A Wing and a Prayer

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Chapter 7

Klein noticed the curtain in one of the windows in the modest farmhouse ripple as if someone in the house had seen them coming. Klein never thought anything of the way the curtains moved with great speed and, was therefore very surprised to see the door fly open and a woman dressed in dungarees and Wellington boots confronting them with a mean looking shotgun, pointing straight at them. Klein was startled and instinctively threw his hands in the air and the farmer put his hands out in front of him, while making a half-hearted attempt to turn his head from the possible barrage of lead pellets to come!

“Whoa, Mags – Jesus, put that thing down – he’s harmless!”

Andy’s wife was in no mood for diplomatic relations with enemy airmen.

“Aye, he might look harmless to you. Where did he come from? And what the hell are you bringing him here for?”

“I came across him when I was up in the top field and saw his ’plane just sitting there. He was hiding in the grass, scared as a rabbit.”

“Oh, so he didn’t hit the sea, then?” Mags replied, referring to the sight of Klein’s aircraft in it’s death throes.

Andy was still almost doubled up and expecting the gun to go off any moment. Klein got the distinct impression from the farmer’s reactions that the she was not very adept at handling guns!

“For christ’s sake, Mags, put that bloody thing down!” Andy said.

Mags eventually lowered the gun and said, with a rather scathing tone in her voice,

“It’s empty, anyway – someone forgot to load it with cartridges last night, didn’t they?”

Klein dropped his arms and gave out a huge sigh along with the farmer and turned away, running his hands through his hair in

sheer relief. If heroes were not meant to die by ducks in flight, then it was even less dignified, to be shot by a trigger- happy civilian woman!

Andy stood up straight and walked towards the door. Klein followed apprehensively, as if waiting for an invite. Mags had already gone back into the house, dropping the shotgun on the hall table as she went and stood in the kitchen, with her hands on her hips and waiting for her husband and his ‘guest’ to come in and give her an explanation.

Mags was a slim, but strong five foot four inches tall, daughter of a publican on the other side of the island, who had married Andy MacLaren when she and he were only 18 after a relatively short romance of only 6 months. She could be a feisty character, well used to bodily throwing out drunken men from her father’s pub! Klein was seeing this side of her character first as he tentatively followed the farmer in to the house and being confronted by Mags and her less than hospitable attitude to uninvited Germans!

“Have you called McCulloch?” Mags demanded,

“Before he cuts our throats in our sleep, our something!” she added, waving her hand towards Klein. Andy turned towards Klein, trying to gauge the safety of his judgement and said,

“I don’t think he’ll do that, somehow – he’s just a kid, a long way from home and a bit beaten up.”

He then added, smiling,

“And his English is probably better than ours, so watch what you say.”

He turned his head, smiled and winked at Klein, trying to defuse the situation. Mags relaxed a bit, dropping her hands from her hips and asked again,

“So, did you call McCulloch, or what? He can’t stay here for very long!”

McCulloch was a sort of part time Policeman, and full time publican in Whiting Bay, not far from the cottage where they lived. Andy replied,

“I’ve only just found him and brought him here. I’ll call him in the morning.”

Mags looked aghast – “And what do you suppose we do with him in the meantime? Make up the spare room for him? ”

Andy put his arm around Mags and said,

“Come on, love – he’s unarmed, there is nothing we can do until tomorrow anyway, and judging by the lack of activity out there, the authorities probably think he’s at the bottom of the estuary. Let’s decide in the morning, eh?”

“Aye, but we’re armed!” Mags suggested,

“He could turn our gun on us!”

Andy moved away from Mags and took off his jacket and put it over a chair,

“Oh, aye, with our empty shotgun,” Andy replied, winking at Klein again.

Mags, felt a bit foolish recalling the embarrassment of the earlier incident with the gun, and stammered,

“Well, I don’t know, maybe he could beat us to death with it!”

Andy leant on the back of one of the chairs beside Mags and said,

“He’s just a kid, Mags. He’s probably more terrified of us.”

Mags could always be talked ’round by her husband and she could see that Klein was looking pretty defenceless and a bit weary after his ordeal. She could see he was in no position to defend himself.

“If it makes you feel better, we can lock him in,” Andy said,

Mags looked up to see Klein, who indeed look terrified, running his finger over a scar on his head which had started bleeding again and gave a big sigh and went over to where he stood.

“Let’s get you cleaned up, and then you can tell us all about yourself.”

Klein smiled at her and said,

“I mean you no harm – I only want to get to Ireland and get back to my family.”

