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DiD IV Campaign - Flight reports & Player instructions

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Archie battered the air around the BE2c as it made a figure of eight across the sky over the lines near Bapaume. 2Lt Le Mesurier looked at his watch. Nearly an hour had now passed since they took off from Hesdigneul. In front of him Lieutentant May was watching the ground for the flash of the third gun in their assigned battery. Then he would look east to the target and relay how far away the strike was according using a wireless telegraph. It was slow progress and Le Mesurier was watching the air around them with increasing concern.

And that was why.  He could see two thin white lines that moved differently against the background. Aircraft, and yes; monoplanes.

The time when a monoplane would be assumed to be a friendly Morraine had long since gone and Le Mesurier tapped May on the shoulder and pointed them out. May nodded and sent a return to base signal to the battery as Le Mesurier turned westwards. No time now to wind the long wireless aerial in, May gripped his Lewis gun and bent it towards the attacking Fokkers.

For a moment Le Mesurier had been proud to spot the Eindekkers.  The unfortunate truth was that they were already bearing down on the slow BE2c as he banked the machine toward safety. He heard the rattle of a distant machine gun and instinctively changed the angle of his turn to throw off his attacker’s aim.

In the warmth of the officers mess, Le Mesurier had often maintained that the Quirk should have better low speed handling than the Eindekker. His reasoning was that the BE2c had much more wing surface than the German scout.

Armchair theory is one thing, and putting your life on the line was another. Le Mesurier could feel his heart racing as he made a steep turn that pushed his body into the seat and also slowed the aeroplane to near stalling.

The Eindekker could not keep up with the turn and skidded wide.  Seeing this, May pointed the Lewis gun and fired a burst. The crack of the weapon always seemed deafening to Le Mesurier even though he had experienced it before. 

The Eindekker responded by peeling away and diving. Le Mesurier felt a momentary wave of relief before remembering the other attacker.*

The second Fokker was still there. This pilot was more tenacious and followed the Quirk as he made a series of turns. May fired away when he had the opportunity.
Suddenly the Eindekker pulled away and flew east. Looking around, Le Mesurier realised that they had crossed the lines and were now in friendly territory. In confirmation, a few puffs of white Archie chased the departing Eindekker.

“Well,” thought Le Mesurier, “that was rather good, wasn’t it?”
Over the next two days B flight were sent twice to bomb the rail yards at Lens. The first raid was a success, but much to Le Mesurier's frustration his bombs went wide on the second day and the trains remained undamaged.
The next day was another washout. Le Mesurier was considering another visit to Barlin when he received  a summons to the CO's office.

Major Cooper was sat behind his desk, looking at a collection of reports when Le Mesurier came in and saluted. The Old Man returned the salute .

“You’ve been here for a long time now, Le Mesurier. Nearly a year,” Cooper gestured at his notes. “ I see a spot of sickness and administrative duties have stretched it out, but you are due for a new posting.”
“I expect so sir,” Le Mesurier replied cautiously.
“Nothing has come through as yet,” the Major continued, “but I reckon you could do with a change of pace. We have a Bristol that is currently without a pilot since our star turn, Gray, went home. Fancy a bit of scout flying, Le Mesurier?”
“Do I sir?” Edward beamed. “ I certainly do!”

Le Mesurier took a tender to Barlin. The driver kept smirking and the pilot figured he knew why.

Nurse Antoniadis was off duty, and Edward made haste to the nearby houses where the nurses were accommodated. Another nurse who Edward had been introduced to as Emma answered the door. When she saw the pilot her expression became one of worry.

“Er, perhaps you had better leave?” Emma whispered.
“Why?” Edward asked.

“Why indeed!” a familiar man’s voice came from behind the door, “Let’s have a look at this chap who keeps visiting my Kitty!”

Footsteps thunder across the floorboards and the door flew open away from Emma’s hand. Edward’s face was white with shock.

“Bloody hell!” was all he could say.
The soldier at the door was shocked as well. Eventually he opened his mouth. “Edward?”
“Well isn’t this interesting?” Lt George Le Mesurier asked his brother. “What should we do now?”

Finally Edward spoke again. “Pot of tea?

* The debrief screen said that an enemy machine had been destroyed, but I never saw that happen so it doesn’t count.

Edited by Maeran

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Maeran – Wonderful to see Le Mesurier back in action after a rainy couple of months. And the mystery man in Nurse Antoniadis's life is revealed! Nice twist. And an even nicer escape from those nasty Fokkers.

Hawkwood has been in France for a year now and has yet to see his machine gun fired in anger. In the first week or two back in June 1915, his observer managed to fire four rounds from a Lee Enfield at a ponderous Aviatik. Since then the Huns have left him alone. I hope that is not an indication of his lack of worth.


War Journal – 2nd Lieutenant David Armstrong Hawkwood

23 Squadron, Royal Flying Corps

Izel-lès-Hameau, France


Part 21


On 27 May, we flew again for the first time in a week. This time we photographed enemy rail extensions near Drocourt. There was considerable cloud and varying levels of ground haze. The Archie flew loud and heavy and we struggled to capture what exposures we needed. We had all been teasing Beckwith about his complaining that he “was not enjoying this war at all”, so it was no surprise that when we landed he repeated that refrain.

Our plates were unsatisfactory, so back we went the following day. Archie was even more frightening, but we managed to obtain the needed photographs and returned to Le Hameau with a great many holes in our poor Fee. This at least had the benefit of keeping us grounded for a day.

Beckwith and I were dispatched early on the morning of 30 May 1916 to photograph new works in the Hunnish reserve lines near Pozières, northeast of Albert. I circled over Avesnes-le-Compte while gaining altitude. Beckwith began gesturing upwards and to the right. I looked up and saw three Hun two-seaters passing directly overhead. They had at least 2000 feet of advantage over us and I shook my head. Catching them was impossible. Besides, I did not relish attacking a close formation of three two-seaters all by ourselves.

We approached our objective at 7000 feet and searched for an approach free from cloud. As ever, Archie was fierce. On our first pass we managed only a single exposure. As we turned about to have another go, two bursts bracketed our machine. We could hear the searing shrapnel hiss past our heads. Poor Beckwith disappeared onto the floor of the nacelle, reappearing just in time to get a single exposure before we had to turn about for yet another pass. This time we completed our task and turned for home. I put the nose down gently and open the throttle fully. Another three or four bursts came in quick succession. Shrapnel splintered part of the right upper wing spar and knocked the Lewis gun from Beckwith’s hands. The Beardmore began to run roughly, and we noted a trail of vapour behind our machine – a petrol leak. I shut the motor off and angled downwards a bit more sharply. We emerged from a cloud layer. The forward aerodrome at Bellevue appeared only about three miles off to the northwest. Beckwith showed me his left arm. His leather coat had been ripped open above the elbow by a piece of shrapnel, but there was no blood. I asked if he was enjoying his war yet. Even with the motor switched off, he could not hear me over the wind.

Our landing would be of necessity a crosswind affair. We were scarcely a half-mile from Bellevue when I realised that I had misjudged the distance and we would be lucky to make the end of the field. Luckily, there were no trees or hedges bordering the aerodrome on the south side. I decided to put the machine down as soon as we were out of airspeed and roll onto the field. Only too late did I notice a two-bar wooden fence across our path, just about where I had planned to touch down. I pulled back on the stick to pass over this obstacle. The Fee shuddered and stalled. The right wing dipped and hit the ground. The machine swung about, ploughing up the soft earth. The centrifugal force of this ground loop probably prevented the giant Beardmore from smashing forward and crushing the two of us. I clambered out, worried about the chance of fire with petrol sloshing about. Beckwith did not move.

“Come on, man!” I cried. “You can enjoy your war at leisure once you’re out.”

Beckwith emerged and tumbled onto the earth. The nacelle was now resting on the ground. He looked at me and his eyes appeared unfocused. Normally a soft-spoken man, he suggested that I commit a physically impossible and ultimately narcissistic act.

We made it back to Le Hameau just in time for dinner that evening. It was a sombre affair. Two men had not returned from a patrol up near Lens. After dinner, I noticed the recording officer speaking with Beckwith, after which the two men left the mess. A bit later, Major Ross-Hume asked me how Beckwith was getting on. I told him that he was a reliable observer and that I thought his real test would come if we met the Hun in the air. The men deserved a chance, I told him.

“The chap’s a bit windy, don’t you think?” the Major asked.

“Why would you say that, sir?” I replied.

“I’m not a fool, Hawkwood, and don’t play me for one. I have sent Beckwith back to the depot. He is of no use to us here. Perhaps he can become an instructor in map-reading or some bloody thing. In any event, you will have the new observer, Miller. Be sure he sorts himself out.”

Beckwith’s cot and other kit was gone from our tent by the time I got there. I gathered up Harris and Jamieson and we walked into the village for a drink. We got back around midnight and found Second Lieutenant Thomas Miller sound asleep in Beckwith’s old spot.

Miller and I were on for a low-level reconnaissance the following afternoon, which gave us the morning to introduce ourselves over breakfast and do some practice shooting at an aircraft silhouette stretched out on the ground about a mile away. Miller was a New Zealander and worked in a bank before joining up as a gunner. He had volunteered for transfer to the RFC only a couple of weeks before and had the most rudimentary training. Fortunately, he had competent Morse and had received about an hour’s training on the camera. Thus, we were off to war.

The gods smiled on us that afternoon, 31 May. The weather was bright and clear. No air Huns appeared. Archie was nearly non-existent. We cruised about near Bapaume while Miller took notes and made sketches. We then dropped our work at the appointed spot and headed home.

