Submission Details

Post Mortem - The Life and Labours of Will Franklin
Post Mortem - The Life and Labours of Will Franklin
James Davidson
Historical
Yes - full manuscript is available


Freedom has many difficulties and democracy is not perfect. But we have never had to put a wall up to keep our people in to prevent them from leaving us.” John F Kennedy, Berlin 1963. It has taken time for the Green family to come to terms with the loss of Hannah Franklin. After such a turbulent period, scars remain, notably the ongoing legacy of Hitler’s diaries. While studying for his PhD, Alex discovers that the controversies in his family history do not stop at the Second World War. In 1962, as the Wall divides Berlin and the world faces nuclear destruction, it is clear that his Grandfather – Will Franklin, has a deep secret. Sergeant Franklin is appointed to ready Spandau Prison for the prisoners who will inhabit the decrepit building after the Nuremburg Trials. He is allocated to oversee the welfare of Number Seven - Rudolf Hess. Hess controls the transfer of information within Spandau Prison resulting in the spread of propaganda amongst Soviet and American staff - it feeds the animosity of the Cold War. The consequences are disastrous. As the Franklin family seek a simple life in London, the legacy of Hannah's story remains an ever present threat. In 1963, Will is duty bound to return to Berlin to end this ongoing threat to his family. As the Wall is dividing the city and the world faces nuclear destruction, Will is faced with the task of maintaining the secrets of his own family and at the same time, keep away from Soviet scrutiny and the ever present STASI. The memory of the Checkpoint Charlie implies that World War Three could begin in this city for the slightest misunderstanding. So, the prospect of Hitler's diaries being found in Berlin at this time could be catastrophic. James poses questions on the casualties of war, notably children. He states, "The greatest casualty of war is innocence." He tracks the lives of two feral children surviving on the rubble of the city. He also comments on the nature of warfare, echoing the sentiments of Orwell's '1984' in that war is a permanent feature of politics, the causes and consequences being mere afterthoughts. In the modern story, the two brothers begin a journey of reconciliation after a horrific series of events in 'Posthumous'. Alex pursues an academic route and begins a PhD on a critique of Hitler's diaries as a non-entity - a study in anti-history. Dalton pursues a similar career by joining the conspiracy community and perpetuates the heresies of the diaries. Their efforts to address the diaries should be an opportunity to rekindle their relationship. They are disappointed. As before, James Davidson plays with history and readers are challenged with the dilemma as to where the history ends and the counter factual premises begin. Likewise, as the historian depends on facts as the lifeblood of their studies, how can one disprove that these events did not actually happen. In a story based on secrets and misinformation, Davidson asks the reader to ask question this consideration. Perhaps what is most impressive is the manner in which the 'small man' can impact on the 'big men' when they are cornered. Will Franklin is a small man in a big man's world - he is admittedly out of his league, but his contribution to the Berlin body-politic is considerable. As if that were not enough, the story peaks at the moment when John F Kennedy visits Berlin to make his 'Ich bin ein Berliner' speech. This book continues the themes of 'Posthumous' with deftness and rigour. It questions historical methodology and poses controversial, if uncomfortable questions for the reader to consider. Perhaps the overriding thought is 'Can we trust what we know.'

First 3 chapters

Chapter One
10th May 1941, 9.45pm
Rudolf Hess, the Deputy Leader of the Third Reich flew at approximately 30 000 feet over the North Sea. The heavy bomber - a Messerschmitt 110, had two additional fuel tanks underneath the chassis enabling it to fly for over 10 hours. Hess flew from Augsburg in Bavaria and found a relatively easy path through the radar systems of Germany. Likewise, the journey across the North Sea was unproblematic. He hoped that the codes given to him by secret intelligence would provide him safe passage on his journey over the border between England and Scotland. If not, he would meet with the RAF and end up in a fiery mire of petrol and crushed metal on some barren moorland.
