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France, April 1917

 

Dearest Ma and Da,

 

Well, here we are, 56 in France at last. Jolly good thing too, I think some of the old hands were growing bored back in Blighty

 

Diolch yn fawr for the parcel, Cook’s bara brith is a home comfort I definitely will miss out here. I shared it out in the Mess, I think I have some converts to Welsh culture!

 

Being out here at last has finally broken the ice for the new chaps like me. I spent some time talking to Arthur (Rhys-Davies) and picked up a few more tips. You remember I told you about him in my last letter. Sadly, he is not a relative, sorry Da!

 

I have to say those tips came in handy yesterday. We were on a routine patrol at eight thousand feet when we spotted a gaggle of Hun up sun at about ten. Well, Albert Ball can say what he likes about our new machines but the SE5 can certainly climb. We had a tremendous scrap, it was like Cardiff on a Friday night! I managed to get on the tail of an Albatross, painted all in black with white stripes on the tail and horrible vomit-coloured wings and put a few rounds into him until he went down – or so I thought. Then some other gaudy clown passed in front of me and I went after him. I think he was an ace though because he shook me off pretty easily, but not before I’d hit him too. Then, lo and behold my original adversary reappeared and started taking pot shots at me. As you can imagine, I wasn’t having any of that and chased him down to tree-top level, letting my guns reprimand him for his cheek. I would have had him too, if my engine hadn’t cut out and forced me to land. The ground was a little rough and I’m afraid I broke my machine. I walked away without a scratch though, so don’t worry. The sad part is that, after nearly downing my first Hun on my first day I end up putting up a bit of a black instead.

 

Never mind. Plenty of time yet, and I’ll remember that black Hun, he and I have some unfinished business.

 

 

 

Your loving Son,

 

Llew

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France, April 1917

 

Dearest Ma and Da,

 

Just a short note to let you know I'm still okay, I know Ma worries if you don't hear from we 'boys'.

 

I was hoping to be able to tell you that I've been over to 12 Squadron's base to see Geraint , but I'm afraid it has proved more difficult than I thought. I really haven't been able to get away, well, not 'on a jaunt' anyway and it's a bit far to take the tender. We're supporting the battle on the ground, which is going well as you will have read – aren't the Canadians splendid? But it means we're flying every minute that the damn weather allows, excuse my language.

 

Diw! The weather! It's truly foul. It's past the middle of April and I think we've been grounded nigh half our time here in all. In fact, it's snowing again as I write this letter and the 'field is still slushy from yesterday's thaw. Heaven only knows what those poor chaps in the infantry are going through, I hope they have webbed feet! When people people say that Wales is wet… tell them they should try the Somme! Hopefully it will improve as we move closer to the summer otherwise I think the offensive will literally bog down.

 

When we have been able to get up, things have been going quite well although I still haven't broken my duck… fortunately I haven't broken any more machines either! Actually, the whole squadron's bag has only increased by a brace or so, which, after our early success, is a little frustrating for all of us. Especially so, because other squadrons are seeing plenty of the enemy, more than they would like in some cases. The 'powers that be' are tasking 56 with balloon-guarding duty and for some reason the Hun just doesn't seem interested in our balloons… or maybe we've scared them off! Still, at least it is flying, not squelching around in freezing mud.

 

For a bit of variety, we did have a bombing mission to a rail yard a few days ago (the SE5 is a scout but it can carry four 20lb bombs) and it turns out I'm rather good at bombing - I fanned two wagons and a machine gun position… three hits out of four. I'm not going to tell Geraint though. When he came to talk to us at school last year he said that it was the bomber and reccy boys that did all the hard work, if he learns I have a talent for it he'll probably speak to my CO and I'll end up in a BE2, Diw forbid!

 

 

I like my SE5, thank you very much!

 

 

Love to you both,

 

Llew.

Edited by Dej

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France, April 1917

 

Dearest Ma and Da,

 

What NEWS! I’m on the scoreboard!

 

What is it they say about ‘famous last words’? The very day after I sent my last letter I shot down my first Hun and then two days later, before I’d even started writing this one, I downed two more… and they’ve been confirmed, so I now officially have three!