The Major sent for me and asked for my opinion about Miller. I told them that he had enjoyed an easy introduction. How he would do in the longer term remained to be seen.

“May I ask a question, sir?” I asked. The Major nodded. I then told him about my leave having been cut short when I was transferred to 23 Squadron. “It’s now coming into June and I have been out here a year with only three days’ leave. Major Hogg assured me that it would be rectified, but I haven’t heard anything since I came to the squadron.”

Major Ross-Hume took this in pensively. “It has been noted, Mr Hawkwood. Carry on.”

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End of May 1916 stats

2Lt David Armstrong Hawkwood

23 Sqn, RFC


Le Hameau, France

116 Missions

123.28 hours

0 claims; 0 confirmed

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War Journal – 2nd Lieutenant David Armstrong Hawkwood

23 Squadron, Royal Flying Corps

Izel-lès-Hameau, France


Part 22


Another fuel leak.jpg

June began without a further word from the squadron commander about my long-overdue leave. Miller took over from Beckwith as my observer and proved to be a reliable sort. He had worked with an accountancy firm in London before the war and exulted in all the force of personality typical of his profession. Still, he was a good man with a camera. It was yet to be seen what he could do with a machine gun.

On 7 June, we flew in the morning south toward the Albert-Bapaume road. There we photographed new enemy defensive positions under construction near Courcelette. It was too hazy to obtain good results. On our return, the Major did a poor job of hiding his frustration with our work. In the afternoon we had a taste of something entirely different. The mechanics fitted our machines with racks under the nacelle to hold a load of 20 or 65-pound bombs. Both C and A Flights were dispatched to drop bombs on suspected Hun assembly areas near Delville Wood. It was great fun despite the usual heavy Archie encountered in that location. Unfortunately, it was impossible due to ground haze to determine whether we did much damage.

For the next six days, rain and wind prevented our flying. The only exception occurred on 12 June when the Major insisted that Captain Lane send up a reconnaissance patrol. Lane protested that the weather was too poor and that it would be next to impossible for a pilot to find his way down safely, if indeed he managed to take off. Major Ross-Hume would not budge, and so poor Captain Lane went up himself with his observer, Ennis. They disappeared into the low cloud and had not returned after an hour. I stood with a number of others outside the sheds listening for them. At one point, we were sure that we heard a machine circling about somewhere off to the south. After two hours, we made our way to the mess for tea. It was getting on towards five o’clock when we heard that Lane had crashed near Barly. He was fine but Ennis had been badly injured. I heard the Major tell the Recording Officer in the mess that it was a “stout show” by Captain Lane.

On 14 June, the weather cleared at last. Miller and I again flew down to the Albert-Bapaume road to take photographs. The Archie was much heavier this day and we took several hits from pieces of shrapnel, one of which caused a fuel leak. I switched off and glided back, putting down in a field southwest of Arras. It was evening by the time we got back to the squadron.

Major Ross-Hume called for me as soon as dinner was finished. He told me he had been mindful of my situation and had arranged for a week’s leave. It was difficult to hide my disappointment at such a short break after so long at the front. The Major seemed to think he had done me a great favour and told me he had arranged for me to fly a BE2 back to Farnborough from Saint-Omer in the morning.

I wired home that evening that I would be in London on the weekend and hoped that they could meet me there, as I would have little time to make it all the way home. They could leave me a message at the front desk of the Piccadilly Hotel. Major Ross-Hume recommended the place and took care to remind me that officers should always stay at the “right sort of place.” As long as it has a bar, it will be the right sort of place.

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Some free time has allowed me to catch up the month and a half I had left due of my pilot. Here's a quick report.


Leutnant Ailbe Blaz Dziarzowitz

FA5Lb (FFA5)

Aviatik C.I

Haubourdin, France

46 missions

38,03 hours

2 claims (a Nieuport, a single seater pusher scout), 0 confirmed

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As with all of the finer things in life, tea comes in many varieties with subtle flavours that can be enjoyed on their own or blended into new experiences to enrich the experience of the drinker. Edward was not sure what the blend was in this pot. He suspected the little French Madame who ran the estaminet had blended second hand leaves with iron filings and maybe... just a hint of pine shavings.

“Maybe we should have gone for the wine,” his brother George echoed his thoughts. Edward attempted to alleviate the taste with another sugar cube, “probably turpentine.”

“How long have you been in France?” Edward asked. “I though your lot went to Palestine?”

“Suez,” corrected George. “They had us playing guard to a canal for a month before remembering that we'd volunteered to fight the Germans. We’ve been here a few months now. Even had a stint on the front lines.”

“What was it like?”

“Boring mostly,” Edward's big brother told him. “ We did lose a few to snipers and artillery. It’s not the glory I thought it would be. I hope we get to go over soon and show the Boche what we're made of!”

“You’re an accountant, George. You're made of slide rules and ledgers.”

“I joined up. That makes me as much a soldier as you.”

George broached the subject that had been on their minds since meeting at the nurses' residence. “I can understand why you would find Katherine attractive. She is beautiful, and clever. Exotic in a bohemian sort of way. But look here, I love her Eddie.” He turned the cup in his hand a little nervously. “There; I’ve said it. I love her.”

Edward looked at his brother. “What about Sarah? You’re married, George. For heaven’s sake!”

“I know! I know! Do you think I wanted it this way? If I had met Kitty before I met Sarah then we wouldn’t be in this predicament. No contest.”

Edward looked like he had a bad taste in his mouth. “Well that's alright then, isn’t it? Have you told Sarah that she’s getting the runner up prize?”

“Don’t be like that, Eddie,” George replied miserably. “This isn’t easy for me.”

Edward reached a decision. “Right, George. I’m not going to tell Sarah. And I’ll leave off Katherine. But you have to sort this one out. I'll have nothing to do with it.”

“Thank you Eddie.”

“Don’t Eddie me. I’m not happy about this.”

The sergeant’s mess at Hesdigneul resembled those of the commissioned officers in many ways. The type of soldier who found himself in a NCO role in the RFC was a practical man who liked his home comforts knew how to make what he didn’t have already.

Sgt Butcher, an engine fitter with C flight, settled himself opposite Sgt Amherst, who was perusing a copy of “the aeroplane” magazine and smoking on his pipe.

“How is Mr Le Mesurier doing on your Bristol, Sid?” Butcher asked.

Amherst took a reflective puff and turned the page before setting the magazine down. “He's the very devil on the Gnome. Hasn’t got much in the way of fine control of the blip switch. But I admit that if any pilot was going to bring the Bristol down safely it would be mister Mesurier. He turns in the air like a bird.” Another puff on the pipe. “He asked me the other day if we could mount the Lewis gun on the top plane, firing forward. How would he pull the trigger? You'll like this Frank. He was taking about running a string down a bit of hosepipe from the trigger.”

Butcher imagined the contraption over a sip of beer. “Poor lad,” he said at length. “We can’t all be engineers.”


One problem with the Bristol scout, in Le Mesurier’s opinion, was that it didn’t have as much endurance in the air as the BE2s it was supposed to escort. He had flown several close escorts this week, only to have to return to Hesdignuel before the Quirks had finished their work over the lines.

It was getting close to that time again. Le Mesurier had climbed up a thousand feet behind the Quikes as they photographed Menin aerodrome. His idea was that the extra height would give him more gliding distance if he needed it.
As the group approached the lines from the east, Le Mesurier spotted two dots to the north. His suspicions were soon confirmed. It was a pair of Eindekkers heading to intercept the BE2s.

Le Mesurier pushed his nose down and came in behind the German machines. He tilted his head to one side to line up the gun, which was angled off to the left and sprayed a burst of bullets at the first Eindekker. The monoplane broke of its attack and dove away.


The second Eindekker was sat behind the BE2c of Lt Rowena broke of his own attack and turned toward Le Mesurier. The two machines circled one another for a minute to see who could bring his gun to bear.

There was little contest. The Bristol scout turned much better than the Eindekker and a burst from Le Mesurier’s Lewis gun hit the German’s engine. The enemy pilot was close behind and pulled up abruptly as he was also hit. The fragile monoplane lost control and went into a terrible vertical spin before smashing into the green field below.


At the end of May, 2nd Lieutenant Le Mesurier has 106.82 hours, 82 missions and 1 confirmed victory

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Maeran – poor Le Mesurier has a romantic dilemma. Now we'll see what he's made of. Wonderful episode as always!

I've been away from my computer for a week and it's good to be back. Unfortunately the 1916 weather is not aware of my desire to get into the air.


War Journal – 2nd Lieutenant David Armstrong Hawkwood

23 Squadron, Royal Flying Corps

Izel-lès-Hameau, France


Part 23


On the tail of a Fokker.jpg

I spent the first day and a half of my leave wandering about London aimlessly, feeling provincial and lonely but enjoying good food and drink and undisturbed sleep at night. More because it seemed like an obligation than a diversion, I took in “The Bing Boys” at the Alhambra. I had heard the tune “If You Were the Only Girl in the World” and did not realise it was from this review until I saw it. “Another Little Drink Wouldn’t Do Us Any Harm” was new to me, but it seemed that I heard it everywhere afterward.

The British Museum was marvellous, and I enjoyed visiting shops along Regent Street and Oxford Street. As planned, my parents visited the city on the weekend and we traipsed about with our mouths open, taking in all the important sights – Westminster Abbey, the Tower, the bridges, Buckingham Palace, the parks, Harrods and Fortnum’s, not to mention window shopping the elegant jewellers and galleries of Bond Street.