For Hess, this mission was not on behalf of the Fuhrer, but to save Germany. Like many Germans, he realised that the forthcoming invasion of Russia was a suicidal decision; the Fuhrer had not read his history books. Over one hundred years before, the mighty French Army under the leadership of Napoleon could not defeat the Russians. It was a different technological age, but the scale of the invasion remained almost unfathomable in scale. If the size of the Soviet Army was not a concern, the prospect of sending millions of troops into the Russian Steppes certainly was. The Wehrmacht faced thousands of miles of agriculture and pastures, but they also faced the prospect of guerrilla warfare and continued threats to the supply line. What concerned Hess most was the prospect of that Godforsaken winter. Hess knew of the cold - he was a pilot after all, but the winters in Moscow were 40 degrees below. To his thinking, the invasion of the Soviet Union could not end in victory. It would be a war of attrition, a scorched earth policy leaving German men to die in the intense cold of winter.
Hess had another reason for this mission. Hess had theorised the notion of the Nordic races as a unifying feature of the Aryan Race. This was not exclusively a German privilege. He saw the peoples of Scandinavia as one with the Germanic people, as too were the peoples of the United Kingdom. Hess admired the British. The Empire was an enviable achievement, the Royal Navy a formidable foe. London was the centre of the global economy and the pound was the dominant international currency. Hess admired the British strategies in the First World War and the approach of David Lloyd George at the Treaty of Versailles. To his way of thinking, these states must be consolidated. Hess was also more than aware that there were pockets of British society who supported certain aspects of the Nazi regime. At a time when democracy seemed to be under threat, a 'lesser-of-evils’ mentality had emerged in the 1930’s. Democracy was the favoured norm, but if that was under threat, the prospect of a right wing leadership whether military or totalitarian was a far better option than a Communist Revolution. Hess had witnessed the rise of the Spartacists in Berlin after World War One and feared the prospect of a Red invasion sweeping the continent. So, he regarded the union of all Nordic peoples as a means to unite cultural heritage and also to deter any prospects of a Communist invasion from Moscow - a white, Protestant superpower providing sufficient deterrence to Stalin and the policy of COMINTERN.
However, for Hess, it was not the war or any Nordic union that was the primary reason for his mission. It was because of one man - he hated Martin Bormann. Hess had been at the forefront of the Nazi Party from 1922. Hess had served as Hitler’s Private Secretary and then as Deputy Leader of the Nazi Party. He was the epitome of loyalty to the Fuhrer, which was made evident with his appointment as the second successor to Hitler after Hermann Goering. But, somehow and somewhere in the latter years of the 1930’s, Hess began to fall from favour. It was nothing at first - a glance or an awkward pause from a colleague in the higher echelons of the Nazi Party. Then, the relationship between Hess and the Fuhrer became strained. To the best of his knowledge, nothing of any pertinence had occurred between them. It seemed as though there was a bitter taste in the relationship between Hess and the Party, and he had absolutely no idea why this had happened. Then, in the later months of the 1939, Hess began to realise that he was no longer invited to meetings, or asked to attend party functions or events. Something was wrong. As it transpired, Hess was being manoeuvred from power by underhand tactics. Someone, somewhere in the higher ranks of the party was planting misinformation and his credibility was unstitched from within. It was Martin Bormann. Bormann had been appointed Personal Secretary to the Fuhrer in 1939. It was no coincidence that this appointment was the beginning of the end of Hess’s career. Bormann was 'bad mouthing’ Hess, he was discrediting him with the rumours of Hess’s obsessions about his health and the alleged malpractices surrounding the occult and astrology. Bormann had manoeuvred himself to a position of immortality in the party at the cost of Hess’s reputation.
As a result, Hess was a man with a complex dilemma. He genuinely wanted to save his country from catastrophe, save millions of lives and unite the Nordic cultures, but he also wanted to seek revenge on the bastard who had destroyed his reputation. A strange medicine of patriotism and cold revenge filled his veins.
Flying low over the town of Bamburgh, Hess flew west across the Scottish border. Darkness was his main source of protection. He knew this journey by heart - he had memorised the route - he was close to Glasgow. A red light flickered. 'Damn it, low fuel’, he whispered to himself. Hess pulled back the joystick and placed the aircraft in a steep incline. More altitude was required if he was to successfully parachute from the aircraft. 'Keep going, keep going, five thousand eight, five thousand nine. That’s it, six thousand feet - time to go.’ Hess levelled the plane out and left the cockpit. He opened the door on the side of the aircraft and felt the bite of the cold Scottish air. 'Three, two, one
’ Hess jumped from the aircraft. He fell for ten seconds or so before pulling the cord on his parachute. In a matter of seconds, the chute was open. The only interruption to the silence was the soft hum of the Messerschmitt engines. Hess could hear the aircraft make its final descent. Then, behind him, he heard the explosion. Now there was silence.
