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Blott

A playlet for your reading enjoyment

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Scene 1

A dark winter night, a Royal Air Force reconnaissance plane is going down in the distance. All crew have bailed out, one parachutist has been blown off course and is descending directly towards a waiting German patrol

The sound of dogs barking as the parachutist lands

Blott - Golly decent of you chaps, never expected a welcoming committee, a nice cup of tea out of the question what?

German soldier - Always the pithy remark hey Englander, but for you ze war is now over

Blott - I wouldn't be so sure of that Fritz

German soldier - Oh yes it is, we have ze strong camp to hold you, no escape Englander no escape

 

Scene 2

A German army transport lorry pulls up to a POW camp gate and waits for the security barrier to rise. It pulls through and Blott is unceremoniously dumped out of the back at gun point

German soldier salutes Camp Commandant

German soldier - Zis Englander tried to escape twice since we picked him up, take special care with this one Commandant

Camp Commandant - Ah another for Hut 9, all our bad pears in ze one tankard hey Englander ya

Blott - My dear boy it's, all you're bad apples in one barrel

Camp Commandant - Ya, ya, ya you are ze clever man no! You will remain in our camp and enjoy our hospitality ya until we win ze war no

Blott - No, yes, yes, no. You don't know if you're coming or going old chap

Camp Commandant - Enough of this talk, guard take him to Hut 9 immediately or to the cooler if he talks his smart mouth again

 

Scene 3

Blott is marched through the camp and up to the door of Hut 9, the guard turns and marches back to his post.

Blott opens the door, walks in and is met by a Royal Air Force Officer

Blott - What'ho old chap, Blott's the name, Captain in the Funny Squad, attached to the Royal Engineers. Or was until the bally kite went down

Royal Air Force Officer - Blott you say old boy, not of Blott Manor, descendant of Capability Blott the Stately Homes garden and grounds architect? A grandson perhaps of the Grand Dowager Blott of Whitby Heights?

Blott - One and the same old chum, and with whom do I have the honour of conversing with may I ask?

Royal Air Force Officer - The name's Grob, Flying Officer with the 113th/431st Regiment

Blott - Wouldn't be Grob of Grob Towers in the South of God's own county?

Grob - Exactly right old man, exactly right

Blott - Well bugger me and call me Geoffrey, Father was only talking about Grob Towers the other day at the Manor. I was home on leave for a few days before joining up with the mission you see.

Grob - Excellent excellent, Captain in the Funny Squad you say, would that be the SOE?

Blott - Correct again old man, the Top Brass heard I'm something of a whiz when it comes to building things, they wanted to know if I was just as good at un-building them. Took a few missions knocking Jerry's emplacements down, next thing I knew they had me up in a kite to get eyes on a target. Kite took an unlucky hit and I floated down right into Fritz's hands so here I am.

Blott - I say old bean, are you going to introduce me to the other chaps and (Blott lowers his voice) do you have an escape committee up and running round these parts? 

Edited by Blott

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Meanwhile back in the UK

The place:  A Sergeants mess, on an RAF Station somewhere in, "Bomber," County.

Those present:  Mess mangers representing Bomber Command, Fighter Command and Coastal Command.

The Scene: A large bar, the bar back having only empty bottles.  Leaning against the bar are Two Flying Officers, (FO 1 and FO 2,) a Sergeant Pilot, (Sgt P,) two breveted Air Gunner Sergeants, (AG Sgt 1 and AG Sgt 2,) and a Scottish Warrant Officer Air Gunner, (WO AG.)  A Squadron Leader, (Sqn Ldr,) sits alone, stage right, he is listening intently.

Editors note The following is an extract from Grob's Profile which will serve to explain why the Mess Managers are worried.

