domingo, 3 de fevereiro de 2008

THE RESCUE

taken from my novel
“The Chocolate Tree: a family saga”
2nd. Edition, 2001
In the midst of the Great War, a British camp on French soil was being badly bombarded and the soldiers were in retreat. The Germans were doing their utmost to finish off the Division, attacking by land and air. Their aim was accurate and mortal.
The officer in command made the troops leave in single file. One behind another, they tried to maintain some sort of discipline under the circumstances, avoiding roads and marching rapidly, trying to get away as fast as possible from the camp.
The going was hazardous as the terrain was naturally irregular. They only felt safe from the German airplanes in the dense vegetation. On open ground, they had pain in their necks from looking upwards at the sky trying to identify enemy aircraft in time.
Soon the group of thirty odd men were seen by a German observation balloon that warned the ground crew. They in turn got in touch with the pilots that were soon in the air preparing to hunt down their victims.
Four planes closing in obliged the troops to take cover, a difficult task at the moment, as they were crossing a vast pasture. There was little cattle grazing about, but the few animals took no notice of those strangers in uniform.
They heard the first outbursts from the aircraft cannon. Arthur, lying flat in a deep ravine, lifted his head to see what was going on. He saw a cow being directly hit. It seemed to explode, with bits and pieces flying in all directions. Arthur felt sick at the scene, but soon put it behind him, as he was worried with his own safety and survival.
He saw Walter on the other side of the ravine and waved at him. He too answered with a wave of his hand and pointed to a deeper place ahead, suggesting by signals that they meet there. Arthur got up and ran. Walter did the same.
A British airplane came into view and attacked the Germans. One of the planes separated itself from the others to fight the intruder. The others started shooting at the foot soldiers. One by one, the men were downed, too wounded to get up and react.
The British pilot eliminated the German plane that crashed to the ground nose first. The other Germans tried to combat the adversary, but he was an excellent aviator and they were unsuccessful. They left to regroup.
Luckily, Walter and Arthur suffered no wounds, but they perceived that they were alone. Shouting at their companions above the sound of the aircraft doing battle, the answer had been total silence. The men had been razed.
They knew the end was near. The British pilot from the air also saw the delicate dilemma they were in. Not a soldier was on his feet. The German aircraft were coming at them again.
The Brit, with boldness and fearless of the consequences, dropped lower with his biplane to try and land, motioning with his hands for the two soldiers to get nearer.
Immediately, Arthur and his partner understood his intentions. They got rid of all their equipment and ran crazily in his direction. The Germans were getting too close for comfort.
As soon as he touched down, the pilot shouted with all the strength of his lungs:
“Quicky! Hold on to something! Let’s get going! Come on! Come on!”
Walter and Arthur threw themselves to the ground as the wings passed over their heads and they grabbed at the plane’s landing gear.
Satisfied with what he saw, the pilot opened up the throttle and brought the stick against himself. The engine complained and whined with the extra weight, but obeyed his command.
The soldiers held on for dear life, with legs dangling dangerously in the wind and their bodies swaying from the wheel carriage. The plane’s trepidation was no help as they tried staying in the best possible position not to fall off. They were sweating profusely as they concentrated in maintaining themselves alive. It was their only chance and they knew it.
The Germans, recognising the drama and the heroism of pilot and soldiers alike greeted them by waving their wings and were gone, leaving them to their own fate.
It didn’t take them long to fly over peaceful landscape and reach the allied lines.
“I’m going down,” said the pilot, balancing precariously in his seat so he could be heard. “When I touch down, release yourselves with your bodies limp.”
He chose a hay field, ready for harvesting. The wheels struck the hay and the soldiers fell into the plantation.
Both lost consciousness and were found by local farmers. They had seen an airplane almost landing in their field and were certain they had seen someone hanging on to the plane that wasn’t there when it took off again.
They were carried to the farmhouse and put to bed. When they regained consciousness, they could hardly believe they were still alive. Besides them were the couple of French farmers, two 16-17 year old boys and the British pilot, that was smiling broadly through teeth and moustache tinted yellow by nicotine.
“I’m glad you’re alive,” he said.
“I don’t think I can ever thank you enough,” muttered Arthur. He had difficulty in moving his cracked lips. His face was a mess of scratches from his fall in the hay.
Walter could only stare at the pilot. He just had no words to express his gratitude in having a new opportunity to live. Later, with his emotions under control, he was able to put his thoughts into words. The pilot, whose name was Alaric Hugh Farrar, was decidedly embarrassed.Once back in Abbeville, Arthur and Walter reported Farrar’s heroism. Due to that, the pilot received the Victoria Cross, the highest military award for bravery in Great Britain.

Um comentário:

  1. Shirley18:22:00

    Thanks for sending news of your blogspot. Enjoyed ‘The Rescue’ and ‘Leo’. What inspired ‘The Rescue’? We will watch again ~ Shirley

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