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This first episode, taken from The Wizard issue: 1798 July 30th 1960.


Nearly everybody in Darwin, Northern Australia, was worried during 1942, but the man with most on his mind was General Dwight K. Ross, Chief of the Allied Army Medical Services in the Pacific. Since the surprise Japanese attack on the American Fleet at Pearl Harbor in December 1941 the Americans, British and Australians had suffered many setbacks in the war. Casualties had been particularly heavy in the bitter fighting that went on while one Pacific island after another fell to the Japanese.

One fact that quickly revealed itself in the casualty list was that tropical diseases took as big a toll of fighting men as did enemy bombs and bullets. One particular illness that cost thousands of lives was known as Philippine Fever, and at least one hard-pressed garrison was forced to surrender, not by enemy attack, but by the sickness. Philippine Fever struck without warning. Bred in the swamps and jungles of the East Indies, where the hardest fighting went on, it paralysed its victims. Unless the patient received treatment within a few hours of going down, he died. The hospital wards were filled with the victims of Philippine Fever, and the High Command, already planning counter-offensives to drive the enemy back, realised that the war in the Pacific could be lost unless the fever was beaten. The trouble was that even the most modern drugs available at that time were useless against it, and the only known remedy was an extract known as Paraquinolene, or P.Q., as it was called, which was obtained from the berries of a rare, East Indian shrub. Already swamped with urgent work, General Ross received orders to gather together all available supplies of P.Q., ready for use when the Allies turned to the attack. Sitting at his desk in Darwin, Ross, a big man with grey hair, glared at the order paper and then glanced across at his second-in-command, a tall Texan colonel by the name of Roper. “Something worrying you, General?” Roper inquired. “I’ll say there is!” snapped Ross. “They’re asking us to establish a reserve of P.Q. big enough to treat a hundred thousand cases of Philippine Fever within the next six months! Why, it can’t be done, and the Chiefs of Staff ought to know that!” Roper frowned and rubbed his chin. “There just ain’t that amount of P.Q. in reach, General,” he drawled. “About the only source of supply was Maggadorior, wasn’t it?” “Exactly!” Ross snorted. “And Maggadorior fell to the Japs two months ago! Nobody knows what happened to Doctor Lovat, that British guy who ran a P.Q. research laboratory on the island. I guess he’s either dead or a Japanese prisoner by now. But the point is there’s no other source of supply large enough to provide a fraction of the drug we need.” “How about growin’ it specially, General?” Roper asked. Ross drew a slow, bitter breath. “Roper,” he said, “it takes two years for the P.Q. shrub to bear fruit. We need enormous supplies inside six months at the longest, or we never will push the Japs back to where they belong.” Roper agreed with his chief, who rose to his feet and put his cap on. “I’m going to talk to the Supreme Commander,” he growled. “There must be something we can do, but I’m darned if I know what!” Outside, General Ross nearly collided with a young man who wore the blue uniform of the Royal Australian Air Force. He was Flight-Lieutenant Gregory Dalton, tall, bronzed, long-faced, and long-legged. His light blue eyes were usually full of merriment, but just then he looked miserable, and was not even looking where he was going. General Ross sidestepped quickly, stopped with a frown, and then said, “Flight-Lieutenant Dalton, that’s no way to loaf around on duty!” Greg Dalton pulled himself together with a jerk. “I’m sorry, sir,” he answered. “I just wasn’t thinking. Did you want me for a flight or something?” General Ross shook his head curtly. “Not right now,” he said. “Perhaps later. I don’t know yet.” Dalton had been posted to General Ross’s staff to act as personal pilot. He had great respect for the medical chief, but he knew that even General Ross would be unable to change the unhappy situation in which Greg had suddenly found himself. Greg Dalton, whose only love was flying aeroplanes, had been grounded for good by a routine medical board that morning. Uninvited, he fell into step with the general and told Ross all about it, hoping against hope that Ross would set the finding of the board aside. “Why did they ground you, Dalton?” Ross asked. “Colour blindness, sir,” Greg growled. “It seems I’ve developed it since my last routine check a year ago. I was—er—wondering if you could—” “Let you carry on?” Ross replied. “No, I guess not. Rules are Rules, however tough they may seem.” He sighed. “Now I’ll have to get used to another pilot, I guess. I’m sure sorry, Dalton. We got along all right. It’s a pity you have to go.” Greg felt sore about it, but put on a grin and gave Ross a smart salute. Ross was hardly out of sight before a stocky Australian Air Force flight-sergeant came up beside Greg and halted. “Any luck, cobber?” the sergeant asked mournfully. “Not a sausage, Bob,” was Greg’s reply. “The general was mighty sorry about my being grounded and all that, but, as for going against the medical board—no dice, chum!” “Too bad.” Bob Avery, who had flown with Greg as radio operator and observer for more than a year, and who was a first-class aircraft mechanic as well, heaved a sigh of sympathy. “Come on,” said Greg, “let’s go and have a cup of tea. I’m fed up. Do you realise this means I’ll spend the rest of the war pushing a pen in an office somewhere?” Bob did not think it could possibly be as bad as that, but there was no doubt about it—Greg’s fighting days as a flying man appeared to be over.