Serving in the RAF during round two of the war with Germany Grob's talent for sourcing rare supplies came to the fore. Grob served on many of the Yorkshire airfields in this time, though not as a pilot, his organisational skills and knowledge of where scarce items might be sourced proved invaluable to many Mess bar managers. During this time, it was rumoured, though never proven, that the fine clear vodkas and gins supplied by him might actually be produced, not as the labels claimed in Russia and London, but in County Galway, ferried to airfields in Northern Ireland and then in the guise of pilot training missions, airdropped near Grob Towers.

Sgt P:  It's an absolute tragedy.
FO 1:  Agreed old chap
WO AG:  Could nae agree mair laddy, beggin' the question whit do we do aboot it?  We cannae last withoot resupply. Withoot Grob naebody can lay hands on whit we need.
Sgt P:  Just what the hell was he doing on a blasted mission anyway?
FO 1: We all know Grob, anything to boost the old coffers. He wanted the flying pay so went along as an observer. Mossies damn fast but it got jumped by a blasted ME 262 who got in a lucky shot. Grob and the pilot baled out.
FO 2:  Now we understand that he's safe, they were both captured and taken to a POW camp for RAF personnel, Stalag Luft Normastitz, it's a forest site in the middle of nowhere.

The Squadron Leader rises and approaches the group;

Sqn Ldr:  Look here you chaps its simply not acceptable for our bars to run dry, think of the affect on morale.  I've been in a meeting today with the Group Captain and the Wing Co. of a Mossie Squadron, and I've been given permission to use any necessary resources to, "reconnect our supply lines."

WO Air Gunner:  Are ye talkin' aboot a rescue mission?
Sqn Ldr: I am old chap.  The Mossie pilot will be none other than Group Captain Lennie Cheddar.
WO Air Gunner: Brilliant, he's a better pilot than those chaps in 633 Squadron!
Sqn Ldr:  Ought to be old boy, after all he trained em.

General chatter in the group.

Sqn Ldr:  Now what we know is that we have a chap in Normastitz who has made contact, chap called Blott.  Blott has a small but very effective crystal set.  We can contact him.

During the next hour a daring plan was hatched.  An Auster aircaft would take off from a base on the Italian mainland, at great cost recently wrested from Axis control.  Later a group of three Mosquitos would leave the UK rendezvouing with the Auster at Stalag Normastitz.  The Mosquitos would destroy the Guard Towers, and the wire fences.  The Auster would land, collect Blott and Grob before taking off and flying to allied held Europe.

Dear Reader, will this daring plan to ensure the restocking of RAF bars succeed, or will the only stocking be the one that one legged Lil the barmaid at the Slaughtered Lamb dons nightly?

For answers we must turn the war diaries of Blott

 

Edited by Grob

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3 hours ago, stockingsadmirer69 said:

Gad Sirs, this is better than Bulldog Drummond.

Please carry on.

Sir,

I am commanded by Messrs Throstle, Twistem and Scramm, of Pentonville, Strangeways and Durham, Solicitors at Law, to convey to you the most earnest thanks of the authors for your kind comment.

The Secretary Lass

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Dear Secretary Lass,

When are you going to leave those old duffers and come and work for me?

I can promise you a substantial rise in your salary plus quite a few exceedingly good perks.

Your etc etc.

xxxxx

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27 minutes ago, luckyme said:

Dear Secretary Lass,

When are you going to leave those old duffers and come and work for me?

I can promise you a substantial rise in your salary plus quite a few exceedingly good perks.

Your etc etc.

xxxxx

Just a bally minute, young whipper snapper. I've already offered this lass a post on the board of my company, a Bentley (Rolls are so out these days) and have even offered to give her friend the Gamekeeper lass a position providing the Mem doesn't mind.

So hands off me bucko.

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Scene 1

Back in Hut 9 Grob had almost completed a tour of the hut introducing Blott to the chaps.

Grob - This is Johnson, Flying Officer and forger when he sets his mind to it. Bains, Junior Flying Officer and our resident can opener. Strangely Brown, target Officer and for us translator, which just leaves me to introduce our resident CO Wing Commander Warrington Smithe and his batman, Johnny the 'Tash.

