Jinnie was driven to Portsmouth where she was greeted like an old friend by the two Wrens. Most of the clothing she was wearing and had taken with her were her own, as was her make-up, all purchased on previous trips. She only needed to recover her personal jewellery, especially her wedding ring, and other items such as her purse, mobile phone, driving license and season ticket from Cambridge to Vauxhall Cross. The Navy drove her to the station and she used the return portion of the period return to get back to London. As soon as she was settled in her first-class seat she checked she was alone in the compartment and phoned Dirk.
Dirk was interested to hear about Willie and asked what had become of him. Jinnie told him that presumably the RAF crew had reported the additional passenger as what looked like Special Branch had taken him from the plane. Dirk thought for a moment and said he would talk to ‘C’ and the SAS, and could she phone the PM, as the more pressure they applied at the highest levels the quicker Willie would be granted asylum.
Jinnie rang the mobile number she had for PM and was astounded to find him answering the call himself. Nigel said, “Good morning Jinnie as you are ringing from your own phone I assume you are home safely. I trust the mission went well.” Jinnie replied, “Yes, Prime Minister, I believe I have got all the necessary information to complete the project. But that is not why I rang.” She went on to explain how she had bumped into a resistance fighter from her old Berlin group and saved him from the Gestapo only for him to be taken away by what she assumed was Special Branch. She knew it wasn’t the Secret Intelligence Service, they had flashed a completely different badge to her own. Of course, it could have been the Secret Service but she told him they had the feel of police officers. Jinnie told the PM that both she and Dirk would vouch for Willie as a genuine resistance fighter and that his life was in danger in the Third Reich which gave him grounds to claim refugee status at the very least.
Mr Farage listened intently and when Jinnie’s diatribe finally ran out of steam he said, “Right, I think the least we can do is grant him refugee status. I will get someone on to it immediately. I suspect you are right and he has been grabbed by Special Branch, I have read this morning’s overnight reports from both SS and SIS and he is not mentioned despite the SIS reporting your landing at Shoreham. Special Branch seem to want to do their own thing and refuse to join in the daily reporting system. They seem to think that they are still a branch of the Gestapo, but they are in for a rude shock in the next few weeks. You didn’t hear it from me, but they are in for a massive shakeup in the very near future there is no place in this country for a political police force.”
Jinnie told the PM that Dirk was at this moment talking to ‘C’ and he would also be chasing via his SAS links, pushing Willie’s selfless service to the resistance. The PM chuckled and said that he would be expecting the calls but he would be happy to tell them it was all in hand. He then told Jinnie that unless there was anything else he would ring off as he needed to talk to an assistant. He would ring her just as soon as he any news.
Jinnie’s train took her into London’s Waterloo and she pondered popping into the ‘Cross’ but she was tired and not expected in so she hopped on the underground to St Pancras and the Thameslink train to Cambridge and her bed. Jinnie came up out of the Tube and headed off on the walk to the Thameslink platforms. She was passing the St Pancras ticket office when her mobile rang. Glancing at the screen she expected it to say ‘number withheld’, but it showed Dirk’s number. Jinnie answered and Dirk said, “Where have you been? I kept getting a message that your is phone off. I know you never turn it off, I was worried.” Before answering, Jinnie scanned the departures board she was passing. Great, the next fast Cambridge train was in 12 minutes. Keeping walking said, “Sorry Dirk, I was on the Tube. I’m at St Pancras now. If the signal goes it is because I have to go down to the Thameslink platform.”
Dirk said, “OK. I just wanted to update you. ‘C’ said it was nothing to do with him and he would love to chat with Willie, could even have a job for him. Hereford said it was almost certainly Special Branch, the colonel I spoke with said they think they are the British Gestapo.” Jinnie told him Nigel was of the same opinion and was on the case and had promised to update her as soon as he had information.
