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About Raine

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    New Brunswick, Canada
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    History, travel, linguistics

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  1. Albert, some splendid photographs and excellent background on your Marineflieger and his mates. I look forward to watching him in action when the weather clears. TWK, that Winchester looks decidedly non--reg. But I get the impression that Gray is not overly fond of regulations! Bell-Gordon is back in action, but still struggles with the claims department. And with his hut-mate, Huntington. Journal of FLt Douglas Bell-Gordon, RNAS Part 11 "I managed to put two good bursts into one of the Huns and saw his machine fall into a spin from only 2000 feet." Wednesday, 17 January 1917. Vert Galant aerodrome. We welcomed the New Year with an early morning close offensive patrol – up and down the lines below Arras and only a mile or two over. The Hun Archie gunners were sleeping off their Hogmanay party, or whatever they call it in German. In any event, ack-ack was light and we had a pleasant time despite occasional flurries of sleet. Then, about the time we were ready to head home, three Halberstadt scouts made an appearance and we all had a good scrap. These machines don’t give me the wind up as the Pup handles them well. I managed to put two good bursts into one of the Huns and saw his machine fall into a spin from only 2000 feet. By the time I came round to look for him he was gone. On our return, D’Albiac reported it to Wing as downed and out of control, but Wing rejected it as unconfirmed. After a couple of days of poor weather, we were back to the same sector on the mid-morning of 4 January. This time we had a real contest when a half-dozen Albatros scouts crossed our path when we were both at 7000 feet. Simpson was leading and tore into them. For the first minute or two all I wanted was to put my nose down and run. Then Jenner-Parson crossed in front of my machine with a yellow Hun on his tail. I managed to shoot the fellow off and saw him fall into a spin. There was no time to admire my handiwork as we were still evenly matched. I got a crack at one HA in a head-on attack and a few moments later got behind him and fired about a hundred more rounds into him. The Albatros began to spin and flop about as it fell. I put in claims for both HA. No one else saw the second machine fall so it was rejected, but Simpson corroborated my first claim. That brought my bag to six. On 5 January we chased some Rolands over the lines. One of the German observers put a couple of rounds into my machine, which began to leak fuel. I was able to put it down at Avesnes-le-Compte aerodrome. We were grounded by bad weather for several days and then on the eleventh we chase a more Rolands and once again my machine was damaged. This time I put down at La Bellevue. On 14 January, I yet again had to bring back a damaged machine. This time we were low over the front in bad weather and I was hit by heavy fire from the ground. It severed the controls to the port side ailerons and I landed gingerly in a field just over the lines. Today, 17 January, was interesting. We were tasked with bringing down a hostile observation balloon near Vimy. There were three of us: Huskisson, myself, and Huntington (one of my hut-mates, the one who pines for his girl Eliza). I confess that the last-mentioned is giving me doubts. He has regaled me with his gauzy tales of romantic walks and, to hear him tell it, Eliza is a poetess, pianist extraordinaire, and the toast of London’s debutante season. I have asked to see a picture of the lass, but he has none. Then today happened. It was a glorious morning with some scattered cumulus and an icy blue sky. You could see for thirty miles or more. Huskisson led us north-east toward Mont-St-Eloi and thence straight over the lines to our target. The balloon was visible as soon we approached the front. I was determined to get the thing, so I opened the throttle full and began a shallow dive. From 500 yards, my Vickers hammered away. A plume of darkening smoke began to rise from the German gasbag. At 100 yards I fired the rockets and pulled the joystick hard back into my stomach. As I passed over the balloon it erupted in flame, throwing my Pup onto its side. Something must have been overstretched because the controls now felt sloppy. On the way back, I put down at Izel-le-Hameau where Major Graves, the squadron commander of 60 Squadron RFC, graciously invited me for lunch while the riggers put my machine right – or at least as right as possible given that they had never worked on a Sopwith before. I returned to Vert Galant aerodrome around one in the afternoon and claimed my balloon, only to be informed that Huntington had already been credited with its destruction! It seems that he was flying close behind me and put another long burst into the balloon while my rockets allegedly passed over the thing. He then finished it off with his own rockets. D’Albiac read my report and asked politely whether I wish to dispute Mr Huntington’s claim. I did not. This afternoon I asked Huntington whether it would be wise to leave instructions as to whether any of his possessions should be sent to Eliza should anything happen to him. We were all in the habit of leaving notes for our colleagues with such instructions. Huntington replied, “Goodness no! I am certain my parents will look after everything.”