 

The first one was decorated like a giant humbug, black and white viertical stripes. He didn't fly like a humbug though. I practically shot every bullet I had at him before he went down. The Hun was dodging and weaving, up and down, left and right. It was like playing pin the tail on the donkey from a merry-go-round at double speed! I lost sight of him a couple of times but by frantically looking this way and that managed to spot him again before he could turn the tables. We were very low over the trees and I’d almost given up for fear of crashing when my final burst must have hit his fuel tank because he exploded. His upper wing flew off and missed me by inches! I had to circle a bit then, to gain some height and, to tell the truth, I was shaking too much to fly straight and level! Once I’d calmed down, though, I was singing at the top of my voice the whole way back to the ‘field. My neck ached like billy-oh that night mind and I confess, my head matched it the next morning! Sorry. I know Da won’t approve because of Chapel but the squadron insisted on celebrating....

 

The second and third were much more straightforward. A brace of black-tailed Albatri. I dived on the first ofthem, opening fire as I closed in. I think I must have hit something vital because he just swerved off slowly to one side. I zoomed up, rolled over and down onto his tail, put another long burst into him and he dropped like a stone. Jem Spillsby, who was my wingman, had already downed one but had run out of ammunition after winging a second, which turned east trailing smoke. I thought we’d best go home with a clean slate so I finished him off. Only took a short burst, Jem must have hit him pretty hard. I suggested to Jem that he claim for it but he gave it to me... he already has seven!

 

Anyway, I thought you’d like a souvenir so I had the Adjutant, who is a keen photographer, take the enclosed snapshot of the log book. I wanted to rip the page out but Adj. says it’s been done too many times before and he’s tired of repairing torn edges!

 

So my duck is well and truly broken. It took the whole month, but now I’m three up on Jerry. And, the weather has improved so we’ll see what May brings.

 

 

 

Your loving Son,

Llew.

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England, May 1917

 

Dearest Ma and Da,

 

It was good to be home for a bit. Sorry to have been a burden though, with the legs etc. I think they'll let me return to the squadron soon, I'm mostly healed up though the nerves are still a bit shaky perhaps... if I'm honest. Probably why they haven't let me back quite yet.

 

My doctor tells me I should 'get it off my chest' about what happened. Says it'll be 'therapeutic' (glad of the interminable Greek lessons so that I could spell that!). He seems like a sensible chap, so.

 

There's not much to tell really though, it was all over so quickly. Basically we had a visit, from Jasta 2 as later transpired. We were off-duty, clear blue skies, no mission, all of us just relaxing about on the 'field. In fact, Jem and I were just about to finish off Tepes and Craig on the last rubber at bridge with a five no trumps bid when our archie (that's anti-aircraft guns) opened up. Naturally we all looked up and there were a dozen or so black specks rushing down. Well, we all ran to our machines and most of us managed to take off but it was too late, the bloody Hun was all over us. I didn't even get a shot off before some Hun ripped my starboard wing to shreds. An SE5, great machine that it is, can't fly on one wing and I crashed. Simple really. Diw though, but it hurt! Give me a thousand scrums against the toughest XVs, but never that ag....

 

Well, they've just told me I'm going back. By the end of May, so it'll be June maybe before I'm in France and flying again. So be it. I wish I knew which ******* it was that shot me down. I suppose I'll have to shoot them all. One thing is certain though, I'm never going to relax again, Jerry won't catch me napping a second time.

 

 

Love,

Llew.

Edited by Dej

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France, May 1917

 

Dearest Ma and Da,

 

Have you heard? Albert Ball is dead. Why did you not tell me, or show me the newspapers?

 

I wish I hadn't come back now, to hear such news! I wish I'd spoken to him more, but he wasn't the confiding type.

 

I'll not miss the violin though.

 

Diw! To think He's gone West!

 

Will write again soon, hopefully in happier times.

 

Love to you both,

 

Llew

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France, May 1917

 

Dearest Ma and Da,

 

First off, I owe you an apology for the tone of my last letter and I’m sorry I haven’t written since. It was just such a shock to be back here and find that in my absence several of the old hands had gone West, not just Albert Ball. I also think I was still in shock from the smash I had. At least, that is what the doc here suspects. He wasn’t going sign me fit for duty until I’d had a week to settle in but I insisted. Also, Geraint flew over from Avesnes and talking to him did me a power of good. He offered to try to get me a posting to a squadron in his sector, where it’s pretty quiet, but I really don’t want to leave No. 56. Besides, I’m fine now. Thanks for being understanding.