Blott - What'ho chaps excellent, glad to meet you all. I say Grob you haven't introduced me to the Communications Officer at this bun fight.

Grob - Ah Benson our Comms chappie only got himself a 10 stretch in the cooler, tried going over the wire with a rudimentary pole vault kit. Damn thing broke in two at the moment of equilibrium, he came crashing down on top of a patrolling Fritz, gave the poor guard the fright of his life and sent the Commandant into a frightful rage.

Blott - Shame, because I have about my person just the thing for Benson.

Scene 2

The cooler

Camp guard - Benson your time in ze cooler is up, no more escapes plans ya or next time it vill be ze 30 days in ze cooler. Go be a good Gentleman ya and sit the war out in comfort with ze glorious Luftwaffe taking the goods care of you ya

Benson walks out of the cooler and back towards hut 9. Benson has a pronounced limp due to an injury sustained while trying to escape over the wire.

Scene 3

Hut 9, Benson limps in and is introduced to Blott

Benson - Pleased to make your acquaintance Blott, a chap said you had something of interest for me?

Blott - Certainly do old man, only managed to keep one of the new fangled crystal sets out of sight of the Eric's. Yours to use as you see fit Benson, although i'm guessing reception here is tricky at the best of times.

Benson - Damn right old boy, very tricky. Eric's? 

Blott - Ah just a name me and few boys from the 80's Regiment came up with to throw the guards off the scent when talking about them.

Benson - Top hole old man. Yes the forest around here plays havoc when trying to receive. This crystal set looks good but not sure of it's strength and another thing Blott. There's only one place we've found to get any signal at all, over in the West corner right next to the wire and right in sight of the guard tower.

Scene 4

Blott, Benson, Grob and the CO are walking together in the exercise hour permitted by the Commandant. Benson is indicating the only place to receive from to Blott. Grob is deep in discussion with the CO

Grob - Honestly Sir, I know young Blott seems a fly by his pants sort of a chap, a bit raffish to boot and an air of lovable rogue about him, but he seems a jolly good sort and if anyone can do it i'm sure Blott would be our man.

CO - You might be right Grob, you might be right. Benson would be my first choice but with that dicky leg of his it would be a fools errand. I'm loath to risk Blott, what with him being the new boy and all, the chaps have taken to him and morale is up no end.

Grob - Agreed Sir, the chap is good fun to have around. Why even Davidson came out of his morose when Blott was telling that tale of an encounter with a General's daughter. How did he put it, she was only the General's daughter, but she certainly knew what Regiment. 

CO - Indeed, indeed. Damn it Grob i'll give the order, set wheels in motion, Blott uses the crystal set tonight. Usual signals and personnel, plough the field and give him as clear a run as possible.

Scene 5

2.30am, a moonless and cloudy night, the camp is in complete darkness and as tranquil as a double dose of Valium

A window opens in Hut 9 and a figure drops to the ground, remains motionless for several minutes, straining to hear for the movement of German boots on the ground. A low short whistle emits from the opposite side of the camp bringing the search light away from Blott's objective. With a skill previously unknown to him Blott runs full tilt while crouching as low as possible towards the wire, Western side, and takes up position. Taking out the crystal set in complete darkness, Blott goes through the step by step motions drilled into him minutes earlier by Benson. The crystal set crackles into life, it's basic sound further muted by Blott's shirt. 

Blott was at the wire for less than 60 seconds, but in that short time heard all he and the chaps needed to know.

 

A transcript of the message will, i'm sure, be provided by Grob very soon  

     

  

 

Edited by Blott

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The Boudoir

Grob Towers

 

Right you lot sit up straight, hands on the table where they can be seen, stockingsadmirer69, don't do that. 

Good, now pin back your ears. I have just left Grob's bed, stop sniggering at the back!  Grob is currently suffering from, "man flu," which as we women know is merely a nasty cold. I shall perform me ministerin' angel duties and I can confidently predict that he WILL be up and around before very long and able to continue his account of what happened at Stalag Luft Normastitz.