  2. Raine

    Pictures for the DID IV Campaign
  3. Albert – Welcome to Edward Reimann. It's wonderful to see a German naval flyer here. Brilliant first chapter to what I hope will be a long saga. It looks like you are also going to let us enjoy some terrific screenshots of the coastal landscape. Best of luck! I have been away for a few weeks dealing with a death in the family – my wife's elderly mother who has lived with us last four years. Still, it gave my wife and I a chance to travel together again, which we have not really been able to do to any great degree for several years. We joined our two boys in Ontario for the memorial service and interment, which was an unexpected joy as the original plan was for them to spend Christmas with their wives' families. I hope they don't mind that we borrowed the kids for a day! I am now caught up to the end of the year and will post something for early January next week. In the meanwhile, here is the month-end report. As you can see, I seem to have annoyed the claims gods. End of month report – December 1916 Flight Lieutenant Douglas Bell-Gordon 8 Squadron, Royal Naval Air Service Vert Galant, France Sopwith Pup 42 missions 36.5 hours 14 claims 5 confirmed
  4. Journal of FLt Douglas Bell-Gordon, RNAS Part 10 "My next burst set the machine aflame and I watched it fall and hit the ground just west of Courcellette." Sunday 31 December 1916. Vert Galant aerodrome. If I ever needed a reminder of what a terrible letter-writer and journal-keeper I am, I received it at the beginning of December. After a day and a half of rain and sleet and after Sunday divisions in an unused hanger, all the officers threw a farewell luncheon for Danny Galbraith, who was bound for a bit of a rest in England after having served since 1915. The post arrived while we were enjoying coffee and I shuddered with fear when the Records Officer, Lieutenant D’Albiac, announced “Ding-Dong, telegram for you.” I could not imagine who would be sending me a telegram and was sure it contained bad news. I opened it and read the message therein. IF ALIVE WRITE STOP IF DEAD DONT BOTHER STOP – DAD. Reggie Soar was sitting beside me and read the message over my shoulder. He found it hysterically funny and took the telegram away to pass it around the table. Squadron Commander Bromet chided me at length but in good nature for being a rotten son. Anyway, all this is to say that I have been spending much of my free time this month corresponding with everyone I know. My journal, however, has fallen well behind and it is now time to bring it up to date before ringing in the New Year. My first patrol of December was on the 2nd , when I took part in a patrol of ten machines along the lines from Arras down to the Somme. Towards the end of the patrol, just as we turned for home, MacKenzie waggled his wings and began to climb. Shortly thereafter I spotted our target – a pair of two-seaters heading back to Hunland. Our fight was short but intense. There were too many of us chasing too few of them and I experienced a couple of hair-raising moments when I nearly collided with our own Nieuport scouts. I got behind one of the Hun machines and gave it nearly a hundred rounds from my Vickers. The enemy observer disappeared from view and I was able to close until I was within ten yards of the Roland. My next burst set the machine aflame and I watched it fall and hit the ground just west of Courcellette. Following close upon my destruction of a Roland on 29 November, this victory was well celebrated by the squadron. It was also my fourth official victory. Our next patrols were uneventful until 5 December, when I was sent along with Simpson and Goble to attack an enemy balloon near Bapaume. For this show we were equipped with “Le Prieur” rockets. These were a sort of Uncle Lubin [1] arrangement of incendiary devices, fired electrically from thin tubes affixed to the outer struts of the Pup. Goble led the way and we approached the target above a low cloud layer. I lost Goble and Simpson as we descended through the cloud and emerged into a gray and drizzly landscape where Hun Archie welcomed me warmly. After a few seconds I spotted our balloon and dived on it, firing all the way in from 500 yards, loosing the rockets, and turning away tightly. It was only then that I saw Goble’s Nieuport and Simpson’s Pup. They both seemed to be in the same stage of attack as I. The balloon had caught fire by this time and fell quickly leaving a thick column of dirty brown smoke. Scarcely had we regrouped when a pair of Halberstadt scouts dived on us from out of the clouds. This was my first scrap in a Pup against an enemy scout. The little Sopwith was a dream to work with, out- turning the Halberstadt with ease. I put fifty rounds into the HA and saw it fall, apparently out of control. The Archie began to hammer away at me so I climbed westward. Just before reaching the cloud layer, I noticed two machines milling about off to the north. It was Simpson, and the second Hun had manoeuvred onto his tail. I dived to chase the HA away, firing from 200 yards in order to distract him. My first rounds probably hit the pilot as he did not evade. I continued to fire until I had to zoom to avoid a collision. The German machine fell out of control. On our return to Vert Galant, the balloon was credited to Goble. D’Albiac questioned me carefully about the first Halberstadt and elected to classify it merely as “driven down”. The