The Hut

by BobbyG

 

Chapter 5: Dunkirk

They settled down for the long trip to Dover. Andrew had Spike with him and showed him how to steer on course for two hours and then Simon and Tony took over to sail for their two all the way to Dover. As there was no seating or bunks all they had was a few blankets to sit on. Both pairs when not steering would keep an eye on the engines.

     Simon and Tony went below to check the Listers which gave an opportunity to cuddle in together and spend some time kissing whilst leaning against a bulkhead to steady themselves. Simon broke away and looked into Tony's eyes.  

     "Everything alright Tony?" He yelled out. 

     "Sort of but I want to talk to you Simon, there is something I need to say." He yelled back. Simon was worried and seeing it Tony smiled at him.  

     "It’s got nothing to do with us dopey, I love you and will never stop. No it’s just something I need to say to you and get it off my chest." They went up onto the aft deck with a couple of blankets and sat down leaning up against the wheel house. 

     They were private enough to sit close and hold hands. Both of them were dressed the same, thick white polo neck sweaters thick black trousers tucked inside long white socks. They wore Wellington boots and the socks turned over the top of them. Each had a warm woollen hat on. All four had a donkey jacket that hung in the wheel house and on the same hook was a cork life jacket each. Spike was dressed the same way, but after a row with his dad, Andrew was in his naval uniform as a Lieutenant Commander which Simon knew would make the authorities in Dover see that this was not an amateur crew, well, one of them wasn't. 

     "So what's the problem Tony, you got me worried." 

     "I told you it’s not about us, more like what you will think about me. Just let me ask you this. Do you REALLY love me?" 

     "As sure as my dad loved my mum. I think I know where this is going, you think we should stop and you are going to fuck off and hope we get through the war and if we do see if we are the same after it, right?" 

     "Wrong. Sensible people would say we are stupid to fall in love now, but they would of course condemn us as well because we are both blokes. I know my mum and dad wouldn't, but that's the sort of people they are. No, this is nothing to do with us being in love, it’s about what you will think about me. Simon... I know I can’t kill anyone, I can’t join the army or whatever in case I get into a situation that I would have to. I just know that, it’s just... well you know... WRONG!" For the first time Simon thought about having to kill someone and now that Tony had said that it made him think about killing other human beings. 

     "I don't know what to say except most people will think the same as you. My dad told me once that he did not know if he killed anyone personally, but knew his ship must have killed many. He took over a 20mm canon once when the gunner was wounded and fired on a E boat that was attacking his destroyer. He just thought about the men in his ship who had died during action and not thinking about what was happening on the German ships. He was at the Battle of Jutland and he told me many men died on both sides, but really the only men he ever saw die were our boys and the only Germans he ever saw were ones they pulled out of the sea." Simon squeezed Tony's hand in an attempt to comfort the pair of them. 

     "So he never actually saw the Germans he and the others on our ships killed? I know it’s no different, but what I don't think I can do is actually see the man I am about to kill. That makes me a coward, maybe I won’t mind killing but not face to face." 

     "You are no coward and stop saying it. Tony if we are all honest none of us wants to kill anyone, but there is going to be a lot more of it and only a small group of men have bought it like this. That bunch of bastards have already turned a lot of men into killers. None of us knows how we will react if it comes to a fight, but my guess is that if any of us find ourselves in one, we will kill even if it’s to stop ourselves from being killed. We won’t know until it happens." 

     "I guess you’re right. You don't think I'm a coward then?" 

     "No more than I am and I have no idea how I will behave when I get involved, nor does Spike. I'm glad you said all that, it’s made me think, but one thing I am really certain about is that I will never think it was a mistake falling in love with you, it just happened and all I wish for is for us and Spike to come through and start again. You and I will have a lot more to fight over when this is all over and that I'm REALLY scared about. Fuck knows how we will manage after the war, two blokes in love and could be jailed because we are." 

     "We will find a way Simon, we have to. Still, I am sure about one thing." 

     "What's that?" 

     "We get to the hut as soon as we can and carry out the promise we gave Spike?" They looked around them to make sure the other two had not come out on deck. They were private and could give one another a kiss. 

