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DiD IV Campaign - Flight reports & Player instructions

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July 7

Armand's Diary

Jean and I were called to the commander's room.He was not in good mood.

He shouted so loud that our hair fluttered backwards.

"It is not enough for you to fly a fruitless flight far to the enemy side but to lose your plane intact to the enemy!"

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"Boches dropped this picture our field yesterday.Now they get all info from it.
The next time  you get captured you can stay there!
Dismiss and get out!"

 

 

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Congratulations on the first victory, Sebtoombs.
A close call with your B pilot, Paroni. I hope he keeps landing on his own side of the lines from now on.

This adventure happened in June. These week/months are fast paced for writing! The train incident really happened. Major Becke (originally a 2 squadron pilot) had been a founding member of 16 squadron and went to command his old squadron only to immediately come to his new ‘old’  squadron’s rescue.
‐-------------------

Aerial photography was the heart of the work of 2 squadron. Sometimes there would be an artillery shoot and the pilots that had been there longer than Le Mesurier would talk of something called a contact patrol. Before and after those things could be done a BE2 with a Type A camera would have to go up and carry out ‘the work’.

As wing commander, Lt Col Trenchard tried to foster rivalry between 2 and 3 squadron by showing observers photographs taken by their counterparts in the other squadron.  The aircrews did talk to one another and knew the booming colonel’s game. They also knew how important the work really was.  Between the two squadrons, they had already built up a mosaic map of the front and were dedicated to updating this modern marvel.

Ashby cradled the latest plates for this endeavour as Le Mesurier eased the aeroplane down onto the grass at Merville.  

After the RAF engine was silenced, Le Mesurier noticed that there was no further noise.  

Clusters of air mechanics were sitting in the hangars they looked at the landed machine expectantly.  A group of them came across to the  BE2.

“What’s going on, Butcher?” Le Mesurier asked the first to arrive. 
“16 squadrons are getting shelled sir,” the engine fitter replied. “Report came in about an armoured train that had been pulled forward to hit La Gorgue. The Major had everyone go up with bombs and a wireless set to put the fear of God into the Huns.”

Le Mesurier looked across the river.  La Gorge was very close, just a mile or so upstream.
“Ashby, can you drop the plates in for me please?” Then he addressed the men, “get me some petrol and some bombs. I want to be up again as soon as we can load it.”

As it was, Le Mesurier did not take off again. Even as the Ack Emmas pulled a trolly with the bombs across to his BE, the first of the aeroplanes began to land.

“Where are you going, Le Mesurier?” Major Becke asked.
“To help you, sir" Le Mesurier saluted from his cockpit. “Is that help no longer needed?”
The Major laughed, “no; we made things too hot for that train to remain in his station.” I hope the arty we called down wrecked his rails after him.”
“Very good sir.”

Although June was not as hot as it had been in the glorious summer of ’14, it was still early summer and the evening warmth led the officers to the water’s edge. Some dipped their feet into the water as the exploits of the day were retold from different angles. 

As time went on, the older officers went further back to the ‘glorious history’ of Shiny Two. The first RFC aeroplane across the channel. The early days of reconnaissance during the battle of the Marne. The two pilots who were forced down behind enemy lines and not only escaped across the lines, but brought the British artillery useful information about the German batteries.

Le Mesurier listened to all these and pulled on a thoughtful pipe. These were heroes, and here he was just trying to fit in.

Of course, to everyone was idling by the river. Outside a hangar, air mechanics were stabilising a BE2 with trestles in order to remove the engine. 

“Do you think they know about the bodies that floated down that river?” Butcher asked the corporal.
“Sarge reported them, Butch. I expect the officers will find out if more are coming soon enough.”
 

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July 8

Armand's Diary

Navigation training and knowledging of landmarks on the flat land of Flanders.

It was peaceful day although rainy.

 

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July 11

Offensive patrol to Haubordin aerodrome(Boches!)

Weather very nice,no clouds.

