Johnny retraced his steps to the Kaiserhof Hotel and met up with the rest of the team having breakfast in the hotel’s restaurant. He spotted Anthony, went over, and sat down at his table.
‘Where have you been old chap?’ asked Anthony.
‘I couldn’t sleep so went out for an early morning stroll.’
‘So you haven’t heard the latest news?’
‘What’s that then?’ enquired Johnny.
‘Spain has erupted in civil war and the Spanish Olympic team have been called home.’
‘Well, from what I’ve already seen so far here, it wouldn’t surprise me if Hitler gave Franco a helping hand in Spain.’ replied Johnny.
‘Here, have a look at this.’ Johnny pulled the newspaper from his coat pocket, unfolded it and showed Anthony the photos of the new Messerschmitt 109 fighter.
‘I say old chap, that looks rather business like, unless it’s more of their propaganda! It looks like we’d have our work cut out mixing it with our old Hawker Hart bi-planes.’
‘Let’s hope our government sees sense and gets the aircraft factories to produce plenty of Hurricanes and Spitfires. I reckon they’ll be more than a match for the 109.’ replied Johnny.
Breakfast over, the team collected their luggage and met in the foyer. Walking outside into glorious sunshine, they boarded the coaches waiting outside to take them to the Olympic Village. Following an hour’s drive through the city’s streets lined with Linden trees and poles flying the large swastika flags along the route, they arrived in Estal, on the western edge of Berlin. The German hosts met the British team members and took the athletes to modern, spacious quarters comprising one and two-floor dormitories. The Olympic village had large dining areas, a swimming pool and many training facilities and the Germans could not have been more courteous, attending to every whim and wish of the athletes.
Two young Luftwaffe officers greeted Johnny and Anthony, coming smartly to attention, clicking their heels and giving the now familiar Nazi salute with outstretched arms and upraised hands. The taller German was typical Aryan, blue-eyed with shorn blonde hair sticking out from under his peaked cap, a carbon copy of the men in the tourist group Johnny had seen earlier in the railway station. The officer introduced himself in perfect English, in a polite but serious voice.
’Good morning, gentlemen. I am Kapitän Max Schiller and this is my fellow officer, Leutnant Hans Mueller, gesturing to the solemn faced, dark haired man who nodded his head at them.
‘Welcome to the Third Reich.’ sneered Mueller, lifting a smug, snide eyebrow and giving them both an imperious gloat up and down.
Not to be outdone, Johnny locked eyes with the young lieutenant and returned the Germans’ salute with a crisp one of his own, his elbow bent with the flat of his hand facing forwards, the fingertips lightly touching his brow as he came to attention. He held the German’s stare for an expressionless moment and then gave a smug smile of his own and lifted a brow.
‘Flying Officer John Faulkner and this is Lord Anthony Barker. It’s a pleasure to meet you.’
‘We are assigned to you as we all fly for a living and I run for fun!’ joked Max Schiller, in an effort to get their meeting off to a better start
‘You’re competing too?’ asked Johnny with interest. ‘In what events?’
‘The same as you, my English friends. I will run against you in the sprint track events!’
‘Ah, now I remember. You’re the Max Schiller who won the hundred metres at the White City stadium in London last year.’ stated Johnny.
‘That’s right and I didn’t think much of the competition!’ replied Schiller.
‘Ah, but that’s because we were both taking part in a varsity event at Oxford and couldn’t attend. If we had been there, we would have given you a good run for your money!’ countered Johnny.
‘Well, we will soon find out, yes?’
‘That we will, Kapitän.’ said Anthony Barker and turning to Leutnant Mueller asked. ‘Are you running too?’
‘No, Mein Herr, although I am here to assist you in any way that I can.’ he clarified, looking back at Anthony Barker.
Christ, thought Anthony, remembering this is the chap I’ve got to pass the letter to from father.′
‘Come.’ announced Max Schiller, ‘We will take you to your quarters where you can relax after your journey. I trust you will find them in order.’
On the way Anthony Barker slowed his pace, taking the white envelope his father had given him from inside his coat, discreetly passing it to Hans Mueller as Max told Johnny about his visit to England. Johnny replied that it would be a pleasure to welcome Max as his guest if he came to England again.
‘Where do you live in England?’ enquired Max.
‘Dover in Kent.’
‘That’s where I arrived last year and caught the train to London for the competition. Those white cliffs are very impressive!’
’Yes, I live there. You can easily see across the Channel to France from the cliff tops on a clear day.