     They sat quietly together still holding hands knowing many thousands throughout the entire world must have been thinking the same as them. Meanwhile, there were a few thousand at Dunkirk who would be wondering if they would ever get back home, or get killed waiting for rescue. What was about to happen was nothing short of a miracle, the British and French were on the brink of being overrun and captured. But, Operation Dynamo was about to begin and the little ships would soon be on their way, all 700 of them. 

     "Peace" was performing well and by the time they had reached Selsey Point they had joined up with five other boats and they all sailed together towards Dover. There was still 75 miles to go and Andrew estimated they would arrive between 9 and 10pm. He would be out by an hour as the weather deteriorated and they had to reduce speed. Simon and Tony stayed together throughout the sailing and even enjoyed being tossed about and gave them some excuse to hang on to one another. Andrew and Spike grabbed hold of hand rails of course and Spike at least noticed the other two hanging onto one another. He smiled to himself and wished he could hang on to Simon as well. 

     At long last Dover harbour came into sight and it was a relief to get into calm waters. There would now be a long wait as they had to take their turn in queuing up to be refuelled and then find a mooring. When that had been done Spike and Tony were told to stay with the boat and Andrew and Simon went off for a briefing. It had been extremely well organised despite the short time to get everything together. Simon had been right and would not let his dad forget that it was him who made his father get back into uniform. The organisers were asking HIM for advice and at the same time was first in the queue for various supplies that were available like more first aid packages, food, fresh water and four five gallon fuel cans. That meant, with the other cans they already had, it would give them another 50 gallons so they would be able to stay out longer before they would have to return to Dover for a complete refuel. 

     "You will be towed across the channel and once you are a mile off shore you will cast off, you will see the lads already waiting off shore in long lines right up to their necks. That will mean they will be cold and very wet and a lot heavier than normal. They will need to be pulled on board and as they will be soaked, be prepared to have to bail out or drill holes in the saloon flooring and hope your bilge pumps can coup. Chaps, there will also be quite a lot of injured men, we can't advise how you get them on board, but just want to warn you, you will see some really bad things. Good luck and keep safe." 

     Simon and his father got back to "Peace" and after storing their supplies in the wheel house and something to eat, tried to settle down for a couple of hours before they were called to meet their tug that would take them to Dunkirk. They were all in the aft saloon and although Simon and Tony could not get up to any mischief they laid as close as they could get to one another. They laid on their sides facing each other. There was enough light to see and they just stared and smiled and the looks told each of their love. Nobody slept that well. 

     There were 10 boats being towed at no more than 5 knots and Andrew was becoming frustrated. The weather was calm and he could sail on full power at twice the speed they were going now. 

     "If it stays like this I will cast off as soon as we can see the beach lads. That ok with you?" 

     "Daft question, course it is." Said Walsh the younger. They had discussed how they would get the troops on board and had secured knotted ropes to be hung over each side of the boat. Two decking planks had been removed from the forward and aft cabins to drain water off. They had agreed that Spike and Simon would help the troops on board, Tony would tell them where to go and sit as they came on board. Andrew thought they could take 40 men on each trip as they had extra space and weight because "Peace" had not been fitted out. He would be at the wheel and hold the boat in position while the troops were helped on board, not as easy as it seems, tide, currant and wind makes a lot of difference. 

     Simon had his binoculars glued to his eyes and as soon as he could see the coast he called to his father that it was in sight.  

     "Bloody hell! There are loads of ships and one has been hit!" He pointed and the others followed. There was a huge plume of smoke coming up from what turned out to be a Royal Navy destroyer and Simon could see hundreds abandoning ship. "I'm starting up boys, cast off when I say. We have got to get to those lads." Andrew had made sure they were the last in line on the tow and when he was sure his engines had warmed up he told Simon to slip the line. Now free he opened the throttles wide and went at full speed towards the hundreds of men in the water. Other boats also broke away and headed for the destroyer. 

     It was a dreadful sight as all four of them saw several bodies face down who had only just got on the ship thinking they were safe.  

     "Ok boys just concentrate on what we have to do. Try and block it out." Andrew knew that was going to be impossible and all he could do was hope the boys would coup. They all knew this was not going to be easy, the horror of it all had just hit them in the face. 

     They pulled as many as they could out and with the water beginning to lap over the sides Andrew had no choice but to leave those still in the water and get to the nearest ship, he guessed they had about 60+ on board all clinging together. Still, at least there were more boats now and many more men would be saved. 