Engage against several Aviatiks but result was unsatisfactory for us.All ammo used but claim went Adjutant Le Sort.

July 13

Capitaine Fauvre and his observer made crash landing and hospitalised.

July 14

Patrol on your side,destination La Gourge railway junction.

Thunderstorms,our plane was like a kite in that weather!

No enemies sighted.

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Paroni I'm enjoying Armand's Diary, thanks!

Maeran I absolutely love Le Mesurier fighting spirit.  I can't get an image of John Le Mesurier out of my mind as I read!

Mfair loving the story so far!

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"The weather worsened as did The Hun"

 

1 July - 5 July

As June turned to July the weather worsened as did The Hun.  There's talk of some single-deck scouts causing havoc for the french - thank the Lord I've not seen one yet.  They apparently fire in the direction the plane is flying - that would make life a lot easier. 

We've had some very heavy weather - storms that drown out the front and make flying a hairy old business.

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The early July weather has been a poor show indeed!

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By the 4th of July, the weather has improved and we were back to clear skies.  The Boch wanted to capitalise on this and started bombing Dunkirk and St.Pol-sur-Mer with gay-abandon. The cads!

At 0500 on the 5th, we were scrambled to two Aviatiks loitering overhead at about 8000 feet.  I reckon, if I can get my mixture right, I climb best at about 45-50 knots. I set off after the blighters climbing the whole way.  They either didn't see us or were pushing their luck grossly outstaying their welcome by bombing our hangers.  When I passed through 6000 feet they got the wind-up and started to make for home.  I wasn't having it, and gave chase - hoping to down one our side of the lines this time.  It was a long and protracted business.  Involving much bobbing and weaving but we did it, bringing one down our side of the lines in the woods southeast of Nieuport.  The claim is pending.

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Dodging and DIving with an Aviatik BI

The Boss is delighted and says that for a Runt of 19 I'm doing a hell of a man's job! High praise indeed.

 

Edited by Sebtoombs
spelling!
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July 17

Armand's Diary

Patrol over the Vimy Ridge.German activity increased in the region.

Drive off enemy recon and artillery spotting planes.

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Jean once again ready to shoot the enemy but with meager results!Enemy slipped from us.

The fight took place south of Lens,near Douai aerodrome,Flanders.

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Bryas aerodrome ,just landing.Truck columns on the way the front.On the horizon from there the city of St.Pol.

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Sebtoombs, there is a very good reason for that. John Le Mesurier is both the inspiration and model for Edward. (The terrible photo is based on one of John in his 20-30s). I have him as a second cousin of the actor. Similar background, but John Le Mesurier is currently 3 years old.
----------------
The riverside idyll lasted as long as June did.  With the new month 1 wing RFC moved south to cover a new section of the line. 2 Squadron was now located in the village of Hesdigneul.  The field was more open, but the sheds were right next to the nearest civilian houses.  Le Mesurier was sure that everyone knew there was a war on and no French grandmother was going going to complain about the noise at any point.

It was a few days after the move that Le Mesurier first saw an enemy aircraft.  He and an observer called Wade were working on the trench photographs when two white specks caught Edward’s eye.  
As he watched the shape seemed to become clear to him.  Aeroplanes with black crosses!
Tapping on Wade’s shoulder and pointing, Le Mesurier turned toward the enemy machines.

It turned out that the German machines were flying along lower and slower than Le Mesurier’s Be2c.  With a dive he was able to pull ahead and below the lead machine.  Wade read his mind and reached for the Lewis gun.  This was newly fitted shortly after their move to Hesdigneul and Le Mesurier had been itching to try it out.
https://combatace.com/uploads/monthly_2022_01/large.LeMesAviatik.jpg.9e45e6e68c851191dc2afbfbb01793f6.jpg

The noise of the Lewis over his head was even louder than Le Mesurier ever expected.  His excitement overruled the discomfort however.  The great white aeroplane above them turned away and fled east.  He considered chasing them, but the other machine was still flying west.
“Slow and across the lines?” Edward thought. “Bombs!”
The speed difference allowed them to position themselves below the other aircraft. An Aviatik.  Wade let fly again and again as the bomber turned for the safety of German territory.  