Hess dropped below the cloud line and could see barren moorland. As he made his way to the ground, he pulled the cords of his parachute to offer a softer landing. Despite all his experience, Hess twisted his ankle on landing. He winced in pain, but gathered his parachute and left it in roughshod ball underneath a bush. He gained his bearings in a short time noting some key constellations, although Hess saw a handful of streetlights notifying him of the location of Glasgow. He didn’t need to travel far. The exploding Messerschmitt caused the mobilisation of the Home Guard. Hess was not met by a Diplomat or a General, a young farmer called David McLean walked towards him.
“Alreet, just stay there, pal.” The farmer was holding a pitchfork. “Do ya speak English?” Hess gauged the manner of the farmer. He was scared, he was not military, and he needed reassurance. Hess smiled, hobbled towards him and gestured his hands to put the pitchfork down.
“Ich möchte mit dem Herzog von Hamilton zu sprechen.” Hess looked at McLean with a warm smile. He reiterated, “The Duke of Hamilton. Hamilton. The Duke of Hamilton.”“I think you’d better come with me.” McLean had no idea of the identity of this German man. He was not the dignitary that should be present in such events. He had no idea - he didn’t know Hamilton. It was a short walk to the farmhouse. Hess had quite a distinct limp and he suspected that he may have broken a bone in his foot. McLean asked the man to sit by the fire and he called the authorities. Within half an hour, a dozen or so Home Guard soldiers were at the farmhouse along with two policemen. The German man was taken away in the back of a van.
Hess was sent to Buchanan Castle on the shores of Loch Lomond. A Doctor came to dress his ankle. The building was guarded, his room was comfortable and he slept through the remainder of the evening. In the morning, Hess was awoken by the metallic clank of unlocking bolts. In the doorway stood an officer - an RAF officer. He watched Hess get out of bed and dress. The two men faced each other.
“To whom am I speaking?” stated the officer with a plummy accent.
“My name is Rudolf Hess. And you are?”
“My name? I am the Duke of Hamilton. Herr Hess? May I ask what the bloody hell you are doing in Scotland?”
“Peace, mein freund, peace.”

Chapter Two
London Summer 2016
For all the turbulence, heartbreak and enormity of the previous months, it seemed that 'time’ was the best solace for the Green family. Sarah was coming to terms with the loss of her mother who, as it transpired, was not her mother, and, in reality, was an accessory to the biggest lie in the history of the twentieth century. Alex still needed to come to terms with the loss of his wife Catherine and their unborn child. Dalton was still wracked with guilt over the accident that led to the death of Catherine. It was an accident, but the memory of her death was something that would haunt him forever. Sarah clung on to the feint solace that both her sons were in contact with her, but it broke her knowing that they had not spoken for months and that any prospect of reconciliation was almost non-existent.
Sarah knew that the loss of Hannah was a monumental moment - not just the loss of her mother, but the loss of her best friend - her soul mate. She also knew that she must make steps to start again in this new chapter of her life. Money, thank God, was no longer a problem. After the reading of her Mother’s will, Sarah released some of the funds from the cache of goods that had been kept in Symbiote Securities - not all the funds, just the small matter of £750000. She gave some money to Alex to clear his mortgage and release him of any financial liabilities - this gave him time to mourn the loss of his wife and to decide his future direction. So, Alex was on a slow and steady journey along the most natural path of mourning. He had no logical understanding as to how long this would take. All Alex knew was that he was in mourning and if it was to take weeks, or months, or even years, the process would take its natural course. The three lost individuals tried to make sense of the period, but the scars had cut deep. Sarah found comfort in walking and, of all things, bought a cat from the local RSPCA. Alex became a loner and found comfort within the curtained darkness of his living room, whereas Dalton knew that he had to find the foundations of a new chapter, but he needed help, he found solace in the professional services of a counsellor. Dalton realised that he needed help to come to terms with the loss of Catherine, and to find a new chapter. Counselling seemed more an effective strategy. It consisted of conversations based on honesty, frankness and openness - something that he had not experienced for such a long time. It gave Dalton the opportunity to start that elusive chapter.