But if Greg Dalton’s future was shrouded in gloom, General Ross was little better off.

In an uncomfortable interview with the Supreme Commander, Ross was told that he would have to pull out everything he knew to produce the Paraquinolene drug that was so vital to the Allied offensives planned for the near future. Back in his own headquarters, Ross turned to and set in motion every part of the great machinery of war that might provide an answer. Army orders and curt requests went out in all directions. No source of P.Q. was to be left untapped. However small, individual supplies must be placed under central control. For the next two weeks dribs and drabs of information came through to General Ross from every part of the Pacific area not already in Japanese hands. The sum total was far from impressive. Only half a dozen very small sources of the remedy were located. Altogether they would not yield enough to satisfy existing demands, let alone the much larger need that was bound to arise when the Allies turned to the offensive again. Worse still, three of the small plantations where the shrub that yielded P.Q. grew were on an island south of the Philippines which was waiting almost hourly for Japanese invasion. The island fell to the enemy a few days after Ross was told about it. Then one day, about the time Gregory Dalton received orders to leave Darwin and report for ground duties to an airfield in Queensland, something happened that was to change the entire picture. The radio operator on board an American aircraft carrier, whose planes were making a raid on the Japanese, picked up a very weak signal from an unidentified station. The message was in code, apparently, but made no sense when the Signals Officer tried to decode it. Thinking it might be an enemy transmission, it was passed on by radio to Intelligence Headquarters in Australia. For nearly a day the message baffled all attempts to decode it, till somebody realised it was not some new cipher, not an enemy one, but a code in use by the Allies three months before, and long out of date. Decoded, the message was hurriedly passed to General Ross, for it concerned him in particular. Ross, more harassed than ever, was working with Colonel Roper when the signal was delivered. For a moment the general sat and stared at it unbelievingly, his eyes wide and his jaw slack. Then he thumped the desk with a big hand and looked across at Roper. “Gosh, this is the greatest news I’ve ever had!” he exclaimed. The message was brief, but told them enough to raise their hopes. Roper leaned over the general’s shoulder, breathing hard. “Say, it’s from that British guy, Doc Lovat!” he drawled. “Yeah,” said Ross. “He’s alive on Maggadorior with a handful of loyal Filipinos. They’re carrying on somewhere in the mountains, apparently, with Japs all round. But the thing is he says there’s plenty of P.Q. available if only we can get it off the island. “Says there’s an aircraft hidden in the plantation buildings. Needs slight repair. But no pilot, of course. If we can send a pilot, fix the details by radio—Roper, we’ve got to get every ounce of P.Q. Maggadorior can supply! Go right ahead and arrange it!” “Yes, sir!” said Roper slowly. “What kind of aircraft does he say it is—a Type ‘A’ Daxcraft? Never heard of the kite!” “Then find out what it is and locate a pilot accustomed to flying it. He’s got to be good, mind.” Ross’s eyes grew hard. “Everything—the whole future in the Pacific—will depend on beating Philippine Fever as well as the Japs. “This guy Lovat could be worth two divisions of fighting men, Roper, and that means the flier who ferries the drug out will count as mighty important!” The wheels were soon set in motion. Top priority calls went out for pilots with air experience of the Type ‘A’ Daxcraft. Colonel Roper did not think there would be much difficulty in selecting a first-rate pilot. It came as a shock, therefore, when after three or four days of growing impatience not one applicant appeared. Nobody, it seemed, had even heard of a Daxcraft, let alone flown one. Intensive search produced the fact that the Daxcraft was a civilian machine, a twin-engined four-seater cabin plane. But, as far as Roper could find out, the Daxcraft was not then in production. “In fact, sir,” he said to Ross at last, “it’s a kind of mystery.” Ross groaned, changed the order to a call for volunteer pilots for a dangerous mission in Jap-held country, and left Colonel Roper to pick his man from the many names certain to be put forward as a result. The names of the volunteers poured in. Roper started checking individual records, anxious to pick