second Halberstadt, however, was confirmed as victory number five, something of an achievement. The next week saw several days of bad weather and two or three uneventful patrols. On 16 December we flew a distant offensive patrol beyond Bethune and once again engaged a group of enemy Halberstadt scouts. I claimed one out of control but there was no witness to it. Each one of us had his hands full at the time. D’Albiac submitted the claim to Wing, but it was rejected there. On 21 December, a pair of enemy two-seaters appeared over our aerodrome just as the first patrol of the morning was readying. It took off immediately and I followed along with Huskisson and Compston. The HA were up around 9000 feet and it took a while to get within striking distance. By the time my machine passed 8000 feet, the Huns – a pair of Rolands – had packed up and were heading home. I gave chase, closing the gap slowly as I climbed beneath the tail of the nearest machine. By this time we were approaching Albert. I eased the joystick back and began to fire. The Hun rolled away to his left and turned beneath me. His observer punched a few holes in my Sopwith, but I got behind the Hun again and gave him another long burst. We repeated this dance twice more until my last burst silenced the observer and sent the machine into a spin. I watched it fall but lost it against the earth and haze. This machine was claimed as “out of control” and I was certain of it. Fate intervened in the form of my cabin- mate, Huntington. Huntington had gone up with the early patrol and reported that he was flying eastward at 1000 feet near Albert when he saw a Roland spin down and level off. He said he finished off the Hun and saw it crash. He was “ever so pleased” to be able to write his beloved Eliza with news of his first victory. For my part, the whole thing didn’t feel right. There were only two HA, mine and another that was two miles farther east, and both were up around 10,000 feet by this point. So why was Huntington flying east at only 1000 feet in the drizzle? Still, one doesn’t question these things out loud. More uneventful patrols and periods of bad weather followed. We had a marvellous time on Saturday, 23 December, when Naval Eight hosted a large crowd from 23 Squadron and other nearby squadrons for a Christmas Revue. Everyone had a hand in the presentation, organised by Leading Mechanic Black and Mr Brice, our stores warrant officer. The officers put on a couple of comic skits and several musical turns. The lower deck, as is their wont, outperformed us in every way. I was put forward to appear dressed as an Irish navvy and sing a touching rendition of “Mountains of Mourne”. This music hall turn is one of my father’s favourites and I’d sung it in the wardroom on several occasions whilst overserved, which explained why I volunteered (verb passive) for the show. Christmas was a happy time. The weather gods cooperated by preventing all flying duty for the day. After services in the morning we had an extended Christmas meal at midday – roast goose, potatoes, green beans, chestnut stuffing, Christmas pudding aflame with brandy, Stilton and port, and more brandy. In the traditional way, we played host to the chiefs and petty officers and made the rounds of the mess decks. In the afternoon, those who were still on their legs played football and I attempted (at the players’ invitation) to officiate the match. This is a difficult task to accomplish with a glass in one’s hand, particularly when both teams have made it part of their strategy to provide constant refills. In the evening, the musical talent of the squadron combined to put on an excellent smoking concert in the transport hanger. After one last uneventful patrol 30 December, we closed out the year with a splendid New Year’s Eve dinner at 23 Squadron. It was there that I learned that my name was on the New Year’s promotion list and I was now a Flight Lieutenant. What, I wonder, will the coming year bring? Notes: [1] “The Adventures of Uncle Lubin” was a 1902 children’s book written and illustrated by Heath Robinson. Its illustrations were the earliest examples of Robinson’s unlikely contraptions.
  5. Statistics for end of November 1916 Flight Sub-Lieutenant Douglas Bell-Gordon 8 Squadron, RNAS Vert Galant aerodrome, France Sopwith Pup Missions: 31 Hours: 30.1 Claims: 8 Confirmed: 3
  6. Journal of FSLt Douglas Bell-Gordon, RNAS Part 9 Thursday 30 November 1916. Vert Galant aerodrome. “Naval Eight” has become home in a remarkably short period of time. It’s a jolly place populated by truly fine fellows. We are now comfortably lodged in our Nissen huts. Mine is shared with only three others, although we could accept two more in a pinch. Farthest from the door on the left is Huntington, a bank clerk from just outside London. He is forever banging on about Eliza, a girl back home whom he is “ever so fond of”. Of course, we all make terrible fun of this and have tagged poor Eliza with a reputation vile enough to match her taste in men! It’s great fun to watch Huntington turn purple with rage until he realises that we are simply winding him up. Across from Huntington on the right is Simpson. He is a Londoner as well and speaks with a very posh accent. From what I gather, his family has a few bob to rub together. Since he was born in Australia, I have taken to referring to him as our escaped convict. To the left as you enter the hut you will find Reggie Soar, a