Mags reaction to the young airman’s naivety was similar to the farmers, she laughed and said

“Ireland? You do know you’re on an island, don’t you?”

Klein looked slightly embarrassed and replied,

“Yes, I know this, but I cannot stay.”

“Aye, well, we’ll see about that in the morning. There aren’t many boat trips over there at this time of year! ”

She looked at the young, proud airman and followed it up with a much softer tone,

“You will certainly leave here soon, but I’m not so sure you’ll see your family at the end of the journey just yet.”

Mags told the airman and the farmer to go into the living room while she got some hot water and a clean towel to clean up the wound on the airman’s head,

“Give me your jacket and sit down, son,” Andy said.

Although Klein’s Luftwaffe uniform was quite dishevelled from the crash, the farmer couldn’t help but admire the quality of it as he held the airman’s jacket and examined the badges.

“Well, I’ll say one thing – they dress you properly, anyway! With any luck Mags will save some of that hot water for some tea!”

Immediately, there was a voice from the kitchen,

“Aye, you said it – if luck can make tea then you’ll be alright!”

Andy put Klein’s jacket over a chair and said to him, in a quieter voice

“She loves me, really, you know!” and winked at Klein, mischieviously, as he went into the kitchen to help Mags.

Klein sat and took in the simple surroundings of the MacLaren’s living room. His eyes were drawn, straight away, to the pictures on the mantelpiece, and in particular the photograph of a young man in an RAF uniform smiling broadly and standing proudly in front of one of the huge wheels of an Avro Lancaster bomber. In many ways, Klein could relate to this young man – he looked about the same age and, no doubt, joined the RAF through a desire to fly and a desire to do his duty to protect his country and his way of life. Klein realised immediately who this person was. From what Klein had seen so far, it seemed it was a way of life worth fighting for and their son had paid the ultimate price to protect his parents and his country. As a fellow airman, Klein felt nothing but extreme admiration and respect for him. He knew that the bombers were sitting ducks and sometimes it was so easy to blow them out of the sky with the 20mm cannons

that most of the German aircraft used. For men to get into these lumbering bombers, night after night, against all odds was something that he admired.

Andy came back in with Mags close behind. He had a tray with three mugs of tea and Mags was carrying a small basin of hot water, a towel and a small bottle of iodine.

Andy put the tray down on a low table in front of Klein and Mags dabbed a corner of the towel in the hot water and bent over to clean up the wound on Klein’s forehead. She carefully cleaned up the wound and made sure that there were no traces of blood left. Then the iodine went on. . .

Klein immediately jumped as the firey red liquid soaked into the scar, and Mags did the best she could to avoid putting too much on. Mags jumped with the airman, and sat back, not just from his reaction, but probably because she was still unsure as to whether to trust him or not. She dabbed on one more drop of iodine and carefully dried the scar off.

“There you go. At least that will keep it clean,” Mags said and picked up the basin and towel and got up to go back to the kitchen to empty the water.

Andy took a sip of his tea and after a slightly awkward pause in the silence, Klein simply said,

“Thank you.”

Mags had just re-entered the room when Andy looked up to reply when his wife beat him to it.

“That’s o.k,” she said meekly.

“Well, you might be a Nazi, but you’re still human, I guess.”

She paused for a minute and then asked,

“What age are you?”

Klein replied immediately,

“ I am 21 years.”

Mags’ eyes watered slightly and she muttered,

“More or less the same age as Jim,” almost to herself than to anyone else.

Klein looked straight back at her and said,

“Jim is your son, yes?” referring to the picture.

Mags clenched her lips tightly together and took a breath as if to hold back her emotions and then quietly said,

“He has been missing since September.”

Klein looked over at the farmer who had his head bowed slightly with a grim look on his face as he recalled that day back in September, when McCulloch came to the door, dressed in his Police uniform, looking ashen faced and holding a telegramme. McCulloch was a giant of a man – six feet three inches tall and built like the proverbial brick outhouse. They always said that if all Policemen looked like him there would be no crime anywhere in the country! However beneath the rough, imposing exterior hid a heart of gold and words were superfluous as he handed over the telegramme to Andy on that wet and miserable September day and said simply,

“I’m so sorry, Andy. I won’t intrude, but if you need anyone, or anything, then we’re all here for you. You know that.”

McCulloch was well out of sight by the time Andy lifted his head from the telegramme and closed the door. It was a parents’ worst nightmare, and the nightmare had come to the idyllic island of Arran.

