Dave Dawson lay on his back, fingers laced behind his head for a pillow, and lazily watched white patches of cloud play tag with each other at some eighteen thousand feet over England. It was the tenth day of September, 1940, and the most glorious summer the British had experienced in forty years was still very much in evidence. The sun was a brassy ball in the heavens that flooded the earth with a warm comforting glow. The birds, the bees, and the butterflies were all around. And the emerald green of the surrounding landscape gave him the feeling that the snow and the cold of winter were two things that would never be experienced in England again.
The waiter came over to the table and smiled politely.
"Is there anything else I can get you two gentlemen?" he asked.
Dave Dawson looked up from his empty plate and shook his head emphatically.
"No thanks," he said. "I'm close to the bursting point right now. Anything more and I'd need a second stomach to hold it. You can bring the check, please."
"Okay, okay!" Dave Dawson growled, and rolled over to a more comfortable position in the hotel bed. "It's dear old England. A wonderful country, a great place. And you're tickled silly to be here. Okay, I agree with every word you say. God save the King, and there'll always be an England. Now, will you let a guy get some sleep?"
"But you don't understand what it means to me, Dave." Freddy Farmer spoke through the darkness from the other bed. "This is my native land, my home, and I've--"
Stretching out as comfortably as the gear-packed bomb compartment of the Flying Fortress would permit, Dave Dawson lazily unwrapped a bar of semi-sweet chocolate, and bit off a man-sized hunk.
"Ub glub dish blub ice," he grunted, and winked at Freddy Farmer, who was sitting on a packing case of spare parts a few feet from him. "Deferenally jice!"
The English-born air ace gave him a cold stare and a scowl.
The savage fury of the Nazi Luftwaffe was once again raining down upon the brave and stubborn city of London. Wave after wave of German bombers roared in over the city from every possible direction, dumped their tons of life blasting missiles, and then went streaking away toward safety with British searchlights, anti-aircraft shells, and night flying Spitfires and Hurricanes of the R.A.F. hot on their tails. Some made it, but some others were caught by the two fisted hard fighting boys of the R.A.F., and once caught the Nazis didn't stand a chance against such flying skill, daring, and perfect marksmanship. One after another the German planes burst into flame and went hurtling downward to complete destruction.
FREDDY FARMER scooped up a handful of sand and let it trickle down between his fingers as he stared thoughtfully out at the broad expanse of the sky-blue Pacific Ocean. He and Dave Dawson had been granted seven days’ leave from special duty with the U.S. Armed Forces, and they were spending it at Laguna Beach, just a few miles south of Los Angeles, in California. Only three days of swimming and taking it easy in the sun had passed into time history, but Freddy was beginning to get restless. With the whole world at war, somehow he just couldn’t relax and enjoy a well earned and much deserved rest.
Freddy Farmer leaned against the bow rail of the British Cruiser Harkness and stared intently at the greenish brown line that was landfall low down on the distant horizon.
"Singapore!" he breathed presently in almost a tone of awe. "Singapore! The place of ten thousand mysteries."
Dave Dawson standing at his elbow chuckled softly and gave a half nod of his head.
With one eye on the instrument board, and the other on the lookout for other planes in that area of cloud-filled sky over England, Dave Dawson hauled the Lockheed Lightning around to the left at a fast clip, and then deliberately pulled the nose straight up, and let the fighter plane take the bit in its teeth until it stalled. It did just that eventually, and at practically the same time the starboard Allison engine sputtered badly and started to throw black smoke.
Very much like a little boy who is seeing his first Christmas tree, Freddy Farmer stared pop-eyed out the Clipper's lounge window and down at the man-made magic that was New York City. For a full five minutes he had been gaping at the sight, not moving a muscle, not making a sound, and practically holding his breath all of the time. At his side and with an arm thrown across the English-born R.A.F. ace's shoulders was Dave Dawson, grinning from ear to ear, and getting the kick of his life out of the spell that a first look at Gotham had cast upon his bosom pal, and hard-hitting flying partner.
Squadron Leader Markham, O.C. of the famous Eighty-Fourth Squadron of the Royal Air Force Fighter Command, leaned back in his office chair, dug knuckles into his tired eyes, and heaved a long sigh of relief.
"I say, but am I fed up to the teeth with the blasted paper work that goes with this kind of a job!" he groaned. "Not at all like in the last mess we had with Jerry. A chap could fly every day, then, regardless of rank. That is, up until the last nine months or so. Then C.O.s were grounded, as being too valuable to lose. But still there was no paper work. Not a bit of it."
Freddy Farmer shifted his position in the huge leather upholstered chair, decided that it wasn't comfortable enough, and shifted again. He still wasn't satisfied, but he was too bored and too lazy to exert any further effort. He stared gloomily at the torrents of rain slashing against the windows of the Officers' Club lounge, at the San Diego Naval Air Base, and sighed heavily.
It was high noon and the Mediterranean sky was like a vast expanse of blue silk with a golden ball pasted exactly in the middle. Far below, the placid waters of the Mediterranean seemed to catch the blue of the sky, keep some of it and fling the rest up heavenward again. Between the blue sky and the blue water, at eighteen thousand feet to be exact, a lone Blackburn "Skua" of the Royal Air Force, Fleet Air Arm, coasted slowly about in a series of unending circles. At the controls of the combination fighter and dive bomber, powered with a 830 hp. Bristol Pegasus XII sleeve valve engine, sat Pilot Officer Dave Dawson, R.A.F. Behind him, in the gunner-observer's pit, sat his pal and flying comrade, Pilot Officer Freddy Farmer, R.A.F.
The four-faced clock over the information booth on the Upper Level of the Grand Central Station in New York City showed exactly twenty-five minutes after three. Dave Dawson paused in his restless pacing up and down to look at it for the hundredth time in the last half hour. He glared at it, sighed heavily, and made noises deep in his throat.
The first thing Dave Dawson saw when he woke up was the combination clock and calendar on the little table beside his bed. He stared at it sleepy eyed and tried to remember why he had put it where he would see it the very first thing when he opened his eyes. He knew there was some reason, an important one, but for the life of him he couldn't remember.
He struggled with the problem for a moment or two and then sat up in bed and glanced about the room. For one brief second the unfamiliar sight startled him. Then he realized where he was and grinned broadly. Sure enough! This was his room in the Hotel de Ney in Paris, France. This was just a little part of the wonderful dream that had really come true!
With all the appearance of a man striving to solve one of the world's weightier problems, Freddy Farmer studied the Hotel Savoy menu card line by line from top to bottom. Across the table Dave Dawson sat looking at his closest pal, and grinning from ear to ear. Eventually, though, when the English-born air ace continued to take the menu apart bit by bit with his eyes, Dawson decided that enough was enough. He reached over and whisked the card out of Freddy's hand.
Dave Dawson at Dunkirk
Dav Dawson with the R.A.F.
Dave Dawson in Libya
Dave Dawson on Convoy Patrol
Dave Dawson Flight Lieutenant
Dave Dawson at Singapore
Dave Dawson with the Pacific Fleet
Dave Dawson with the Commandos
Dave Dawson on the Russian Front
Dave Dawson with the Flying Tigers
Dave Dawson on Guadalcanal
Dave Dawson at Casablanca
Dave Dawson with the Eighth Air Force
Dave Dawson at Truk
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