Yorkshireman. He has been flying since rather early in the war and was with 3 Wing in the Dardanelles. Reggie is a bit of a character. Put a few pints of beer in him and you can’t understand a word he says. That leaves me – my little piece of France is just to the right of the door. Last Sunday we escorted three BE2s over the lines to drop some bombs and had a very brief run-in with a group of Halberstadt scouts. A Flight joined in and our Flight Commander, Flight Lieutenant Goble, signalled for us to break off and remain with the two-seaters, leaving all the fund to A Flight. It then rained Monday through Wednesday. It was during that period that we moved from the house on the main road into the hut. On Tuesday, we were able to get a ride into Amiens and do some serious shopping. After loading a tender with things we bought for the hut, we gave the driver a few francs for dinner and headed to find a dinner of our own. Amiens has a number of fine establishments. I’d already heard of Godbout’s. We decided against it. Too many senior officers and we were likely to be loud. It was Reggie who made the choice. He had received a tip about a place called Josephine’s on the Rue des Trois Cailloux – the street of the three pebbles. We found the street but needed to ask a few people before we found the restaurant. It was through a door off the street and up a winding stair. The place was already full and we were provided with glasses and a bottle of red wine and invited to sit on the stair until someone left. When at last we were seated, it did not disappoint. The floor crunched underneath with oyster shells and the smell of roast chicken and patates frîtes blended with the smell of tired subalterns, French officers, and their wives for the evening. We sat down to an absolutely marvellous feast of oysters, sausages, roast chicken, fried potatoes, and pickled red cabbage with chestnuts and apple. Bottle after bottle of vin rouge came and went until we happily emptied our pockets of money and bade our hostess a fond “à la prochaine”. Our shopping produced two stuffed armchairs, three wooden chairs, a round table with a red and white checked tablecloth, some bookshelves, and an oriental rug that looks marvellous if the lamps are turned down low enough. Now we have rigged some wooden frames on which we will hang printed material to form some sort of partition between our “rooms”. The iron stove throws out an acceptable amount of heat as long as one stays in the area of the carpet and armchairs in the middle of the hut. Our sleeping areas are not quite as toasty. I have got into the habit of laying my clothes out on the cot and spreading my valise and blanket bag on top of them. If I get into bed carefully I can pull my flying coat over top of me to keep the cold out, and in the morning I find my clothes warm and (after a fashion) pressed. That brings us to today. Goble led Huskisson and I on a line patrol at eight o’clock this morning. We flew a beat of twenty miles down and up the lines east of Albert. On our second go-around, Goble suddenly waggled his wings and began to climb. After a minute or two, I made out two machines about a mile and a half away to the south. We got within a half-mile when they saw us and turned to engage. They were two-seaters, very streamlined and nasty looking. Rolands! These were the first I’d seen. The entire time I had flown in Strutters, I had learned the better part of valour. This would have been the perfect moment to put one’s nose down and head for home. But now that we had these Sopwith “Pups”, as they were being referred to, running away was no longer on. Instead, one was supposed to smile cheerfully and exclaim, “Huns – good-O!” My own words were a bit less enthusiastic. I’ll leave them to your imagination. But the fight was on and I was in it. Huskisson turned to the right in a vertical bank to get behind one of these slim blue machines. I followed, taking care not to interfere with his shooting and especially not to collide with his machine. The Hun observer fired at Huskisson and then turned his gun towards me. Two or three rounds hit my left wings. I dived beneath the Hun and zoomed to find it turning left. I fired ahead of the enemy machine and let it fly through the stream of my bullets. They seemed to have no effect. The HA spiralled downwards. Huskisson got a crack at him and then I did. Then the Hun observer put more rounds into both of us. From time to time, I had to break off to find Huskisson and assure myself that we were not trying to use the same bit of sky. Then I caught the Hun in a sharp bank and hit him with a good burst from directly above. I had to throttle back and gently level off to avoid tearing my Pup apart. Where was he? I saw the Roland much lower down. He was spinning slowly with his nose down. Huskisson dived at him and fired a few rounds from a long distance. The Hun machine kept descending and finally smashed into a field just behind our lines near Fricourt. When we returned to Vert Galant we filed our reports. Huskisson (who is the squadron second in command) was a good fellow and freely stated that the Roland was completely out of control and irredeemably lost before his final burst. So, it seems that I have now achieved my first confirmed victory in a scout and my third overall. A great celebration is planned for this evening in the wardroom, and I have been warned to wear my oldest monkey jacket for the event.