the best man for the job. But hardly had he begun before the telephone rang at his elbow. It was a long distance call, the operator told him. “Flight-Lieutenant Dalton here, sir,” said a voice Roper recognised. “I’m in Queensland, and I’ve only just seen that circular asking for pilots with Daxcraft experience. I’m your man, Colonel!” Roper pulled a scribble pad towards him. “Tell me all about it!” he ordered tersely. “You’re the only man who’s come up with the news, Dalton. Just what is a Daxcraft, anyway? Can you fly it?” At the other end of the line, Greg Dalton, on fire with excitement, said, “I can not only fly a Daxcraft, sir, but I designed and built the only one ever made. That was before the war. The company went bankrupt on me, else the plane could have made the grade. Colonel Roper had heard enough. “Grab yourself a flight and report here pronto, Dalton!” he ordered. “I don’t give a hoot if you have been grounded. We need you!” Greg Dalton was the happiest man in Australia and wasted no time in carrying out Colonel Roper’s order. His way was smoothed and made swift by a personal phone call from Roper to Greg’s commanding officer. In a matter of hours Greg was back in Darwin on General Ross’s staff. In the meantime, contact had been made with Doctor Lovat. The doctor’s radio was very weak, and any transmission he made had to be brief because of failing batteries, to say nothing of the danger from Japanese listening posts. But he managed to tell Allied Intelligence of a spot on the coast of Maggadorior at which one of his Filipinos would wait for Greg Dalton to be landed under the cover of darkness. Owning to the urgency of the situation, Allied Command treated operation P.Q., as it came to be known as Top Priority, and in a very short time an intricate and far reaching plan to put Greg Dalton ashore was under way. Dalton, waiting for his final briefing, found time slow to pass. It was during his period of inactivity that he met Flight-Sergeant Bob Avery again. “You’re the luckiest man alive, Greg!” Avery told him, with an envious handshake. “Gosh, I wish I was on that mission with you, cobber!” Greg agreed it would complete his happiness if he had Bob to share the Maggadorior adventure, and soon he was thinking up a number of very good reasons for asking if Avery could join the party. “You just keep your fingers crossed, Bob,” he said. “I’ll see what I can do.” He grinned. “Right now me and the general are like that!” He held two fingers tightly together. General Ross, who had already set aside the medical board’s ruling that Greg must not fly because of colour blindness, gave Greg a sympathetic hearing. It was the fact that Doctor Lovat had mentioned that the Daxcraft needed some repairs that swung things in Greg’s favour. After a short consultation the general agreed that Flight-Sergeant Avery should go with Greg as radio operator, observer, and mechanic. “Greg, I’m tickled to death!” announced Bob when he heard the news. “Thanks for fixing it, chum, but, seeing that it’s my job to get that aircraft airworthy, you’d better tell me all you can about the machine. I know you designed it, but what were the snags, cobber? Why did your company fold if you had a good kite in production?” Bob Avery was shrewd. He had seen and heard of many small aircraft concerns going under just prior to the outbreak of the war, and there was usually a reason. Greg hid nothing. After all, they were both going to fly the only Daxcraft ever to leave the ground, and it was only fair to warn Bob what to expect. “The plane never was in full production, Bob,” he said. “I have to admit the prototype, which is the one on Maggadorior, was far from perfect. “When we first flew it, about four years ago, it earned the name of, ‘The Plane with the Waggly Tail’. In other words, cobber, the kite was unstable, and a brute to fly. We modified it a bit and made it safer, but still it wasn’t a friendly machine unless you knew it’s tricks. Still we were hoping to iron out the kinks and put the Type ‘B’ on the market when cash ran out and we had to give up. The Dutch Government bought the prototype for development, and that’s honestly the last I heard of it—till now.” Bob Avery chuckled. “The Plane with the Waggly Tail!” he said, and slapped his leg. “Trust you, Greg! Well, chum, I hope your brainchild stays in the air all right after all this time, and that it doesn’t wag its tail so hard the thing falls off!” Greg clapped him on the shoulder. “If it does, you’ll have to stick it back on!” he chuckled. “Come on—I see Colonel Roper striding this way. Maybe he has our marching orders at last!”