Before Klein could say anything to break the atmosphere, the farmer continued to stare down towards the floor and, with the soft voice of a man broken in grief, said,

“He was like you, in many ways. He wanted to fly. He went over to Glasgow one day, five years ago and strode into the RAF recruitment office and said he wanted to be a pilot.”

Mags came in to the room and sat next to her husband, clutching his hand as he recounted the tale of the day his son ‘became a man’, as he put it. Andy continued as Klein sat back in his chair, as if expecting a long yarn, but careful to give the farmer his full attention to the story that demanded it.

“He always loved aeroplanes, and you wouldn’t believe how proud and happy he was when he came back that night to tell us that he had been told to report to a selection committee.”

Andy looked up at the picture, as if talking to it, and continued,

“He was trained in Canada, and we were always worried that he might get torpedoed on the way, or even, on the way back in the convoys, but when he came back and was sent to a bomber squadron, well . . .”

Mags added,

“We knew that the raids were dangerous and the odds against the crews survival were enormous. We always hoped, though, that he’d make it somehow. We think he was only seven eight trips away from completing his tour, and away from the danger.”

Andy handed the airman his tea as Mags sat next to her husband and he asked,

“What were you doing flying over Arran, anyway? We don’t have many tank factories or Government buildings, here, you know!”

Klein may have been grateful for the hospitality, but he was not about to let down his guard by giving away information that would be useful to the enemy!

“I cannot say,” he replied and as he thought about it, he added,

“All I can tell you is that I was taking pictures. The first thing I did when I got out the ’plane was to destroy the film canister so that the pictures would not contribute to the danger of anyone.”

Andy immediately jumped in with his customary sarcastic tone,

“Of anyone?”

Klein smiled and said,

“Yes, anyone – I think I learn now that you are . . .sar-kas-tic, no?”

Andy nodded and joined in when Klein said “sarcastic” as if to reinforce a lesson.

“I destroyed the film to protect my comrades, but, I see now that this action also protects others, although the consequences of my actions do not bear thinking about.”

Andy understood his thinking and on further thought realised that it didn’t matter what Klein was doing – the repercussions of his mission would never now be realised.

“Well, I guess it doesn’t matter, now, anyway. We won’t tell anyone if you don’t! Anyway, I don’t think we could handle more of your ‘comrades’ stopping for dinner, anyway!”

Klein sniggered and then asked,

“What will you do now?”

Andy thought for a second and Mags turned to the farmer in anticipation of him suggesting another daft idea.

“Well, you can’t stay here, so I’ll get McCulloch in the morning and he can take care of you.”

Mags then added,

“They’ll treat you right. Despite what you may have heard over there, we aren’t monsters. And when this mess is over with you’ll be able to go home.”

Andy, however, was still thinking of the worth of Klein’s ’plane in salvage as it suddenly dawned on him that, being missing on a specialist reconnaissance mission, Klein could be in danger of being reported as a possible deserter, or a spy! In this late, desperate stage in the war, the Gestapo and SS could be capable of anything. It was a thought that had to be dealt with, and he didn’t relish handing over the young airman to be potentially persecuted and killed by his own kind, or even worse, to the advancing Russians. It may be better for Klein and his family, if, for the near future at least, he is presumed dead – that would give the young airman a chance to make it through the war, and also provide a potentially lucrative deal in scrap aluminium! The seeds of an idea started to take root in Andy’s mind . . .but it could at least, now, wait until after dinner!

“Incidentally! What’s for dinner tonight Mags?” he cheerfully said.

Mags smiled and said,

“Rabbit – again!”

Andy turned to Klein and said,

“We have a lot of rabbits on the island – it helps the rations no end, getting some food for free!”

Klein didn’t really understand the concept of rations for civilians as, back home, Hitler had always been determined to preserve the German way of life. As a result, he entered the war with his people geared up for nothing less than total victory, while Britain had geared up for total war – whatever that may cost. When Britain recruited women to take the place of the men in the war and introduced rationing, she was prepared for a long and hard struggle. Hitler was so obsessed with total victory (and still thinking he could broker a deal with Britain for peace) that he refused to commit the German people to this

hardship. Factories were still working single shifts and goods such as household appliances and other domestic goods were still being made, long after Britain converted her factories to producing aircraft, guns, engines, and shells.

“You have rations? Here?” Klein asked as if places like Arran would need to.

“Bloody hell, aye, lad,” Andy said,

“We’ve been on rations since the very start of the war. If it wasn’t for the fact that we can grow a lot of stuff here, we’d be stick thin!”