They left on Sunday night and the loneliness returned. I went out wandering again on Monday, and bought sausage rolls and ate them in Hyde Park while watching children play football and wealthy folks riding and believing the war to be very far away. It was there that I encountered a chap named Connors with whom I had served during my training at Larkhill. Connors was already a captain and a flight commander with a BE2 squadron. We spoke for a while and arranged to meet for tea later that afternoon at the Lyons tearoom on Piccadilly.

The hour spent swilling tea and scoffing cream buns brought me out of my funk. Connors had a wry sense of humour and was full of funny stories about his time in France. His squadron was situated farther south than mine, close to the river Somme, and he had encountered far more air Huns than I had ever seen. One day he had been set upon by two Fokkers who shot the bottom of his machine to shreds. It got to the point that Connors did not trust the floor to support his seat, which felt as though it had come adrift. He made it back to his aerodrome by bracing his feet on the longerons as much as possible when not absolutely needed on the rudder bar. After he landed, he stood to dismount and fell through the bottom of the floor!

Jacky Connors knew his way about and informed me that the gathering spot for RFC officers was the Savoy bar. We arranged to meet there at seven for a drink and wander over to the Trocadero for dinner. Connors was staying at the Cavendish on Jermyn Street, so he would meet me at the Piccadilly beforehand.

Having somewhere to go with a friend was a wonderful feeling. We met up and strolled toward the Strand, enjoying the warm late afternoon sun. The Savoy bar was the RFC in miniature. The place was rotten with pilots and observers. Connors introduced me to Jimmy the bartender, whose first words were, “23 Squadron? You must know Stephen Price and Harry Wyllie.” Price was one of the squadron veterans and expected to take over command of A Flight when Captain Hargrave comes due for transfer to Home Establishment, I told him. And Wyllie was my own flight commander. Jimmy, it seems, is second only to General Trenchard in his knowledge of and dedication to the flying service. Connors and I met up with two other fellows, a New Zealander named Quayle and a Scot named Reid, both of whom were on BE2s. They were all jealous of my good fortune in piloting a Fee.

We enjoyed our dinner at the Troc. It was simple fair – bangers and mash – due to wartime food restrictions. Connors, however, said we would make up for it later if I joined him for a bit of a party at the Cavendish. The woman who runs the hotel was a noted cook who had found favour in the late King Edward (read put it that she “worked mightily under the King”). The good woman was a strong supporter of the RFC and hosted frequent soirées for visiting pilots and bored actresses.

The evening at Miss Lewis’s soirée dazzled and alarmed. A baby-faced captain from a scout squadron pronounced himself bartender and held court whilst explaining the latest cocktails. The room was inebriated when we arrived and became more so by the minute. I chatted for a long while with a Canadian who was instructing at Netheravon. Connors excused himself and headed for the lift in the company of a sultry temptress. Miss Lewis sat with me for a while, transparently attempting to pry me out of my shell. She succeeded only in some respects. First, she introduced me to chilled Chablis; then, she urged me to try smoked salmon on dark bread, dressed with onion, capers, and even caviar. It was all quite unlike home and all marvellous. A girl named Jessie sat down next to me. She smiled too much and placed her hand on my knee. It was rather exciting and I began to weigh the benefits and risks of following Connors’ example. In the end, she could not compete with the smoked salmon.

Several hours and at least two bottles of Chablis later, I lurched onto the pavement of Jermyn Street. A few footsteps in the wrong direction found me at the entrance to Mason’s Yard, a small square that was home to the office from which the RFC dispatched me to Larkhill. I relieved myself into a drain, turned about, and made my way unsteadily back to the Piccadilly.

21 June 1916 and I have arrived safely back at Le Hameau, too late for dinner but still able to beg the mess steward for some cold roast beef and pickle. Two of the old boys were still about – Webb at the piano and Parker spilling brandy on himself. Parker introduced me to the new commander of B Flight, Captain Gray. Several unfamiliar faces huddled in the threadbare armchairs. Harlowe King, one of our most senior observers, welcomed me back with the news that he and I were now a team. Moreover, we had a photographic reconnaissance patrol at seven forty-five the following morning. I was not upset by this as King had a solid reputation and Miller and I had not yet been together long enough to form a relationship.

All the roads here seem busy and I am told that the amount of traffic further south is breathtaking. We all know that a huge push is coming, yet no one knows exactly when.

Our flight on 22 June was uneventful. There was no sign of the Hun in the air, and even the Archie merchants seemed to be having a good lie-in. King and I walked into the village for tea in the afternoon. He talked at length about horses and seemed to know his way around the creatures. I had little to no experience with them, and King promised he would see to my education. The squadron typically had three horses at its disposal, all on loan from the cavalry, sent to us for rest (and no doubt for the horses’ amusement).

On 24 June, we awoke to the crashing of 20,000 guns, concussions that one felt deep inside one’s chest, even though many miles from the front. After being grounded due to low cloud and rain in the morning, the weather eased somewhat and we were dispatched on another photography show, this one down to Pozieres. We arrived at our intended objective at 6200 feet and were met by an appalling wall of Archie. I steeled myself and ploughed straight ahead. Suddenly, King started waving to me and pointing to the camera. Something was off. The thing was not working properly. I turned and climbed to our right, westward, filled with relief.

King and I saw them in the same moment – two yellow Fokker monoplanes heading westward, well below us and off to the left. We forgot the Archie. King fired a momentary burst from the forward Lewis gun to warm it as I throttle back and banked. The Fee descended quickly in sweeping S-turns. The Huns were in line astern, one behind the other, and clearly unaware of our approach. We came up behind and below the rearmost Fokker. King held his fire until we were only fifty yards away. Then he let loose two long bursts. The German machine shed some splinters and scraps of fabric, staggered to its left, and then rolled onto its back and nosed straight down. Its engine remained full on until it struck the ground immediately behind the enemy’s frontline trench. The Huns would be spared the task of burying the pilot. Man and machine smacked into the mud and disappeared.

We climbed away amidst a hail of rifle and machine-gun fire from below. The squadron had not claimed a victory for some time. When King and I filed a report, both the recording officer and Major Ross-Hume promised they would do their best to find someone who could corroborate the claim.

The next two days passed without a glimpse of sunshine – constant drizzle. The guns continue. Rumours tell us that the push is delayed due to weather. And on top of it all, there has been no confirmation of the Fokker we downed on Saturday.

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Raine, Edward thinks he is good. But he isn't always. As we will hopefully see.


Maplin of A flight lay the map out on top of a crate in the hangar where his BE2c was being given a once over by the mechanics. 2nd Lieutentant Le Mesurier looked at it with bleary eyes.

“So this area here to.... here. That’s the new trenchwork that HQ want me to photograph. Now I don’t want you hanging above and behind like you did with Rowena.  I’m not some goat you’re staking out to hunt a tiger!” Maplin looked stern as he folded the map small enough to sit on his lap. “No. I want you right next to me. Put any Huns off before they get the idea. Got it?”

Forty minutes later they were over the lines and Maplin was working up and down trying to get a good exposure of the fresh dug trenches below.  

Le Mesurier spotted the two Eindekkers as they approached.  He considered that he was too close to Maplin to manoeuvre well. He turned towards the incoming enemy machines and swept across their path, hoping to draw them away from Maplin’s slower machine. He was confident that he could out-turn the German monoplanes. 

Pang pang pang! Splinters flew from the woodwork around the cockpit. Something thumped hard against Le Mesurier’s shoulder. Instinctively he ducked and pushed the stick forward.
There was blood on the instruments in front of him, so Edward knew he had been shot. He couldn’t feel much pain though,  which he was grateful for.

 The Eindekkers had both followed his Bristol scout , leaving Maplin to run for the safety of the lines.  Turning to throw of their aim, Le Mesurier finally made it across to clearly British held territory. The Germans were no longer following him. That was a relief.  The pain was starting now. It was heavy and dull, but Le Mesurier was more concerned about the blood. Just how badly was he bleeding. He couldn’t tell. Did he have time to land before he passed out, or was it just a scratch? 

The French Town of Arras was a mess, with shelled out buildings everywhere. Le Mesurier tried to put down in a wide avenue but something ripped of his right wing tip.  Thankfully the rest of the scout held together and it was moments before helping hands were lifting Edward to safety.



Emma was making her rounds at Barlin when she spotted Edward Le Mesurier sat amongst the “walking wounded" wearing a sling.

“Hello,” she smiled at him, “what happened to you?”

“An Eindekker shot me through the shoulder.” Edward indicated the dressing with his left hand. “Not bad really, but I’ve got some time off. Is Katherine about?”

The nurse shook her head. “She has some time off too. Gone to Paris to stay with her Bohemian friends. She does that every few weeks.”



Most streets in Paris looked the same to Le Mesurier. Narrow, with tall buildings 3 or 4 stories high bearing shuttered windows that were lines up as though they were on parade. And for all the grandeur of the construction there was a certain sense of decay. As if the city was already past it’s best.

Of course, here in Montmartre, that was absolutely correct.  Cheap rents and lively night life had attracted artists from around the world for decades.  But when the war came most of the art community either joined up or fled the city. 

“Le voilà, ton aviateur.” The word ‘aviateur’ woke Le Mesurier from his reverie over a coffee. 
Katherine was stood at the door of the café with a moustachioed man who with an earnest expression. She was wearing a white peasant blouse underneath a green lantern tunic with long drooping sleeves. On her head she wore a headscarf with black and white stripes typical of the bohemian women Edward had seen through the week. The overall impression was some sort of Gypsy fairy.


Something like this

“Well this is a surprise.” Katherine smiled at him. “Did you come all this way for a change of dressing?”