Twenty-four hours later Greg Dalton and Bob Avery were on board a fleet aircraft carrier somewhere south of the Philippines.

They had flown to the carrier from Darwin, and were waiting to be put on board a British submarine for the last stage of the trip to Maggadorior. For the last time before the landing, radio contact was made with Doctor Lovat, confirming that Greg and Bob would be met on the beach. It was arranged that if the Japanese were about, a warning signal would be flashed by the loyal Filipino guide. Lovat’s message ended with a suggestion that the two men should bring emergency rations for a three-day journey. “Jumping catfish!” exclaimed Bob Avery. “However far does this island stretch?”  “Oh, it’s a pretty big place,” Greg assured him cheerfully. “And it’s all mountains and jungle, mostly both together as far as I can make out. Nobody knows whereabouts Doc Lovat has his hideout, but it’s a sure bet it must be in a remote spot, else the Japs would have winkled him out by now.” “Yes, I suppose you’re right,” said Bob. “But I hate walking, Greg, as you know!” The aircraft carrier’s rendezvous with the submarine was kept to the minute, and then followed a further twenty-four hours of cautious underwater navigation among some of the world’s most dangerous reefs and shoals. The two airmen heaved sighs of relief when at long last the submarine surfaced and they were faced with the prospect of a trek into the unknown on an enemy-held island consisting of little more than trackless, jungle-clad mountains. “Me, I would rather walk through a mile of Japs in broad daylight than take another trip in a submarine!” said Bob Avery. “Horrible things!” “So dangerous, too, don’t you think, cobber?” drawled Greg, with a grin. “Quiet, you two,” came a warning whisper from one of the submarine officers. “We’re opening the hatch. Sound travels a long way over water, don’t forget.” Ten minutes later the two Australians were being paddled ashore in a collapsible canoe. It was pitch dark, with a slight, offshore breeze coming down from the invisible black mass of the island. Only the faintest gleam of phosphorescent foam on the narrow beach told them they were nearing their goal. The air was heavy with the strong odours of the jungle. The only sound was the whisper of wavelets on sand and the lap of the water round the canoe. The bottom grated softly on sand. Greg stepped over the side, holding the boat steady while Bob got out with his pack and the heavy kit of carefully selected tools he had brought. Greg leaned towards the submariner who had landed them. “We’ll flash the recall signal if our guide hasn’t shown up in an hour,” he breathed. “So long, and thanks for the trip.” Hardly had he spoken before a dark figure moved soundlessly out from the fringe of the jungle slopes above the beach. Greg caught his breath and dropped a hand to his revolver. Next moment he heard the prearranged password spoken in a whisper. “Canberra is the capital,” said the voice. “Tasmanian apples are juiciest,” Greg replied solemnly, giving the countersign. “Come quickly. It is dangerous to stay here.” The quiet voiced Filipino, lithe and swift in his movements, but silent as a ghost, led them to the fringe of the undergrowth, while the submariner paddled hurriedly back to his boat to report all had gone according to plan. Not many minutes afterwards Greg heard the throb of an engine. As it grew louder, a brilliant, white flare suddenly shot into the sky over the sea. At the same time a long burst of machine-gun fire ripped into the night, unanswered. Heart beating fast, Greg turned to the Filipino. The light from the flare lit the guide’s lean, brown face, and showed up Avery’s as well. The three of them were crouching in the undergrowth. Greg’s eyes met those of the guide. The Filipino shrugged. “A Japanese patrol boat,” he whispered. “Perhaps they see the submarine? They shoot very quickly, those Japs.” “At nothing this time, apparently,” breathed Greg. “The sub must have dived just in time. Come on—I’ll feel safer when we’ve put some distance behind us.” Moving with uncanny stealth and sureness, the Filipino led them along a faint path that gradually climbed a steepening slope. Insects hummed on all sides, and unseen living things scurried away at their approach. However hard Greg and Bob tried, they could not help making some noise, and by the time their guide called a halt, some three hours later, both men feeling the nervous and physical