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DiD IV Campaign - Flight reports & Player instructions

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Nicely done Albrecht!

I had no success add a own photo...

But my characters background:

Karl von Tabbert= Tabbert is famous caravan brand.This brand we had when i was a little boy!

Armand Bouchant:A cartoon published in Finland,which was the main character Armand Bouchant,22 victory ace!

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9 hours ago, Paroni1 said:

I had no success add a own photo...

I can help you add a photo ... next pilot (if there is one) let me have your photo and I'll sort it out for you.  We cant do it mid-career I'm afraid.

take care!

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Welcome Albrecht! I look forward to your adventures!  Great work with the picture of Jean Hierott.

Peroni I hope you guys have behaved yourselves on leave!

Looking forward to the rest of the stories!

14-25 July

Haven't seen any enemy aircraft at all over the last few days.  I think we have scared the blighters off.  We have been involved in a number of recon patrols.  Spotting troop movements and flying over Hun airfields to find out what the Devil they are up to.  I've heard rumours of german single-wing scouts that are apparently very dangerous - but haven't seen one. Methinks that Davies and I will give it a jolly fright if it comes near us.  Guns or no guns!

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One of my photos

The dawn patrols are eye-wateringly early but the feeling of us all lined up and raring to go is a feeling of pure exhalation.  While some chaps I went to school with are having a terrible war and families around the world grieve I must say I am having the time of my life.

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0445hr the sun is barely cresting the front and we are lined up ready to go!

Salute!

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Before returning home, I decided to visit my old regiment that had been staying on the outskirts of Paris.

 

 

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It was a pleasure to meet the former platoon leader.
He was one of the few acquaintances.
I was reminded of the cavalry's suicide attacks on German's machine guns.
Even our Capitaine went in half for a shrapnell hit.
I got to follow the cavalry exercises and finally there was a parade.
The show was as handsome as ever,
but I knew that the days of glory of the cavalry were already gone.

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August

Armand's DiaryRichard-Parkes-BONINGTON-vue-generale-de-Rouen-1601854435.jpg.13c309630d28f7c4e73afffc4fd71c69.jpg

My home city Rouen

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Mama and Papa working in the field.They repeatly asked when the war would end.Their endurance was to the extreme.

I replied it can take years.Neither side showed any sign of surrender.They said nothing more.

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I helped those winery work for those few days.

Some evenings,the wind brought cannon thunder from the east.The front line was frighteningly close.

I wondered if it came Ypres or Arras.

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My little brother Louie.I'm glad he is too young for the madness of war!

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August 11

Armand's Diary

Back to Bryas again!

Mission offensive patrol Vimy Ridge again.

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Near St.Vith we encaged two Aviatiks.We get good position and after 150 rounds,EA make half-split and almost collide us.Pilot hit sure!

Schneider saw plane smashed near railway station.Le Sort claimed another plane.

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Mon Dieu! The first confirmed victory!

I joked to Jean that she was on a shooting range on vacation.
His response was that I had probably taken flight lessons!

 

 

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Jean-Fidele Hierrot, Report #1: 1 July, 1915

Jean-Fidele reported to Escadrille MS 12 in Rosnay today. This was his first time at the front, though the trip wasn't very long: Rosnay, being in the department of Marne, was a mere 55 miles from the Hierrot family home in Meaux, just outside Paris. Jean-Fidele could remember the incoming German invaders who'd descended upon Meaux just nine months ago, before getting pushed back in defeat at the Battle of the Marne.

Given MS 12's operational imperatives, there wasn't time for introductions with all the squadron. Jean-Fidele was really only able to get acquainted with two of his comrades: Captain Jacques Caillebotte, a well-built man with a voice to match - the Platonic ideal of what a captain would look and sound like, a rugged military veteran whose presence and physicality immmediately came off as overwhelming to Jean-Fidele (who, not coincidentally, was feeling very much his age of 17 at the moment); and secondly, Aldric Lyautey, a wiry, taciturn fellow who at best seemed to tolerate company - just as well, though, since he was assigned to be Jean-Fidele's observer, and Jean-Fidele wasn't feeling particularly social at the moment.

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Aldric Lyautey, Jean-Fidele's observer

Today's mission proceeded without incident. The Morane-Saulnier L model the flight was flying wasn't too different from what Jean-Fidele had been trained in, and there wasn't an enemy aircraft in the sky.

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While MS 12 was patrolling behind friendly lines, however, an intense thunderstorm broke out. Jean-Fidele spent much of the mission wondering what would happen if his aircraft got struck by lightning - would he be the first such case in aviation history?