     They transferred the lads onto a French ship which had lowered all their life boats and were pulling hard to get to the men and returned to pick up more, but it was hard as once again they had to pass many who were beyond saving.  

     Four times they made that trip before there was no one else left alive to pick up. Andrew could now steer them towards the beach and get to the nearest line of troops waiting to be picked up. After the first pickups from the destroyer he knew he could take 50 at a time and stay afloat. They all did the jobs that had been worked out, Andrew at the wheel, Simon and Spike pulling the troops out and Tony telling them where to go. It worked very well and were encouraged by the humour coming from the lads who had been there for hours waiting. 

     "Hello chaps! I'm travelling first class, wine to my cabin please!" 

     "Don't tell me missus you picked me up, she will only give me a bollickin for not bringing anything back for her."  

     "Hurry back lads, I'm dying for a piss!"  

     The crew of the "Peace" could only marvel at their good humour because it was not just a matter of waiting to be picked up, they all had to endure the attacks from the German air force and many still on the beaches were being bombed and strafed and many more would die before this was all over. This little crew hauled the men out and at the same time listened to the attacking aircraft, gun fire and bombs exploding, the small arms return fire and the screams of those that were badly injured or dying. By now Dunkirk harbour had been destroyed and it was impossible for naval ships to get in. It was all down to the little ships now, there was absolutely no other option. 

     They had all wondered where the hell the RAF were, but in fact they were engaging the Germans well away from Dunkirk and did a great job in heading off many of them and shooting down quite a few in the process. 

     It was when they were on their forth rescue trip they bought on board a number of badly injured troops. It took some time to get them on and get them on the upper decks. They had to ignore the screams of pain as some of the most badly injured were manhandled on board. It was a horrible experience made even worse as some died in transit. On this particular trip a young Corporal from the medical corps came on board and he turned out to be a God send as he tried his best to look after the injured during the transfer to waiting ships. It was far from being a quick operation as they had to queue waiting their turn to go long side and having to wait for a sling to be lowered to get the injured and dead off, able bodied men would climb up the nets hanging over the ships side. After the last one was winched up the corporal went to Andrew.  

     "If you would like me to stay and help with the wounded I will be happy to sir." Andrew thanked him and told him he would be invaluable.  

     "I could help you as well." Tony said. "Cheers mate, that would be good. I'm Gary Masters, let’s check out the medical supplies." Tony introduced himself and would work with Gary, he would also discover his own wartime calling. Both he and Simon noted how incredibly good looking he was and so confident and self-assured. 

     Gary Masters had come to the same conclusion about the three boys, but in particular Tony. Despite what they were all going through and the enormity of the whole situation, Gary could not help noticing just how beautiful Tony was and seemed so "innocent" and he wondered, a "possible?" 

     It was now getting dark and Andrew and Simon were calculating how many more trips they could make before having to go back to Dover to refuel. Simon told his father that they should keep three of the fuel cans in reserve to make the return trip. They had used a lot of fuel as Andrew ignored consumption to sail the fastest he could to get to the waiting ships and get the troops off. They also used a lot just waiting in line to off load and it was becoming a concern. It was taking about an hour to do a complete round trip. 

     "Ok, how about one more trip and then go back, pick up 30 more and go back to Dover?" 

     "That should be fine dad, but we will have to go easy on the way back. Still, the weather is fine and that's good for us." 

     They picked up 30 to take back and with Simon at the wheel he set his course and they all settled down for the night time trip, it would take 4/5 hours. On board were five injured troops which would take all of Gary's and Tony's time, they would also use up all the dressings to care for the two most badly injured men. Tony would never say it, but he was in his element and now felt he had a real value in this little crew. Gary was very good and Tony was happy being with him. 

They were together the whole way back and the more Gary talked the more Tony thought about what he could do when he joined up. 

     It was an uneventful trip, but Simon was relieved to get back as they were down to the last couple of gallons when they finally moored up and the engines were turned off. All the lads shook hands with the crew and went ashore. The injured were taken away and Gary once again spoke to Andrew.  

     "Can I stay with you sir, I know I should get back, but I think I would be of more use if you say I can stay." Gary really did not want to leave the "Peace," he hoped to be able to spend more time getting to know Tony a little better and did not want to lose the opportunity. Andrew slapped him on the back.  

