Foreign Office, London, April 1941: London is in the throes of sustained strategic bombing raids from the German Luftwaffe – aka ‘The Blitz.’ On the basis she is one of the very few people in England fluent in French, brave young Foreign Office secretary Tiffany has been seconded by British Special Operations to be dropped into Nazi occupied Northern France and charged with the mission of destroying as many German aircraft as possible at an airfield near the town of St Omer. We join her story as her first progress report reaches her Foreign Office bosses.
“I say Carruthers I got a bit of a shock when I got into the office this morning I can tell you. Thought the bloody new-fangled Morse code thingy had gone to worms. It was clicking away like billy-o and giving me a wretched headache. Anyway, I got hold of the engineer chappie on the blower and he said I should re-boot it no less! Didn’t have a clue what he was on about so I told him to come over straight away and fix it. Turns out there was nothing wrong – it was simply delivering a message!”
“Really, who from?”
“Oh, it was from Tiffany over there in war torn France.”
“Golly, let’s hear what she up to then.”
“Well the problem is it’s all in French – I’m guessing that’s because she wishes to remain ingognito. I have a little French from the old boarding school days.”
“That’ll have to do – it’s all mumbo jumbo to me. Give it your best shot.”
“OK then I’ll give it a go. It’ll all be a tad Franglais I’m afraid. Right then here we go……….Tiffany, I think is saying;
‘I ‘ave parachuted in over St Omer wearing le flowing skirts of a French peasant girl so as to fit in. Politely ‘e averted ‘is gaze until I ‘ad safely landed. It was very muddy. I was met by Francois from le Resistance and ‘e, like a gentleman gave me a piggy back all the way to a safe house on the edge of ‘is golf course. Francois was very happy, his friend Pierre told me Francois ‘ad ‘ad a 69 yesterday and that was why ‘e didn’t mind my legs over his shoulders.
At the safe house we located on a high shelf le stash of guns and grenades. It was very dark and I do not think they ‘ad seen le light of day for a long time so while I climbed the ladder and passed them down Francois cleans le dust and wax off in the dark. Pierre was giggling so much. After we ‘ad cleared up le mess and ‘ad a little sleep we then go into a village to ‘ave a drink at a local bar.
Francois bought me a cocktail and Pierre said I should suck the cherry off the stick and then swallow le contents. I ‘aven’t ‘ad a cocktail for so long I ‘ad forgotten ‘ow nice they are. Of course I politely said mercy buckets. We then took le back lanes to le airfield where le German bombers were. We went by ‘orseback. Francois said mine was a really lovely ‘orse and that ‘e ‘ad once rode ‘er mamam. Pierre laughed when ‘e said that. The boys joked with me and asked me if I ‘ad ever kissed. I told them that le only time I ‘ad ever kissed was at le Boat Race when I had kissed the cox of le Cambridge crew under Putney Bridge. Pierre laughed again – uncontrollably this time. I ‘ad ‘ad no food and Francois too said ‘e was very ‘ungry. ‘E said ‘e was so hungry he could eat a beaver if ‘e ‘ad to. In fact ‘e seemed rather keen to. Pierre laughed once more.
Anyway, it was then that le Gestapo caught up with us. Francois and I rode away like le wind and escaped but Pierre was captured. We ‘eard le next day that ‘e ‘ad been tortured for information but said nothing. ‘E dies without a whisper they say.’
“Sorry to interject but do what! Those bastard Huns, they denied this Pierre chap his last wish of a Cadbury’s Wispa Bar -plainly he didn’t smoke; unusual in a Frenchman in my view but whatever. Intolerable manners, bloody Krauts! Carry on.”
“Oh where was I……..;
‘Luckily Francois and I still ‘ad le guns and grenades. We made our plan to travel back to le airfield le next evening providing le late snow predicted by Francois hadn’t fallen. I ‘ad not seen snow for such a very long time yet it did not snow. I asked Francois what ‘ad happened to le eight inches ‘e ‘ad promised me. If Pierre had been there ‘e would have laughed. Poor Pierre. That next night we travelled overland to le airfield. Under cover of darkness I managed to blow away 27 Heinkel’s but failed to Focke-Wolfe. Pierre would ‘ave laughed I am sure. Francois said it ‘ad been a successful mission.
As we were returning to le safe ‘ouse we first ‘eard le barking of dogs and then le shouting of soldiers tracking us down. Francois speaks in earnest when ‘e says you ‘ave to take me out urgently.’…………………..Well she seems to be having a jolly good time doesn’t she?”
“Be careful old chap – she seems to want to go out on a date with you and you a married man, what what! Also I don’t like the sound of this Ernest fellow – funny she didn’t mention him earlier. Never mind. I think the club beckons. All this talk of France has me thirsting for a glass or two of Chateau le Plonk.”
“Bloody right it does.”