One spring morning in 2016, Dalton wrote to Alex.
Morning, mate,
You need to speak to this woman. She’s a Counsellor. She’s bloody brilliant. She’s helped me to come to terms with stuff.
Could I ask that you meet with her? It may help you.
I miss you,
Dalton.
A business card fell to the floor.
Dr Kirsten Fitch
Family Counselling Advisor
Alex guffawed at the gesture. 'Bastard’ he whispered under his breath in the isolation of his own home. How could Dalton possibly imagine the pain that Alex was suffering? This pain was the only living link he had to Catherine. If Alex moved on and found a new chapter it would be disrespectful to Catherine, wouldn’t it? Alex simply couldn’t find a way forward. This darkness that he was suffering seemed to be the only link to keep his love for Catherine alive. He snarled at the prospect of moving on - the thought of spending a day not thinking about Catherine was utterly impossible. He needed her. So, Alex opened a bottle of whisky and sipped the golden liquor. He didn’t enjoy it, but the pain relief was a logical outcome - his short term fix. As he swigged, he imagined the look on Catherine’s face as the bus careered toward her; he imagined the last thoughts running through her mind - the loss of their child, her love for Alex, the selflessness that pervaded her every waking hour. Alex looked at the business card and cried - inside he knew that this new chapter must begin - they all deserved it. But, he wallowed in his own mourning and felt security in the bitter isolation of his grieving. 'Tomorrow’ he whispered to himself. 'I’ll book it tomorrow.’
The phone rang. Alex stumbled to his feet and picked up the phone.
“Alex, it’s me. It’s Mum. Listen. I’ve booked a short holiday. I need to get out. I need some space. I’m going to Berlin. I need to see this city for myself. I’ll only be a week. I love you, son. Can you please feed the cat? Take care


Chapter Three
12 May 1941
Rudolf Hess sat in the orangery at the back of Buchanan Castle. It was a modern addition to the baronial style building - an impressive glass room that looked over Loch Lomond and the majestic Trossach mountain range. Hamilton entered the room with a small entourage of people - Hess suspected they were Diplomats or Intelligence Officers.
“Herr Hess, I trust that you slept well. I trust you are comfortable in these surroundings. May I introduce you to Sir Ivone Kirkpatrick, the Director of the Ministry of Information. He has been sent here on the express request of Mr Churchill.” They shook hands. Hess, Hamilton and Kirkpatrick sat down at a table.
“I believe that we have ourselves a Diplomatic quandary, Herr Hess.” Hamilton continued, “My expectation is that we may all speak in a frank and open manner in the hope that we can all come to a mutually beneficial outcome. So, my first question to you is why you are here in Scotland?”
“I am here to seek peace. Germany currently controls the majority of Europe. Some people are of the opinion that there is an imminent invasion plan of Britain. To the best of my knowledge, this is not to be. What I do know is that the Fuhrer is perpetually infuriated by the power of Churchill’s speeches. My opinion is that the Fuhrer does not want to go to war with Britain, but he does want to silence Churchill. Churchill can very easily be taken out of the equation.”
“A personal vendetta? Hitler wants him dead?” Kirkpatrick enquired.
