Chapter 17: Denial
The police were waiting at the quayside when Bomber moored the boat alongside the dock. They quickly clambered aboard the boat and told Bomber not to tough anything. Off course Bomber immediately demanded to know why the police were searching the boat, but to no avail. A tall broad shouldered police constable ordered Bomber to accompany him to the local police station, stating that he would have to give them as much information as possible and also make a statement.
Bomber did as he was told but was far from happy about the way he’d been treated, If he’d been an innocent victim, he would have been even angrier he thought to himself, so he decided to protest a little stronger, informing the police Sergeant on the duty desk that he was a member of the Royal Military Police Force himself .
Bomber was ushered into an interview room and offered a cup of tea by a pretty looking woman police constable, before being questioned by a shabby looking detective who looked as if he’d had no sleep for a week, and reminded Bomber of the TV detective Peter Falk who played COLUMBO.
After searching the area of sea where Fletcher had last been seen for about two extra hours, the Air sea Rescue, Lifeboat crews, and Coast guard vessels extended the search area further out to sea, eventually coming across Fletchers lifeless body.
The body was retrieved from the sea by the Selsey Lifeboat crew and brought back to shore. On hearing of the certain death of Fletcher, Bomber insisted that he alone wanted to inform Fletchers family of the tragic circumstances of his death, because Fletch was his best friend, and he informed the police it would be a little easier on the family if he informed them personally.
Fletcher’s family were devastated when they heard the news of their sons unfortunate death, and his father informed the detective dealing with the case that he would drive up immediately from his home in Winchester to identify the body, hoping and praying that they had picked up an unidentified body, and his son had made it safely to the shore, but on his arrival he was shocked to see that this was sadly not the case, and he broke down uncontrollably when he identified his sons lifeless body.
Bomber was released a few hours later from police custody, but told to report back to the police station the following day, until the case had been thoroughly investigated. Bomber was grinning all over his face as he climbed into the driving seat of his car knowing full well that he’d managed to get away cleanly with Fletcher’s murder.
After driving over to the mortuary, and meeting up with Fletcher’s parents and sister to share their grief, Bomber took great pleasure in driving home to pass on the bad news to his wife Julie.
Julie was in the garden cutting some fresh flowers to place in a vase on the dining room table, when her husband arrived home much later than expected that day.
“Did you have a good day out fishing with Fletch?,” enquired Julie nervously whilst pretending to be interested, but terribly worried of course just in case Fletcher had discussed their relationship with him.
Bomber stood inside the conservatory doorway dropping his back pack to the floor, and forcing a tear from his eye, pretending to looked really sorrowful. Julie turned towards him after laying her bunch of freshly cut flowers on the garden table and noticed the single tear trickling down his sad looking face “What is it Bill ? What’s happened?”said Julie feeling really concerned now.
“It’s Fletch Julie,” blurted out Bomber, pretending to be tremendously grief stricken, “He’s had a terribly accident whilst we were out at sea. We got caught up in a storm and he fell overboard and drowned.”
Julie just stood there in shocked silence, her whole body began to tremble and then shake with grief ,..... “Oh no! he just can’t be dead,..... Oh no ! what I’m I going to do about the baby,” she thought silently to herself, as the tears started to form in her eyes and trickle slowly down her soft red cheeks.
Julie ran to the bottom of the garden and collapsed onto the lawn crying uncontrollably, Bomber immediately ran to her side, lifting her up and putting his arms around her shoulders pulling her gently across his chest saying, “Try not to cry Julie, I know how sad you must feel, he was my best friend and I’ll miss him so much. It should have been me that drowned out there Julie, Fletch didn’t deserve to die, God knows he saved my life !, and struggled with so many operations to his leg. Oh my God !I’ll miss him so much”, said Bomber as he pulled Julie closer and tighter to his chest.
A full investigation was carried out by the Selsey local constabulary, but found nothing to connect Bomber to Fletchers death, in fact he was actual praised by the Coast Guard for alerting them immediately, and trying his upmost to continue to search for Fletcher when he fell into the sea.
Fletchers funeral was held in Winchester Cathedral a week later, and Bombers Officer Commanding 19 Infantry Brigade RMP ,had extended his leave so that he could attend the funeral with his wife Julie by his side. ‘Red Troop’ carried the coffin into the church, and formed a guard of honour when Fletchers body was slowly laid to rest in the church yard.
Bomber returned to his RMP Unit in Colchester a day after Fletcher’s funeral feeling glad that it was all over, now he could concentrate on planning his next move he thought.
The RMP Officer Commanding 19 Infantry Brigade, Captain ( Blossom) Flowers, had been promoted to Major due to playing his part in the Oman Dhofar Mirbat war, and Sergeant Bomber Hill was ordered to report to his office on his return from leave.
Bomber couldn’t think for the life of him why the O.C. would want to see him immediately he returned to his unit, and racked his brains thinking of anyway he may have slipped up when he planned Fletcher’s murder.
“Morning Sergeant Hill, very sad business over Corporal Fletcher, still these sort of tragedies happen in life I’m afraid, and we must all carry on and do the very best we can to get back on track”, commented his O.C. Major Flowers, “I expect your wondering why I called you into my office first thing this morning Sergeant Hill, well you’ll be pleased to know that your promotion to Staff Sergeants has just come through, so you can take your uniforms straight down to the tailors Staff, and have the Queens crown tailored above your strips, congratulations!” stated Blossom.
“Thank you Sir, Just one more request Sir, enquired Bomber.” “ Yes Staff, what is it,” “I would like to request a posting Sir, to 160 Provost Company to be near to my family, I’ve been with Special Forces now for a number of years and I think it’s time I went back to ordinary Military Police work Sir, also the wife’s been getting morning sickness just lately so it looks very much like I may have a family on the way, so I would like to spend more time at home if that’s possible Sir.”
“OK Staff I will see what I can do about your posting, but I’ll be sorry to lose you, and I know the rest of Red Troop will feel the same way.” Commented Blossom.
Julie was finding it really hard to come to terms with Fletcher’s death, and found herself crying for hours on her bed at night, but she eventually decided to tell Bomber that she was pregnant with his baby, although she knew it was Jack Fletcher’s baby and not his. It was safer this way and what he didn’t know wouldn’t hurt him she thought. Julie knew he’d find out sooner or later anyway due to her constant bouts of morning sickness.
A fortnight later Bomber’s posting came through to 160 Provost Company Aldershot, and the lads had arranged for a farewell party for him in the RMP Cherry Tree Camp Corporals Club the following evening.
Corporal Tiny Lanham presented Bomber with a pewter mug on behalf of the RMP Corporals Mess with his name inscribed on it, which was the general tradition when any member of the RMP left the Unit, and a good night in the bar was had by all.
Bomber said his farewells the following morning and climbed into his BMW, turning left out of the main gate heading through Colchester Town Centre and the south of England for 160 Provost RMP Aldershot.