  7. Journal of FSLt Douglas Bell-Gordon, RNAS Part 8 Saturday 25 November 1916. Vert Galant aerodrome. A wonderful end to the week! I suppose I should pick up where I left off. After two days of rain, I flew with PO Donaldson on Tuesday, 21 November, to spot for the guns north and east of Albert. PO Donaldson had assured me that he had been fully trained for this task, but I found it took him a long while to find the targets even though I flew close to them at little more than 4000 feet. Further, he struggled with his Morse work. All of this is to say that the Hun Archie merchants had a wonderful time scattering great volumes of Herr Krupp’s finest iron across the sky for thirty or forty minutes. We returned very gratefully to Vert Galant Farm, where the mechanics patched numerous holes in our machine, and I had a few stern words with my gunlayer. The rain returned with heavy overcast the following day but did not stay long. On Thursday, PO Donaldson and I were packed off to the lines south of Arras to take photographs of a new enemy reserve trench system. Any hope that the good PO would be better with the camera that he was with a Morse key were soon dashed. Archie threw us all about the sky while we paraded up and down our assigned sector and he messed about with the camera and plates. To my intense shock, we managed to produce some acceptable work. For the past week, we have played host to a work party from the Royal Engineers who are erecting a number of buildings for our use, including several of the new “Nissen” huts. These are odd-looking buildings, shaped like half-barrels cut lengthwise. The two end walls are made of wood, each with two windows (which flank a door at one end). They will be heated after a fashion by an iron stove in the middle of the long enclosed room. The roofs of these buildings are corrugated iron. Most delightfully, a large wood and canvas building with a metal roof is being constructed for our wardroom. After the next few days, we shall be able to eat all together for the first time. Today, Saturday, is a red-letter day. We had a new batch of machines arrive about a week and a half ago. They are more of the new Sopwith scouts. Our mechanics have been working on them since their arrival, fitting them with some missing instrumentation and with their Vickers guns. Yesterday, when the weather cleared in the afternoon, we flew our Strutters up to Dunkirk and endured the long drive back. We also bade farewell to a number of ratings who had served as gunlayers. This morning I was able for the first time this morning to try my hand at the new machine. How do I describe this wonderful toy? It bears a familial resemblance to the Strutter, but it is more petite and likely more lethal. The engine is an 80 horsepower Le Rhône. It is less powerful than the engine of the Strutter, which had the 110 horsepower Clerget, but the Scout is significantly smaller and lighter and is far nimbler and quicker. The experience of sitting as the sole proprietor of a single-seat machine tingled my nerves, whether in fear or happy expectation I did not know. The starting procedure was much the same as the Strutter’s. The balance of throttle and mixture required to keep the engine running smoothly would challenge a circus high wire artist. When I finally waved away the chocks and bounded out onto the field, the little Scout felt like a racehorse anxious for the gate to part. I turned into the wind and eased the throttle and mixture levers to the points I had mentally noted during the brief minute I had spent waiting for the engine to warm. Within a few yards the tail came up and I was cautious with the joystick, as there was little room to spare between the tips of the propeller and the ground hurtling beneath. Then we were aloft, climbing quickly into a frigid blue sky dotted with puffy cloud. I did not turn for a minute or two, not wishing to test my luck with a new machine until I had a couple of thousand feet beneath me. Then I gave it some gentle left rudder and bank. The little machine fairly snapped about into a turn. Its ailerons were linked together so that it rolled willingly, quite unlike its big brother, the two-seater. The rate of climb surprised. I tried a roll to the right and it turned even more quickly. If I merely thought about climbing, it climbed. If I thought about diving, it dived. I found myself laughing hysterically and then an evil plan formed in my brain. In front of me lay the Vickers gun, connected to the engine by a Sopwith-Kauper synchronising device. It would not be on to test the gun over Doullens, so eastward I climbed. By the time I passed north of Albert, the Sopwith was climbing through 10,000 feet. Its broad wing chords let it perform well even at altitude. Over the British lines I turned north. A few bursts of muddy brown-black Archie puffed out nearby, tossed over from Hunland by some ambitious enemy gunners. The Sopwith reached 11,000 feet. I thinned the mixture yet again and studied the instrument display. All was well. The sky about seemed empty of aircraft, enemy or friendly. Now it was time to do something I had never done before. With the throttle wide open, I put the machine into a shallow dive and then, with the speed indicator up to 120 knots, I pulled the stick back gently. The nose rose up to the vertical. I kept the stick back and felt the safety belt cutting into my thighs. I was very conscious that the belt was the only thing preventing me from becoming a bird man. Then the horizon appeared and tilted downward to the nose of the machine. I dropped the mixture until it was too lean for the engine to run. Now the Sopwith dived out of its loop and levelled off, still heading north. I adjusted the mix again and the engine came to life. My first loop, and surprisingly easy to pull off. I collected speed and did it twice more. It would take some practice, I discovered, as I lost about a thousand feet of altitude while looping. Now for the plan. I turned eastward and, with the aircraft pointing into Hunland, fired the Vickers. Just as with the Strutter, it gave off a painfully slow pop-pop-pop. I imagine the rounds splattering amongst distant Huns. The gun was slow but it would do. Utterly pleased with myself, I turned home and once over friendly terrain I cut the engine. I volplaned all the way to Doullens. Now down to less than 2000 feet, I pointed the machine in the general direction of Vert Galant and home. It was a simple matter to sideslip the last 500 feet of altitude away, skim over the treetops and the farm buildings, flatten out, and let the Sopwith settle onto the field. With a bit more practice, I was sure that my new little toy could be landed on a tennis court.