Le Mesurier gave a rude gesture and the pilot returned the salute in kind.
“Well!” Edward thought as they turned for home. “That went awfully nice.”

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11 hours ago, Maeran said:

Le Mesurier gave a rude gesture and the pilot returned the salute in kind.
“Well!” Edward thought as they turned for home. “That went awfully nice.”

Brilliant Maeran, cracking report!  Classic Le Mesurier.  :biggrin:

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July 20-25

Armand's Diary

Flights are now every day.

Photo recon and escort missions.

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Jean and i take off from Bryas.

Escort mission.Far little spots are Moranes from Esc 57.They have no guns,camera equipment instead.

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Another screen from Flanders

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Paroni Armand and Jean are doing a good job escorting and driving off the enemy!

Maeran sorry the riverside idyll had to come to an end.

_________________

The good weather over Flanders Fields have come to an abrupt end, clouds started to gather.  No more so than when my downed Aviatiks was denied to me. 

"Sorry, Andrew's the Artillery chaps that captured them have taken full credit. " I was fuming! "... You'll just have to get another and make sure we are round this time to witness it."

It got worse. I had a phone call from my father the same day (He is Station Commander at RNAS Eastchurch and close friends with the First Sea Lord and carries a fair bit of clout). 

"Why the blazes are you not in Manston! I promised your mother that I'd keep you near me.  From what I hear you're acting the bally goat"   He carried on without even taking a breath, "There are rumours going around that you have adopted that silly little saying "attack everything!" - it has to stop!  Understand!!" I thought he'd stopped and was about to speak when the old volcano erupted again.

"I've also heard you've looped your BE2. What the blazes!!!!!  IT ENDS NOW."  With that, the call ended - reasonable chap my old man.  Thankfully none of the chaps knows anything about my high ranking father, and I want to keep it that way.

6-10 July were fairly standard stuff.  Recon over Marne, some long patrols on both sides of the lines and a trip on coastal patrol to Zeebrugge.  I was given a 48-hour pass and enjoyed with Davies a very enjoyable trip to Paris.  Though Davies remains a silent odd fish if I'm completely frank.

On the 13th I was down for the afternoon patrol when at lunchtime two cheeky swine appeared over the airfield again.  We scrambled quickly! I was leading B fight for only the second time, the first being at the end of June.  This time I dismissed circling above our base as a foolish waste of time and headed due east climbing at 50 knots the whole way following what I suspected was the Hun's line of retreat.  At 8000ft I doubled back, west, to St. Pol-sur-Mer and sure enough, the Hun were indeed returning to their lines.  We were on a perfect intercept course for them.  All the advantages were ours!  We dived on them causing them to separate. Davies and I stuck with one like glue.

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We dived and split the pair

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Davies really has got his eye in

Davies' shooting is first class and after about 120 rounds from the Lewis the engine was seized and the pilot was slumped over in the cockpit.  The EA started a steep descent which turned into a nose dive crashing then exploding into flames in a field on the western outskirts of Nieuport.  It was both a joyous and strangely sobering moment. I think at that moment I realised what so many men had realised before - war isn't just some game.  I said a prayer for the pilot and observers families and flew west to St Pol-sur-Mer.

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I said a quiet prayer for families who would no doubt grieve very soon

"No doubt about that one Andrew's, not only did half the squadron witness that, but most of Nieuport too!  Capital, old fruit, CAPITAL!"  The CO slapped me on the back as I stepped off the wing.  He nearly knocked me flying. I'm not quite so stable without my stick.

Within a few hours, the claim was confirmed by a number of witnesses.  First confirmed victory!!

 

 

 

 

Edited by Sebtoombs
typo
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Congratulations Seb_Toombs!

Quite Dynamic Duo,Andrews and Davies!