“Absolutely,” Hess replied, “The Fuhrer has made his mark this century by defining the art of making speeches. With regret, the Fuhrer is also aware that Mr Churchill has defined the art of writing speeches. The thing is this - can a leader justify the invasion of a country because he is jealous of its leader? Surely our shared culture, heritage and customs are the unifying factor. We disagree on certain political issues, but we are united on so many other policies, primarily the destruction of Communism. I am sure we would all breathe a little easier if the 'Red Terror’ was wiped from our continent. I am of the opinion that the greatest threat to your great Empire is Marxism. As this war progresses, we do not have the resources to fight in Europe against the Communists and also tackle numerous imperial uprisings. I do not need to remind you of the Easter Rising in 1916. Didn’t the Nationalists wish to take control of Ireland in the absence of the Army fighting on the Western Front? I wonder if the same happened in India, then Egypt, then Palestine, then Singapore? For all your 'Round Table’ conferences with India and Treaties with Palestine and Egypt, your Empire is on the verge of collapse. You remain the most influential state in the world, but your time is coming to an end. We are faced with the rise of the Americans - a rag tag of immigrants and Jews, the rise of the Soviet Union - a chaotic cancer of despotism and poverty; then, there is Great Britain - the majestic Empire covering one quarter of the globe. A country built on a strong national identity, a culture steeped in the finest art, literature and music, the finest industrial machine, the most noble political heritage, a royal family that can be regarded as much German as it is British. The good Lady Victoria remains the Grandmother of the European monarchies - the womb of our collective heritage. The Fuhrer recently visited the aged Kaiser Wilhelm in the Netherlands. It was a truly humbling moment. In many ways, we are completing the Kaiser’s work. We have built the great German Empire and have control of continental affairs. Again, just as Wilhelm II found himself in a quandary over the war with Britain - the country of his beloved Grandmother and Cousin George, we too find ourselves in the same predicament. There are many people in the Third Reich that do not wish to be at war with Britain. There are many that wish to see our countries united so that our collective might can destroy Communism. Once the victory over Stalin is achieved, we can divide the spoils of war amongst ourselves. It is a beautiful vision - a Nordic Empire combining Scandinavia, Germany and Britain - our combined populations, landmass, industry, ingenuity and wealth will make us a superpower for our time. If we do this, my friends, we will destroy the Soviets and have the sway to destroy all Jewish influences. Even in the USA, there will be a White Anglo Saxon Protestant state with an abundant slave population.” Hess grinned with utopian ecstasy at the vision of his own global politics. Kirkpatrick and Hamilton processed the information and paused to gauge each other’s reactions. They both raised their eyebrows and shook their heads together.
“Erm,” Hamilton cleared his throat, “so what you are proposing is the assassination of Churchill?”
“Then the union of Great Britain with Nazi Germany.” Kirkpatrick interjected. “Followed by the destruction of the Soviet Union.”“Yes.” Stated Hess with pride in his face.“
and then the small matter of returning the United States back one hundred years to the slave trade.” Hamilton continued.

and the annihilation of the Jews in the USA, yes, Herr Hamilton. Do you understand?”
“Yes,” coughed Kirkpatrick, “I think we can both see your point of view.” Hamilton drank water allowing sufficient time for him to process the dilemma.
“There is more, gentlemen.” Hess stated. They both stared at him with astonishment. 'More?’
“I am not sure if you are familiar with the diaries that the Fuhrer is writing at the moment.”
“Go on.” Hamilton said with an inquisitive tone.
“Well,” he smiled with boyish gestures, “the Fuhrer is writing his memoirs. He began the journey back in the 1920’s. When he completed 'Mein Kampf’, he started to write the first diary back in 1925. The first book is titled 'Die Wildnis Jahre.’”
“The Wilderness Years.” replied Kirkpatrick.
“Yes. I must tell you that he began this as a personal log to show future generations that how he made it to the 'Top of the Greasy Pole’, as Disraeli put it. The thing is, unfortunately, his personal animosity toward Churchill has created something of a monster within him. The Fuhrer is convinced that Churchill is writing his own diary over here - he suspects that he will be writing his own version of events to suit his own the interpretation. If you hear him sometimes, I wonder if the Fuhrer is at war to defeat the Jews or the Communists or whether he is at war to out-do Churchill with the book sales after we’ve won. He has made a pact with himself. The diaries must be a better piece of writing than Churchill’s work. There is a small team working with him at the moment. They are all, as we call them, 'ghosts’, talented young minds with a rigorous attention to detail. With regret, some of this team won’t make it, but how can you shoot someone who doesn’t officially exist? We will continue with a secret team working on these diaries until the job is completed. With the war won, we will have our Bible for future generations, and the finest income stream in book royalties. Retirement never sounded so sweet.”
Hamilton and Kirkpatrick looked at each other again. Hamilton cleared his throat again, “Herr Hess, how many people know you are here?”