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Jean-Fidele Hierrot, Report #2: 2 July, 1915

Well, it certainly didn't take too long: Jean-Fidele had his first encounter with the enemy today.

Sous-Lieutenant Hierrot and his observer, Aldric, took off with MS 12 for another patrol behind friendly lines. All was calm and clear until about thirty miles from the Rosnay airfield, when Aldric called out for Jean-Fidele's attention: "Petit sous, petit sous!"

Petit sous was quickly becoming Jean-Fidele's nickname, a reference to the fact that the rookie pilot somehow finagled his way into a commission as a Sous-Lieutenant despite his small stature and obvious youth & inexperience - he claimed to be 19, but nobody located more than two metres from a bureaucrat's office chair believed him.

(Of course, Jean-Fidele thought it prudent not to mention the role that long-time family friend Alphonse Gellée played in getting him that commission. Jean-Fidele's Oncle Alphonse, the man from whom his parents borrowed Jean-Fidele's middle name, built a business partnership with Jean-Fidele's father back at the vineyard in Algiers - but before that, Gellée had served as an officer in the French army in Africa and Indochina in the 1870s and 1880s. Upon making his return to France in 1910 - for reasons unrelated to the Hierrot family plight - Gellée found himself back in touch with many of his old military contacts. Thus, Gellée seemed like a natural person to reach out to when Jean-Fidele decided he was going to enlist in the aéronautique militaire, and Oncle Alphonse was adamant that Jean-Fidele get posted as an officer. Jean-Fidele did not know the full details, but when he received a commission as a Sous-Lieutenant, he put two-and-two together to figure out that Gellée had pulled some strings for him.)

"Petit sous, petit sous!" Aldric shouted again, "look behind you!"

And sure enough, there they were: a pair of blocky, lumbering figures overhead. German Aviatik two-seaters, likely performing reconnaissance to gain intelligence on French army movements! This was not to be tolerated!

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Aldric's view of the Aviatik

This was Jean-Fidele's first time in armed combat against the enemy. Just keep low, just keep low, the petit sous kept telling himself, they can't shoot down. Performing a couple awkward loops below the Aviatiks, Jean-Fidele gave Aldric enough time to drill 71 rounds in the general vicinity of one of the two-seaters - yet, it was all to no avail, and les boches flew on unperturbed.

Aldric started shouting again. "FORGET IT! We need to join back up with the formation!"

No argument from me, Jean-Fidele thought, and he promptly steered the parasol back towards the MS 12 formation.

Meanwhile, Aldric wouldn't be caught dead saying it aloud, but he quietly respected the petit sous's willingness to run head-first into battle - on his second day on the job, no less.

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Jean-Fidele Hierrot, Report #3: 3-9 July, 1915

Just as Jean-Fidele started finding himself a bit more at home with Escadrille MS 12, the squadron's assignment for 3 July very nearly brought him back home in the most literal sense possible.

The mission was an extended patrol behind friendly lines - nothing new there - but this assignment was projected to be over two and a half hours, much longer than the previous two missions. And, most poignantly for Jean-Fidele, this patrol was going to bring him just within miles of his family's home in Meaux.

Captain Caillebotte talked out the orders for the day, and the men proceeded to load up their Morane-Saulniers and take off.

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Surrounded by comrades

As the formation neared a factory somewhat northeast from Paris, Aldric noticed the young pilot giving a good, hard look at the scene below them both. "What are you looking at? Any boches I need to know about?" the observer asked.

"Oh no, nothing like that." Jean-Fidele sighed. "It's just that a couple months ago, I was working at a factory much like this one, and not too far from here, either. I like to imagine maybe in another life, maybe somebody else would be flying this plane and I'd be building an engine or a spigot or whatever down there right now."

"Go ahead, let's give this place a few turns."

"But what about the formation?"

"Never mind the formation. Does it look like they need us right now? Besides, we can just catch up with them. Go on, let's do a few circles over this town."

Jean-Fidele complied. He had often thought about what he was fighting for, how the same Germans who'd pushed his family out of Alsace very nearly pushed his family out of Paris. Yet, at times the new pilot felt like he was living an entirely different life in an entirely different world than the one he'd been in before; for the first time since reporting to MS 12 in Rosnay, he felt in the most concrete terms how the world he'd left behind still very much cast a shadow on the new life he was now pursuing.

***

The next day, Jean-Fidele read in the newspapers about how Germany's Kurt Wintgens had been credited with his second kill: another French pilot, dead at the hands of the enemy's new Fokker Eindecker weapon. "What I'd give to put a few holes through one of those things," Jean-Fidele told Aldric at the time.