strain, fit though they were. “It’s the darkness and creepers and things that keep on slapping me in the face,” muttered Bob Avery uneasily. He mopped his face with a handkerchief. “Phew, what a lark! I’ll be glad when it’s over!” “Wait and rest here till daybreak,” said the Filipino, who looked ready for another three hours’ march. He did not even seem at all tired, although Greg Dalton’s boots felt as if they weighed a ton, and the pack on his back another two tons. Bob Avery was no better off. Both men dropped into an uneasy doze, only to be awakened after what seemed only a few minutes by the drone of an aircraft engine overhead. Greg sat up with a start to find it was no longer dark. Pale daylight filtered through a dense mass of foliage above his head, and the jungle was noisy with the songs of birds. Looking round, he saw the Filipino guide clearly for the first time. The man wore khaki shorts, a bandolier of cartridges, and carried a rifle. His head was covered by a knotted rag. He grinned at Greg. “Japanese plane,” he said casually in English. “I thought it was a nightmare,” said Bob, sitting up and yawning. “How about something to eat, cobber?” He reached for the food pack he had used as a pillow, but the Filipino shook his head. “You need that food later on,” he said. “I give you some for now.” He held a big leaf heaped with some sticky looking mash of floury stuff. “It’s good,” he said, with a smile. Bob tried it, and found, to his surprise that it was good. But he was worried by the guide’s remark about needing their rations for later. “How much farther have we to go?” he asked. “Five days’ march,” came the unexpected reply. “Very long way. All jungle. Right to the middle of Maggadorior. It is the only safe part of the island now, and even there the Japanese try to find us.” “All day planes search from the air. But the good doctor works on. He says the soldiers will need much Paraquinolene for the fighting that will come, as we grow it in secret where the enemy will not know.” “Phew!” groaned Bob. “Five days march! Did you hear that, Greg?” “I did.” He turned to the Filipino. “This man Lovat must be pretty tough,” he said. “We’ve never met him. What’s he like?” “Good man,” came the reply. “Not young, like us. White-haired, very quiet, never angry—even at the Japanese—and he is like a father to all those who stay and work with him in the jungle. Doctor Lovat good man—very good.” The Filipino went on to say that his own name was Janli-Ra, but most people called him Johnny. He also said there were ten Filipinos with Lovat in the mountains, that already a large amount of the P.Q. drug was ready to be smuggled out by air, and that even though the Japanese invaders kept watch, it would be possible for the Australian fliers to take off and land if they were careful. Bob and Greg exchanged an uneasy glance. If the entire island was jungle-clad mountains and valleys, flying was going to be tricky. An airstrip would be visible from the air, but without one there could be no flying. Greg began to think that Doctor Lovat did not realise how difficult flying in this type of country would be. Greg had discovered a long time ago that the average man had little idea what flying involved. He asked Johnny about the condition of the Daxcraft, and how Lovat had come by it. “Oh, the aeroplane will be all right when you do a little work on it,” Johnny replied. “I do not know who used it last, but I think it was a Dutch planter. But you see all about it when we get there.” In spite of the Filipino’s confidence, Greg’s worries increased with every mile of the journey as the party penetrated deeper and deeper into the tropical heart of Maggadorior. Three times during the five days and nights that followed they passed within earshot of parties of Japanese soldiers, and once only good luck saved them from walking right into the enemy’s hands. But the nearer they got to Lovat’s hideout the less chance there was, according to Johnny, of danger. The Japanese were too busy elsewhere to send ground patrols so far inland. “Besides,” Johnny added, with a certain relish, “they are afraid of the Maramanus! Even Doctor Lovat takes care not offend the Maramanus!” Bob Avery gulped. “What are they?” he demanded. “Head-hunters,” said Johnny casually. “An uncivilized tribe no man has ever tamed—not even Doctor Lovat,” he added, as if that proved how savage they were. Greg said nothing, but for the rest of the trip he was more than usually watchful.