Coming out of St Pancras Jinnie’s train crept along and passed through several tunnels where, from experience, Jinnie knew there was no mobile signal. She desperately wanted to tell Paolo she was home and to ask him to bring in a takeaway for dinner as she didn’t feel like cooking. She waited until the train was passing the Emirates Stadium and pulled out her phone to get in a quick call before losing the signal again at the Hadley tunnel. But before she could dial it rang again, this time ‘number withheld’ was displayed. He moaned about not being able to get through to her and she explained she had been in the Tube, chatting to Dirk and then the infamous Kings Cross tunnels. Nigel grunted and said, “I must talk to the boffins about getting a signal in tunnels, it must be possible. Anyway, I have found him, Special Branch have him in a cell at Paddington Green and told me they thought he was a spy! I told them ‘Bollocks’, which didn’t go down well. ‘C’ is on his way to get him out and will put him in a good hotel overnight. I wonder if you would be good enough to pick him up from the Park Lane Hilton tomorrow, after breakfast and bring him to see me about 11 o’clock, I’d love to meet him. Oh, ‘C’ will be here he’s got a job that might suit him.”
Jinnie decided to leave phoning Paolo until after the Hadley Wood tunnel. He was delighted to hear her voice and agreed to bring in a takeaway. On the spur of the moment she said, “Paolo, would you mind if we took in a border, you know him. He could have one of the spare bedrooms.” Paolo said, “Who is it?”. Jinnie said, “I’ll tell you more tonight,” and rang off. She knew him so well that she was certain that when he learned it was Big Willie he would agree, but she wanted to tease him a bit.
Larry was pottering around next door’s back garden, it was part of his territory, suddenly he had that feeling, Jinnie was on the way home. He didn’t know how but his sixth sense was invariably right. He just knew she was coming, she was still some way off but as he headed home the feeling got stronger as she got nearer. He wanted to be in the window when she drove that little car of hers onto the drive.
Jinnie applied the handbrake and looked at the front window. There he was sitting between the net curtain and the glass. She shook her head, how did he do that? Every time she went away he was there when she got home. He didn’t do it when she went to work or out shopping but he instinctively knew when she was coming home from a mission. Jinnie let herself in the front door and Larry was upon her rubbing himself on her, wrapping his tail around her leg and purring loudly. She bent down and stroked him and rubbed his head between his ears and then under his chin. Jinnie knew what he wanted, she headed for the kitchen and found the packet of Felix cat treats. They had recently been reformulated and were now tiny but Larry still loved them. She left him crunching them loudly and headed up to bed where she collapsed on top of the duvet and was asleep before Larry padded in. It was too good an opportunity to miss, so he jumped up beside her and curled up next to her and went to sleep.
Jinnie woke up with cramp in her left calf, Larry was laying on it and was still asleep. Jinnie had to get up to stretch her calf muscle, so gently moved Larry aside. As she stretched the muscle Larry watched, then he got up, rubbed himself against her and headed out of the door. By the time Penny got home from university, Jinnie was catching up with a TV news channel and enjoying a strong coffee. As had become the norm, Penny said hello to her sister in German. They chatted for a while before Jinnie asked her sister if she would object to having someone rent one of the spare bedrooms.” Penny looked at her strangely and asked, “Do you need the money?” Jinnie laughed and said, “Of course not. He is an old friend and he needs somewhere to live.” Penny thought a while and said, “Well, I have no objections but what do the others say?” “Others?” Replied Jinnie. “Yes others, Paolo and Larry. It’s no good having a lodger that Larry hates!”
Predictably Paolo stopped off at the Pizza parlour and brought home a large margarita, a large marinara, garlic bread and a tub of dressed salad. While eating, Jinnie asked Paolo if he had thought about letting the room. Paolo replied that it depended on a couple of things, who was it and was it a permanent arrangement? Jinnie answered, “Well the person is, as I said, someone you know and at the moment they are in need of a room. They are new to the country and need accommodation until they can get on their own feet.” Paolo said, “But you are still not telling me who, only that I know him.” Finally Jinnie told him, “Big Willie from AHU in Berlin.” Paolo looked at her in amazement and asked, “How on earth did he land up here?”
Jinnie told the tale of how she bumped into him on her way home from her mission. She carefully omitted any mention of the actual mission, but made it clear that Willie was in a desperate position and if she had not helped him he would undoubtedly be dead by now. Penny and Paolo both agreed and when Larry started to rub himself around Jinnie’s legs and meowed loudly, Penny said, “And he agrees too.”
Jinnie walked into the lobby of the Park Lane Hilton and instantly saw the huge figure of Willie sitting waiting in one of the armchairs. He spied her at the same time and waved. She slipped into the armchair next to him and asked if he was OK. He said yes, he had been told to expect her. He had slept well after being released by Special Branch. He said ‘C’ had taken him directly to the hotel, checked him in and told him that his bill was being picked up by the government, and that didn’t happen very often, so to make full use of the restaurant for dinner and breakfast. He explained that his English was only rudimentary but he had managed to order a steak and chips followed by ice cream and coffee for dinner. This morning he had tried a famous ‘full English breakfast’ he had heard about from English students before the war. He had liked most of it, but wanted to know what the black disc of a sausage type thing was? Jinnie laughed and told him it was black pudding and made with pig’s blood.