Boches have tough time yet,i suppose.

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July 26

Armand's Diary

Offensive patrol

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Over the trenches,near St.Vith.Notice German Drachen !

 

Combat began!Shot01-12-22-00-30-49.thumb.jpg.9669783e5d61d2981ceaaf916f81ed82.jpg

Should be a easy prey...

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Aviatik crashed!

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At least one Boche less!Viva la France!

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Jean spend about 200 rounds of it.Two witnesses,Jailler and Le Sort.

27 July

Claim to get credit Aviatik rejected.

The staff found the evidence to be unreliable.
In their opinion, the machine could have a technical fault.

Sacre Bleu! What a disappointing! I don't know what proof must give them that they believe it!

Jean and I decided to still show them.

27-28 July

Patrol own area and enemys area .Both ineffective.No sign of enemy.

 

 

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TWK – Welcome to our first Bulgarian pilot! I know there will be the inevitable aviation stories, but I hope you can work in some tales of wonderful Bulgarian food…

Carrick – Welcome to Klaus. I hope he makes it safely to the war after boarding that trolley.

Paroni – Good to meet Karl. I was enjoying his accounts of his early missions and was truly shocked when I came to discover that he had been killed. I wish all the best to Armand Bouchant. He is already using his share of luck. I’m happy that his visit to the German lines was not a long one. Too bad about Armand’s second claim being denied. What happened with his first claim?

Seb – Wonderful to have you back! And a welcome to Theodore “Runt” Andrews. He was lucky to get drafted to France (RN prefers drafted to posted) as he wanted. Great stories. You had me listening to Noel Coward doing “Uncle Harry Is a Missionary Now.” Interesting connection with Tring. I took a drive there with my son shortly before Christmas – to visit the brewery of course. It’s a lovely town. Where did you go to grammar school? Just read about your first claim as well. You did a wonderful job taking revenge on the claims gods by downing the next Aviatik you saw in flames. Congratulations!

Maeran – An entertaining and well-crafted introduction to Mr Le Mesurier. I laughed out loud when I read, “That went awfully nice.”

MFair – A heartfelt welcome to Elijah Gallagher! It looks like he’s going to have an interesting time as Captain Goon’s partner.

Hasse – As I have come to expect from you, your introduction of Auguste Besson was outstanding!

Rick, VonS – Great to have you checking in on us. There will always be a drink for you at the bar.

 

War Journal – Sergeant David Armstrong Hawkwood, Royal Flying Corps

Part 2

 

I have settled in comfortably in Bailleul. Ned Buckley and I wangled a few hours off to head into town, and we have managed to kit out our Tent, Circular, Mk IV. The poor ORs are housed nine or ten men to each such tent, but Ned and I live in luxury with the whole thing to our two selves. All our tents are pitched over a circular wooden floor piece, so we are high and dry. In town, we bought a threadbare oriental rug to cover much of the floor near the door and we have set up our two camp cots radiating from the central pole at 11 and 1 o’clock with a small table and paraffin lantern set between them. We have acquired a narrow dressing table with a mirror and a ceramic wash basin for shaving. Finally, we have two folding chairs that we can take outside in fine weather.

Outside the tent, we have dug a shell scrape and have daubed the canvas with blotches of green paint so that from the air, the Hun will not recognise it as a comfortable Tent Circular at all. Rather, he will think it is a Tent Circular with blotches of green paint. Very clever of us.

The Sergeants’ mess is a good spot to pass the odd quiet hour with a book or magazine. There is decent ale to be had. Unfortunately, I am the only pilot in the mess and am therefore unable to share my day fully with any of my comrades. The majority are mechanics by trade and, when we do talk, we talk about motors. One mildly irritating bit is that my BE2 is consistently referred to as “Mr Osborne’s machine” and I am “Mr Osborne’s pilot.” All the other machines are referred to by the name of the officer who is the pilot.