Ricebourg 30th of June 1916.
There was no sleep to be had. The intense shelling had gone on all day and all night.  A feeble light to the east suggested that dawn was approaching, but would have to fight her way through the continuing British bombardment and the smoke that had been laid down.
Lieutenant George Le Mesurier held the ladder in one hand and his service revolver into the other. He could hardly hear anything any more, but he heard the whistles blowing.
Over the top went the Sussex Volunteers of the 13th battalion.  Later on they would call it the day that Sussex died.
George’s boot was on the ladder. And he pushed upward. 

Over the top.




Edited by Maeran

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End of June 1916 – 2nd Lieutenant David Armstrong Hawkwood

23 Squadron, Royal Flying Corps

Izel-lès-Hameau, France


Missions:     109

Hours:           120.58

Claims:           1

Confirmed:     0

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War Journal – 2nd Lieutenant David Armstrong Hawkwood

23 Squadron, Royal Flying Corps

Izel-lès-Hameau, France


Part 24


Heavy Archie.jpg

"Archie was the heaviest we have yet seen."


Wyllie was on his third whisky. I had already switched to tea. I had a recco at seven in the morning and was already up too late. Wyllie was overdue for Home Establishment and wanted to talk about England and my recent leave. The guns had been pounding for nearly a week. Tonight brought a new intensity.

Nash and Campbell landed a couple of hours ago – last flight of the day, barely possible given the weather. They said that beneath the cloud the front was sparkling like a sequined gown. “Absolutely thousands of guns. Never seen anything like it,” said Nash. Outside the rain had stopped. This would be the big push. We knew it.

“I had two days in the city with my parents,” I told Wyllie. “It was odd. Truly lovely to see them, but somehow we were foreign to one another. I don’t know what they really think is going on here, but I cannot bring myself to talk about the grimmer details. And if I talk about the happy times, it sounds like we are all off on a lark with the Boy Scouts.”

“You were happy to get back to the squadron, is that right?” Wyllie understood.

“It’s more like being with family than really being with family. Is that terrible?” I asked. Wyllie simply laughed.

I had been thinking a great deal about my leave. England was strange now. I resented the gentleman in bowler hats and striped trousers, tick-ticking their umbrellas along the pavement. The ladies in their fine dresses and broad hats annoyed me. Reading the papers about debates in Parliament made me curse under my breath. But here in Le Hameau, things were in their proper place. I put my tea aside and joined Wyllie for a last drink.

The next morning, 1 July 1916, marked the start of the great offensive. King and I were to photograph German reserve positions near Pozières, a bit north of the Somme. Our orders were to stay at least a mile clear of La Boisselle. We soon understood the reason for this directive. As we approached Pozières from the northwest, there was a massive blast just ahead. A rounded cone of earth rose from the trenches about the village of La Boisselle, reaching nearly a mile into the sky. One could see the air ripple outwards in circles from the blast until, seconds later, the shock hit us and nearly flipped our machine over. King landed half out of the nacelle and had to clamber back in a panic. A second, even larger, explosion followed close behind the first. We watched in awe as the impact of 10,000 shells formed a solid wall of hell in front of our advancing men. Certainly, this was the end of the war. We took our photographs as ordered and headed home.

As the day progressed, news trickled in. Good progress had been made, especially south of the river. Spirits were high.

The Ack Emmas found a problem with our engine and we remained on the ground the rest of the day.

On 2 July, we again took photographs, this time a bit farther north. Archie was the heaviest we have yet seen. News was mixed and confusing.

Bad weather grounded us the next few days. On 7 July, we were part of a squadron show and bombed a Hun rail yard east of Arras. Our fighting machines have been patrolling deep into Hunland and pinning the enemy down well away from the front. We did heavy damage to the yard and returned home without seeing an enemy machine. That afternoon, King and I conducted a long-distance reconnaissance, taking note of road and rail traffic between Bapaume and Cambrai. Again, the air had been swept clean of the enemy.

On the ground, however, things were not as rosy. For all their fury, our guns had neither destroyed the Hun wire nor all their artillery and our casualties thus far have been appalling, especially north of the river. While we have carried the enemy first line trenches nearly everywhere, nowhere have we achieved breakthrough. The Germans instead have counter-attacked with all their might. We are faced with the dreadful prospect of a long and drawn-out struggle in a devastated landscape.

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War Journal – Lieutenant David Armstrong Hawkwood

23 Squadron, Royal Flying Corps

Izel-lès-Hameau, France


Part 25

 William Orpen “A crashed FE2 Biplane of the Royal Flying Corps in  undulating landscape near Le Sars in Northern France.” | Biplane, Crash, Fes

We now have a much more sober view of this war then we had a week ago. Despite the weeklong barrage whose concussive brutality seemed to displace one’s organs, the enemy was not eradicated, the wire was not cut, and the path to the green fields of Belgium was not open. Instead, reports told of heavy casualties for minor gain. Only on the southern edge of the great push, near Montauban, had we clearly succeeded. The intent now seemed to be that we would push again where the enemy had given ground.

For that reason, on 8 July 1916, King and I took off at 7:45 AM to photograph enemy positions northwest of Montauban. We were met there with a wall of Archie. There was nothing for it but to grit one’s teeth and press forward. King hunched over his camera, and I held a machine steady whilst scanning about for air Huns. It took three endless passes to achieve all the needed exposures. Our machine was thrown about the sky by the blasts from Archie shells. Still, we emerged with only a few scratches on our wings and returned to Le Hameau with passably good results.

Late in the afternoon, they sent us back again. This time we pressed a little deeper into Hunland to photograph rail lines leading to the northern edge of the battle area, not far from Bapaume. Again we were met with heavy Archie and again we ploughed ahead and did our job. But this time we had a new experience. Just as King was finishing his final exposures, the Archie stopped. Seconds later I heard the “Smack! Smack!” of machine-gun rounds hitting our upper wing. A moment after that, a Fokker monoplane passed overhead, just to our right, and dived beneath us, turning left. I pulled the Fee about and dived after him. King was smart on the Lewis gun. He fired two short bursts and we saw some material fall away from the Fokker. The Hun disappeared below us. I turned about and saw another HA some distance off. This fellow seemed less keen to attack so we put our nose down and dived westward. The matter was over in less than a minute. We reported the combat on our return to the squadron but had to admit that it was indecisive. That did not prevent King and I from talking about the scrap half the evening. We bought each other drinks and clapped on each other’s back and told ourselves what jolly stout fellows we had been. I even took the liberty of writing a lurid account of the day’s work in a letter for my parents. Having felt disconnected from normal life at home when I was on leave in England, I was now driven by some evil part of my nature to frighten the poor dears!

Big surprise. That evening, the major announced that I was promoted to lieutenant. The work is the same but the pay is better.

Sunday, 9 July 1916. The C of E chaplain held a church service in one of the sheds at 10 AM. We were not there. Instead, King and I were on a reconnaissance of the roads and rail lines into Bapaume. It was an uneventful patrol, and we were back in good time for lunch. Took a walk in the afternoon into the village with Price. Price is one of the old hands here and is due for promotion to captain. He regaled me with stories of his new observer, who is a genuine American cowboy!

10 July 1916 – the day I nearly went west. This morning we were sent off on a squadron show to bomb the Hun airfield at Haubordin. There were ten Fees in all. I was assigned to lead C Flight and decided on a low-level attack. As we approached the field, we were dived upon by a group of Hun biplanes of a type I had not seen before. They were, I have since been told, Halberstadts. We were down to 1500 feet when one of the enemy machines dropped onto our tail. King stood up and did a fine job of holding the Hun at bay while I let loose our bombs over the line of enemy sheds. By that time, bullets were cracking past our heads. I turned sharply, first one way and then the other. King managed to get off a few bursts and the nearest Hun broke off his attack. We were taking heavy machine-gun fire from the ground. Our main petrol tank began to leak and the engine began to miss. We immediately headed back toward our lines and clambered for altitude. Another Halberstadt dived onto our tail and began shooting pieces from our machine. Once again, King stood up and began pouring out return fire. He went through two drums before this second Hun decided to go home for tea.

By this time, we had climbed to 2000 feet and were approaching the enemy front line. The engine gave a final cough and stopped. The Fee is a heavy machine. One must be very careful not to stall it in a glide. It did not take long for us to run out of altitude. The German front line had barely passed beneath when I was forced to pick out the least shattered piece of the devastated landscape. We hit the ground rather hard, bounced about forty feet, and came down with a crash. The oleo struts of the undercarriage gave way and we skidded along among the shell holes, dragging a long veil of barbed wire behind.

Thankfully, the giant Beardmore engine did not break free from its mounts. Both King and I were completely unharmed. We could not take a moment to gather ourselves or say a prayer of thanks because the Huns unleashed every bit of frightfulness they could muster – machine guns, rifle fire, mortars, and within a minute or two, heavier artillery. We tumbled into a nearby shell crater and huddled at the bottom, our legs in water above our knees. A greenish and very dead German chap floated up to us to welcome us to his resting place.

The afternoon dragged on. Gradually the shelling became less intense. King and I were dying of thirst, but our Hunnish friend dissuaded us from drinking the local water. Shadows eventually began to climb the muddy wall of our shellhole.

“If we stay here, there’s a fair chance the Huns will send out a patrol to look for us,” said King. I nodded. As much as I dreaded the idea of leaving the protection of the crater, we had no choice. Our long leather coats were a burden and we sweated like pigs as we crawled. It took more than an hour before we could make out English voices somewhere ahead of us. Unmistakably Yorkshiremen. We began to call out, taking care to keep our heads down. It must have been close to midnight before we heard the welcome words, “Advance one and be recognised.” We were safe.

