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Thompson’s Lost plimsole

Part Eight

Lady Violet Thrust, wife of the late Sir Algernon Thrust, Arctic explorer, War hero and wild food enthusiast, was the Chair of the Hallifield women’s Embroidery Guild who were now tasked with producing a ceremonial cushion on which was to be displayed the recently rediscovered golden plimsole.

Lady Thrust still maintained that air of genteel nobility gained from several decades of residency in India, where Sir Algernon had held many important and high ranking governmental offices.  Hallifield Hall had been featured on the pages of Country Life on a number of occasions but was now a shadow of its former glory. It had once been a shrine to all thing Indian and African and home to many memorable parties where old Colonials would rub shoulders with politicians and celebrities of the day. The hall grounds had once been home to a small menagerie of creatures such as Pygmy Elephants, Pygmy Hippopotami, Pygmy Mongooses and a Pygmy. Now with rising damp, rising costs and half a dozen grasping and avaricious offspring ready to sell off the remaining family silver, Lady Violet was reduced to employing a meager staff comprising a Housekeeper, a gardener handyman and an armed guard with orders to shoot should any of her children attempt to gain entry to the hall and grounds.

The Embroidery Guild comprised, Marjory Sponge (Secretary), Dorothy Cartwheel (Treasurer), Petunia Harbottle, Elenora Basecoat, Marian Hoare-Frost and Betty Grumble. All highly talented with needle and thread and all former agents of the Special Operations Executive, skilled in demolition, espionage and assassination. Marjory Sponge had been caught behind enemy lines in 1943 and had been held in a high security prison and tortured by the Gestapo on a daily basis. Unwilling to talk or reveal her contacts, Marjory made a daring escape from her captors by utilising the contents of a small vanity case that she had secreted about her person prior to capture. With a small silver toothpick and nail scissors, she had managed to work on the lock of her cell. With the small mirror she had been able to momentarily blind the guard, and with a lightening thrust, her nail file entered his jugular vein. Dressing herself in the guard’s uniform and boots, arming herself with his rifle and bayonet, Marjory made her way past a sleeping sentry and was then forced to belly crawl for over fifty metres around the perimeter of an open courtyard in order to evade a constantly moving searchlight. Having been initially interrogated in the prison guardroom, Marjory knew that this was the location of the keys to the main gates and had seen exactly where they were positioned on the key rack.  When she arrived at the guardroom there were two occupants, a radio operator and another guard. Marjory waited silently in the shadows. She knew instinctively that at some point, the guard would have to make his patrol. She heard the guardroom door open and close and then tensed as the sound of footsteps indicated that the guard was walking in her direction. Marjory tried to remain still and silent, but weeks of torture and a fifty metre belly crawl had taken their toll on her weakened body.  The guard must have heard Marjory breathing heavily as he was now only a few feet away from her. She instinctively felt for the handle of the bayonet which rested at her side.

“I don’t recognise you” said the guard, “Are you one of the new fellows?”

Marjory spoke German fluently and replied in as deep a voice as she could muster, “Yes”.

“I could hear your breathing from the other side of the courtyard, have you been running?”

“No” replied Marjory, “Asthma”.

“My God! We must be getting desperate if we are now being forced to recruit effeminate asthmatics with badly fitting uniforms”. “Do you have a lighter on you?”

Marjory fumbled in her pockets and luckily found a box of matches. “What do they call you?” he asked.  Marjory had to think fast. “Karl” she said.  He replied, “My younger brother is called Karl; they call me Stefan”.  As he bent forward to light his cigarette on the match that she was holding, his face became illuminated and she could now see that he was quite handsome, the sort of young man that under normal circumstances she might be attracted to. Stefan drew heavily on the cigarette; he tilted his head backwards as he blew the smoke into the chilly evening air. “Yes” she thought to herself, “probably, under different conditions”, but these weren’t those conditions and as Stefan now lay dead at her feet, his throat a gaping wound, Marjory only had the radio operator to deal with. With his back to the guardroom door and a set of headphones covering his ears he made an easy target. As Marjory approached him, bayonet in hand, she knocked against a side table and sent a bottle flying. As it smashed to the floor the radio operator spun round in his chair. Seeing the bayonet in her hand he rose from his chair but was quickly pulled back down by the headphones. Marjory was on him in an instant and now it was a fight for life. He grabbed her wrist and attempted to twist the bayonet away from his body. Marjory punched at his throat with her free hand causing him to momentarily lose his breath, still struggling, his hand instinctively went towards the alarm button. Marjory thrust the bayonet deep into his chest and before he could fall to the floor, she had grabbed the gate keys. The blaring siren had alerted the sleeping sentry who was now making his way towards the guardroom, also the searchlight sentry was making faster sweeps across the courtyard. Marjory leveled her rifle at the running sentry and fired. Climbing past him she rounded on the searchlight and took that out with a well-aimed shot. She could hear shouting and running footsteps as she rammed the key into the gate lock. At the far side of the courtyard several guards were emerging from the prison block. The gate was heavy, but Marjory was able to pull it closed behind her and to lock it from the outside.  She ran as fast as she could in her over-sized boots, darting down a small alleyway and several side streets until she came across a bicycle propped against some railings.

In a short while the prison was far behind her and luckily for her, this wasn’t a moonlit night. Soon she would be reunited with her contacts and back to the work that she came here for…….

To be continued:


Published by crispinunderfelt

All round good egg. Humanist and red wine drinker.

8 thoughts on “Thompson’s Lost plimsole

  1. Madge is proving quite a blood lusty lass. Also, like the name Marion Hoare- Frost. I recall seeing -this is true- the long-ago captain of the English (refined) Lady’s cricket team went by the moniker Rachel Heyhoe-Flint. You can’t make up this sort of upper-class naming.! Oh, yes, she was a Baroness as well. All very genteel and jolly hockey sticks.

    Liked by 1 person

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