The Mem

(Lady Constance Emilia Charlotte Valeria Ermintrude von Schlossenhaus Grob)

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Dear Lady (With the fantastic legs)

Please convey my deepest condolences to Right Hon. and tell him that I hope he recovers very quickly. We chaps know of the severity of this man flu epidemic and I commiserate that he has been stricken thus,

If you and the secretary lass, along with the gamekeeper gal could all pretend to be nurses, complete with fully fashioned hose, I'm sure my dear friend will soon be up and raring to go.

A very sincere well wisher.

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Central Communications Room,                                                                                                                                                          Grob/Blott Plaza House.

Ladies and Gentlemen, 

Grob is still under the ministrations of Lady Constance and as such can not raise the strength to sit upright in bed and type at his Remington Mk VI typewriter. He did however feel sufficiently well to summon me to his bedchamber and, through a series of groans and hand signals convey to me a request to thumb through his war diaries and locate the transcript alluded to by Mr Blott.

Rescue imminent, supply line broken, cellars running low

Repatriation of Grob required soonest, standby for mozzies in next warm weather on a Roman South wind

Supplies will be dropped for other chaps to make good their escape 

I confidently predict Mr Grob will be back in harness sooner rather than later, as I noticed some of his old charm returning when he suggested wrongly a seam on my nylon stocking wasn't slide-rule straight. As those familiar with the regime at Grob Towers will know, Lady Constance insists on correctly worn staff uniform at all times.   

The Secretary Lass

Post script, 

luckyme and stockingsadmier69 thank you Gentlemen for your kind offers of employment, however, on this occasion I shall be forced to decline as the terms and conditions of my current employment are quite satisfactory for a 'gal of my needs

Edited by Blott

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Scene 1 

Blott has made it back to Hut 9 unseen by the guards and gathers the chaps round to pass on the message

CO - Interesting message, what do you make of it Grob?

Grob - I can happily deduce the reference to Mozzies will be the use of Mosquito aircraft sent on a strafing run, being in the plural I assume two if not 3 to be deployed. As for a Roman South wind i'm on a sticky wicket with that one Sir

CO - I say chaps, don't we have a fellow among our number who wrestles with the Times crossword whenever it's available?

Grob - By George you're right Sir, that would be Lofty Redmond of Hut 7. Quite the bluestocking when it comes to mind teasers and the like, shall I call him over at once?

CO - Make it so Grob, make it so

Scene 2

A series of complex signals are exchanged between Hut 9 and Hut 7, the ever watchful camp guards remain oblivious to the signalling and as such Lofty Redmond arrives in Hut 9 within a few minutes

CO - Damn good of you to come over Redmond, I do hope we didn't wake you old chap?

Redmond - Quite alright Sir, I was cramming for the monthly 'Camp All Comers Open Quiz League' play offs and helping Squiffy Bostock with a letter home to his mother. 

CO - Excellent use of your time Redmond, now listen here old chap. We've received a message from Blighty and the chaps are a little stuck on one part of it, hoping you can figure it out what.

Redmond - I'll give it my best shot Sir without question 

Scene 3 

The message is relayed to Redmond who sits in quiet reflection for some minutes

Redmond - The mozzies you've got, now what the deuce could 'on a Roman South wind' mean?  

Grob - Well that's what we were hoping you would tell us Redmond 

Redmond - Hmmmm, in it's literal meaning the word for a Roman South wind is Auster

CO - By golly Redmond you've got it, the Top Brass are sending an Auster light aircraft to act as the transport for Grob back to HQ

Grob - Gosh, the cellars must be running dry if the 'Brass are requiring me back in such an urgent hurry

Scene 4

Redmond returns to his Hut, the chaps of Hut 9 discuss the rescue plan and who else should dust off with Grob in the Auster

Blott - With respect Sir I feel Benson should get the spare seat as his dicky leg needs suitable ministrations 

Benson - Wouldn't hear of it Blott, you brought the crystal set in you should get to leave with Grob

Blott - Piffle Benson, i'm the new chap here and as such won't allow myself to be considered for the escape flight

Grob - Sir, wouldn't you care to leave the bun fight early?