 

Now, you won’t believe what happened the first time I was back in the cockpit. We were about to set off on a routine patrol over our own side of the lines, and were on the’ field running up our engines when our archie starts up again… ANOTHER BLOODY RAID… talk about déja vu! I don’t mind telling you, I was in a bit of a funk just then. Nothing to do though but grit the teeth, gird the loins and go up and face the bastards. Fortunately for me, they swooped on ‘A’ Flight first, allowing Jem, Ollie Tepes, ‘Drew Palmer and I to get up safely. Then we laid into them good and proper. I kept a couple busy and drove them off while Ollie and Jem bagged a Hun each… so that was two down. Then I set my sights on a third, another bloody humbug as it happens, don’t know why the Hun has such a penchant for black and white stripes. Anyway, this chap was pretty good… turning into me every time I tried to get on his tail or slipping out of my sights at the last minute. I was so close at times that I could clearly see the fellow’s face - young, blond, I think and probably quite good looking without his helmet and goggles. Do you remember Huw Roberts-Pritchard in Geraint’s year at school? Well, a lot like him but possibly taller. So, it seemed as if we carried on like that for hours but it was only about ten minutes. Eventually Ollie, who was by then guarding my tail, managed to put a few shots across the chap’s nose as well and the fellow panicked and turned the wrong way, straight in front of my guns. I was fed up with the whole merry-go-round by then so I fired everything I had left into the Hun’s machine and it burst into flames and smashed into a cornfield next to our base. Then Ollie shot down another by which time ourselves and ‘A’ flight had downed or driven off the lot. We certainly had our revenge for the last match, seven of them down for only two of us.

 

I went over to my Hun after we landed, thinking I’d grab a trophy, but there wasn’t much left either of the machine or the pilot, poor fellow, and I changed my mind. One forgets, in the heat of battle, that one is fighting men, not machines. This chap was probably only a little older than me and there he was, dead and burnt. Bad show that. One shouldn’t lose one’s compassion, even as bloody and evil as this war has become. In future I’ll try to avoid ‘flamers’ if I can, but I’m no Lanoe Hawker and it’s still my duty to bring them down.

 

Bagged another two days after in a messy scrap high over the trenches. It felt like every bloody Hun in France was trying to get on my tail and I’d become separated from the rest of my flight! So it was a case of snap shots when I could, and diving west as often as I had the chance. But then I managed to put half a magazine into one fellow’s wing and dove down after him… he failed to pull out of his dive and I used the extra speed to leg it for home. if the chaps in the mud can confirm that one I’ll be an ace. How about that?

 

Love,

Llew.

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France, June 1917

 

Dearest Ma and Da,

 

Diolch yn fawr for your last letter. The cutting from the Ceiriog Valley Chronicle made me smile, though 'twas a bit premature – explain later. And please thank Aunt Angharad for the lotion. It seems to help a bit with the eczema, although the doc here says it's down to sweaty hands in fur-lined gloves... and maybe stress. Stress, ha, ha! Nothing I can do about that!

 

Well, it's official. I'm now an ace. The confirmations came in a couple of days ago. Also it seems they've awarded me the Distinguished Flying Cross! Told you the newspaper was a bit premature! Still, at least it's true about the ace bit now.

The squadron celebrated, naturally. I was even more blotto than usual that evening. I sometimes wonder if I've forgotten what it's like to fly sober... but the alcohol certainly helps with the cold upstairs, so Da's objections notwithstanding, I shan't stop drinking.

 

Do you want to know the nicest thing about becoming an ace and the medal and all? My chief rigger, Flight Sergeant Phillips (old chap, been in the Corps forever, really knows his job) never used to pay me much respect. Stems from my first day when he reported my kite to be 'perfectly rigged' and I blurted 'She'll sing beautifully in a dive, then' or some other crass ''be kind to the plebs' remark, to which he replied (I'll never forget it) 'Son, if she's rigged properly, she don't sing'. Anyway, today he saluted me properly and called me 'Sir' and he meant it. Then he said 'Congratulations, Sir. You make our work worthwhile.' I could've hugged the man. I've written off three of Phillips' 'brown butterflies' so his praise means a lot. In fact, all my crew are bloody good chaps.