  8. Fort de Douaumont

    It's one of the elements in the Consolidated Facilities Mod.
  9. Journal of FSLt Douglas Bell-Gordon, RNAS Part 7 "We had a bit of adventure on the second patrol when we chased another Hun two-seater." Tuesday, 14 November 1916. Vert Galant aerodrome. Raining. Hayden and I took off mid-morning on Sunday, 29 October. The Wing padre was coming for service at eleven and I’d been looking forward to it. My family were ridiculously strict Calvinists back home and I had always dreaded being dragged to the kirk to be threatened with hellfire every weekend. But our Wing padre was the village vicar C of E type of God merchant and his occasional efforts to save us from perdition were lovely affairs – great and lusty hymn singing, brief and funny sermons, and a nod from the good man to light up our pipes and cigarettes as we saw fit. I’d begun to wonder if I was being called to the cloth after the war! But war being war, here were the two of us heading north for the lines and armed with a bloody great camera to take the Kaiser’s photograph instead of singing Hymns Ancient and Modern. We were all alone in the chill sky and I wasn’t fancying the job. According to the latest intelligence, there were at least three squadrons of Albatros scouts around Verdun. We climbed to 3000 feet and turned north over Toul. A few minutes later the engine began to miss on one cylinder and a bit later a second cylinder went wobbly. Manfully suppressing a grin, I turned for home. We were too late for the service, but I had time to share a drink with the padre in our anteroom and catch up on the good bits I’d missed. We had the day off on Monday and went into Toul to do a bit of shopping and have lunch. By the time we were picked up for our return it was raining, and the rain continued into the next day. Back at Ochey I was informed that Wing Captain Elder was about and looking for me. I found him in the main administration office. He bade me take a seat. “We have received orders from the Fleet to dispatch a good Strutter pilot to Dunkirk. I have selected you because they specified experience on a two-seat machine. It seems you are to be drafted to a new squadron.” And with that it was over. Farewell to 3 Wing. Farewell to Ochey. Farewell to all my friends in our warm and well-decorated hut. Farewell to the “Canadian Club” and the promise of raids over Germany. I was back to living under the eye of every senior naval officer in France, or so it seemed. I was fortunate enough to be able to fly to Dunkirk in the gunlayer’s seat of a superannuated Breguet that was being sent to the knacker’s yard. We landed at Saint-Pol-sur-Mer, just outside of Dunkirk. There I was handed an envelope with orders. There wasn’t even time to get into Dunkirk itself, not that I was really looking forward to that experience. The orders were to travel south and join a newly formed naval squadron, Number 8, that was working up north of Amiens at a place called Vert Galant. Vert Galant was actually the name of a farm and crossroads hamlet on the main road running north from Amiens to Doullens. I arrived there on 31 October and reported to the Records Officer, Lieutenant D’Albiac. He welcomed me and told me that the Squadron Commander, whose name was Bromet, would be returning shortly from a conference at 5 Brigade, Royal Flying Corps, to which we were attached under an arrangement between the Admiralty and the RFC. We were to be part of 22 Wing RFC, whose headquarters were in a cluster of farm buildings called Le Rosel, only a short walk away and visible across the fields. Our sheds faced a wide-open field south of the east-west crossroad on the east side of the Amiens-Doullens road. The field itself was marvellous, without obstacles or obstructions and stretching a long distance to the south. On the north side of the crossroad stood a L-shaped farm. We met the owner, Georges Bossu, and one of his daughters. He had turned over his front parlour as our dining room for the moment, at least until we got ourselves properly sorted out. Lieutenant D’Albiac explained that we had three flights of aircraft, each with a different type of machine. 1 Wing had provided us with a flight of the new Sopwith “Pups” (although only four were currently operational); 4 Wing had provided a flight of Nieuport scouts; and 5 Wing had yielded us a flight of Sopwith Strutters. That is where I came in, apparently. There were rumours about that we would all be flying the new Sopwiths before too long, said D’Albiac. I expressed boyish enthusiasm at the idea of piloting a single-seat scout. Frankly, the idea terrified me. Squadron Commander Bromet approached us across the field and, after returning my salute, shook my hand and gave me a very genuine welcome to “Naval Eight.” He warned me that we would have a dinner guest in General Gough this evening and laughed that we had only that afternoon obtained enough cutlery for all the officers and that dinner would consist of bully beef and Farmer Bossu’s eggs until our messing arrangements were properly set up. Naval Eight shares the aerodrome with 23 Squadron RFC. They fly FE2s, big but nimble pushers. 