As Mags went into the kitchen, Klein counted himself lucky that he had landed here. These people seemed to be genuinely friendly, albeit scared (understandably!) and he wished them no harm. In fact, as he sat contemplating the days’ events, his distance from the Third Reich, coupled with his real views on the regime, combined to make him reconsider his position. He was lucky – he had survived a major crash and had landed on enemy territory without suffering the wrath of the locals! He also pondered the way Mags referred to him as a ‘Nazi’. He had never actually been called that before and didn’t consider himself a ‘Nazi’, politically. He was German, and never thought of himself as being regarded as anything else but German first. The idea that anyone could regard him as a Nazi as if it were a race in itself was not appealing, especially as it seemed to have a more negative meaning here, than being simply German.

Andy came back in to the room as Mags prepared dinner. As he sat down and picked up his mug of tea again, he said to Klein,

“After dinner we’ll go up and hide your ’plane. If nothing else, the scrap metal will be worth a bob or two! Your landing here could be a bit of a blessing! I reckon I can even trade some of it to get meat, clothes, etc. There’s a healthy black market out there!”

Klein looked puzzled again, as he realized that his English teacher at school seemed to have missed out whole volumes of the text books on the English language!

“A bob? What is a bob?”

“Eh? Oh, right! A bob is, eh, you know, slang, like, for a shilling. Money,”

“What is slang?” Klein followed up.

Andy took a sip of his tea and tried to explain, “You, know, eh, slang is like, well . . .”

His difficulty in explaining the complexities of the English language was interrupted by a voice from the kitchen . . .

“Words that are used very informally for emphasise or novelty value!” Mags shouted through from the kitchen. Klein looked at the farmer, thoroughly confused, now. Andy turned to Klein, looking just as confused!

“She still surprises me, you know!”

A short pause in the conversation followed before Andy then added.

“We were married at 18. Mags’ father owned a pub . . .”

“ . . .a pub?” Klein interrupted.

Andy sighed, realising that a conversation with Klein could take an awful long time!

“An alehouse – beer house, if you like,” he translated.

“Ah, like Oktoberfest!”

Andy put his tea down, with the next sigh, unfamiliar with the ‘Oktoberfest’ beer festival in Munich, but carried on.

“Yeah . . . whatever. Anyway, I used to go to Mags fathers pub with the lads, and occasionally we’d have a bit too much, you, know, as you do . . .and it was Mags that used to throw us out! Here were all these burly farmers, hauling around carcasses and machinery all day long, and then at night time, getting thrown out by wee Mags!”

Andy sat back in his chair and continued,

“We got this place about a year after the wedding. It was in a bit of a state and took a bit of work to sort out, but that’s when we made all our friends on the island. Everyone had something to offer – you didn’t need to ask. One day you’d be working on the roof, and the next, someone you’d never met before was round leaving you a pile of slate.”

Andy sniggered at the memory,

“That’s what marked this place out as special, you see, son. It was to everyone’s benefit to live in harmony and to help each other out. Something that your illustrious Austrian arsehole of a leader can’t comprehend, I’m sure!”

Klein laughed.

“And what is a ’black market?”

Andy replied,

“Where people who have goods that are in big demand, but controlled by the government – things like fags, booze, petrol, etc, they sell them without the government getting their share of tax.”

Klein was lost again and furrowed his eyebrows . . .

“I understand petrol, but fa-gs, and . . .”

Andy interrupted,

“Cigarettes and alcohol.”

“Ah, I see. These things are difficult to obtain in Germany too.”

After another pause, Klein asked, as if the earlier conversations were just being translated through to his thoughts.

“How are you going to dismantle the ’plane?”

Andy sat back and said,

“Easy - I have the cutting gear in the barn. I reckon I know where I can sell it too. There’s a scrappy on the mainland who could use it. The good thing about an island like this, is that we don’t have to worry too much about the rules on the mainland. We always look after each other, you know.”

Klein wondered what on earth a ‘scrappy’ might be, but decided that he had asked enough language questions for one night and let that one go !

Mags came back in, drying her hands on a towel.

“Dinner will be ready in about half an hour,” she announced.

“I hope you like rabbit!” she asked Klein.

Klein understood and immediately replied,

“Yes, I know rabbit. I like it very much, thank you.”

Mags sat down for a while and said to Andy,

“What are you talking about, hiding his ’plane? What are you going to do?”

Andy, who had been thinking about nothing else since he saw the aircraft in his field replied,

“Cut it up and sell it for scrap.”