"Leave that to me," the observer replied. "Whatever magic the Germans have worked out, I've still got the gun and you've got the aircraft. We'll take an Aviatik down one of these days."

That day, however, was still a ways away.

On 5 July, Captain Caillebotte led Escadrille MS 12 on a scramble mission to intercept a formation of Aviatik two-seaters that were approaching Rosnay. The Aviatiks had gotten a good head start, though, and while the Morane-Saulnier L had somewhat of a speed advantage, that advantage wasn't great enough to close the gap quickly. The pursuit dragged on for over an hour, in part because the Aviatiks had disappeared at one point behind some clouds.

Next thing Jean-Fidele knew, oil was splattering all over the cockpit. "WHAT ON EARTH?!" he shouted out, partly in pain but mostly out of sheer surprise.

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"Petit sous, look, smoke!"

Jean-Fidele took a look back and sure enough, the engine was streaming smoke all over Aldric.

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The petit sous took the parasol down in desperate circles, looking for a clear landing spot. At this moment, thankfully, fortune smiled upon him and Aldric alike: an airfield. How convenient! From what Jean-Fidele knew of the area, this was likely the airfield at Ambrief.

The Morane-Saulnier touched down at Ambrief, and the crew spent the next day or so working out arrangements to return to Rosnay. Upon their return, Aldric and Jean-Fidele found the entire squadron celebrating Captain Caillebotte's confirmed kill. "Heh, apparently le capitaine took down a two-seater while we were busy not dying," Aldric muttered.

Jean-Fidele gained an appreciation for just how difficult that task truly is - for, a couple days later, MS 12's formation chanced upon a couple more Aviatiks, and Jean-Fidele & Aldric once again attacked the two-seater only for the two-seater to limp back towards German lines. There was clearly some damage to the engine - progress, at least! - but no cigar. At least not yet.

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Excellent stories so far everyone. Congratulations on the victory Paroni! And welcome to the campaign, Albrecht.

I did actually fly this mission to Douai (by ignoring my actual orders, don’t tell the CO). Didn’t see anything myself though...

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There was an air of excitement as the officers of 2 squadron relaxed in their mess after dinner on the 31st of June.
“It’s a big raid,” observed Lieutenant Reid as he swished his brandy speculatively. “3 are in and so are 16. That’s pretty much the whole Wing.”
“We aren’t all going,” grumbled Clarke, from B flight. “Just C flight with bombs and ‘A’ flying escort.”
“Well, we shall need you wireless chaps doing the day job,” Le Mesurier replied from behind a copy of Shaw’s Three Plays for Puritans that Loraine had loaned him. “You should be glad we will be taking the heat off you.”
“Lots of heat,” Captain Hearson, who had taken over C flight from Dawes earlier in the month. “We have to do something about the Huns.  I’ve been attacked three times this week!”
“And got into Comic Cuts* as a result,” Captain Collins laughed.
“Nice to be recognised, I must say,” said Lt Smith, who had also been mentioned in the RFC dispatch.


The raid was to begin early in the morning and the contingent from 2 squadron took off from Hesdigneul at 5am.  They were not to meet up with the pilots from 3 and 16 squadrons, but rather to bomb the airfield and sheds at Douai and Vitry independently.

They reached Douai without much more that a smattering of Archie.  The bomber pilots had to forgo an observer, because the BE2s could not carry bombs and a second man.  The escorts from A did have observers armed with Lewis guns on Strange mounts.

The bomber flight consisted of Smith, Leather, Reid and Le Mesurier.  A flight flew above and there were some Parasols from 3 squadron who had arrived at the same time.

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Le Mesurier wished that he had copied Smith’s bombing practice as he tried to line up on the hangars.  As it was his bombs went wide and sent up clods of earth in a field nearby.  

Some of the others’ bombs detonated amongst the sheds and a nice crater was created near the ‘T’ marking that was laid out on the landing field proper.  It would probably take an hour to fill in.


Le Mesurier turned around and headed for home.  He was close to the escort flight and soon was joined by Smith. Leather and Reid seemed to have swung wider, but Le Mesurier was not concerned. They knew what they were doing.


After they landed back at Hesdigneul, the atmosphere was a curious mix of elation and disappointment.  They had coordinated 3 squadrons to attack a target far into enemy territory but then there had been little damage done.

Leather turned up a little while after, but by lunch there was still no sign of Reid. Reid’s dog, Frisquette slunk around the entrance to the hangars and whined.