“Only a few. I wrote a letter to my wife and gave instructions that this should be presented to her three days after my departure. She needs to know that I am alive and she needs to know the reasons why I have undertaken this heroic deed. I spent some time with my three month old son and told him that I will always be with him.” His voice broke as he held back tears, “I have written to the Fuhrer and have informed him of my decision. I trust that he understands my motives.”
“Well, Herr Hess,” added Kirkpatrick, “what I can tell you is that our intelligence has gone absolutely mad over the past forty eight hours. If you wished to stir up a hornet’s nest, you have been very successful. Apparently, Speer is mad as a hatter.”
“Pardon, they think I am a traitor? No, they obviously misunderstand this mission. It is very clear, take out Churchill, unite our Empires, defeat the Soviets and get the WASPs back in power in Washington DC. We can end this war in a matter of weeks.”
“Could you excuse me, Herr Hess?” Kirkpatrick stood up and walked from the room leaving Hamilton to cherish the very uneasy conversation. Kirkpatrick picked up the phone and twisted the black handle on the side to contact the operator.
“London eight four seven three three. Thank you.” He paused for a moment, “Yes, this is Kirkpatrick. I need to speak with the Prime Minister immediately. Yes, I’ll stay on the line.”
Kirkpatrick waited for a moment.
“Kirkpatrick? This is Churchill. How the devil are you?”
“Good, Sir. If I may please give you an update. We have Rudolf Hess in our custody at Buchanan Castle. He is here on a peace mission. Here are the terms - Union of Great Britain with Germany, invasion of the Soviet Union

Churchill bellowed out from the other side of the phone. Kirkpatrick had to stop for the commotion. “This has made my day, Kirkpatrick. He’s not writing a comedy, is he? I’d read it if I thought for one moment that he had a sense of humour.”
“There is more, Sir. He wants the USA to get rid of the Jews and go back to the slave trade.”
“Does he want us to dig up Napoleon and Genghis Khan while we’re at it? I think we can tell this joker to 'sich verpissen’ if he thinks we’re going to negotiate with those bastards.”
“There is one more issue, Sir.”
“Yes, go on.”
“Are you writing at the moment, Sir?”
“Always, why?”“Hess has told us that Hitler is writing his own diaries - it is a personal vendetta against you, apparently. He thinks that he is a better writer.”
Churchill guffawed at the prospect of the Lowly Corporal thinking he could match his standard. “The game is afoot! I’ll take him on and kick his arse. 'The pen is truly mightier
’ etcetera, etcetera. There is just one thing, Kirkpatrick. The priority is to get as much information out of Hess as possible. The second thing is, for God’s sake, don’t let this get out - we don’t want the Duke of Windsor and that ghastly Yank flying from Monaco to meet him - that is the last thing we need! There are some people who may be persuaded by his argument, but if we go soft on these bastards, it may break our resolve against them. The German are making plans to invade, not unite, Kirkpatrick. Goering is preparing for an invasion. This is a bluff - nothing more. What I will say is that you should try to keep him on side so he is given the impression that we’re enamoured by him. If you give him the notion that he is going to meet me and there may be a chance of him joining our Government, he will tell us if he wear pink knickers! Tell him that we’ll install him as Fuhrer as and when we assassinate Hitler. Let’s throw this arse some compliments so that he can play into our hands. Intelligence is your job, not politics.”
Churchill ended the conversation and Kirkpatrick returned to the Orangery. Hess and Hamilton were making small talk as they looked over the shining silhouette of Ben Lomond.
“May we continue?”
“Certainly, Mr Kirkpatrick.” Hess replied. “What did Mr Churchill have to say?”
“How did you know I was speaking with anyone?”
“I’m not naïve, Sir, I am aware of diplomatic protocol. You have spoken with Churchill and he has given you instructions. To my thinking, there are two avenues here. One, he has blocked any chance of me meeting him and I spend the rest of my life in prison. Two, he is entertained by the prospect of defeating the Communists and is ready to negotiate.”
“I see,” replied Kirkpatrick with distain. “I’m happy to tell you that the Prime Minister has chosen the second option. Once your foot has healed and you are fit enough to travel, we will arrange a meeting with you and Mr Churchill and I’m sure that some agreement can be reached that will beneficial to both our countries.”