CO - Can't be done Grob, as Commanding Officer it would be impossible for me to leave my post

Bains - Johnny the 'Tash has a young wife and family at home, how about him or Johnson?

Grob - Can't lose Johnson our forger, if the rest of you men are to go on the run in bandit country 

Blott - True, very true 

CO - There's nothing for it men, we shall draw lots after roll call tomorrow morning, now back to your bunks chaps we have much to organise before the good weather returns and an escape becomes possible 

 

 

 

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Lennie Cheddar clambered into his Mosquito, and as the flare from the control tower soared upwards he pushed the throttles forward, the two merlin engines responded, and the plywood wonder which was his Mosquito roared down the runway,close behind him two other Mosquitos followed suit,  After crossing the North Sea they flew as low as possible, maintaining radio silence. The weather made navigation relatively simple and as the guardtowers of Stalag Luft Normastitz came into view, Lennie broke radio silence with his characteristically laconic statement,  "shall we let them know we're here chaps?"  While Lennie dropped bombs to break the wire, the other Mosquitos destroyed the Guard Towers and searchlights.  As the Mosquitos climbed before turning for a second run, Pongo, who was piloting the second mosquito spotted the Auster as it made its final approach. The Mosquitos circled once, and watched as the Auster rumbled almost to a halt.

At the first merlin engine sound Grob and Blott headed out of the hut, flattening themselves onto the ground as the wire was destroyed and sprinted through the gap made by Lennie.  Grob paused in his headlong rush as they passed the bomb crater.  Grabbing Blott's arm he pointed into the crater, where two leather wrapped packages uncovered by the bomb lay.  Quickly each grabbed one and spotting the Auster slowing they sprinted forwards, wrenched open the aircraft door and flung themselves inside as the pilot pushed the throttle forwards. The flimsy aircraft reached flying speed and with only a few feet to spare cleared the pine trees.  

High above them the Mosquitos saw other former prisoners break from the camp, scattering in all directions and hurrying into the surrounding woodland.  "Good luck chaps," unintentionally Lennie spoke his thoughts out loud, agreed Skipper replied the other two pilots  pulling backwards on their sticks, and gaining altitude.  "Just like the instructor chaps used to say isn't it skipper," said Pongo's navigator with a grin.  "Stick goes forward trees get bigger, stick goes backwards trees get smaller."  Pongo couldn't supress a smile.

The camp was quickly lost to sight from the Auster and as the engine noise stopped all but a shouted conversation Grob and Blott looked out as the tiny aircraft battled it's way towards allied held Italy.  During the flight our heroes took time to look through the contents of the packages, and reached a silent tacit agreement to say nothing about the packages to anyone. Much later dawn was breaking and an airfield became visible, the Auster put down, and taxied to a halt.  After clambering from the pilot's seat the pilot pulled the flying helmet off, and a mass of blonde hair fell to her shoulders.    Our heroes were, unusually, rendered speechless, as without a word she strode purposefully towards a parked car, got in and drove away.

After a long debrief first by the Station Intelligence Officer and then by a chap who seemed to be well acquainted with Blott, our lads climbed aboard a Wellington and after a less than comfortable flight were comfortable ensconsed in the Officers Mess at an RAF Station in Yorkshire.  At the insistence of the Station C.O. Grob had made several telephone calls, the upshot of which was that the mess bar back was amply restocked.

What now for our fledgling heroes?
What was so important about the leather bound packages that even mid-escape they risked recapture to pick up them up.
Who was the mysterious blonde rescue pilot.

The relevant pages of Grob's wartime diary were unintentionally obliterated by a wine spill, and so we now turn to Blott who may be able to shed some light on the questions.