     "Too bloody sure Gary, you will be more than useful."  

     Andrew told them they would not start back until everyone had rested. Gary suggested he and Tony go off to try to get more medical supplies which Andrew agreed to while Simon and Spike went to get food and water. Andrew stayed with the boat and waited for a refuelling spot. 

     "It’s great working with you Tony, have you thought about joining the Medical Corps? I think you are a natural." He didn't think that at all, he just thought compliments would warm Tony to him. 

     "You think so? Thanks Gary I will definitely think about it now." 

     "Trust me, I know a good man when I see one and you are both good and a great looking young man if you don't mind me saying." Tony beamed and could not wait to talk to Simon about the possibility joining the MC. 

     Simon and Spike had just finished checking the engines over and were now in the wheel house when they saw Tony and Gary coming back in deep conversation and it was obvious Tony seemed very happy with whatever Gary was talking about and they noted that Tony seemed not to object when Gary put an arm around Tony's shoulders while they laughed about something Gary had said. Tony was too involved with what Gary was saying and took no notice of the arm around his shoulders. Gary got it wrong in thinking Tony was happy his arm was there and Simon was so very pissed off it was! 

     Five hours later they cleared the harbour and were on their way back to Dunkirk.  The trip back was uneventful and Gary took the opportunity of cornering Tony to give him as much information as he could in dealing with injuries and the first aid that could make the difference between life and death. It was all very good and Tony lapped it up, Gary was also very happy as he felt he was pulling Tony in. He had done it many times to other young handsome men and with the result he was aiming for.  

     They got to work with the hundreds of other small ships and once again made a number of rescues and deliveries to the waiting ships a half mile off shore. They actually lost count of the number of times they made a round trip. Incredibly the weather stayed good even though normally at this time of year it would have been quite rough. Just this alone enabled many more to be bought off the beaches than anyone had hoped for. They did two more trips back to Dover and by the eighth day they knew that the next trip back to Dunkirk would be their last. During all this time Gary played Tony very carefully and did not push onto him too much, he already knew that he had lost a few potential fucks in the past and had learnt by his mistakes. However, he was fairly confident that the attention he gave Tony from a medical training point of view, he would not have a clue as to his main objective if he could get him into the Corps. That should be easy enough, the army had been looking for new men and women since the war started. 

     "Just look at that Mr Walsh! Empty beach and all because of us, and a little help from the others I suppose!" Spike had every reason to be proud, as of course did the many who were involved in this incredible rescue.  

     They would not know for some time that those organising this evacuation thought that about 70,000 could be got out.  The evacuation had lasted nine days and by the time the last man had been taken off a total of 192,226 British troops had been evacuated and 139,000 French troops. Simon tried to work out how many "Peace" had rescued and came up with a rough score of 800/1000+, they would never know for sure.  

     A German invasion of Briton was still a possibility of course, but at least there would be an army to fight them with even if just about every weapon had to be left behind. America would come to the rescue and send billions of dollars’ worth of war materials and Britain would not stop paying for them until the 31st Dec 2006. They would also, eventually, join in the fight, but if it had not been for the evacuation of Dunkirk which allowed an army to defend the country and winning the Battle of Britain which was soon to follow, Hitler would be free to invade and no American would get anywhere near the country if he did. With Britain occupied there would be no invasion of France by the allies. 

     For the first time since they had first arrived at Dunkirk they could relax a little and just cruise back home. There were 20 men with them; a couple were injured, but not seriously. Tony and Simon at long last had a few minutes to themselves when they were in the wheel house together.  

     "Feel good Tony?" He asked. 

     "Too bloody sure I do handsome. I know we have seen things that will never leave us, but think of what we have done for hundreds of men. All of us can be proud to bits and Simon you know I told you about my worries about having to kill someone? Well, it may still happen, but I'm going to join the Medical Corps and hope to save lives, not take them. Gary thinks I will make a great medic." 

     "For someone who doesn't say much, that was quite a lot... Tony?" 

     "What?" 

     "Oh nothing, it’s not important." 

     "Ok, but if you were going to ask me if I love you, you don't have to. We will both be going to join up soon and we will meet lots of different blokes and I have no doubt become friends with many of them, but NOBODY will ever be what you are to me Simon, we will just have to trust one another and don't say it couldn't happen because that's what I could say as well. I love you and have no doubt whatsoever I still will be when we get this shit out of the way." 