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BuckeyeBob – thanks for the comment! It has been a bit quiet around the campaign. The horrid weather in May and June 1916 probably sent people to catch up on other games/sims or to deal with real life issues. Being deficient in the real-life department these days, I've been able to keep up. I expect others will rejoin soon. I know that epower is thinking about a back story for a new pilot once he finishes the continuing saga of Oliver, his DiD III pilot back on the other forum. And Maeran soldiers on with his excellent tale about Lemesurier. I'll be on holidays for a couple of weeks so please forgive a pause in the storytelling.


War Journal – Lieutenant David Armstrong Hawkwood

23 Squadron, Royal Flying Corps

Izel-lès-Hameau, France


Part 26


A couple of years ago, I went to the pictures whilst in London with my parents. There was one bit of film about jungle creatures. The Amazon, I think it was. They showed a immense snake engaged in eating a whole pig that it had suffocated. The horrid thing took a painfully wide-jawed bite of the pig and over the next hour or so struggled to swallow it. After lying exhausted with a third of a pig in its throat, it mustered the energy to take another bite. This drama continued for the rest of the day, the film said. The snake would take a bite, swallow a bit more, regain strength, and bite again.

That pretty much describes the battle of the Somme thus far. The big push has stalled. The army struggles to hold what it has taken, replaces its considerable losses, and tries for another bite here and there. In the air, the RFC has done a good job letting our reconnaissance machines patrol the front and take their photographs without let or hindrance by the Hun. We suspect that the enemy has moved more squadrons into the disputed sectors because we are now encountering more serious aerial opposition.

On 14 July, we took photographs of a new reserve area and railroad line southeast of Arras. On our return trip, a pair of Hun two-seaters passed overhead within five hundred yards. As they seemed unaware of our presence, King and I gave pursuit. Our machine approached the closer Hun and when we were about a hundred yards away, King fired a long burst from his Lewis gun. Despite clearly hitting the enemy machine, it continued on its way in the direction of Monchy. His partner, however, was more alert. The German observer in that machine managed a long burst from about two hundred yards above and to our right. His luck was in, for our engine immediately began to make disturbing noises. We were forced to switch off and land on the outskirts of Arras. Just as I was settling into a lovely grassy field, a wire fence loomed up. I pull back and the joystick and did a masterful job of both clearing the fence and stalling the Fee at a height of thirty feet. We came down heavily and with our left wings low. Once again, I succeeded in completely writing off one of His Majesty’s aeroplanes.

We continued with reconnaissance patrols. Rain kept us on the ground on 17 and 18 July. Major Ross-Hume insisted on sending up a machine from A Flight on 18 July despite fog and drizzle. It did not return, and we learned later that it had flown into the side of a house about ten miles southeast of here, killing both men aboard. Captain Wyllie is furious with the major and rumours are that they had words in the mess. We all expect Captain Wyllie to be sent home for a “rest”. It is not a happy family at the moment.

On the bright side, we have a small contingent of Royal Engineers putting up three Armstrong huts with wooden sides – quarters, officers, for the use of. We should be able to move in within a few days.

More reconnaissance patrols continued. Our next bit of a thrill came on 20 July. On that date we flew reconnaissance to the area east of Beaumont-Hamel. The cloud being low for good camera work, we took notes by hand and dropped them at divisional headquarters behind our lines. The drop required a very low approach over the battlefield. Fortunately, we were shielded from enemy fire by a very slight ridge, so it was rather surprising to find the smoke trails of German machine-gun fire streaking over our heads as we approached the drop area. As soon as King released the bag and streamer with our notes, I turned sharply to the right. A yellow German biplane suddenly appeared very close overhead. He crossed to our left to turn behind us. More smoke trails from the right side told us that there was a second Hun. These were Halberstadt scouts, the enemy’s newest machines. Our trusty Fee allowed itself to be thrown about rather harshly and, unlike its predecessor, resisted the temptation to stall. King managed a couple of short bursts whenever an HA came into the field of fire of the forward Lewis gun. The rear-firing Lewis was not used much. I confess that I was turning this way and that too frequently and too sharply to permit King to stand without risking a hasty departure.

We know we scored a few hits, as did the pair of Huns. Whenever possible we moved a bit farther to the west. Then suddenly, one of the Halberstadts turned for home. I brought our machine about to engage the remaining Hun. This fellow apparently felt the zephyr vertical and called it a day’s work. Back at the squadron we reported the encounter as indecisive.

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The morning sunshine streamed happily through the tall window of Katherine’s apartment in Montmartre.

Katherine was looking through her wardrobe, speculatively holding up one outfit before replacing it with another. Meanwhile Le Mesurier idly looked through a collection of sketches and photographs. They were all of Katherine; mementoes of several years amongst the artists of Paris.

“This one makes you look like Mata Hari.” Edward waved a photograph.

Katherine paused to look at the image. “That was Cheri Herouard. It was a reference for one of his drawings for la Vie. I don’t know why, but men always want to dress me like a Turkish harem girl.”

“Is that so awful?”

“You joke? I am Greek! We fought the Turks for our freedom! Your poet Baron fought too. We remember him well.” Katherine sidled across and put her arms around Edward. “Do you write poems?”


Edward thought.

“There was a young woman from Crete

Whose kisses could never be beat

When stripped to her drawers

She ‘roused cheers and applause

And soon she was swept off her feet.”


Speaking in a noticeably thicker accent, Katherine pouted, “who is this woman from Crete? I am from Thessaloniki!”

“I... I’m sure I couldn’t rhyme Thessaloniki.”


There was a knock on the door, which turned out to be one of Katherine’s artist friends. An emaciated young man who looked pale and drawn from too many nights chasing the green fairy.

“Bonjour Alphonse,” Katherine greeted him. “Ça va?”

Tant mieux de te voir, Mademoiselle,” Alphonse replied. “But it is the English aviateur I have a message for. Monsieur, there is a soldier with a telegramme downstairs.


The early days of the war had been highly mobile, with the RFC being required to move to new landing fields at a moments notice, in support of an advancing or retreating army. While the trenches had stopped such rapid movement, this philosophy of being ready to move had not left the corps. Most of its aerodromes lay directly next to major roads to make moving equipment easy at a moments notice.

The aerodrome between the villages of Auchel and Lozighem was a fine example. Here the public road actually crossed the middle of the landing field. Bisecting the cluster of hangars and huts at the western end and being a profound nuisance for the sentries.

On the morning of the 15th, a motor car pulled up next to the first sentry. It was an antiquated looking Renault painted red with ‘G-7" stencilled on the side. A British officer sat in the back, alongside a woman was wrapped in a shawl against the breeze. The officer clambered out and pulled his valise out with him.

“I’m going back to Barlin,” the woman said. “No-one told me there was an offensive. They can probably use me. Come over when you can.”

With a round of farewells, the taxi turned around in the road and headed off west again.

“Lieutenant* Le Mesurier,” The officer announced himself. “I’m to report to the Officer Commanding 25 squadron?”

“I'll have a man escort you sir,” the escort told him.


Major Cherry was a young looking man with a black moustache and Royal Artillery collar badges.

“Welcome to Auchel, Lieutenant. We fly the FE2 here. It’s a hulking big machine, but make no mistake; she is a machine of war and a real Hun killer!

“I asked for a pilot who shows promising offensive spirit, and I’m glad to have you along. You will need to get used to the machine, but then I want you to be deputy flight leader for B flight. I’d say... 2 days ?”


It was now a week since Le Mesurier had arrived at Auchel and he was getting used to the big Fee.**

All of the machines had a name that was Scottish in theme to represent the squadrons formation in Montrose (although most of the pilots seemed to be from Kent and Sussex, as was Le Mesurier himself). Some of the machines had been presented by donors, and this was recognised on the fuselage too. Le Mesurier and his observer Cpl Brandon flew in ‘Monarch of the Glen.’

They had been sent to photograph the results of bombing at Houbardin when the flight leader, Wheldon had wheeled the flight around and headed home with 4 Fokker monoplanes in pursuit.


As they approached Auchel, Brendon once again raised his notepad to Le Mesurier to see.

“Still chasing.”

This was unusual behaviour for German scouts. They must have been a raiding party from the outset; Le Mesurier considered his options.

The best form of defence is a strong offense. Le Mesurier banked the big aeroplane steeply and came about in a surprisingly small amount of distance. There was no way that the four Fokkers hadn’t seen him, but he hoped they wouldn’t expect him to do what he was planning.

The Fee hurtled toward the horizontal lines that resolved themselves into black crossed machines painted in a green finish. Le Mesurier was sure that one pilot looked surprised as the huge pusher hurtled through the formation. Brandon's Lewis gun rattled as he squeezed off a burst.



Now the turning fight began. For most of the time, Le Mesurier could not see the Fokkers. But he kept turning and every so often Brandon would haul his gun around and fire a burst at something. He had to change the drum at one point and that was the most tense moment that Le Mesurier had ever experienced.

On two occasions a Fokker hung in the air in a position where Brandon could get a series of bursts in succession. Le Mesurier wasn’t certain that it was the same machine.

The eindekker nosed down with a thin stream of smoke tumbling from the engine. The spiral became steeper and steeper until the aeroplane finally crashed into the wood on the opposite side of Lozighem to Auchel. Black smoke rose from the now burning wreck.



Le Mesurier couldn’t find the other Fokkers. They must have decided that these Fees came at too high a price.


Wheldon’s machine was already being wheeled in when Le Mesurier rolled to a stop. Men and officers from both squadrons ran across to congratulate Brandon and Le Mesurier.

“We saw the whole fight,” and Australian pilot called Richardson told them excitedly. “You were among those Eindekkers like an Osprey among seagulls.”