 

To be honest with you though, I feel like throwing in the towel. I'll settle for a final score of five if it means I never see another HA ever again. It's madness here. We go traipsing over the lines in two sections of four or less generally, but the bloody Hun is usually flying in squadron strength or better. And they're always higher. Self-preservation has become the order of the day. The other day I had six Huns after me, Albatros DVs, new type, faster than the old DIII. I was all alone, not much sky beneath me and no wingmen. I knew I was in trouble so once I'd taken a few hits in the wings, I just plonked the crate on the ground and prayed they'd leave me be. And they called April 'Bloody'. Diw! Don't want you to worry overmuch though mind, especially you, MA! I don't take risks. Discretion really is the better part of valour. I've learned to take care of myself and besides, Jem, Ollie and Drew watch out for me.

 

 

Your loving son,

Llew

Edited by Dej

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France, June 1917

 

Dearest Ma and Da,

 

Latter half of June. Three months out here and we're back to where we started. FOUL BLOODY WEATHER! The rain is coming down in buckets. This is low country and it's becoming pretty soggy. Good job the SE is such a stable machine. I'd hate to try to get a Camel off of the ground like this. If this keeps up the next 'big push' will be breaststroke!

 

Sorry it's been a while, was in hospital again. Nothing too serious, just a bit of a smash, but the legs aren't what they were after the last one. I suppose I can kiss goodbye to a place on the Old Boys' XV. Now the doc has me grounded, says my 'nerves need a rest'. He's wrong. My 'nerves' need to be on the tail of a certain black Hun from Jasta 30! But Doc has the CO's ear so here I am languishing in the wet whilst the chaps go swimming in the sky.

 

Damn it! Sorry. I know why the doc thinks I'm on the twitch. It's because the last smash was yet another raid on the airfield. Hun caught us napping - again, ha, last sunny day we had if I recall correctly. They picked on 'B' Flight this time, so we had a hard time of it. We managed to get up, though, and Ollie fastened onto the tail of one of the bastards. Then a strangely decorated Hun dropped in from above, one I've seen before, chased me home first week of June, black fuselage, shooting star or something similar down the side in red. Anyway, this chap latches onto Ollie and won't let go. Ollie's manoeuvring madly, I'm taking potshots at 'shooting star' to try to distract him and forget to check my tail. Bang! Engine out, can't quite level her out, smack down on the wing, shooting pain up the leg, can't walk for a week!. Scuttlebutt says they're Jasta 30, half a dozen aces in the squadron. Bunch of show-offs I say. According to Drew, the fellow who shot me down had his initials (probably) painted large on the fuselage. I think we're going to have to give them a taste of their own. Ollie, Drew and Jem are okay, by the way, although Ollie landed without an airscew. They send regards.

 

 

Will write again soon,

Llew.

Edited by Dej

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England, June 1917

 

Dearest Ma and Da,

 

The rummest thing. We’ve had a flurry of transfers and now I’m back in Blighty!!! The ‘brass hats’ whisked us out of Vert-Galand (I can tell you that now) and stuck us in some quiet backwater in North Flanders. We’d hardly flown a mission when they whipped us out again and now we’re based at Walmer in Kent.

 

I had hoped to surprise you with the news by a knock on the door, but they have us flying patrols non-stop! It really is a bit odd, but I suppose we’ll learn what’s up eventually.

 

Downed another Hun by the way, so my score is at six. I’ve also been promoted to Lieutenant. I’ll be glad of the extra money, my mess bills are horrendous.

 

 

Hope to see you soon,

Llew.

Edited by Dej

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Walmer, England, July 1917

 

Dearest Ma and Da,

 

Just to explain why I’ve not come home to visit, after all.

 

A few days ago we were ordered up on patrol for ‘formation practice’. The weather was grim, a real storm brewing offshore, obvious to anyone and everyone except the brass. The CO tried to refuse but was practically threatened with court-martial so… up we went. Well, naturally the storm broke while we were up, visibility was next to nothing and the wind tossing us around like leaves in a gale. Both flights became separated and lost and everyone made their way back to the field in dribs and drabs, but eventually everyone turned up… except two. Jem and Drew were both missing,

 

We’ve spent the last three days looking for them. I cancelled my leave to help. We found the crash site early this morning, looks as if they collided. They’re both dead!

 

I’ve known those fellows since I joined. They’ve each saved my skin on numerous occasions and I remember Jem gave me my second Hun. A ‘flying accident’ is what their relatives will be told – BLOODY MURDER I call it! They deserved better deaths than that.