     "Tony?" 

     "What now?" He laughed at Simon. 

     "Want to go to the hut when we get back?" Tony could not reply as Gary came in the wheel house and stopped Simon saying what was on his mind. Gary was very experienced and just looking at these two it was obvious to him they were "involved." He smiled to himself as he thought about the possibility of splitting them up once he had Tony in bed and gagging for more! Gary was about to make an even better impression on Tony. He may be a total shit, but also a great medic. 

     It was a beautiful day and had this been peace time they would have enjoyed it much more, but they could be excused, after all they had been through, not to be taking much notice of what was going on around them. It would be Simon's binoculars that would bring them back to reality. Andrew was at the helm, Spike down in the engine room and Tony and Gary chatting to the men. Simon was happily sitting on top of the wheel house looking at the Cliffs of Dover in the far distance. He scanned round and the next thing he saw was a Messerschmitt 109 coming straight at them! Simon yelled out at the top of his voice. 

     "DAD! 109! HARD TO STARBOARD!" Andrew threw the wheel round to head straight into the attack and at the same time everyone dived onto the deck. Simon scrambled down and got behind the wheel house and as he did he heard the fighter screaming at them and then the gun fire. It flew over and all hell broke loose. It took just a few seconds and the attack was over, incredibly only one was injured, but it was bad and it was Andrew. What they would never know was the 109 pilot had no cannon shells left and on this attack used his last burst of machine gun ammunition otherwise it could have possibly killed the whole lot of them. He would fly home and possibly collect an Iron Cross for his bravery in attacking a small pleasure craft. 

     Simon got into the wheelhouse and screamed for Gary. His father's face was covered in blood with a gaping wound on the left side of his head. There was another wound to the left shoulder as well as glass splinters in his face. Simon resigned himself for the worse and just stood looking down at him while Gary went to work. Tony took Simon outside.  

     "Come on Simon, let Gary work on your dad." Simon stood there looking on while Gary went about his work and the boat without a helmsman. Spike came and stood next to Simon and put his arm around him and Tony went to help Gary. Simon had no idea of time and he could not move, but at last Spike spoke.  

     "You are in charge now Simmo and we have to get to Dover as quick as we can." Simon got a grip of himself and stepped over his father and took the wheel and got back on course and at the same time opened the throttles wide and that's where they would stay. 

     Together Gary and Tony worked to try to stop the blood flow, but by now he had lost a lot of it and the wheel house was covered. It was like a crime scene and all Simon could do was concentrate on the compass and make sure he stayed on course. Spike stood next to him the whole way and would not move. Some of the lads asked if there was anything they could do, but there was nothing and they went back and prayed. Andrew was in Gary's hands quite literally as he squeezed the huge rip in Andrew's head together. Tony did as Gary asked and wiped the blood from Andrew's face and took over from him as they pulled the wound together. 

     Simon knew it would be at least another two hours before they made Dover and with no radio he could not call for help. That two hours was the longest of his young life and all the time expecting to be told his father had gone. All he had to cling onto was he knew his father was a tough man and had already survived a terrible injury when his leg had been shattered during the Great War, but of course he was much younger and fitter then. He braved himself to turn round and looked at this scene of his father lying unconscious with blood all over the place. Gary and Tony were still working, but Simon was sure the flow had lessened and asked Gary.  

     "Not too bad Simon, at least it’s not getting any worse. Keep going, your dad is made of strong stuff." 

     At last Dover was only a mile off and at least Simon was thinking.  

     "Spike, take the wheel." He moved out of the way and Spike grabbed the wheel and watched Simon as he switched the spot light on and directed it at the harbour and sent an SOS. Dash Dash Dash-Dot Dot Dot-Dash Dash Dash. He kept that up and then told Spike to take over. It seemed no one had seen them, but as he approached the harbour he saw a number of men looking at them through binoculars. 

     "Spike, use the megaphone and tell them we need an ambulance." Spike yelled out to the men standing on the pier over and over again. The other lads on the boat were also shouting, but maybe this did it, "ARE YOU FUCKING LOT DEAF?! GET AN AMBULANCE... NNNOW!" At last someone took notice and they saw him run off. There had been a lot of ambulance movements over the past nine days, but there was much less so now as nearly all the troops were back. 