Jinnie asked Willie if he had checked out of the hotel and he said yes. He had no luggage having escaped Germany with only the clothing he stood up in and his wallet containing some Deutschmarks, a couple of German credit cards, his German driving license, his identity card and his university staff ID card. Jinnie looked at her watch and decided they just had time to buy him some new British clothes before keeping their appointment at No 10.
Jinnie grabbed a black cab and told the driver ‘Selfridges’. Willie had no idea what was going on but he enjoyed his ride through central London where Jinnie pointed out a few of the sights. Jinnie took him to the gent’s outfitting department and left him in the hands of an assistant, who spoke German, with the instructions to fully dress him in a smart get-up as he had an important meeting later. He was also to have a couple of pairs of trousers, casual shirts, pullovers, waterproof jacket, shoes, trainers and anything else the assistant thought necessary as the gentleman had lost his luggage. She said she was off to the luggage department to get a hold-all and would be back in 30 minutes to pay.
When she returned, Willie was standing waiting clad in a pinstripe suit, black shoes, white shirt and tie, clutching a load of Selfridges carrier bags. Jinnie flourished her black debit card while Willie filled the hold-all. Heading down the escalator to Oxford Street, Jinnie thought how well he scrubbed up. Hailing another cab, Jinnie told the driver, “10 Downing Street please.” The driver looked at her and said, “Are you serious?” She said, “Yes” and the driver said, “I always wanted a fare to say that. That and ‘follow that car’, in 27 years behind the wheel it has never happened.”
The cab stopped at the main gate and paid off the driver while Willie stood looking around him in amazement. Jinnie gave their names to the armed uniformed policeman on the gate, explained they had an 11 o’clock with the PM and showed him her SIS pass. All Willie had was his Third Reich photo ID card but as they were on the list on his clipboard he let them pass after a thorough search of the hold-all. They strolled up Downing Street and Willie wanted to know where they were going. He was still a little confused. Winston, the new Number 10 cat, was sitting in the weak autumn sunshine outside the front door and Jinnie stopped to stroke him and whispered to him, “I hope you are doing a good job as Larry’s replacement, I will tell him I have met you.”
The door opened and they went in. Willie’s hold-all was put through an X-ray machine and put in a steel cupboard to await their departure. They took seats in the waiting room and Winston the new No 10 cat came over to Jinnie and rubbed himself against her. Willie said, “Ah, he likes you.” Jinnie replied, “Yes, cats seem to like me and I like cats.” Willie nodded and said sadly, “In Berlin, I had a cat, but she died of old age. I always intended to replace her, but I never got around to it, under the circumstances that is probably a good thing.” Before Jinnie could answer one of the PM’s secretaries appeared and said, “Mr Farage is ready for you now. ‘C’ is with him.”
As they walked up the staircase past all the pictures of past PMs, Willie looked at Jinnie and asked, “Who is Mr Farage?” Laughing, Jinnie replied, “The Prime Minister.” Willie stopped abruptly and said “No, the British Prime Minister? You know the British Prime Minister?” Jinnie smiled, said, “Yes, come on we can’t keep him waiting.” The secretary tapped gently on the office door and without waiting for a reply ushered them into the office.”
Nigel and ‘C’ were sitting nursing cups of coffee and they rose when Jinnie and Willie entered. The PM shook hands with both of them and talking in German he welcomed Willie to the U.K. and thanked him for his work for the resistance before inviting him to join them sitting around a coffee table. Nigel asked if they would like coffee and Jinnie said “Yes please” but Willie seemed reluctant to accept one. Jinnie suddenly wondered if British coffee was too strong for Willie. German taste and suggested that he might like a weak one, which he happily accepted. The PM said, “I’m sorry, I should have remembered, my German ex-wife always bought a mild brew instant in the supermarket.” A few minutes later the secretary returned with a small vacuum jug which she said contained “Bird Mellow Brew” and poured a cup for Willie. He tentatively sipped it and a huge smile broke across his face.
