Gertie's Path

1st book in NEW series – Gertie’s Path:

Not So Safely Forgotten (England – Spring 1942)

“OK, so they’re ALL over-here! Now what are we meant to do with ‘em?”
The Americans had started to arrive by the truckload and Marm was not impressed! She had enough to deal with already: there was a Spring Bazaar to arrange, the village hall was falling down around their ears and the church warden had lost the vestry keys again! It certainly didn’t need those Americans to go barging about the place complaining about country corners jumping out at them!

Meanwhile, up at the RAF hospital, Matron had her own priorities: “keeping the nurses on their toes, the Lads on the mend and the doctors in their place!”

As for what those Lads were getting up to through the library … Matron soon caught wind of it and was on the war-path. “Better to have it out, than packed away and fermenting!?”

With a truck-load of surplus for the ironmonger, ‘Jeepers’ found himself with a to-boot too far. There were amends to be made and the Post Mistress knew how to silence Sarg!

This is the first book in the Gertie’s Path series and is set in a small Lincolnshire village during World War Two, where a spirited community adapt to wartime ways and the new RAF hospital. With so much to deal with it was no wonder that plenty in the village had shrugged that lanky errand boy off as ‘can’t make him out’, but all too soon they realised they couldn’t afford to waste anything … not even Gertie!

Further Titles becoming available in the Gertie’s Path series:

Bottled Up & Knuckling Down (England – Autumn/Winter 1943)

“Deep mud and rough valleys – ripe for rash thinking, but winter and minefields are enough to give any man cause to hunker.”

The Italian Insights (Italy – Spring 1944)

… ready to ‘fetch Freddie’ … and maybe a few other errands, with the help of the local Signore and Mi’Lady Maria, by way of Cassino!

Mountain Goats and Machine Guns (Italy – Summer 1944)

Fighting through the final battle of Monte Cassino and further … from ‘Mudlarks and Mercy’ to ‘Briefcases, blackmail and the business of those American hostages’.

Nothing but Guts and Gruff (Italy – Autumn 1944)

Apennine and over, encountering enemies and allies and those yet-to-decide! From a ‘Raid on rats with a tale to tell’ to the ‘Murky business in the Marradi forest’ … “OK lads, lets get this done!

Brilliance and Blisters (North Africa – Winter 1944)

From Florence to Cairo to Cara and the Benghazi Bluff. An August meeting waiting for a signal, it was a bumpy start of tightropes and timing: then came down to ‘Tourists, Tauregs and a turn-of-speed’ before a ‘Flourish of idiots’ and the ‘Most Bazaar by far!’

The Biscuit Tin Summer (England – Summer 1942)

Allowances would have to be made. “He’s American. Ahhh, that would explain it” … but only so far.

It began with Matron having ‘a bit of a morning.’ The RAF hospital needed to accommodate the Americans and some delicate handling between trolleys and translations were called for.

There was news from Malta: the convoys were getting clobbered, but at least Churchill and Roosevelt could knock a few heads together! Though not-such-good news coming from Tobruk. Back home, Bracket was a dab-hand with the KP: “whilst-you’re-at-it Lads.”

No one was prepared to give the whole story of the Brag and the Dare, but the ‘challenge’ stood nonetheless. There was only one thing to do: “gilly-it,” at least until the Americans stopped looking. There were doubts and decoys in all directions! The forfeit was a cooked breakfast … and the village took the canteen van to-boot.

It took Mrs Toombs to winkle out the confession and the Post Mistress to make the call: twenty minutes, three stripes, one dance and Rusty was leading!

“The paths are always there, heart-paths and life-paths, nature knows how to take care of them … all you need to do is find your way.”

Restless Torches (England and further – Autumn/Winter 1942)

Country wisdom: if you want to know how to fix something, don’t wait until it breaks!

Malta was holding on and there was news that Monty and Rommel were duking it out in the Western Desert. There were rumours of Operation Torch starting to light up hopes for the North Africa Campaign, too.

Doc Dook wasn’t one to miss an opportunity. He didn’t waste time either. ‘Flapping Jack’ was ambitious, ‘Maltese Mike’ was furious, and Gertie was restless: “We’ll see Rommel gets that message from your Malta-mates.” There was an ambulance-crew-shaped space on the hospital ship. Mike wanted back ‘in’ on the fight and Jack wanted ‘out’ of the office … and “We both knew that work-bench wasn’t going to keep you home.”

Gertie earned his gills, but bounced back ready for double-duty before dry land and deep trouble.

By the time they got to Algiers they’d acquired a reluctant American truck driver, an intriguing briefcase, two Italian POWs, a German motorbike … and an abiding respect for Aunt Luci’s talents. But the ‘eye-opener’ was the tall blue stranger called Freddie coming with the fuel … and a suggestion.

“Good grief, Gertie, what have you got us into?”

The Tunisian Turnaround (North Africa – Spring/Summer 1943)

The Yanks were reckless, the French were unpredictable, the Italians were unreliable and the Germans were relentless.

Jack had his maps and aspirations, Mike had his rifle and the memory of those Maltese airfields, and Gertie had his satchel with that battered old biscuit tin, a wide brimmed slouch hat and silver bangles on his wrist. “You’re expecting contact en route?” It always interested their tall Taureg ‘guide’ who asked the real questions. “Hell yeah!”

The mountains and the sandstorms weren’t going to stop them and the desert-pirates were neatly dealt with, collecting up a stranded professor along the way of a camel race, before a nifty bit of negotiating gave them safe passage through the skirmish.

They were running on fumes, but Kessarine was within their sights, a rough crawl and a screw-driver put paid to the crates on the runway. Mike’s ‘message’ was delivered!

After that the heading was Tunis and the ‘Longstop.’ They retrieved ‘Battered Bess’ and Gertie found his ledge. “You’ve come a long way from those gentle lanes of home, haven’t you lad?”

As for that American officer driving them into Tunis? There was no way he was qualified to deal with a story like that!