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Lt Reid with Frisquette

After lunch a sergeant pilot from 3 squadron called McCudden came from Auchel to visit his friend, Butcher**, who was Le Mesurier’s engine fitter.  Le Mesurier took the opportunity to ask if 3 squadron had any news.

“I’m afraid not, sir,” McCudden answered.  “Captain Barratt and Lieutenant Cleaver had to drive off a monoplane. One of those Morraine knock-offs that we are told Fokker are making.”

The action was repeated the next day. The bombers stuck closer together this time and Le Mesurier’s bombs hit the landing field in front of a tent hangar. He hoped that he had done some damage.

That evenin, an Aviatik sped over the field at Hesdigneul. It dropped a bag with a note in it. The note claimed that Reid was a prisoner having been injured by ainti-aircraft fire in the arm.  It was signed by a Leutnant Immelman. The officers of 2 squadron returned to their huts with a heavy heart. Captain Hearson sat stroking Frisquette with a thoughtful expression.

*yes, historical notes; I’m not sure that the RFC Communiques were called Comic Cuts this early (the action referenced here is in communique number 2, so very early).  I was surprised when I read (in Smith’s diary) how many times 2 squadron machines were attacked by German machines in late July 1915. The period before the Fokker Scourge wasn’t peaceful really.

**The future ace McCudden would often visit Butcher and other old acquaintances because he wasn’t treated very well by the officer pilots at his own squadron at this time.  Barratt and Cleaver  probably fought off Boelke, who was reported by Immelmann as chasing a monoplane (3 squadron flying Parasols). For Immelman’s own account of his first victory, see here.

http://www.apw.airwar1.org.uk/immelmann ac.htm
 

Edited by Maeran
Forgot an image
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The War Diary of Auguste Besson, Escadrille MS. 23, part 2.

Our escadrille is attached to the Second Army, which was engaged in a big push against the boche when I arrived in June. Fighting was particularly fierce in the Vimy Ridge sector, where our brave troops attempted to break through the enemy lines, unfortunately in vain. The escadrille’s role in this was to provide aerial support to the ground forces – that is, to fly reconnaissance missions over the front and photograph enemy formations and places of interest. However, I wasn’t thrown into battle straight away!

At first, Captain Schlumberger took me for a couple of practice flights to get me oriented with the lay of the land – and also to see whether I was actually capable of doing my job. I was initially rather nervous, but to my great relief everything went well and I didn’t make a complete fool of myself. Fortunately it is quite easy to find one’s way in this sector of the front. The cities of Amiens and Albert are both excellent landmarks, and to the south flows the river Somme, which is the only significant waterway in this region. As long as one doesn’t become completely lost in the clouds and fog, it is simple enough for a military pilot to find his way here.

I didn’t have it so easy at the military flight school of Pau in Southern France! There, during one of my long range flights I became lost as the weather suddenly turned poor, I ran out of fuel, and had to make an emergency landing on a field. Luckily I didn’t break either the machine or myself! A local farmer (the owner of the field) informed me that I was close to the Spanish border. Apparently I had been flying in a completely wrong direction. It was an important lesson to learn about how hard it can be to navigate in poor weather and how easy it is to get lost in the air. I was very embarrassed, but my instructors were understanding. I now know that it can happen to the best of pilots – and I was definitely just an amateur back then.

This little adventure of mine at Pau didn’t stay secret for long at my new escadrille! When word got around, I was soon given a new nickname – L’Espagnol (the Spaniard)! It’s a sign of affection among this odd bunch of flying men, so I quickly learned to adopt this nom de guerre as my own.

 

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TO BE CONTINUED

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Gents, I must apologize for my prolonged absence, but school's been catching up pretty quickly. 

Mladenov's July was mostly delegated to ground work and test flights for the other folk, but he looks forward to get back up in the air by August. 

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Paroni: Congrats on your first confirmed victory!

Albrecht: Enjoyed your reports and the atmospheric way you write. 

Maeran: Super update - loved the historical detail and dislike the thought of McCudden being treated snobishly because of his background!

Hassel: Hopefully the 'Spaniard's' embarrassment will work out for the advantage of his whole escadrille as he seeks to prove his worth!

Trustworthykebab: Hope school goes well!

___________

Flight Lieutenant Theodore Aloysius Andrews (AKA 'Runt)

RNAS-1 St. Pol-sur-Mer

Missions flown: 25

B.E.2c Hours: 37

Claims confirmed:2

Claims Unconfirmed:1

26-31 July 1915

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Climbing out over the Channel - Blighty lies just beyond the early morning mist

The pace on the squadron has picked up over the last week of July. We have flown every day and once or twice both morning and evening patrols.  It's been pretty exhausting, if I'm honest, on account of Cleaver the C.O. who has wanted us on the airfield ready to go at 4 am most days - which is bally early in you ask me. 