 

(Readers may like to note that whilst this raid is of course entirely fictitious, it is in no small way inspired by the real life Operation Jericho.  An internet search will reveal interesting details of that raid, fictionalised in so far as this author is aware for the cinema, as 633 Squadron.  The author can also recommend, "The Great Escape," written by Paul Brickhill for a true, (ie nothing like the Hollywood version of the story,) account of the escape from Stalag Luft 111. )

 

Edited by Grob

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Scene 1 (pre rescue) 

The chaps of Hut 9 are standing together, the CO has declined the opportunity to escape and is therefore holding a number of 'lots' in his fist, one by one the lots are drawn. When the lots are compared Blott has drawn the shortest

CO - Nothing for it Blott you and Grob are on the Auster, I have no intention of allowing another draw therefore accept it as a fait accompli 

Blott - As you wish Sir, although i'm bally sad to be leaving you chaps in the lurch. I'm sure there's plenty I could do on the run to vex Fritz and their war effort 

CO - I don't doubt it for a minute Blott, you could also get yourself killed in the process you damn fool

Blott remains quiet and in the stillness of the hut the faintest sounds of approaching aircraft began to grow and become louder 

CO - This is it Grob, Blott. You other men pass the signal, those who want to try their luck in the countryside make your move now, those who are injured or wish to remain behind with me you may do so

Scene 2 (mid escape) 

The CO watches as Blott & Grob sprint for the damaged fence and freedom. Other men are following intent on making for the woods and their chance to find their own way home. Others who have elected to stay behind overpower the few remaining guards and take control of the camp. When the dust has settled and the Allies briefly have control of the camp the CO walks towards the Commandants office, seemingly to accept his surrender.

The CO and the camp Commandant retire to the communications office. The Commandant sends out a signal in Morse Code, the CO takes the seat in front of the Morse machine and sends out a similar message but with a different call sign. Both men witnessed Grob & Blott stopping to pick up the leather bound packages unearthed in the bomb crater.

Scene 3 (some weeks after the escape) 

Blott has been called to an office in London, having given an accurate debrief of events in the prison camp Blott is about to leave for re-tasking. A person from SOE who had previously remained silent speaks up

SOE Operator - I say Blott, damnedest thing happened after the escape. The CO shot the camp Commandant and then seemingly took his cyanide pill of his own volition. Don't suppose you know anything about that do you old chap?

Blott - By George that is a queer state of affairs, I was long gone by then Sir and it's the first i've heard of it

SOE Operator - Hmmm, very strange, very strange indeed. Makes no sense at all when you look at it in the round. Very well Blott on your way, the chaps in Q Branch have a few new toys to show you 

Blott leaves the office by one door, as it closes a door on the other side of the room opens and a blonde lady walks in

SOE Operator - And you saw them pick up a package each?

Blonde lady - Yes Sir

SOE Operator - And you didn't see what was in the packages?

Blonde lady - No Sir

The SOE operator opens an A4 envelope and spills out several black and white photographs, the photographs are of the blonde lady's parents

SOE Operator - You wouldn't ever think of lying to me would you?

Blonde lady - Never Sir, never

Scene 4

The SOE Operator stands alone outside a London telephone box, the phone rings 4 times and goes silent, it rings 3 times and silent again, some minutes later it rings once more and the man answers on the 5th ring.

SOE Operator - 3 days and nights I was at sea 

Person on the other end - What is your message for the duodecad?

SOE Operator - We have a problem

 

 

 

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And so dear reader we come to the end of our latest tale. This 'playlet' was written as something of a prequel (well Hollywood do it often so why shouldn't we), for those of an inquiring mind yes, it's purpose is manifold and may well be setting a scene for things to come.

Perhaps the adventures of Blott & Grob Agents Mysterieuse are about to take a darker turn, however, i'm sure there will be elements of slapstick and comedy thrown in as well.

Thanking you all for your kind indulgence 

Blott :58674bdf747cb_EmojiSmiley-04: 

Edited by Blott

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