Mr Osborne and I have become a good team. We conducted several artillery shoots over the past couple of weeks and we are both finding it easier to make out our target on the ground. On 25 June we were sent over the lines on a reconnaissance of road and rail traffic. The mechanics fitted my machine with a rack for dropping bombs. I have a control lever in the cockpit which releases them, at least in theory. That day, we flew all the way to Roulers. On the way back I noticed a field where the enemy were building what appeared to be aeroplane sheds. I dropped down to 2000 feet and let them have it with my bombs. What a joy it was to be able to strike at the enemy like this. I am reasonably sure that my bombs landed close enough to the German works that, if they did not actually frighten the Hun, he at least noticed their presence.

Since then we have conducted further artillery shoots but no German aeroplanes. For that matter, I have only noticed our British machines in the air on two occasions. On both occasions, the machines I was surprised to see approaching were Bristol Scouts that had been assigned as our escorts. It is devilishly hard to see other aeroplanes whilst flying.

The weather continues to get warmer. We leave our flying kit in the sheds and put everything on just before climbing into our machine. That way we are not soaked with sweat when we take off, for in five or ten minutes we will be chilled through if we are wet.

Had another long reconnaissance on Monday (5 July). This time Lieutenant Osborne and I flew south-east all the way to Lille. That city is noted by its large star-shaped fortress and by the pyramid-shaped slag heaps around the nearby coal mining towns. We are told that the Germans are feeding their steel industry with the coal they are stealing from the French here.

There is another aerodrome nearby, next to the large asylum north of the town. The asylum itself has been taken over as a casualty clearing station. There are many doctors and orderlies about and some very attractive young nurses. The nurses, unfortunately, are all kept under the gaze of steely eyed matrons and they are liable to be shot at dawn if they even glance in the direction of an admiring young flyer!

Have received several letters from Mum and Dad and Auntie Peg. Also, Eddie Bristow has joined up. He is now an engine room artificer in the Royal Navy. They say you can join the Navy and see the world, but as an ERA he will be a lucky man to see the sun once or twice a month. I must write him and share all the joys of flying to make him jealous.

Postscript – Just returned from a late morning “show.” Went with Lieutenant Osborne to direct artillery south-east of Bethune. We experienced rather heavy anti-aircraft fire, or Archie as the chaps call it, and even some machine gun fire from the ground although we were up around 5000 feet! Our duties took us as far south as Vimy. There, just as we were turning back to the north, I saw a single aeroplane about a mile to the east and heading south. I signalled to Mr Osborne and we turned to investigate. To my joy, the mystery machine turned out to be the first Hun I have met so far. I was able to position our BE2 below and in front of the German (which we believe was an Aviatik type), and Mr Osborne fired six rounds at it from his Lee-Enfield before the Hun dived away to the east. We do not believe he was seriously damaged although mental distress is a definite possibility.

First encounter with enemy aircraft.jpg

By this time we were some ten miles over the lines and I made my way westward by dead reckoning, as the compass did not settle down for several minutes. During our trip back to the lines, we were Archied more than I had yet experienced. Navigation was a challenge. As far as I have seen, all of France is a featureless plain except the bits they have dug up for coal. Every town has its obligatory church and they all look much the same. The buildings are low brick farms that line the various roads and all look much the same. Occasionally there is a fine straight highway, too good to be French and thus obviously Roman. But there were no such landmarks this morning and I did not get my bearings until we crossed the lines and I spied the chimney smoke of a large town off to the north. I headed in that direction and identified the place as Bethune from the pattern of roads that converged on it. Then I picked up the line of the Lys River a little farther north and from there we made our way safely back. Mr Osborne went off to file our report with the Recording Officer and I washed up and poured myself a celebratory noontime whisky back at the tent. A while later I visited the sheds where Tony Taylor, our technical sergeant, informed me that our machine had been holed in no fewer than fifteen places!

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Congratulations on the kills gents! Confirmed or not, it is a feat at this time in the war. Now just where are all the Boche?! Gallagher has flown up and down from Lens to Bapaume and has yet to see  black cross! That is ok though. It’s a long war and the less of them he sees, the longer he lives. 