     They had a bit of luck in finding a mooring free and Simon took "Peace" to it and Spike tied her up. The silence that fell over the boat when he turned the engines off was deafening. Simon could now concentrate fully on his father. "How is he?" Gary and Tony looked up at Simon, they looked dreadful as they were covered in his father’s blood.  

     "Honestly Simon it’s looking a bit better, we have managed to stop the flow, but only because we managed to keep the wound together. When he gets to hospital they will be able to clamp it properly. Don't know about the shoulder though we have not been able to get to it except to get a pad on, it’s pretty deep and still bleeding. Still, the really good bit is he has a strong pulse and a good colour, all good signs. I really feel he is going to make it Simon. Is that the ambulance?" It was and everyone breathed a sigh of relief. As Andrew was taken off the boat Simon looked at Spike.  

     "You off then?" 

     "No chance, I'm staying here until things calm down a bit and when I know your dad is ok, I will think about going. There's plenty of time Simon, now fuck off and say hello from me when he wakes up." 

     "Cheers Spike. I don't know how to thank you enough." Spike smiled at Simon and went down memory lane, all the way back to the football match and what had happened between them after it.  

     "Fuck off and look after your dad." 

     Simon, Tony and Gary were sitting next to Andrew's bed looking at the dressings that almost covered his face. As Gary had told him, Andrew had the wound cleaned and 15 clamps had been attached, they were thin spring metal strips shaped like a horse shoe, at the end of the strips was a hook. Pliers opened the clamp and when it was in place the pliers were released and the clamp closed with the hooks digging into each side of the wound pulling it together. Once that was done, the required number of stitches were inserted and in Andrew's case, 50 of them. The bullet remained in his shoulder and after cleaning the wound it would stay like that until Andrew's condition improved and be strong enough for it to be taken out. The doctors were happy with him and were confident he would be out in a couple of weeks, maybe three. The relief on all of them was obvious. Simon could not take his eyes off of his father, but spoke to Tony and Gary.  

     "Thanks both of you, I'm sure you saved dad's life by what you did on the way back." He paused and really did not want to say the next bit, but felt he had to.  

     "You make a good team." He looked up at them and wished they were not smiling like they were.  

     Simon stayed with his father all night and Gary and Tony went back to the boat to try to sleep. They got on board and saw Spike cleaning the wheel house out, it was almost free of blood; he must have worked the whole time they were away. They all set too and by the time even more hours had passed the whole boat was as clean as they could get it. They had removed the glass from the front of the wheel house and got rid of it and then they all settled down and managed to sleep, they were exhausted. Simon meanwhile slumped in his chair fast asleep next to his dad. 

     Tony and Gary left the boat the next day to walk to the hospital talking about all that they had experienced and wondering how Andrew was. They had to wait in a room while Andrew was being attended to and even Simon had to leave. He was about to go into the same room as Tony and Gary, but stopped and listened when he heard Gary talking to Tony. 

     "Can I say something?" 

     "Course." 

     "Well, please don't take this the wrong way, but it’s what Simon said about us being a good team. I don't know about you, but I liked that and he is right, we do and I would love us to be able to work together. What do you think?"  

     Tony looked at Gary and smiled at him, he was not about to declare his love for Simon, coming out in those days was very risky, so he did not mention anything about his and Simon's love for each other, but he was also thinking that Gary could help him now that he was sure what he wanted to be in this war. 

     "Simon is right, you and I worked well together and I think I want to join the Medical Corps and do what you do." Tony had no idea of Gary's main aim and if he could help him get into the Corps he would be half way there. 

     "I will help in any way I can, if you give me your address I will write to you and help get you in.  The army will be screaming out for medics. We will be great together and I don't mean just Medical Corps mates either." Tony did not have a clue how to reply to that last bit and instead thanked Carl and gave him his address. 

     Andrew was awake and Simon a much relieved young man. Andrew Walsh was indeed made of strong stuff. 

     "Has Paul gone?" Andrew asked his son.  

     "He's staying with "Peace" there has been some looting and he won’t leave until we get back. The harbour master says it would be best to get the boat back home otherwise there will be no boat to take back. I have to get her back dad, what do you think?" 

     "I don't want you to sail with just you two, would Spike go back with you?" 

     "It would not be fair to ask him." Simon turned to Tony.  