On those days I can see the advantages of Davies' silences. Early in the morning no one wants a fuss, as my father used to quote with regularity,  "He that blesseth his friend with a loud voice, rising early in the morning, it shall be counted a curse to him." It's somewhere in the Bible or Shakespeare, I think, but he quoted it often enough to me as a boy that it's imprinted itself on my thinking. There's been some comings and goings in our squadron too. A couple of chaps have transferred out (There's talk of another RNAS squadron being formed) and we've had some new arrivals.  Jefferson (The singer and mess piano player) who was my first observer has been attached to one such.  Redford Mulock, a Canadian chap we all have taken to calling Red. He and Jefferson fill the morning air with their singing and their ofttimes bawdy songs.  So it looks like I'm with Davies full time. Not that I'm complaining, he's got two good eyes and a quiet, deep temperament and I think that means a lot. 

He reminds me somewhat of the Harpooner in Moby Dick, a childhood favourite of mine. While sailors on the whaleboat curse and battle fiercely the foaming, crashing sea, he remains silent and watchful.  The sailors labour with oars, shouting over the din of the howling wind and raging demonic depths - while he is languid, quiet and poised, waiting and watchful.  I remember this sentence from the book, and it sums up Davies, "To ensure the greatest efficiency in the dart, the harpooners of this world must start to their feet out of idleness, and not from out of toil." That's good old Davies, through and through.  Though I am no Captain Ahab to be sure - far too young. 

These early mornings have one distinct advantage - the first hour of flying is spectacular- one might even hazard, magical.

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Up before the lark

 

We are not the only ones upping our flying hours. The Germans too have been more active over the last few days.  At a distance, I've spotted a number of their aircraft.  Much too far away to excite any interest from our flight leader, though I'm chomping at the bit. My chance came on the last day of July. Another early morning patrol over Passchendaele.  We were up before the lark, or the Hun (for that matter) and spotted two Aviatiks flying West as we were flying NNW over Hunland.  We were a tad over 10,000 feet, while they were in formation below us at 8000 feet.  I tried to signal Mulock, who was flight leader, but either his singing was too loud or he was lost in the magic of the day, either way, I couldn't rouse him.  As the planes slid beneath me, I turned with them, cut the throttle and stalked them. The sun was not very high so it was easy to keep it behind me and follow them - unseen.  As they crossed onto our side they changed course, flying northwest towards Furnes and Dunkirk.  I waited until they were a good way into our side and then dropped on them like an osprey.   At once they began to head east, all thoughts of patrol gone. It took about 12 minutes, but with some steady flying and Davies' shooting, we shot one down.  The Aviatik began streaming smoke at about 5000 feet, nosed down and crashed to earth just north of the ruins of Passchendaele.   We watched their dive and circled above, with that familiar feeling of pride, and horror at what we have become.  Again I prayed for the families, sweethearts and friends.  I'm not a murderer, I think, but a sailor at war.

I had dropped to about 3500 feet, which is far too low over Hunland - the anti-aircraft battery started as we turned west hammering the air around us with ugly puffs of death and twisted metal.  We had strayed far too close to a German Observation balloon - and they weren't happy.  Maybe they don't consider it sporting to attack unarmed German planes or they just didn't like the colour of our hair.  But they let us have it with gusto. I put the nose up as high as I dared, and attempted to gain some height - the wind, though not strong was against us and we hung motionless in the air as 'Archie' pounded us.  We took a very near miss to the fore of our craft. Fuel, oil and coolant were everywhere, streaming behind us, coating our faces. The engine groaned and shook, cluttered and spluttered angrily. I pointed the nose down and attempted to fly to safety, due west, at speed.  The engine held ... just.

We cleared the brown scared ground that marks the lines and I gently put our B.E.2 down. As we came to a stop the oddest thing happened. For the very first time I heard Davies's laugh.  Not quietly, but uproariously, deep belly laughs teeth sowing white amidst his oily face, his eyes creased up with mirth. Our aircraft was not in such good heart.  She had held me since that day in May when I first climbed in her at Gosport.  I was familiar with all her ways, her quirks and foibles.  Looking at her now - I couldn't imagine she would ever fly again and it seemed a miracle we had got as far as we did. Looking up in another prayer, this time of thanksgiving, I saw B flight who had circled back to Passchendaele and had spotted our battle and proud demise. They flew overhead I swear I heard singing ... "Daisy Daisy Give me your answer do ..."