23 Squadron uses the field opposite ours on the west side of the main road. I met several of their officers that day, although the names escape me for the moment. They have been great help to us naval types and actually fed us for a few days when our supplies couldn’t find us after our removal to Vert Galant. Anyway, back to my first day here. I was shown to my quarters, a room on the upper floor of a house on the main road across from and a few doors down from the Vert Galant farm. I shared the room with two other officers, FSL Grange and FSL Hope, both Nieuport pilots. They informed me that the dinner with the General was only for our HQ group. There was simply not enough room yet for the whole squadron to mess together. We ate our bully beef from tins while sitting on the floor of our room and passing about a bottle of red wine. On Thursday, 2 November, the skies cleared enough that I was finally able to take up one of the Strutters. A mechanic named Quigley volunteered to join me as a gunlayer, telling me that it was unsafe to stroll about the sky without one. It was purely a familiarisation flight. We circled about a bit so that I could get my bearings and look for landmarks from the air. The north-south road was an obvious one. I noted the smoke haze over the roofs of Doullens and the aerodrome at Marieux, just south of the town. There were one or two distinctive church spires about. We had gone about eight miles east towards the lines and climbed to 8000 feet. A little to the south, puffs of white smoke from anti-aircraft fire signal the presence of an intruding Hun. Off we went to explore and soon found a lone Aviatik at 9000 feet, heading home. We chased it some distance until I saw the ugly brown smear of the front loom up ahead. I gave up on the Hun and mused instead at the unusual appearance of the trenches in this sector. The ground was chalky here and any digging or new crump-holes showed up white against the surrounding mud. But this was dangerous territory to a lone Strutter with a spanner merchant for a gunlayer so I turned home. The weather continued wet and overcast until a few decent days between the 9th and the 11th. In those days I flew three photographic reconnaissance patrols with PO Donaldson as gunlayer. The first two patrols were unsuccessful because of low cloud over the section of the lines we were to photograph. We had a bit of adventure on the second patrol when we chased another Hun two-seater. The Hun observer was alert and a surprisingly good shot. He put a number of holes in our machine and we were forced to land at Bellevue, an RFC aerodrome just little behind our own lines. The Squadron bagged its first Hun on 9 November, when FSL Galbraith downed a Roland with one of our Sopwiths. The rain returned on 13 November and persisted for a couple of days.
  10. Mission end

    If you decide to do an uninstall and a new install, be sure to follow all the directions in the FAQ. I suspect you may have had a problem with the installation. The FAQ will give you directions for ensuring a complete uninstall so there are no residual problems.
  11. Mission end

    Mayo666, Welcome to WOFF. I'm sorry you're having some problems getting started with your campaign. When you installed the game, did you download DX9 when it asked you if you wanted to do so? Even if you have a recent version of DX, you should download DX9 during installation. Read the FAQ for more suggestions. Here is the link from the other forum: https://simhq.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/3891995/woff-faq-frequently-asked-questions#Post3891995 . See topics #47 and 48. If none of these suggestions work, try emailing OBD support. The email address is on the last page of the FAQ. The developers have been really wonderful in providing advice and help. Cheers, Raine
  12. Stats for end of October 1916 FSL Douglas Bell-Gordon, RNAS 3 Wing, Ochey, France 21 Missions 23.28 hours 7 claims, 2 confirmed
  13. Journal of FSLt Douglas Bell-Gordon, RNAS Part 6 "Three bursts sent him down out of control. " Saturday, 28 October 1916. An eventful week. Last Sunday we received orders to pack up and move to a French aerodrome called Ochey, near the lovely cathedral town of Toul. We moved here along with the French bombardment group. Initially we were to be based closer to the city of Nancy, but that field proved too small. Ochey is closer to the German border, and I suspect we will be paying visits on the Kaiser before long. It is also much closer to the fighting around Verdun. Wing headquarters and much of our supply in major maintenance facilities will remain at Luxeuil. We are housed in new wooden huts quite comfortably. I share a hut with Glen, Porter, Collishaw, Smith, and Redpath – all fellow Canadians. Collishaw is from the West Coast and has made rather a name for himself in the past week or so. While en route to Nancy, he flew a Sopwith fighter without a gunlayer in the back seat. He inadvertently drifted farther east than he planned and was set upon by two or three Fokkers. He downed two of the Huns with his Vickers gun. The whole affair was witnessed by thousands of men in the trenches, and he has been put up for a French decoration. I have flown three times in the last three days, every time north towards a piece of Hunland that juts towards Verdun. There we have bombed rail lines and aerodromes. This morning’s flight was the most memorable I have experienced. Our target was a Hun aerodrome at Theiaucourt, scarcely a mile over the lines. Hayden and I had the only two-seat machine. The riggers had fitted us out with a pair of 40 lb bombs. We waded through a sea of Archie and released the bombs on target. Just as I banked to take in the sights below, Hayden fired three or four rounds to get my attention. He was jabbing his finger furiously toward the northwest. Five Halberstadt biplanes were diving on us and had already closed to about 500 