It was seventy years since the squadron last flew together. Today only five of them had shuffled in to the hotel, each one of them using a walking aid, but Sally at reception saw how their faces lit up as they clocked each other. There was Edward next to the piano, Charles warming himself by the fire, Pete propping the bar up, Joe still trying to chat the girls up. Then there was Douglas, he had been the one who sent them up, then wrote to the family when they failed to return. Sally had never been able to get Douglas to smile. It was as if he still carried the weight of each pilots death on his shoulders.
Today Sally’s daughter was helping out at the hotel. Well helping out, maybe that was the wrong word, for Annie was in a wheelchair. As Annie’s wheelchair clipped Pete, Douglas’s face lit up; as he said, watch out old chap, the German airforce might have missed you, but that wee lass near took you out.