Later, on stepping off the tender back at St. Pol-Sur-Mer, the C.O., his proud red face glowing in the setting sun grabbed me by the arm.  "Andrew's your victory was confirmed before you arrived - good show! ... And your papers came through this morning, you are prompt to Flight Lieutenant with immediate effect!" 

I limped to the mess an older, quieter man.


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To ensure the greatest efficiency in the dart, the harpooners of this world must start to their feet out of idleness, and not from out of toil.

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Edited by Sebtoombs
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August 12

Armand's Diary

Offensive patrol ,Vimy Ridge

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A battle against Aviatiks.AA was extremely hard.The patrol outing was unfortunate.After struggle we noticed Adjutant Schneider was missing.

We circled as long as there was fuel left but no sign them.

Luckily a truck arrived late that night and  Schneider and Saillard arrived okay.They had suffered an engine failure and had to make a forced landing.Fortunately for own side!

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Many stories to get caught up on… In the meantime, here’s Hawkwood’s latest.

Journal – Sergeant David Armstrong Hawkwood, Royal Flying Corps

Part 3

Flying from Vert Galant.jpg

The next week and a half were uneventful. During that time, I ferried Lieutenant Osborne about over the lines while he took notes on enemy traffic and rail movement. Twice we spotted for the guns. We still have not been fitted out with W/T equipment and so must depend on an Aldis lamp. I was becoming rather proficient at Morse, but Mr Osborne prefers to handle all the signalling himself and I am beginning to forget.

Lest we become too comfortable in our billets and too familiar with the front lines in our sector, the higher powers have decided to move 4 Squadron south. Our new home is a place called Vert Galant Farm. It is a country crossroads on the road between Amiens and Doullens. There is a large L-shaped farmhouse on the north-east corner, owned by a family named Bossu. We bedded down in the farm the first night until all our tentage arrived in the morning. The aerodrome itself is splendid – wide fields either side of the main road with only a shallow slope fading away to the south. The crossroads and farm are easily identifiable from the air and only a few minutes’ flight west from Doullens. It was easy to get our bearings.

We soon learned the reason for our relocation. Our army has taken over a new section of the front from the French, extending our lines down to the River Somme. Third Wing, of which we are part, has responsibility for the aerial defence of the sector. We share the aerodrome at Vert Galant with 11 Squadron, newly arrived from England. 11 Squadron is unique in that they are equipped with the Vickers fighting machine. This is a rugged machine with a “pusher” configuration that allows the pilot to be accompanied by a gunner with an unobstructed field of fire to the front. It is hoped that we will be able to dominate the air with his new instrument of war!

From Vert Gallant, I flew a half-dozen patrols in the last two weeks of July, most of them to drop bombs on a Hun aerodrome east of Bapaume or on road and rail connections to the enemy’s front lines. Archie in this sector is moderately heavy, but I have yet to see a German machine in the air.

Ned Buckley and I have re-established our comfortable “pleasure dome,” as he calls our tent. We have yet to get time away from the camp to explore the mysteries of the surrounding towns. I am hoping to get into Amiens one of these days.

On a bright note, I have been assigned a newer BE2c and this one is equipped with a Lewis gun. Mr Osborne is in charge of the gun, which is mounted on a sort of bent post and which is pointed backwards over my head! Occasionally when we are flying, he fires a short burst to warm the gun and the noise deafens me for minutes afterwards. Until we received the new machine, Mr Osborne had never handled a machine gun. He does not seem tremendously keen about the thing, and I must gently urge him to get some additional practice at the butts.

Received a lovely surprise this week. After I completed my final advanced flying training, the army sent me a cheque for £75, repayment for my initial flying course at the Grahame-White school in Hendon. I deposited it and wrote a cheque for the same amount to Mr Cust, my employer, who paid for my course. Last Wednesday I received a lovely letter from Mr Cust enquiring after my experiences with the Flying Corps and enclosing two £5 notes with the request that I buy something to make myself comfortable while I am here. I have tucked the notes away inside a small Bible my mother gave me, as that seems to be the last place anyone here would look.

Tomorrow begins August.

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August 12-22

Armand's Diary

Everyday patrols to Arras and Vimy Ridge.

Loos front is now familiar too.Enemy air activity quiet.Few battles but are unconclusives.

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Peaceful sky but how long?

Rumours that Boche had a new deadly single-seater makes me nervous!

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Edited by Paroni1
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August 23

Armand's Diary

Big news!

We change aerodrome today closer to the front.

Aerodrome name is Savy.About 13km further east.

