... The Dimming of the Light... (Part 17)

by Peter Hunter

the dimming of the light (Part 17)

Peter Hunter

Day 21

  six Arospatiele Puma helicopters of the French Army Aviation division lifted off near the modern terminal building and clattered into the light fog over the English Channel

  leaving a dusky trail of kerosene fumes in their wake - before heading north in a loose Vee formation

  climbing steadily from the airfield at Cherbourg on a mission engaged more out of fact-finding than help - the French, like much of the world were curious to know what had happened to Britain

  what, who, still existed and what potential still remained on the island?

Apart from the flight crew of pilot, co-pilot and attendant there were twenty personnel in each aircraft. Five were Special Forces solders - each armed with a submachine gun and two hundred rounds of ammunition. The rest were a mixture drawn form many skills, mostly selected from the medical professions doctors, paramedics, nurses others specialised in germ warfare detection, rare diseases and new viruses that were known to be evolving.

All including the military personnel wore protective bio-chemical overalls and masks as it they might encounter highly infectious germs or viruses

  and some were equipped with Geiger counters

They seemed equipped for almost anything except a mission of mercy

Approaching landfall on the south coast just east of the Isle of Wight, one of the pilots radioed to the formation leader that he detected an unusual vibration in the tail rotor and requested permission to return to the airfield at Cherbourg

  this was granted

At a speed of one hundred and thirty knots height five hundred metres above sea level the remaining five helicopters flew relentlessly northeast, seeing virtually no sign of activity on the ground passing over the South Downs covered by some patchy mist before sighting a deserted Gatwick Airport

  then above Reigate they made visual contact with London

(To be continued)

Peter Hunter 2012

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