Mags looked aghast and laughed,

“You’ve got to be kidding?”

Andy, failing to see how Mags could be anything less than totally enthusiastic replied,

“No – honestly. We’ll get the lads involved and maybe make a few bob on the scrap metal.”

Mags rolled her eyes, sighed and shook her head,

“Whatever. You’ll get us jailed before the week is out.” She said dismissively.

There was a short silence, so Klein decided to open up a little to his hosts, since they had shown him a great deal of trust and kindness, so far. Without the subject being raised, Klein started his own conversation.

“I started my flying career in bombers,” Klein said,

“I was lucky in that I was moved many times and missed many of the battles which killed many of my friends. I did not like flying bombers as you could not move away from danger much.”

Mags and Andy thought of the same situation with Jim, not being able to ‘move away from danger much’ and as a result possibly lies in an unmarked German grave. Klein continued,

“However, I was not keen in relying on others for my well-being. I am not, as you say, a ‘team player’ and would rather control my own destiny.”

Klein put his tea down on the table as if it was his turn to tell a good story.

“I was lucky that I was picked for a fighter squadron as I considered that to be better – and safer for me.”

Mags was starting to accept that they had a guest for a while and began to ask Klein about himself.

“Where are you from?” she asked him.

“I was born in Braunschweig and soon after my family moved North, to Lauenburg, near Hamburg. My father is an engineer

and my mother is a teacher. I used to like visiting Hamburg, it is a very vibrant city.”

Mags interrupted,

“Jim said he had been to Hamburg in one of his letters.” she said thoughtfully.

Klein sighed and continued,

“Yes, unfortunately he came with many of his friends, time and time again, and destroyed it.”

Mags, although warming to the airman slightly, took exception to his reference to the raid as if it was something that only the RAF did, and that her dead son had sole responsibility for it. Her tone became cold again. Klein immediately recognised the tone from his first encounter with her earlier!

“Well, it’s no worse than what happened in Clydebank, Coventry or London, you know!” Mags said almost curtly.

“Like you, he was only doing his job!”

“Forgive my bias,” Klein hastily explained.

“I am only speaking from a personal view of my homeland. I worried as my parents were there during the raids and I could do nothing but wait for news of their survival. There is nothing left of Hamburg.”

Mags realised that perhaps her second-hand knowledge of the bombing raids here, couldn’t really compare to reading about your home being bombed, directly, when you knew your family were living through it. Despite reading about the horrors of the raids, it still felt like a world away in the relative safety of an island like Arran. On some nights, earlier in the war, they even used to watch the German bombers, turning for home, in the distance when they came to pound Clydebank and thank their lucky stars that they didn’t live in Glasgow or London. On other days, they would see the occasional Focke Wolf Condor fly over, on an opportunist raid, looking for shipping targets that would not be expecting enemy aircraft in the vicinity.

Mags relented on the young airman and said,

“Where did you learn to speak English so well?”

“My parents were always very aware that I should speak it well, as they thought it would be better for me. They thought I could work anywhere in the world if I could speak good English. They

both taught me as I was growing up, and I learned much in school.”

Mags then began talking about the effects of the war on Arran,

“We’ve never been bombed directly or seen any battles, but we’ve had our own drama’s here, too. On this very island there are the remains of at least six or seven crashed American bombers, scattered in the hills and mountains.”

Klein was intrigued as to how so many would end up here and in such circumstances.

“How did they crash here?”

“They lost their way in the fog and rain and either hit Goat Fell, or mistook the island for Prestwick, just over the water, there.”

Andy continued,

“Remember we used to watch them coming to land at Prestwick, Mags?”

Mags nodded at the recollection as he directed the talk to Klein again.

“When the yanks came in to the war, they had to use air bases in England – all the way down the East Coast, and the route they came took them over Canada, Greenland, and their final refuelling point was over there at Prestwick. From there, they would disperse to the various bases in England. It was a hell of a flight! We used to go up to the fields where you landed and watch them come in. It was an amazing sight, to see wave after wave of bombers like that. It made us feel good too, because we knew they were here to help us.”

Klein looked genuinely surprised at this story,

“We often wondered where they all came from! In the Luftwaffe, some of us actually thought there was a factory, here, making them. That seems to me like a very difficult and dangerous journey.”

