEM WITHOUT WARNING.

GRIEF, JERRIES…AAARGH!

OUR U-BOAT LURED YOU INTO A TRAP, ENGLANDERS…AND YOU WALKED RIGHT INTO IT!

THE MARTLETS WERE SWIFTLY DEALT WITH. AS THE LAST OF THEM CRASHED INTO THE SEA THE ME109S GAINED HEIGHT TO BEGIN THE NEXT STAGE OF THEIR MISSION, ESCORTING TWO TORPEDO-CARRYING STUKAS HEADING FOR THE CONVOY.

THE WAY AHEAD IS CLEAR.


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