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Extracts of Let Us Do Evil

(From Chapter 26 - That Good May Come)

One of the stretcher cases was delirious and singing softly to himself in the thin, quavering, accent of the North of England music hall. “Oh I do like to be besides the seaside, Oh I do like to be besides the sea.” An RAF fitter, one of two who were acting as medical orderlies, tried to quieten him down, dabbing at his forehead with a damp cloth.
Once again Davison tasted his stomach as the Bombay plummeted then levelled out. At least he wasn’t in the cockpit this time. He looked at Gott who was sitting across the narrow aisle in the jump seat by door. Through the general's nearest window the fan of the starboard airscrew was visible. He gave it a glance then went back to the typed pages of A4 flimsy on his lap, brow furrowed in concentration. Between him and Davison one of the wounded was lying lengthways along the floor, his head and face covered with bandages so that only is eyes and mouth were showing. When Davison had looked at the brown docket on his chest, attached there by white string around his neck, he saw that the man was a corporal from a yeomanry regiment and almost certainly tank crew.
From the direction of the cockpit the medical corps staff sergeant weaved through the wounded until he reached Gott. “Looks like it could get a bit bumpy sir. They've just received a wireless message that there are German fighters about. They’re suggesting you keep your seat belt on in case we have to do a bit of duckin’ and weavin’.”
“Right Staff,” said Gott and began fumbling for the buckle. Once he had put it together he went back to his papers. The NCO looked across at Davison but the civilian gentleman was already strapped in.
Stepping carefully over the burned soldier in the aisle, he went to examine the remaining thirteen stretcher cases who were slung like hammocks across the fuselage from the slings attached to its ceiling. The Sikh was the first of these. One of the RAF fitters was holding his head up while he drank water from a felt covered water bottle. “Where the brass band goes tiddly um pum pum,” sang the delirious man.

Davison looked out of his window and saw that the Bombay was flying over a flat, flinty looking plain, and they were very low again just as they had been on the flight up from Cairo. They were so low he could see the dust being kicked up by their propellers and watched a line of little splashes appear on the ground slightly ahead of them. Then there was a noise like a coffee grinder going off inside his head and Davison realised that these splashes in the sand had nothing whatsoever to do with their propellers.

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