”My coming to England in this way is, as I realise, so unusual that nobody will easily understand it. I was confronted by a very hard decision. I do not think I could have arrived at my final choice unless I had continually kept before my eyes the vision of an endless line of children's coffins with weeping mothers behind them, both English and German.” Hess looked at them and an awkward pause followed.
“Herr Hess,” Kirkpatrick began to lie, “we are all aware of the enormity of this moment. It has opened up so many avenues - we can work together to re-unite this continent, we can end the war, we can work with you as Fuhrer after the war has ended.”
Hess smiled.
“Tell me, Hess,” Hamilton enquired, “what is the word in the Wermacht? Are they all ready to give up? If you follow my meaning, if we create a trigger to begin a revolt in Berlin, will the forces be ready to put down their weapons? You can be assured that we will place you as the new leader.”
Hess smiled.
“Excuse us.” Hamilton and Kirkpatrick moved away from Hess and stepped onto the patio outside.
“Tell me, Hamilton, have you ever heard such absolute tosh? What is this man? Delusional? Megalomaniac? Psychotic? Is he just suicidal? After all has been said and done, does he think we’ll just bow down and let him take over Europe?” Kirkpatrick puffed on a cigarette with anger and derision in his voice.
“Let’s just slow down a little old man. Let’s try to see through the gaps.” Hamilton looked over Loch Lomond and his mind began to tick over the implications of this most bizarre move by Hess. “I wonder, if he is following Hitler’s orders, is his agenda to undermine us and outwit Churchill?”
“Well good luck to that notion.”
“Listen, this man is the archetypal opportunist. He outwitted Chamberlain, double crossed the Czechs and signed a deal with Stalin only to shit on him before the ink was dry. When he was appointed Chancellor, he outmanoeuvred Hindenburg and in no time he’d sacked democracy, burnt down the Reichstag and imprisoned all political opposition. His track record consists of getting his foot in the door and shafting everyone possible to get his own way.” Hamilton sucked on his cigarette. “But, if Hess is here on his own, this is an act of defiance against Hitler. Hess wants Hitler dead so that he can take the top job when we win the war. Now, he says he wants peace, but what would he personally benefit from this? Surely the intention of a democratic state is to support new elections and instate a Government with a popular mandate - once done, we can rebuild and support the state, just like we supported the Weimar Republic in the 1920s. Are we to presume that there could be a coup against Hitler?”

or is he running away?” Kirkpatrick replied. “Has he really come alone? Has someone sent him to Scotland or has someone sent for him?”
“An inside job? Who? Why?”
“I think it’s safe to say that in war, the who, why and wherefore become refracted into half-truths and inference. We simply need to keep talking to this man to establish if he is friend or foe


or whether he is sane or otherwise,” Hamilton replied, “but at the end of the day, he is a senior Nazi and he simply cannot walk into Britain expecting the red carpet treatment. All we have to do is give the impression that he has the upper hand. Let Hess believe that we’ll negotiate, then, we’ll lock him in prison and throw away the key.” Kirkpatrick and Hamilton walked back into the room and noted the beaming grin on Hess’s face.
“Now, gentlemen, are we ready to begin negotiations?”
“Of course,” replied Kirkpatrick, “now, where do we begin?”
“Here are my proposals, gentlemen. I would like to formally offer my services to the British Government and her empire. I declare that I will give you all the information you require to bring this war to an end. I offer my services to the intelligence services, diplomats, politicians and the military. In return, I would like British citizenship and your protection. I would also consider residence in Canada, even New Zealand - the isolation is quite appealing. I would like my family to join me once this nonsense is over.”
Hamilton cleared his throat, looked at Kirkpatrick in bewilderment and focussed his attention on Hess. “Let me make it perfectly clear, Herr Hess, your position in Britain should be misinterpreted. As of this moment, you can regard yourself as prisoner of war and you are to be imprisoned at His Majesty’s pleasure. There is no room for negotiation other than you will answer all our questions, do exactly as we say and when this folly is over, a court will decide whether or not you hang by the neck. If I am to get my own way, you’ll spend the rest of your life in the Tower of London.”
Hess looked at them with horror. His mission was unsuccessful, his charms fallen foul, his intentions misinterpreted. He was an abject failure.
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