 

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The campaign is really getting into gear. Some great stories!    
AK, welcome to the front. 
Trustworthy, step back in when life allows. 
Seb, a fine story and great videos Amigo. 
 

Sgt. Elijah Gallagher. 
8RFC, Flanders. 
July, 1915

Elijah’s second month at the front was much different than the first. June was filled with reconnaissance missions.  Flying up and down the lines bothered only by the puffs of Archie which you grew accustomed to. Yes, you could see a barrage going on down below but somehow Gallagher felt removed from it all. He felt like he was more of a spectator in a big show than part of the program itself. 
Then the end of June and July rolled around and the duties changed from recon to bombing. Now Gallagher knew he was part of the killing. To put an exclamation point on his feelings, Denton, his newest observer which he liked very much, had been killed flying with Sgt. Halifax. The report said they went down in flames near Lens. Why or what happened only known to god. Another crew was missing and assumed dead. Gallagher was now well aware of the fact he was part of the killing and people he knew and liked were being killed. He wasn’t a spectator any more. He was in the show. 
Gallagher and his tent mate, Sgt. Colby had grown close. Even though they were from different corners of the world they had much in common. Both came from farming families and neither one wanted any part of that life. One night after a few drinks, one too many actually, Gallagher opened up. He and his father were constantly at loggerheads. Once his father had had enough of his only sons rebellious streak, he shipped him off the the Citadel in South Carolina. Gallagher, for once in his life, thrived in the military atmosphere. “There was a purpose to it” he said. He graduated, commissioned as a second Lieutenant and was given a choice of postings. He knew the 1st Aero Squadron was being formed and that seemed to him the adventure of a lifetime. Tensions with Mexico were getting hot, the 1st Aero was to train for the anticipated war with Mexico. “The only problem was, nobody knew how to fly the damm things! Not even our so-called instructors!” Gallagher had told Colby. “We had some preliminary Ground instructions and when you could taxi up and down the field, you took her up and hope for the best!” Ltn. Foulous got written instructions from Orville Wright himself by mail for gods sake!”  Gallagher shook his head. “Lot of boys killed and and maimed trying to learn to fly in those days” he said with a distant look. The whiskey had now loosened Gallagher’s tongue. When Colby asked him how the hell he came to be a part of this show, Gallagher let it out. “There was this young kid, hell, we were all young.” After a brief pause he continued. “He wasn’t ready, I knew he would crack up! The instructor, a Captain, insisted that he would take here up the next day. The boy wasn’t ready and he knew it. The instructor knew it! That night I went to try and talk some sense into him and he wouldn’t have it. Said he was going up come hell or high water! I snapped! Cold cocked the sob right there! Knocked him out cold as a wedge!” 
Colby was stunned. “You struck a superior officer!”   
“Left him bleeding on the floor!” Gallagher said as he continued. “I lit out that night. I knew my only hope was to make it to Canada which I did. Saw some fellows in uniform wanting folks to sign up for this show. When I told them I was a pilot, I was in! 
Colby shook his head, “well of that don’t take the lot!” He said. 
As Gallagher awoke the next morning he realized his secret was out. Colby groaned as he sat up in his cot. “Me thinks we had a bit too much last night” he said while rubbing his head.  
Gallagher looked at him “ Colby,  about last night.” Colby waved his hand in the air.  “No worries friend, your tale is safe with me.”

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August 23

Late in the evening

What a disastrous day!

It was supposed to be a routine flight and the weather was good.

A-flight that included Capitaine Fauvre ,Slt Turin and Adj.Schneider take off 30 min. before us.

As we approached the field we noticed a smoke statue rising from behind it.At first we thought the Boche had bombed our field.

But as we approached it,we identified it as the wreck of a Morane.We made a quick landing on the field.There was a another Morane which was damaged heavily.

Turin and Schneider had collided in the air!Turin was smashed to the field and obs.Hilaire was killed instantly.

 Schneider's Morane crashed to the woods and burned.Somehow Schneider survived it but his observer Castelain did not.

Both pilots wounded badly.

We had survived many battles so long .

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24 August

Armand's Diary

Depressing day.Capt. Fauvre blame himself what happened.

Only patrol today was when Le Sort and i flew to the front .No enemies.

25 August 

Patrol over the trenches.

We spotted lonely Aviatik!

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Paroni – Armand has shared some lovely paintings. And he has made his presence known among the enemy with an early victory! Was it confirmed? Condolences on losing two machines and their crews to a collision.

Seb – Chesham! Hawkwood and you are certainly neighbours. The photo and video images from the early morning flights out of St-Pol are very atmospheric. Congratulations on a confirmed victory.