“I must admit,” said a 32 squadron DH2 pilot, “I didn’t think a Fee could move like that!”





* Lieutenant Edward Le Mesurier got his promotion on the same day he was told about his assignment to 25 squadrons

** I was going to write about Le Mesurier’s first impressions of the FE2b, but this is already very long. If you haven’t read it Flying the FE2b - the Vintage Aviator

is a brilliant read.


Raine; Hawkwood has had a few close calls lately. I’ve been worried for him on several occasions now! A sign of excellent writing.

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Outstanding stuff.  I'm still scrambling and have yet to give these superb narratives the proper time for a full reading. 

FYI, Raine is still playing host to a huge family reunion.  I'll be Kayaking the Thousand Islands from August 2-5 and will not have my WOFF materials in tow.  Only my iPad.  Please take extra care (always) but most certainly until get back on the 6th. 


Looking forward to a long catch up with all your adventures.



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Maeran – good to see your man safely ensconced at 25 Squadron. "Monarch of the Glen" – fine name for a Fee. Best of luck with it!

End of July stats: Lieutenant David Armstrong Hawkwood
23 Squadron, Royal Flying Corps
Izel-les-Hameau, France

127 missions
134.61 hours
2 claims
0 confirmed

Edited by Raine

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War Journal – Lieutenant David Armstrong Hawkwood
23 Squadron, Royal Flying Corps
Izel-lès-Hameau, France

 Part 27

Claimed Fokker.jpg

"The Hun zoomed vertical, stalled, and fell away beneath us in a spin."


During the last ten days of July, there was a noticeable beefing up of the German defences in the face of our attacks. King and I flew twice on 22 July, taking many photographs of new enemy trenches and wire in the area of Le Sars and Courcelette.

Rain and low cloud swept in on 23 July, frustrating our further efforts. Major Ross-Hume again insisted on sending up a machine that morning. Within half an hour of taking off into the dense cloud, the thing hit a hillside several miles away. Both pilot and observer merged miraculously unhurt, but the observer, a young officer recently arrived from the Manchesters, was so shaken by his experience that he has requested to return to the trenches.

We had good fortune on 24 and 25 July. On both days we photographed enemy defences and returned unscathed with many good plates.

On 26 July, we conducted a reconnaissance of roads and rail lines east and north of Martinpuich. The clouds were too low for good photographic work to be done, so King made extensive sketches and notes. Archie was merely sporadic and thoughts of eggs and bacon were filling my head when suddenly two rounds smacked into the side of the nacelle, only inches from my elbow. I turned about as quickly as the Fee would allow. A Hun biplane, likely a Halberstadt, flashed overhead. Two Fokkers passed beneath. King instantly threw his notebook to the floor and readied his forward Lewis gun. We turned about several times. The Germans showed themselves only for a second here and a second there. I reversed our turn from right to left. A Fokker appeared above us and to the left. I brought our machine up behind it and King’s Lewis gun began barking out in short, five-round bursts. A thin stream of smoke or vapour began to trail from the Hun machine. Looking all about, we saw no other HA. The damaged Fokker was heading home and we were able to catch up with it. King gave it a long burst. The Hun zoomed vertical, stalled, and fell away beneath us in a spin. We lost sight of it.

On our return to Le Hameau, we reported the Fokker as falling out of control. It certainly seems that way to us. Unfortunately, we had no witness and Wing modified our claim to “driven down”. I have at least the satisfaction of thinking that this is the second Hun that King and I have accounted for. We made a point of heading into the village for a celebratory tea that afternoon.

The rain returned and continued through the first day of the new month.

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War Journal – Lieutenant David Armstrong Hawkwood

23 Squadron, Royal Flying Corps

Izel-lès-Hameau, France


Part 28

The Halberstadt that got away.jpg

"Quite by accident, we ended up alongside the Halberstadt and King hit it for six."


By the beginning of August 1916, the first phase of the Somme push was over. Now high command directed a series of limited offensive actions, sometimes involving as few as one or two battalions. Our line would be pushed forward a few hundred yards here and a few hundred yards there at great cost. It was obvious that we intended to secure better jumping-off spots for a second great push. For us in 23 Squadron, this phase required day after day of photo reconnaissance shows. Meanwhile, the Hun beefed up his resistance in the air. We now met enemy aircraft about every second day. There were nearly as many of the new Halberstadt scouts in our sector as Fokker monoplanes. One or two of the lads had even encountered a new type of rotary-engined biplane whose appearance suggested it was built by Fokker.

Price was promoted captain on 4 August and left to command a flight at 11 Squadron, taking with him his American observer, Sergeant Libby.

6 August began like any other day. King and I were excused duty in the morning thanks to a dense ground mist. We went up in the afternoon, shortly after two, bound for another photographic job around Flers, north of the river. Lieutenant Cochran and his Canadian observer, Sergeant Wells, flew with us. We climbed to 7000 feet before crossing the lines and turning south to our objective, a new trench line in a secondary defence position. Archie was noticeably lighter than normal and I circled about to ensure that no air Huns were hiding in the sun. King leaned over his camera and I began our first pass. A few greasy black puffs erupted with their deep “woof,” but they disturbed us only with a light jostle. We turned about and made a second pass from south to north. That done, King signalled for one more pass and I circled about until I was once again heading south. No sooner had King hunched over his camera than a yellow Halberstadt biplane appeared directly ahead and slightly above us. I did not wait for King’s signal this time but pulled the old Fee about in a sharply banked left hand turn. Poor old King gripped the side of the nacelle for dear life and turned to face me. I could not hear him over the engine, but his face suggested he was commenting on my mental inferiority and low birth. I pointed off to our left, where I suspected the Hun was turning to get behind us. Moments later King swung his Lewis gun about and began firing. The German machine now came into view. Instead of turning beneath us, the enemy pilot had made a serious error and tried to dive away. We dived beneath his tail, King finishing his first drum and quickly slapping on a second. The HA began to smoke and headed east.

Cochran and Wells appeared off to our left, but King and I were closer to the stricken Hun. The second drum from the Lewis gun did the trick. King fired two long bursts. The German put his nose up, hung for second in the air, and fell, tumbling unsteadily and growing smaller and smaller until it disappeared in a bright flash just behind the enemy’s third line trenches.

We returned with a number of good photographic plates and with Cochran able to confirm the fallen HA. At last we had our first confirmed victory in the air and only the third to date for the squadron. We had a proper gay and hearty in the mess that night. Kincaid was the musician of the lot and he wrung whatever music was in from our ancient and none too healthy piano. We sang all the standbys, including “Mademoiselle from Armentieres” with the requisite lines…

The Kaiser’s up in an aeroplane, parlez vous,

The Kaiser’s up in an aeroplane, parlez vous,

The Kaiser’s up in an aeroplane.

I hope he never comes down again.

Inky, dinky, etc.

Buckingham produced a top hat from somewhere and did a music hall turn. He sang “Lily of Laguna,” “If It Wasn’t for the ‘Ouses In Between,” and “Don’t Dilly Dally on the Way.”  A splendid time was had by all. Captain Wyllie, however, seem to put out. I stood him a drink as the evening wound down. He and Major Ross-Hume were still butting heads and he suggested that the Major saw King and me as two of “Wyllie’s boys,” and was not appropriately enthusiastic about our success. He confided that he was due for transfer to Home Establishment, as was I, and thought it might be high time for the two of us to be moving on. I told him that I did not see that happening while the push was on. In honesty, I have felt for some time that a change of scenery was due.

On 9 August, we had another exciting day. Once again our attempt to photograph a section of the lines near Flers was interrupted by several Huns. At first there were only two Fokkers. King and I were alone this time. But the Fee can handle itself in a scrap with Fokkers and I was able to chase off one and catch the other in turn. King was splendid with the machine gun, and we last saw the Fokker falling vertically and streaming thick black smoke.

Our rejoicing was cut short by the sudden appearance of a cloud of Fokkers mixed with Halberstadt scouts. I put the nose down and ran in the direction of home. King stood and gripped the rear-facing Lewis gun. He did not begin to fire, and from this I deduced that the Huns were still out of range. King’s leather coat was flapping loudly in my face, whipped by the one hundred mile an hour wind. I pulled at his coat and motioned for him to sit down, shouting that he was only slowing us down. King slipped off a mitt and held up all five fingers and then showed three fingers. He mouthed the word “eight.” Eight Huns!

As we crossed our lines and passed south of Arras at 3500 feet, I half stood and looked backwards over the engine. I am in the habit of fastening my safety belt very loosely so I can do this. Three Halberstadts were following about 400 yards behind. The other five machines had turned away or were in the process of doing so. We continued in a long shallow dive toward our aerodrome at Le Hameau. Uncharacteristically, the Hun machines followed us all the way west. A French squadron had recently taken up residence across the field from Le Hameau next to the farm called Filescamp. They had installed several anti-aircraft guns and machine guns around the field and I hoped that they could provide some assistance. I passed above Le Hameau at 500 feet and, hearing the French Archie at Filescamp come into action, I turned about to meet our three pursuers. King fired a short burst into the first two to approach. We turned about and got a second crack at one of them. Now these two chaps decided to leave for more friendly territory and abandoned their colleague to us. The remaining HA was painted a dark brown with a large letter “B” on its side. Quite by accident, we ended up alongside the Halberstadt and King hit it for six. The French Archie did not let up and shells were bursting all around us. King fired again and the German machine began to smoke. We followed it about a mile to the east. King gave him another fifteen or twenty rounds from close range. The Halberstadt dropped its left wings and slid downward, hitting a wood and breaking apart.

