|Royal Air Force Operations in the Middle East and North Africa, 1939-1943
Imperial War Museum
"Where'd you learn how to do this laddie?" O'Donnell asked.
"I worked for Hawker Siddeley before the war, Corporal. I'd still be there if it wasn't for the Huns going into Poland."
"I should have thought chaps like you would get a deferment, that's automatic for a war industry isn't it?"
"Wasn't drafted, I volunteered Corp, right after we learned that my brother had been killed in France. I wanted the infantry, like my brother, but the government decided that having me work on Hurricanes in the RAF would be just the thing. So here I am."
"Well, I for one am glad we've got you."
"So Corp," Frasier hesitated for a moment, unsure if he should be talking about the rumor he'd heard in the Other Ranks mess the other day, "are we really going off to Egypt?"
O'Donnell turned to the young airman and said, "Well, it ain't official as of yet, but yeah, we are. The Eyeties¹ are gettin' frisky, Mussolini claims that he's going to resurrect the Roman Empire, Egypt's his first stop."
"Think we'll see the Pyramids then?"
"Dunno lad, if we go it'll be to fight a war, not do any sightseeing, but ye never know. Ye never know."
Reginald Morley sat with his new wife, Janice Worthington-Morley, he took another sip of the champagne that she had managed to acquire and looked with longing at his lady, her face still showed the scars from her injuries received in a Luftwaffe bombing raid, but he rarely noticed them at all.
"Do you know when?" she asked him.
Distracted, Morley set his glass down on the table, "When what, love?"
"Egypt, when are you lot off to Egypt?" she had a surprise for him, but wasn't sure how to broach the topic.
"Ah, Saturday next. We're off by ship, apparently we're transitioning to Spitfires once we get there. Don't know where the aircraft are coming from, we'll probably still be in Hurricanes for a while. Not that I mind, the Spitfire is a sweet aircraft, but I know the Hurricane inside and out. I like flying it and it's kept me alive so far."
Morley took another sip of champagne then said, "You know Janice, that you can rely on my Mum and Da' for anything and everything while I'm out East, right?" He noted his wife's nervous smile, then set his glass down.
"I assure you love, my parents think the world of you ..."
Janice interrupted him with, "I've had a posting of my own you know."
"What? Where? Dear God I hope the service isn't sending you off to ..."
"Cairo darling, I'm going to Cairo, to work in the headquarters there."
Morley sat for a moment, flabbergasted, "Cairo, why would they send you to ... Oh Lord, you asked for it, didn't you?" Morley sounded upset.
"Of course I did, d'ya think you men are the only ones worried about stopping Hitler and Mussolini?" Worthington-Morley had an edge to her voice which Morley recognized, he had no desire to fight with his new wife.
"Of course not, love. Just that I worry about you, England is safer and ..."
As he said that, the air raid sirens were going off in the near distance. Another German raid was inbound.
Both realized that as the world sank further into darkness, there were fewer and fewer safe places to be.
¹ British slang term for the Italians.