They chatted for a while and for the first time Jinnie realised that ‘C’ was another German speaker with an excellent command of the language. Thinking about it Jinnie realised that she shouldn’t really be surprised German had been taught at school and had been needed for a job in the Civil Service and many of the big German companies who had branches in England before the War of Liberation. They talked about Willie’s position in the Resistance and what had happened to the AHU branch. Willie said the trouble had started with the new autumn term. They had brought in a Polish and a Ukrainian student who had supposedly worked with their national resistance groups. A couple of missions they had been involved in had gone wrong but it could have just been bad luck. Then a long-standing member of the group had been detained.
Willie had talked it over with Hanna Brant and they had concluded they had a spy in their midst and it was either the Pole or the Ukrainian. Hanna had good relations with the Poles and talked the problem over with one of their leaders. He was certain their man was loyal. He had been involved in numerous missions without a problem, in any case his family were all in the Resistance and everyone he had been involved with was still free and working. Hence the suspicion fell on the Ukrainian. But they had no connection to the Ukrainian Resistance so they set up a trap. A fake mission was set up without the involvement of the Pole. When the mission was compromised it was decided that the Ukrainian had to meet with an unfortunate accident and he had been taken out by a hit and run accident.
The Gestapo started picking up the AHU branch members immediately, as far as Willie knew only he and Hanna had got away. He believed Hanna had gone to ground with her Polish colleagues and he had been heading to his friend in the Oberhausen group and now realised the Gestapo were letting him run in the hope he would lead them to others. It had been pure luck that he and Jinnie had been in the same place at the same time and Jinnie’s good tradecraft that had allowed her to spot the Gestapo set-up.
The PM glanced at the large wall clock and said to Willie, “I think that we can grant you immediate refugee status with a view to you becoming a full U.K. citizen. I will arrange for the paperwork to be put in place. In the meantime, I understand ‘C’ thinks he has an employment opportunity that should suit you.” ‘C’ took over the narrative saying, “Brian, who runs our new employee firearms training, is due to retire in four months and I was about to advertise for a replacement. The post would entail looking after the basement gun range at Vauxhall Cross, training new employees to shoot a pistol and re-qualifying old employees annually. Do you think you do that?”
Willie was delighted and said it was a post he would be happy to accept. “C” then continued, “I will start the paperwork as soon as I get back to the office. But we will need to set up a few things like a bank account, so we can pay you, a driving licence, a firearms certificate, an SIS pass and somewhere to live. Jinnie spoke up then saying, “I can offer a solution to that last problem. We have a spare bedroom in our Cambridge house and we would all be more than happy to offer it to Willie. I can show him the ropes, help him with his English, he knows both myself and Paolo, everyone in the house speaks German and he likes cats!” The PM thought for a moment and said, “I think that is an excellent idea, it could be a little difficult explaining to a landlord why a German native was in their accommodation.”
‘C’ told Jinnie to take Willie home to Cambridge straight away and get him settled in. In the morning his SIS pass would be waiting for him at reception and Brian would meet him and start off his induction. The PM said, “Good, that’s all settled then. I look forward to reading your mission report in good time Mrs De Luca. Now I have a mid-day meeting with the Defence Secretary at the MoD. Give my regards to Larry and tell him Winston is not a patch on him.” With that, he swept out of the office leaving the remaining three to finish their coffee.
It was on the train to Cambridge that Willie started asking questions. Who was his new employer, where was Vauxhall Cross, where was Cambridge, how did he get there each day? How much would he be paid, who is Larry and who is Winston? The questions kept coming and Jinnie did her best to answer them but some, like what his salary would be she simply couldn’t answer. As usual, Jinnie had left her Mini at the station and she watched as Willie folded himself into the car for the short drive to the house.
Jinnie parked on the drive and said to Willie, “Welcome to your new home and Larry The Cat is in the window to greet us.” By the time they got into the hallway, Larry was there to say hello. He rubbed himself around Jinnie and then wandered over to sniff Willie. Jinnie said, “Larry meet Willie, he is coming to live with us for a while. He like cats and used to have one share his flat but she died of old age.” Turning she said, “Willie meet Larry, before he retired to live here with me. He was the Chief Mouser at No 10.” Willie said, “Hello Larry, I think you and I are going to get along fine,” and Larry permitted Willie to stroke him.
In Chapter 16 – Penny’s course.
© WorthingGooner 2022