We landed minutes later and a small crowd assembled around our machine. King held up two fingers and led the way to the squadron office. We made our report to the RO. The Major listened impassively and nodded when we were done. “Keep it up, lads,” he said.

At dinner, the RO informed us that the Fokker we had claimed remained unwitnessed and unconfirmed, even though it was clearly seen to be fatally damaged. I suggested that a decision to leave the claim unconfirmed was an unwarranted stain on our honour. He glanced in the direction of the Major and said there was nothing to be done for it. As for the Halberstadt that lay scarcely a mile and a half away, credit for that victory had gone to the French Archie gunners.

I was more than a little disgusted.

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25 August 1916

With the Royal flying Corps somewhere in France


Dear Mr and Mrs Hawkwood,

By now I am quite sure that Major Ross-Hume has written you with the news of the loss of your dear son, David. I flew with David for the past three months. Everyone in the squadron knew that he had been in France for more than a year and was long overdue for a job in Home Establishment. Only a few nights ago, we chatted over tea in the mess about his wanting to go home and have a crack at the Zeppelins over London.

David was a constant inspiration to us all in the squadron. He took time with each new pilot to make sure he was prepared thoroughly for the trials ahead. It was clear to all that David would soon be promoted captain and given command of a flight.

On Thursday, 24th inst., he led a group of nine machines to bomb a German rail station close behind the front. Heedless of anti-aircraft fire, he placed his bombs directly on target. Because several of the aircraft did not release their bombs on the first pass over the station, they turned about for another run. Whilst they were doing this, David circled about protectively. A group of Fokker scouts came on the scene. Three of them engaged David and his observer, Lieutenant King. David was undaunted and quickly sent one of the Huns down out of control. The other two ran away.

Meanwhile, I dropped my bombs and flew to rejoin David. But behind me, two German biplanes dived down to attack our comrades that were still over the target. David saw this and turned back to help them. Although he was well out of danger, he returned and threw himself directly into the fight. I saw him attack one and then another of the German machines. He was turning sharply to the left when he collided with another friendly aeroplane that turned into him. Both machines were severely damaged by the impact, and I fear there is little hope.

Together with several of David’s friends, we have gathered his personal effects. The major will arrange to have them sent to you.

I hope that my letter has not distressed you needlessly. Certainly that was not my intention. I merely wanted you to know the respect in which David was held and the courage that he displayed consistently.


Albert Ingram-Jones

2nd Lieutenant

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Oh, that is terrible news, Raine. Another pilot gone west.

If he were on better terms with his CO, I would think he would be up for the VC, although colliding with a flight-mate might not be something the War Ministry would wish to call attention to, regardless of fault and the heroics of the pilot.

I drink to his memory.

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I had a quick discussion with epower last night and have two options for a new pilot. I'm going to think about them on the weekend and jump right back in. Hopefully we get some returnees to the campaign.

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Look forward to it. I always enjoy you and epowers stories. In fact, all of the stories are usually quite good. Turns out that WOFF can be quite the inspiration! 

Keep up the good work! 

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Journal of FSLt Douglas Bell-Gordon, RNAS


Part 1

Rail yard attack.jpg

"Then magically I spotted the north-south rail line I was looking for and the depot that was our target."


13 August 1916.

It is a fine day to begin a new life. As of today, I am no longer merely a probationary sublieutenant. Whereas our instructors at Chingford and then Eastbourne enjoyed reminding such as me that we were “lower than whale sh*t,” now my course mates and I have risen to the exact level of that substance. Further, I am the proud holder of a commissioning script in which His Majesty informs me that he has reposed especial Trust and Confidence in my Loyalty, Courage, and Good Conduct and has seen fit to make me an officer of Royal Navy. Probably a bad gamble on His Majesty’s part, but I’ll take his ten shillings a day plus eight shillings flying pay and we can discuss the rest later.

It has been a journey. I signed on in Halifax, Nova Scotia, when the Canadian Naval Service hosted a recruiting team from the Royal Naval Air Service late last summer. I’d entertained myself as a Petty Officer second class in the Royal Naval Canadian Volunteer Reserve for a couple of years while finishing high school and preparing to become a police officer or perhaps a hockey player. The Volunteer Reserve work consisted mainly of polishing things and mucking about Halifax Harbour in leaky boats. Still, it was enough to convince the recruiter to take a gamble on me. For a month or so, I knocked about HMCS Stadacona with several other RNAS recruits while higher powers wondered what to do with us. Eventually, we were bundled aboard a Cunard liner, RMS Saxonia, and dispatched for Liverpool. As the only sailor passengers amongst a battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force, we made ourselves quiet and easy to get along with!

Training followed – ab initio flight training at Chingford, someone more advanced training and gunnery at Eastbourne, and a crack at flying two-seat Sopwiths at the Training Establishment at Cranwell, where I was part of the first class to be passed out.


22 August 1916

On my way at last! My orders and travel warrant tell me I have been drafted to 3 Wing. This unit is operating down in Alsace, supporting French bombing machines on raids as far as Mannheim. Between the long-distance flights and the mountainous terrain in that area, I should have my work cut out for me.

Received post from home before leaving Cranwell. Dad writes that I must send letters daily as Mum is convinced every morning that I have thundered into some hillside or another. It will be grim when she learns that I am off to meet the Hun! Maggie is now working as a Red Cross volunteer, sewing bed linens. Dad has been promoted to Inspector – he has been waiting for this many a year. Several paragraphs of the letter were devoted to reminding me what a poor correspondent I have been. I resolved to send a letter as soon as I got to my hotel in London.

The Regent Palace Hotel is quite the spot. The lobby and the Palm Court are awash with officers from across the Empire and seemingly unattached and forward ladies from across the city. I had an early dinner and thought to take a stroll and see the sights, but I made it no further than the public house at the back of the hotel where I met another RNAS officer bound for France. He is drafted to 5 Squadron near Dunkirk. He invited two young women to join us and they came perilously close to drinking all my spare earnings. I excused myself and retired to my virtuous couch. Forgot to write home.


23 August 1916.

In France at last. Quick rush across the channel in a destroyer to Dunkirk, followed by crowding into a filthy French carriage on the world’s slowest railroad.

Spent most of the day and half the night stopped in rail yards and passing loops. I dozed briefly and awoke in Reims, where three senior French officers forced me to give up my little wooden seat and stand on the platform between carriages.

Arrived in Luxeuil around noon. There was no transport laid on so I requested that the station master call 3 Wing for me. Of course, the fellow spoke no English and, having paid scant attention to my various teachers’ efforts to teach me French, my own communication was rudimentary. My lessons came back to me, though. I held out my orders and pointed to the words “3 Wing” and insisted forcefully that he “téléphonez les anglais right bloody now”. He shrugged his shoulders and said something to his assistant, who went into another room and returned minutes later saying something about a camion. If I recall correctly, that means either a lorry or a liquor cabinet. Either way I was content.

A tender arrived in about half an hour. The driver was a young sailor from Liverpool whom I could scarcely understand better than the Frenchmen. From what I gathered, Luxeuil is a pleasant billet. The town has only about a thousand inhabitants. It has been a spa town for centuries and various French kings and hobnobs have taken the waters here over the years. It did not take us long to arrive at the aerodrome, and what a place that is! The field is immense. At the far end stand the sheds and various buildings of the French 4th Bombardment Group. Their machines were scattered about. I recognised a Voisin and saw at least one other type I did not recognise. Closer at hand, however, were two groups of buildings on the nearside of the massive field. One was occupied, I was told, by a French squadron consisting entirely of American volunteers. The drivers said they were ripping good lads. The other group of buildings belonged to 3 Wing.

I was dropped off in front of the squadron office, outside of which stood a polished brass ship’s bell on a whitewashed wooden gantry. The White Ensign snapped overhead in a stiff breeze. The foot of the office stairs was as close as one could get to a gangway, so I turned toward the flagpole and snapped off a smart salute to the quarterdeck. After the bright sunshine outside, the office seemed small and dark. I asked for the wing commander and heard a voice from beyond the partition asking who was there.

“Flight Sub-Lieutenant Bell-Gordon reporting for duty, sir!”

Wing Captain William Leslie Elder was a dignified-looking gentleman and welcomed me warmly. He bade an orderly to bring us a pot of tea and went on at some length about the unit. He said we were the only British unit dedicated to long-range bombing in all France. When at full strength, the Wing might be expected to number 100 machines. For the moment, we had only twelve Sopwiths, mostly single-seat bombing machines and a couple of two-seaters. The supply of new machines had slowed to a trickle as the Admiralty had agreed to send its Sopwiths to the Royal Flying Corps in support of the offensive on the Somme. He asked about my family and I told him about my father’s career as a policeman in Canada since moving to Nova Scotia from Edinburgh the year before I was born. I explained that I had a sister ten years older than I who volunteered for the Red Cross back home. He informed me that his “ship’s complement” was more than half Canadian, thanks to the recruitment drive in Canada last year. He suggested that in the morning I should take up a two-seater Sopwith with an experienced gun layer and familiarise myself with the surroundings.

Our accommodations were in well-built wooden huts with metal roofs and cast-iron stoves. Messing was in the building dedicated as the wardroom, and by all accounts the food was quite acceptable. I quickly became familiar with several of the other pilots. Stearne Edwards was one of my hut mates. He came from Carleton Place, near Ottawa, and had learned to fly at the Wright school in Dayton, Ohio. Edwards previously served with Naval 2 on the Channel coast and had already scored a victory over an enemy aircraft there.