Mags continued,

“It was too difficult for some. Tired crews, unfamiliar territory and running out of fuel, they never took into account the weather conditions here, and many had difficulty landing in the rain or fog. A few got hopelessly lost and either ran out of fuel and crashed here, or ran straight into the mountain at the other end - Goat Fell. Andy used to have to go with McCulloch and some

others as part of a rescue party and see if there were any survivors.”

Andy added,

“Aye, but we couldn’t touch the wreckage as the yanks were over here like a shot, surrounding it and clearing the site before we could pinch anything! Understandable, I suppose, I mean you don’t know what they were carrying, and everything is secretive in war, isn’t it?”

Klein felt genuinely remorseful for the American airmen,

“So they came all that way to help an ally and ended up being killed before even seeing combat? That is very sad. Such a waste of life.”

“It’s all a waste of life, Jorgen,” Mags sighed. “This whole thing is a waste of life,” she said waving her hand as if indicating the whole situation they lived in.

Klein bowed his head slightly as Mags’ words sank in.

“Right!” Mags announced, standing up quickly.

“Let’s eat!”

Despite the rations and the general austerity of the farm, the MacLarens had put on a good spread. As well as the rabbit, there was turnip, cabbage, potatoes and even wine! Andy offered Klein a glass of the wine and Klein looked at the unlabelled bottle suspiciously before giving a cautious,

“Yes, thank you,” and held out his glass, tensely, as if the farmer was pouring nitro-glycerine into it!

Andy sat down while Mags served up the meal.

“The big advantage with being here is that all this stuff is either home grown or, if we don’t have it, we can swap something that we do have,” Andy told Klein.

“McCulloch is the provider of the rabbit, for example, as well as the wine and the beer in the cellar.”

Mags came round the table and served up the huge plates of rabbit and vegetables. Klein had never seen plates so big – they looked as if they could have fed two people off the one!

When she eventually sat down, Mags filled her own glass with wine and Andy raised his glass for a toast, which was always the same,

“As always, here’s to the end of the war.”

Klein nodded and smiled and they all took a sip of the wine. Klein was the only one who screwed up his face and, much to the amusement of Mags and the farmer, put his glass down and began to cough.

Andy, without any great concern in his voice, said to him,

“It has an interesting after taste, doesn’t it? It’s never seen a vinyard in France, but it does the same job.”

“What is it?” Klein coughed,

“McCulloch makes it in one of the fuel tanks he salvaged from a B17 before the yanks came to tidy it up!”

To Klein, this came as no surprise as it tasted to him, just like kerosene would!

“Oh, my god!” he spluttered.

Mags laughed and added,

“Don’t worry – he did actually clean it out properly before using it!”

Klein laughed too and took another sip, which didn’t seem as bad as the first one.

“I get used to it, perhaps,” Klein said, taking another sip, unconvinced.

Klein ate his dinner, not realising until now, how hungry he had been since he left Oldenburg that morning. Events had taken over any thoughts of hunger or anything else, for that matter, but now he was feeling better about his situation and less concerned about the future.

When they had all finished, Klein helped Mags to tidy up while Andy went out into one of the barns to get a couple of wood saws and cutters to help hide the ’plane.

Klein was putting away the plates in a cupboard when he said to Mags,

“Thank you. Thank you for all you have done. I just want you both to know that I am not a danger to you.”

Mags turned to him and replied,

“I know son. World politics doesn’t sit well in this place. We tend to just take people as they come.”

Klein smiled and then after a pause, Mags continued,

“Do you really believe in all that Nazi stuff? Is the Third Reich really what you want for you and your family? I mean Hitler isn’t exactly around now when you need him is he?”

Klein felt uneasy at this line of questioning, as even here, the paranoia of someone listening in and relaying what you say back to the SS could never be totally dismissed. This unease simply reinforced the growing distance between Klein’s’ own political views and the ones that he was meant to have.

“Our Fuhrer is there, he is simply rebuilding his strength in order to appease the Versailles Treaty. Germany has been robbed of land and people by communist infiltrators and we simply want it back to correct the injustice.”

Mags looked at Klein, partly with a pitying look and partly with a look of disdain, as she saw through the young airman’s reasoning and replied,

“Well, whatever,” she said, adding,

“I don’t like the idea of Stalin moving into Europe any more than I do Hitler. One is as bad as the other, if you ask me, although I’d still choose an ally like Stalin.”

Klein was saved further enquiries into his real political views by Andy coming back with a couple of large saws, a tarpaulin and a large ball of green string.

“Right, here we go!” he said cheerfully,

“Let’s go up and hide this ’plane of yours! It’s better done just before the dusk – no prying eyes!”

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