 

If it had been Jerry that got them, I don’t think I should feel so bad. But to go West the way they did, Diw! It’s such a bloody senseless waste. We are supposed to be here for rest and for developing squadron tactics and we lose two of our best! If the brass want to kill our best pilots why not do it in France where they’ve at least chance of a bloody Hun to even the score!

 

I can’t wait to get back to France. I’ll take my fair chance of being on the business end of a Spandau, I’m not bothered by that and nor were Jem and Drew. But if it’s STUPIDITY that’s going to kill me I want it to be my own!

 

Yours in sorrow,

Llew.

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France, July 1917

 

Dearest Ma and Da,

 

It was good to see everyone at the weekend, Shame I had to put up such an embarrassing black to be there but ‘all’s well as ends better’, as they say. I agree, it was mean of the C.O. to send me back to Walmer just because I’d taken the wrong machine over to France by mistake, but kind of him to let me make a weekend of it.

 

It would have been nice to have saved my blushes in front of Sioned though, but I think I managed to charm her all the same. She really is a delightful girl, very relaxing company. Who’d have thought I had such a pretty cousin?

 

Well, as I told you, we’re back in France, back where we were before the move to Walmer. It’s a little quiet in these parts but we do get the odd mission to more active territory. We attacked a rail yard on my first day back here and I confess I was a little reckless - Jem and Drew on my mind I think - but no harm done, except to Jerry! I expect we may soon have a return visit, when the Hun finds out who messed up his nice green field! All the better, I can score one for each of the fallen. Then we had a balloon-busting trip down South yesterday. Diw! I’ve never felt sorrier for the lads in the Trenches, it’s simply a sea of mud down there due to the wettest summer for years apparently - which I can well believe, the muck we have to fly in.

 

As you’ll see in the newspapers, Jerry’s clustered around the Ypres salient again and it looks as if that poor town might be facing its third battle. We’ll push them back for good this time, mud or no mud.

 

Say ‘Bore Da’ to Megan for me and tell her to look out for my letter.

 

 

 

Your loving son,

Llew.

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France, July 1917

 

Dearest Megs,

 

I promised you a letter, just for you, so here it is.

 

I don’t think you deserve it though, after the way you behaved with Sioned and I.

 

Yes, she is a very nice girl, but if I am going to walk out with her (let alone marry, Diw! How embarrassing!) I will do so in my own good time. I don’t need a twelve year old matchmaker, silly!

 

You will find enclosed, as requested, a shiny new RFC badge, which cost me a shilling’s bribe to the Quartermaster and another to the RO to put it in with the letter. I hope it gets to you safely. I had a think and I doubt it’s appropriate for you to wear it with your school uniform, unless you have it under the lapel of your coat or something. You should ask your headmistress. Likely there are many girls with brothers in France and a gesture of support is always welcome.

 

Nothing much else to report I’m afraid, Cariad. The weather here has been atrocious. Ollie managed to bag another two Huns though. His DFC came through and he became rather upset about ‘absent friends’. I do wish you could have met them all, you’d have liked them so much. Ollie went over the lines on his own and shot up everything in sight, apparently, including a brace of unlucky two-seaters. Frightful fuss when he came back, the CO was livid. Quite funny really, I almost felt back at school, Ollie’s the same age as me and the CO’s not much older and there he was tearing Ollie off a strip for ‘running across the quad’, every inch the prize prefect!

 

Look after Ma and Da. Don’t let them worry too much for us and I promise to nag Geraint into writing to you too. For which brotherly duty... no more letters about what I should say to Sioned, understood?

 

 

 

Your loving brother,

Lulinn.

 

XXX

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France, July 1917

 

Dear Sioned,

 

How wonderful it was to receive your letter. I really enjoyed our weekend too, though it seems ages ago now rather than barely a fortnight. Of course I will come and see you when I'm next on leave. I will look forward to it very much (and so will Megan, sigh).

 

Mind you, if your 'cunning plan' succeeds with the VAD you may realise your wish to be nursing in France, in which case I will fly over to see you whenever I can. Civilisation in France is not so entirely destroyed by this blasted war that a chap and a pretty girl can't find somewhere to go dancing. I must say I think you have bags of pluck to even want to come out here.