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Same here Mfair621!

Everything is rather easy till begin "Fokker Scourge"!

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eh hummm, as we represent the sim-worlds "Gentlemen" could we not use the word "Victory" in-place of the derogatory ww2 term  'kill'

just a thought

Edited by lederhosen
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Agreed lederhosen!

Especially word "Victory" fit an early war period where chivarly still existed.

1918 air war so cruel that "kill" feels better.

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15 hours ago, Raine said:

Mr Osborne fired six rounds at it from his Lee-Enfield before the Hun dived away to the east. We do not believe he was seriously damaged although mental distress is a definite possibility.

If your crate is going to continue being called Mr Osbourne's plane (tugs forelock in deference) he bally well need to learn how to shoot.  Brilliant chapter Rain! I love the details and touches.  Hopefully not long until the RFC get Lewis guns in their BE2cs.  

 

15 hours ago, Raine said:

Where did you go to grammar school?

Chesham Grammer School ...

Looking forward to the next chapter!

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July 29-31

Every day patrol over the front.

Almost always rare enemy crafts are too far.

One exception was force landing Aviatik,may be a technical problem.

After all German side they could save it!

Shot01-12-22-11-17-32.thumb.jpg.e4c60a75ea2d93bd3dd3f3e597787bb0.jpg

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8 hours ago, lederhosen said:

eh hummm, as we represent the sim-worlds "Gentlemen" could we not use the word "Victory" in-place of the derogatory ww2 term  'kill'

just a thought

“But it was a kill! I saw it!” Point taken lederhosen. I stand corrected. 

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After February 1915 when Armand went an aviator school ,he had not been given any leave.

Now he was granted  a two-week vacation.And Jean has too.He was from Auxerre.They decided first go to Paris and spend there two days before they continued to homes.

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SLt Jean-Fidele Hierrot reported for duty with Escadrille MS 12 at Rosnay, in the Marne region, on 1 July 1915. His biography reads as follows:

Quote

 

Jean-Fidele was born on 6 January 1898 in the city of Algiers to a Pied-Noir family - in this case, Alsatians who fled the family's home following the Franco-Prussian War a generation prior, and sought out new opportunities in French Algeria. Jean-Fidele's father, a life-long businessman, established a moderately lucrative vineyard that did not make the Hierrot family wealthy, but secured a comfortable enough existence.

Unfortunately, Jean-Fidele's father died in an accident in 1912 when Jean-Fidele was 14, at which point the Hierrots took their family savings and relocated to Paris, where Jean-Fidele's older brother, Etienne, secured a factory job. Though Jean-Fidele showed much promise as a student, he reluctantly took Etienne's place in the factory when Etienne enlisted in the French army at the start of the war in 1914. The next year, the Hierrot family received heart-wrenching news that Etienne had been killed in action in the Second Battle of Ypres.

Partly out of a quiet rage at his brother's death, partly as an escape from the Hierrot family's emotional turmoil in the wake of this tragedy, and partly to get out of the factory and carve out his own path in life, 17-year-old Jean-Fidele followed the footsteps of many of his peers and lied about his age to enlist in the Aéronautique Militaire in late 1915.

 

 

image.png

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Out-of-character (OOC) note:

Jean-Fidele's portrait is a combination of these two pictures:

image.png.bf8e7c481c0ad223d6b92872db6ec1c8.png

On the right is me at 18. On the left is a young Fidel Castro. (It's been a running joke in my family to call me "Fidel" because of the perceived resemblance to his high school photo).

This, btw, is also where Jean-Fidele's name comes from: Fidele is fairly obvious, and Jean is the closest French rendering of my actual name (Ian). "Hierrot" is something I made up, a French-ish version of my girlfriend's nickname for me in her native language ("Yero," a shortening of the Tagalog "kompanyero").

Edited by Albrecht_Kaseltzer

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