Albrecht – A brilliant introduction to Jean-Fidele. The petit-sous did a fine job of putting down his crippled Morane.

Maeran – Characteristically splendid episode. I like the way you picked up on McCudden’s visits to the squadron.

Hasse – Another great introduction. With any luck, Auguste will remain pointed in the right direction and stay out of Spain for the rest of the war.

TWK – Look forward to seeing our Bulgarian friend back during August. Best wishes for the schoolwork.

MFair – Interesting tale about how Elijah ended up joining the RFC in Canada.

 

War Journal – Sergeant David Armstrong Hawkwood, Royal Flying Corps

4 Squadron, Baizieux, France

Part 4

 

Dawn patrol.jpg

By 1 August 1915, we were well settled at Vert Galant. Accordingly, on 2 August we received orders to pack up and move to a new aerodrome at Baizieux, about four or five miles west of the town of Albert. The village of Baizieux was not long in giving up its secrets, for it had none. It was little more than a scattering of low brick houses and farm outbuildings bordering a muddy country lane that led northward from the Amiens-Albert-Bapaume road towards the only slightly larger village of Warloy. The aerodrome was to be set up on several featureless fields a little east of the village. About the only landmark in the area was a lonely windmill that stood on a slight rise in the ground just west and north of the aerodrome.

Every officer and man in the squadron was kept fully occupied making the place serviceable. The first priorities were getting our munitions stowed under canvas, establishing latrines, and getting our own tents up. The weather did not look promising. Three timber and canvas huts had been already erected on site by a work party impressed from the infantry. These became the squadron office, the main stores, and (naturally) the officers’ mess. We also managed to get up four canvas sheds for aircraft and we dug in and sandbagged our storage area for petroleum, oil, and lubricants.

The rain started during the night and so we worked soaked to the skin for two full days. Finally, on 5 August, I was able to take up Mr Osborne for a familiarisation “flip.” When the weather was clear one could see the spire of Albert Cathedral with its golden Virgin and Child.  Beyond Albert to the east lay the pockmarked, dung coloured stain of the front. We flew twice in the surrounding area on 6 August and then the weather closed in again. Our first operational flight from Baizieux came on 8 August. It was a reconnaissance patrol over the lines just north of the River Somme. We flew with two other machines, providing a guard because of reports that the enemy had deployed their new Fokker monoplane with a machine-gun synchronised to fire forward through the spinning propeller. At one point in the patrol as we turned north again from the river, I noticed two tiny specks against a background of grey cloud a couple of thousand feet below us and about a mile off. There was no chance of catching them and, in any event, our orders were to stay with the rest of the patrol. As we returned towards Albert, I saw another lone machine in the distance below us to the north. We were now finished with the patrol and free to give pursuit, so I went to investigate. It was too late. We dive through a cloud bank and circled about, but saw nothing and returned to Baizieux.

We have a new squadron commander. His name is Major Waldron, and the like Major Longcroft before him, he was among the earliest group of RFC pilots in France. On 22 August, I was called to the squadron office for a brief interview with the new boss. He seems like an “all business” type and did not know quite what to make of a sergeant pilot. He asked a number of questions about my education and interests and I managed not to reply “bugger all” and “football.” I told him that I was hoping to study engineering after the war and was reading the Iliad in translation. Both fine lies. My thought is that he was probing for any facts that might suggest I could one day gain a commission. A number of the officers go on about the Latin and Greek writers, hence the Iliad. I did pick the book up once – dreadful stuff. Give me Sherlock Holmes any day.

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Hey Raine!

Armand's first claims never confirmed.

May be one part was that a squadron member also claimed(don't know if it was the same machine) although rejected.

 

Edited by Paroni1

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Air battles continue...

Jean got it!

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Duo Jailler-Saillard were our witnesses!Boche made force landing their own side.

Victory confirmed!The battle was also seen by our observation balloon.

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Edited by Paroni1
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Hi Gang! Lots for me to catch up with. RL very busy - My wife has had a major op so I'm chief cook and bottle washer for a few days - I did snatch a bit of time last night and skinned my new plane.  The promotion came with a sting in its tail.  A new Morane L.

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I look forward to catching up properly in a few days!

Salute!!

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26 August

We went patrol to the front,when we noticed AA clouds on the left.Boches were bombing Bethune railway station!

They  immediatly turned home when they saw us approaching.We caught them over the front.50 rounds and first Aviatik went toward the ground!

 

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First disppeared to the No-Man-Land!

Second one smashed ruins of Bapaume!

Two claim,although Schneider claim one of those.Le Sort will witness.

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Edited by Paroni1

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