     "Are you coming back with me? I'm going as soon as I know dad is ok, but you may have other plans like join the Medical Corps?" Andrew did not wait for Tony to answer.  

     "You can’t sail on your own Simon, I forbid it." 

     "Tough dad, there is nothing you can do about it. I'm not leaving without "Peace" and if I have to do it on my own I will." 

     "Is there any chance I can say something?" The tone in Tony's voice said he was a bit pissed off.  

     "I'm going back with you Simon, whatever way we go. I'm just surprised you didn't think I would." He looked hard at Simon; Simon looked away and turned to his dad.  

     "If you are ok tomorrow I will set off very early Friday, about 3am, that will get us back in daylight, so don't argue, everything will be fine, but it won’t be if I leave "Peace" here and go by train." Andrew was too tired to argue and had no choice but to agree. 

     Spike smiled at Simon when he Tony and Gary got back to the boat. Simon was more than pleased she looked so good.  

     "Christ thanks lads, I thought I was coming back to what it was. Thanks a million."  

     "Right boys I have to go, it’s been great meeting you all, we will have some stories to tell that's for sure." Gary turned to Tony.

     "I will write to you when I find out the best way for you to join up. I already know you will do well and I could even be training you, as Simon said you and I are a great team." They all shook hands and thanked Gary again and watched as he walked off towards the harbour gates. Gary smiled to himself as he mentally put Tony on top of his conquest list and at the same time Tony turned and looked at Simon.  

     "We need to talk, NOW." Spike knew what was coming even if he was not sure what all this was about, he had a good idea though as he had seen the attention Gary had given to Tony when they were at sea and needed to get the hell out of there.  

     "Fuck, this sounds bad, I'm off to find a cup of tea, see you two when your war is over, but don't forget we are on a boat called "Peace?". 

     "You just listen to me Mr Fucking Simon "got it all wrong" Walsh. I have told you before how I feel about you and how I love you and said I will NEVER look at another bloke in the same way as I look at you, so what's all this, "I will take "Peace" back on my own shit about? All Gary is doing is help me get into the Medical Corps and if you think there is something going on, then you are NOT the boy I fell in love with. For CHRISTS sake how many more times do I have to tell you?" Simon looked at Tony and felt a bit stupid over his reaction to what he had heard and had only assumed what Gary's intentions were. 

     "Sorry, it’s just that I thought Gary was coming on to you, sorry again." Tony looked up at Simon.  

     "We have been through a lot and we are all over tired and maybe not thinking too well. We need to get back soon and go back to work. Your dad will be fine, he won’t suffer too much more because he is so tough. Simon your dad is one of the nicest men I have ever met and his son is the one bloke in my life I can’t do without. I love you, you dim sod and one day you will get that into your thick head. Only ONE of us will fuck us up and it won’t be me."  

     Spike would be another hour before he risked going back to the boat and in all that time two young men where cuddled together in the aft cabin kissing in a rather homosexual manner. 

     Simon and Spike went to the hospital leaving Tony to look after "Peace." Spike wanted to say goodbye to Andrew.  

     "Thanks for everything you have done Spike and I wish you well. Stay safe son and good luck, your father will become very proud of you I am sure, come back home on leave and look us up sometime." Spike, despite supposedly being the hard man shook Andrew's hand and at the same time rubbed the tears away. 

     Back on the boat there were more tears as they stood in the saloon cuddled up together. All the words had been said and now Spike had to get out. With one last look and a smile he jumped onto the pier and left the two nicest people in his life and was still in love with one of them. Spike was off to give Hitler a bad time. 

     "Right, you are sure she is ready?" 

     "Yes dad." 

     "Fuel topped up?" 

     "Yes dad." 

     "Food and water?" 

     "Yes dad." 

     "You got the hospital phone number?" 

     "Yes dad."  

     There was a long silence and the boys wanted to get out, this was getting difficult. 

     "Take care lads, please take care." They both said their goodbyes and left. 

     Back on the boat they tried to settle down cuddled up together, but sleep was impossible. It was 1am. 

     "Fuck it Tony, shall we go now?" 

     "Yes skipper, let’s go home." Simon started the engines and let them warm up while the two of them checked the boat.  

     All seemed well and with Simon at the wheel, Tony took the lines off. They were on their way, but even on this trip they could not stay out of trouble.