They reached Lovat’s hideout early one morning. Word must have gone on ahead, because Lovat himself came to meet them.

Greg was at once impressed by the man’s appearance. Lovat was tall, thin, slightly stoop-shouldered, white-haired and with far-seeing eyes full of friendliness. He greeted them with a charm and dignity that somehow seemed out of place in that hostile country of jungle, savages and Japanese. But Greg came to learn that Lovat, dedicated to humanity though he was, was far from woolly-headed—except in one respect. The hideout proved very different to Greg’s expectations. In fact, it was really no hideout at all, but merely a section of jungle country in a valley. There were native huts dotted about, hidden from the air by overhanging foliage, but otherwise little serious camouflage work had been done, while no attempt at all had been done to conceal the growing of the P.Q. shrub. Lovat explained that many Maramanu villages were scattered throughout the central jungle of Maggadorior, and that from the air there was nothing to show that the secret P.Q. plantation was any different to the rest. “But you two will need to rest before we discuss the work any further,” added Lovat, with a smile. Bob, however, shook his head stubbornly. “No, sir,” he protested, “we came here to ferry P.Q. out by air.” “Before I sleep a wink I want to know just how much work needs doing to make your aircraft serviceable. Could you show us where it is right away?” Greg, too, more worried than he liked to admit, backed Bob up, and Doctor Lovat, almost hurt by their impatience, agreed. “I know very little about aeroplanes,” he said, leading the way to a path that burrowed into the living wall of the jungle on the other side of the village, “but I have no doubt you two will be able to put the machine in working order.” He beamed. “Then we shall have to devise some kind of runway, I suppose. There was a runway when the plane first came here, but it was overgrown in a few weeks.” Greg’s heart sank lower and lower. Apparently Lovat was not a man to cross his bridges till he came to them. Lovat halted and pointed ahead. “There’s the machine,” he said simply. Greg and Bob stopped short in their tracks, jaws dropping, eyes wide with dismay. Under a tumbledown shelter stood the sorriest-looking aircraft Greg had ever set eyes on. He hardly recognised it for the sleek prototype he had taken off the ground four years before in Australia. “Crikey!” yelped Bob, “That thing? Stone me, it’s falling apart, Doc!” Greg gulped in anguish and went forward step by step, fearful of what he would find. The nearer he went the lower his spirits sank. It was the Daxcraft, all right, but the ravages of the tropical climate and the attentions of hordes of insects and other forms of wild life had reduced it to a skeleton. The wing fabric hung in limp strips. A big, green bird flew out through a hole torn in the cabin side. Tendrils of creeper writhed round the engines, and a scraggy shrub had grown up between the legs of the undercarriage. Bob Avery had lost all his colour. White-faced, he muttered, “The Plane with the Waggly Tail! Gosh, Greg, it’ll never waggle again, that’s certain!” Doctor Lovat seemed perplexed. “Is something seriously wrong?” he asked anxiously. “I admit the machine needs a good clean up, and a few patches here and there, but—” Greg Dalton rounded on him with something between a snarl and a groan of despair. “Doctor,” he got out, “the plane is a wreck! Anyone could have seen that kite’s a complete write-off! Why, it needs rebuilding, not repairing! You’ve got us here on false pretences, that’s what you’ve done!” The extraordinary thing about it was that Lovat seemed truly dismayed at the accusation. When Greg calmed down he realised that Lovat had really imagined that it would be only a simple matter to make the aircraft serviceable to fly. Bob, meantime, took his courage in both hands and examined the derelict more closely. It would need a well equipped workshop and plenty of replacements to get the Daxcraft flying again. That was his verdict. “And a fat lot of chance we have of doing it here!” he said. Lovat, very downhearted, took his two saddened visitors back into the village. Not a word was spoken on the way, but when the Filipino, Johnny, appeared Greg mustered a grin and shrugged. Johnny had some papers in his hand, and offered one to Greg, who took it in some bewilderment. “What’s this?” he asked. It was Doctor Lovat who answered. “Oh, just some leaflets dropped by the Japanese,” he said. “They often drop them in the hope that we might pick them up. Actually, the Maramanus get most of them. It was a headhunter who brought that batch in this morning. But Greg and Bob were hardly listening. Both had their heads bent over the leaflets. “Stone me round and round the garden!” gasped Bob. “They know about us, Greg!” Greg’s face was hard when he looked up. The leaflet in his hand read—