 

You asked me what a 'typical' day is like. That's hard to say, because I don't recall the details of the uneventful days or flights - which probably make up the greater part of one's time out here. They all blend into a blur. This summer's weather has been such o damned dud that we've been grounded or forced to abort quite a lot and I'm sure you'd soon be bored by a hand-by-hand narrative of a six NT bid played out in a soggy tent! In truth, I only remember the jobs on which I've seen action or had some adventure. I think most of we ''old sweats' - of which illustrious and shrinking body I am, apparently, now a member! – are like that. Those airmen that survive this war will remember three things: the sheer excitement and terror of combat; the soul-searing beauty of sunrise and sunset seen from 10000ft and the friends we've made… and lost. Not much use to future historians, I'm afraid. That sounds a little maudlin, for which apologies, but it's already so much easier to talk to you honestly about it than it is Ma and Da.

 

However, I shall try to grant your request by telling you about this afternoon, whilst I remember all the details.

 

Three o'clock in the PM. "Aggression is the best form of defence" says Trenchard so we're ordered to 'trail our coats' over the lines. Two flights of four aircraft apiece. 'The C.O.'s A' Flight is to fly the south leg of the patrol area, 'B' Flight the north. I'm in 'B' Flight as usual. With me are Ray Richardson, Luke Walsh, Marc Hoskins – all new chaps – and my best friend Ollie Tepes. Richardson is leading, being the highest rank. The weather is what we've come to expect, several huge dark cumulus clouds and a sky like molten lead above. Intermittent rain forecast. Joy! We take off, circling the aerodrome to gain height before crossing over. The Hun, being 'at home' so to speak always has the luxury of time to gain altitude so we try to put as much sky beneath us as we can get. Today, patrol height is set at 11000ft but the cross winds in the clouds are a nightmare so we're soon forced to drop to 6000. There's no sun to speak of, which is a relief – no glare for HA to hide in. As long as we keep our eyes peeled we shouldn't be caught napping. You have to watch the sky constantly, you see, up, down, left, right, in front and of course behind. Our heads are on the move all the time, looking for tiny black specks against the grey; or on a clear day the flash of sun on a doped wing; or the telltale dirty smudges of archie shells exploding - white (ours) means the Hun, black (theirs) is probably directed at a bunch of our chaps on a bombing or balloon job.

 

So, we stooge along. Archie bursts all around, but it rarely hits anything and anyway we take evasive action if some Boche gunner seems keener than most. We're approaching the lines. Dull, leaden sky as far as the eye can see matching the churned, grey-brown mud of No Man's Land below and in front.

 

On a clear day, from high up, one can see most of the Front, stretching north to the coast and south to Verdun and beyond. Yet, it's a surprisingly narrow strip for millions of men to be crammed into. Most of the countryside is still green fields, woods and forests - achingly lovely on the rare sunny days. One thinks there ought to be a better way to do things, you know, maybe settle our differences on the rugger field, or at cricket, or football or whatever Jerry plays. But there isn't and we're here to do our bit. Musing will get one killed.

 

A couple of miles ESE of BA, I scan the sky over to the south where 'A' Flight should be... I let my eyes unfocus… look, up, look level, look down. Aha! Is that a trail of smoke? I drop my wing a little and peer more intensely. Yes! Looks like a machine going down, maybe in flames. I fire a few shots to attract Richardson's attention and point. We bank and turn, slipping into a shallow dive because for once we've height on 'em. Closer and closer we come. Now we can make out individual machines. I hazard it's 'A' Flight embroiled with a pack of Huns. Down we drop, steeper now. Luke Walsh and I pair up and pick out a red-tailed Albatross. The Hun must be looking elsewhere. We get in close, 100 feet, less. Walsh fires too early - he's new to this game. It's a lucky shot though, his tracer picks its way across the Hun's wing, then Walsh pulls up and away. It's my turn. The Hun knows we're there now and turns sharply. I follow him around, throttling back to stay inside until my sights are just ahead of his nose. I fire. Hits on the wing, maybe the engine. I pull up and over to the left then turn back in. Walsh drops back in and gives the Hun another squirt. No hits this time but the Hun's slowing anyway. I did hit his engine! I position myself for the coup-de-grace. Walsh banks away and I slot in just below the Hun's tail as he foolishly tries to climb in front of me. Maybe his controls are damaged; maybe he just doesn't see me – I don't care. I pull the SE's nose up gently and fire a long burst, raking him from nose to tail. There's a cloud of smoke and splinters, the Hun flips suddenly over on one wing and goes down into the trees a couple of hundred feet below. That one's for Jem. Trees? Cripes! We've lost a lot of height in the scrap and I quickly circle, climbing, looking for any more HA. There are none. 'A' Flight has collected itself together and is beetling off west – at least, I think it's 'A' flight. Three machines… whom did they lose? I can see the wreck of my Hun on the ground and smoke is rising into the sky a quarter mile off, probably from another downed machine. There's no sign of Richardson or Ollie, hope they're alright. I wave at Walsh and point west. Home we go. Walsh will witness my claim, but I'm not really bothered whether it's confirmed or not. I used to be, but it doesn't seem important any longer.