Jimmy Glen hailed from Manitoba and had already been in Luxeuil for more than a month. John Sharman also came from Manitoba. George MacLennan had joined directly from the University of Toronto. Fred “Army” Armstrong also came from Toronto.

The fellows told me that there were other Canadians coming. The Wing still had pilots and machines stationed in southeast England. They expected Art Whealy to arrive tomorrow – another Toronto boy.


29 August 1916

It has rained constantly since my arrival. Today the cloud was not quite down to ground level and I took one of the Sopwith machines for a flip. I realised quickly that one needs to learn the pattern of roads and rail lines in this region. Much of the surrounding countryside is wooded and the Vosges mountains loom up as soon as one heads east. A dodgy engine in these parts is “no bon”. I landed after only forty-five minutes in the air, and just in time. Before I pulled up in front of the massive sheds, a thick ground mist reduced visibility to twenty yards.


31 August 1916

First clear day in ages. The wing commander asked me last night if I was up for adventure and I said yes. So this morning right after breakfast, I took off with F/S/L Fagg, an experienced gunlayer/observer and two forty pound bombs, bound for a Hun rail yard about thirty-five miles to the east. The morning was glorious with scattered puffy cumulus clouds and little wind. Fagg assured me that he would double check my navigation and would not allow us to get in trouble. Still, I was determined to get this right by myself. In the end it was not difficult. Various lakes with characteristic shapes stood out against the surrounding woods and proved to be useful landmarks. Ahead lay a slightly scarred ribbon of open ground – the front. I noticed an orange-brown kite balloon off about a mile to the north of us as we crossed the lines. Obviously Hunnish by its position. Heavy ack-ack rose to meet us – and an unnerving experience for the uninitiated. Then magically I spotted the north-south rail line I was looking for and the depot that was our target. We dropped our bombs smack in the middle of the place and turned for home. This time I gave the kite balloon a wider berth and the ack-ack was a little less hostile. I saw the French trench lines coming up quickly and began breathing normally again.

At that moment, everything fell apart. I heard Fagg’s machine-gun begin to bark and several rounds slammed into my windscreen and instruments. My goggles were violently torn away. A pain like a needle stabbed my left eye. I turned about to the left in a near-vertical bank. More rounds hit the Sopwith. I had a fleeting glimpse with my good eye of a brown monoplane passing overhead. The Hun had come up under our tail, and like a fool I had not turned every minute so to check my blind spot. I noticed blood streaming down my leather coat and, thinking of nothing other than getting to the ground safely, I put the nose of our machine down and dived for our own lines. The Sopwith shuddered and moaned in protest. I cut the engine and eased out of the dive before we broke up. It was very difficult to see so I dropped onto the first bit of open ground I found.


1 September 1916

Not an auspicious start to my career in aviation. I am a guest of France at the military hospital in Nancy. Lovely people and good food, but I can scarcely understand a word of what anybody says. It seems that my face was a bit cut up by pieces of glass and I had a sliver of the stuff embedded in my left eye. I’m not sure whether it came from the instrument glass or my goggles. The local doctor in Luxeuil thought extracting the glass was too risky and had me shipped here where a specialist eye doctor put me to rights. I have a patch like a pirate and it hurts like the devil, but they tell me that I should be close to normal in a week or two.

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Raine, first off my deepest condolences on the death of young Hawkwood.  I finally caught up with his tale and felt a certain kinship.  Blasted Collision code!!  

Welcome to Douglas.  Marvelous introduction and a backstory that begs for elaboration...assuming we get that far.  To that end, no more woolgathering on the return trips!!  We've all been there.  Greatly relieved your man survived his first encounter with the Hun.  I have no doubt he will take the lesson to heart and keep repaired weather eye out for e/a... or is it still h/a in Sept 1916 ?   More importantly, are the nurses treating our Aviateur Canadien properly?


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Journal of FSLt Douglas Bell-Gordon, RNAS


Part 2

Journal of FSLt Douglas Bell-Gordon, RNAS


Part 2


7 September 1916

The dressing was removed from my left eye two days ago. Vision was blurred at first but now is clearing nicely. The fellows in the wing gave me a genuine welcome home. On my first night back, we stood down early because of rain and repaired to the Hotel Pomme d’Or in town, having been invited by the Yanks across the way to join them for dinner in their favourite haunt. The hotel restaurant was by all accounts a splendid place to dine and they had adopted it as their “club”.

The Yanks of the “Escadrille Américaine” are a curious and entertaining lot. They are all volunteers and with one or two exceptions all come from wealthy families. Most departed for France directly from the top universities in the United States. A disproportionate number hold themselves out as southern gentlemen. Their leader is French, a capitaine named Thénault. He has his work cut out for him. These Americans have too much energy, too much available cash, and too little discipline for any poor officer to deal with! About half of them have acquired motorcycles or cars. More have acquired feminine partners. They all flaunt silver drinking flasks and cigarette cases. One of the fellows, Bill Thaw, has just returned from Paris with – of all things – a four-month-old lion cub, which the boys have christened “Whiskey”.

We settled in for a grand meal. The champagne and oysters were followed with some very fine white wine and fish. Wing Captain Elder and Captain Thénault laughed and talked and proposed toasts. It started before the meat course as a breadball fight – little clots of delicious chili French bread rolled between grubby fingers and flicked with violent force across the table into the eyes of other diners. We started it and the Yanks returned fire. We began with pieces like musket balls. They replied with canister. We came back with twelve-pound shot. Wine glasses tipped into laps and soup splattered over tunics. A general exchange of flung plates and gravy boats followed. An American named Cowdin was debagged and on our side MacLennan had his nose bloodied while avoiding what our southern neighbours called a waffle butt. This was an exercise involving a naked bottom, a tennis racket, and a stiff brush. Later, when our commander mused about which squadron was to blame for the devastation of the restaurant, I asked who in the world brings a tennis racket to a fine dinner?

Today we reciprocated the Americans’ hospitality by inviting them for a friendly game of baseball. The RNAS team was nearly all Canadian, except for a couple of clearly confused Englishmen. I had let it slip in conversation one day that I enjoyed refereeing hockey and officiating as a baseball umpire. In fact, I’d played amateur ball back home until the four-team Nova Scotia professional league made an appearance in 1912. At the urging of my old coach, I signed on as an umpire for the provincial league and worked a number of games at the Halifax Commons. That’s when I learned I was pretty good at this umpiring game. Anyway, once that bit of personal history became general knowledge I volunteered (verb passive) to be the plate umpire for the Canadian-American Luxeuil Aerodrome Friendship Game.

The improvised ballpark was impressive. Our mechanics mowed the grass and set up a line of pickets and a rope to mark the boundaries of the diamond, which our British friends insisted on calling a pitch. Our sailmakers fashioned the bags for the bases and even prepared a passable although heavy chest protector for me. Our carpenter followed my detailed instructions and created a fine and accurate home plate from whitewashed wood. Thankfully, the squadron sports kit included a spare mask, which I claimed. Although I would have preferred to call the game alone, one of our British pilots, MacGregor, insisted on helping me in the field. I had about half an hour to explain where he should position himself in each situation. It was obvious that he had no idea what the game was about. In the end, I had to shout to him between each play and indicate where he should be. Of course, as soon as the ball was hit, MacGregor stood rooted and was dreadfully out of position for any subsequent call.

The game started well enough. I enjoyed calling out balls and strikes and “foul ball” and such. I even had the opportunity to call obstruction on the RNAS shortstop during a play, which allowed an American run to score. The spectators from our side forgot their squadron loyalty and directed some pretty ripe language my way. Still, I thought, it shows the Yanks that I was working hard to be a fair arbiter.

That was until a rough-hewn American named Bert Hall got a two-base hit. With nobody on base, field umpire MacGregor stood on the line behind first. But as Hall rounded first with a full head of steam, MacGregor remained where he was. The ball was coming in from the outfield and the call at second base would be close. I left the plate area, took my mask off, and – mask in hand – sprinted past the pitcher to make MacGregor’s call for him. Edwards was playing second for the RNAS. He received the throw from the field and laid down his tag just in time to get the out on Hall, which I called emphatically. Hall seemed to believe that Edwards was too forceful with his tag. He sprung to his feet and pushed Edwards over. I got in front of Hall and told him that he should be ashamed of himself for complaining about being tagged on his lower leg. Hall made a fist and brought his right hand back. His intention was clear. Hall was a powerful fellow, a former Foreign Legionnaire, and I had no desire to be struck by him. So, naturally, I knocked him out cold with my mask.

It took a while to calm things down after that. Hall was helped off the field, uttering threats of violence. Ever the diplomat, I ejected him from the game. The American team captain, Rockwell, came out to argue.

“Let’s put on a show for the boys,” he said to me in a low voice while his face twisted and he poked me in the chest. “Just play along and then throw me out. Hall had it coming. I’ll take care of him and we’ll all have a drink after.” And then it started. Rockwell called me every cuss word in the book, ripped up home plate and threw it across the field, kicked dust on my trousers, and dribbled tobacco juice down his chin in the best tradition of the sport. I got in his face and gave him as good as he gave me. It was a three-ring circus of the first order. Both sides cheered wildly as I ejected Rockwell. Then Rockwell turned around and “ejected” me. With both Hall and Rockwell gone, the Americans no longer had nine men on their roster. By rule, the Canadians won by a 9-0 forfeit. Over champagne in the wardroom, some of the boys decided that Rockwell’s ejection of the umpire was not supported by the rules, so I must have suspended the game when I walked off the field. There should therefore be no official score, they argued. I explained why that was not technically correct, but our two commanding officers agreed it was the best solution and I relented.

In the words of Kiffin Rockwell, “Darndest bit of umpiring I ever saw.”

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