“Australian fliers! Give yourselves up without delay and you will be treated well.

It is known you were landed and that you hope to use an aircraft to make illegal journeys from Maggadorior.

Wireless messages were intercepted. We shall find the bandit Lovat soon.

Give yourselves up now, or no mercy will be shown when the time comes.”

Doc Lovat had not as yet read the leaflet. When he did, he frowned in annoyance. “Impertinence!” he snapped. “The idea of calling me a bandit, and actually expecting you two to give yourselves up! Of course, they’ll never find us.” “It’s a darned challenge, that’s what it is!” growled Bob. Greg Dalton frowned. “Yes,” he mused. “And speaking of being challenged, cobber—” He broke off, lifting one eyebrow. Bob Avery licked his dry lips and mopped sweat from his brow. “Challenge?” he said. “You mean the aeroplane, Greg? The Plane with the Waggly Tail?” All the doubts suddenly went from Greg Dalton’s mind. That Japanese leaflet was an insult as well as a challenge! An insult to Doctor Lovat’s and their own intelligence. “The Japs know so much about us we won’t disappoint ‘em, Bob!” Greg snorted. “We will make what they call illegal flights! And we’ll do it in that pile of junk over there— see if we don’t!” He went close to Bob, lowering his voice. “It is possible to get her into the air, Bob?” Bob did not answer at once. Then he said slowly. “With luck and a lot of improvisation and make-do, yes, I think it could be done. But I won’t answer for the tail, Greg.” “How do you mean?” Bob’s eyes twinkled. “It might be even more waggly than it used to be, cobber!” Greg laughed for the first time. “We’ll see about that!” he said. “Come on, let’s go and drag the birds’ nests out of the cockpit for a start! General Ross set aside that grounding order against me, and not even the Japs are going to keep me out of the air!”


THE PLANE WITH THE WAGGLY TAIL 16 episodes appeared in The Wizard issues 1798 – 1813 (1960)

© D. C. Thomson & Co Ltd 

Vic Whittle 2006