 

That was seven hours ago. All of 'B' Flight made it back safely. 'A' Flight lost one of their new chaps - can't remember his name.

 

It's now eleven o'clock and my hand is cold and cramped. Gosh! I haven't written this much in one go since school! 'I'm an 'early bird' on the morning job tomorrow, so I'd best turn in.

 

Please keep writing and don't worry that your news is ordinary. Ordinary is important out here. I shall look forward to every letter and I will certainly write to you often, even if the only news here is that Ollie's dog has had her pups at last!

 

 

Yours Truly,

Llew

 

P.S. The C.O. and Wat, our Recording Officer, are damned good eggs and pretty relaxed about censorship really. But if there's too much 'blue pencil' then rwyt ti'n ysgrifennu yn yr hen iaith. I'm pretty certain no Hun spies around here mae'n gallu darllen Gymraeg!

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great stuff dej, very good. one can read it like beeing real.

i like your new letters in this handwritten style. how did you do it? even with this smudge on it. really great.

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Hello,

high time that this was bumped up again ! I already read this earlier, and always wanted to post how well-done i think it is ! Thanks a lot Dej :clapping:

Greetings,

Catfish

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An outstanding read Dej, very well written. I kept a period flight jouranl myself for one of my first pilots in RB3D that spanned a fairly long run before I was disabled and "no longer fit for duty". I love this sort of writing and wish I had more time to devote to it. Keep up the "Letters Home" Dej, they are great Sir.

 

:good:

 

Cheers!

 

Lou

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Superb!..absolutely engrossing! (and has made me decide to keep a journal myself!)

 

Would also love to know how you did the paperwork trick please?

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Thanks All,

 

I'm enjoying writing them so they'll carry on as long as Llewellyn Rhys does.

 

For those interested in creating 'antique' documents, I'll put some instructions together tomorrow and post it in a separate topic

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Great writing Dej and the antique documents do look very good. I look forward to the tutorial as Im writing a little biography about my current pilot. The fun we have with this sim!

 

-Rooster

Edited by Rooster89

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Letter_13_Facsimile.jpg

 

France, July 1917

 

Dearest Ma and Da,

 

You may have heard from Sioned that I bagged another Hun. Sorry that you weren't the first to know but Sioned's letter arrived at the most opportune time. I shan't go into detail; one scrap has begun to seem pretty much like another these days. Though, that said, pickings are pretty slim in these parts, I wish they'd send us further south.

 

The only other news of note from here is that we've all been struck down, one by one, by a rather nasty stomach upset which has progressively invalided us all. I'm in bed at the moment, feeling as weak as a kitten and I'm almost over it. Haven't flown for several days, though, simply couldn't. Diw! I'm glad I wasn't the first to catch it; there are some 'bodily matters' one absolutely does not want to happen in a cramped cockpit at 10000ft! I pity poor Bates' crew having to clean out his SE! Of course, they then all came down with the same thing and that pretty much accounted for the NCOs and the ranks and then the officers started to fall ill. So all-in-all we've not been that effective as a squadron this past week!

 

Hopefully August will bring better health and better luck.

 

In answer to your question, I haven't heard from Geraint at all this month. I'm sure he's okay though, just probably very tired, the reccy boys have been frightfully busy finding out what Jerry's up to.

 

Lots of love to you all,

 

 

Llew

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wow dej, that's awesome. with the authentic looking letters i almost forgot it's fictious and felt sad about your loss. it looks so real.

unfortunately for any reason i can't open your pdf attachement you posted. i only get a white page. i also tried it on another rig and it didn't open either. what i'm doing wrong?

 

sorry, i got it. had to save it first prior opening the file. sorry, my bad.

Edited by Creaghorn

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