yards’ distance. I completed my turn to the south and opened the throttle full. Hayden fired several warning bursts to encourage the Huns to keep their distance. Meanwhile, I scanned the sky ahead for some sign of the other machines from our Wing – there was a complete flight of Sopwith bombers several miles behind us and bound for the same target. Now phosphorus rounds began streaking past. There was nothing for it. We had to turn and engage the Halberstadts. Three of the HA flashed past. I got a good crack at the third one, with whom we nearly collided. Now it became a turning battle. Each oncoming Hun earned a burst from the Vickers and then Hayden gave him another burst as he flashed behind us. Two turns one way and then two turns the other – if you kept turning in the same direction, one of the Huns would try to come up and shoot you in the belly. Suddenly I saw the red, white, and blue roundels of our friends, who had arrived not a moment too soon. A Halberstadt dived out of the scrap and I got on his tail. Three bursts sent him down out of control. Moments later, we saw “Army” Armstrong tangling with another Halberstadt. The Hun broke away from Army, but we managed to get behind him and fired until he fell tumbling in a vertical dive. There were still more HA. I saw one land in a field just a bit into Hunland. Then I spotted another heading north with a thin trail of grey smoke behind. I dived on that one and closed to within twenty yards before firing. The Halberstadt listed to the left and crashed into a small wood. By now we were soaked in sweat and nearly out of ammunition so we headed home. Back at Ochey, Hayden and I reported on our mission and claimed three Huns – one destroyed and two out of control. It seems that the French soldiers around Verdun are less attentive than the ones Collishaw performed for. None of the claims could be confirmed. It wasn’t the fault of any of our boys. They had their hands full. But I would have bet good money that the three we put down were witnessed from the trenches. Still, one does this job for the honour of the thing, doesn’t one?
  14. Back from a quick trip to England to see my son and off again with 3 Wing... Journal of FSLt Douglas Bell-Gordon, RNAS Part 5 Sunday, 15 October 1916 Oh, but I am terrible at keeping a journal or, for that matter, any correspondence at all. But today being our third consecutive day of rain, I suppose it is time to buckle down. I have, after all, just succeeded in writing a four-page letter to my parents. In fact, I was ordered to do so. Last Tuesday we were sitting at dinner when the post arrived. My chums were somewhat concerned to see that I had received a telegram from Canada. My father had decided to prompt my correspondence. His message read: “IF ALIVE WRITE STOP IF DEAD DON’T BOTHER STOP DAD.” I can almost hear him giggling to himself in the telegraph office. Unfortunately for me, Jimmy Glen read the message over my shoulder, grabbed it, and passed around. Hilarity ensued. The Wing Commander got to read the thing and dressed me down for not being a dutiful son. Hence, I have dashed off the brief note to my parents and a briefer one to my sister and turn now to the journal. To be honest, not a great deal has gone on for me personally. After some bad weather at the beginning of October, Mike Hayden and I flew over the lines and dropped bombs on a German aerodrome. Then we had more bad weather. Then we took photographs of the lines up north. This was a task we hadn’t done before and we made something of a mess of it. None of our plates were any good. In fact, the only thing of worth that day was the Hun Archie. On Tuesday 10 October, we took some bombs across the lines for a German rail yard near Mulhouse. En route we ran into a group of four Fokker biplanes. These are nimble machines a bit quicker than our own. Ever the hero, I let our bombs go somewhere over Hunland and dived for home. The HA chased us for a bit so we set course for a nearby French aerodrome where the ground fire encouraged our Hunnish friends to head home. Thursday was a tough day for the boys. Hayden and I were grounded as the mechanics were fitting our machine with a new engine. Pretty much everyone else, however, mounted our biggest raid to date – all the way to Oberndorf on the River Neckar. The target was the Mauser arms works. The whole French bomber group from Luxeuil went, and the Americans provided an escort of four Nieuport scouts. The bombing was by all reports successful. The Huns materialised on the return trip. We lost three machines including Charlie Butterworth’s Sopwith bomber, last seen going down over Hun territory but under control; a Breguet piloted by FSL Newman with FSL Rockey in back; and another Breguet piloted by FSL Parker and gunlayer Allen. The French hit the target well but lost a number of their machines in the raid. The Americans acquitted themselves well. Lufbery bagged two Huns, his fourth and fifth. Prince, who is seen as one of the founding fathers of the escadrille, bagged one. Because Oberndorf is so far away, they flew to a forward French aerodrome where they refuelled for the rest of the trip and to which they returned after re-crossing the lines. By the time they got back, however, it was quite dark. Lufbery landed first and safely. But as Prince attempted to settle in, his machine hit some telegraph wires and flipped in the air, throwing him several hundred yards. He suffered grievous injury. After clinging to life for three days, he died this afternoon at a hospital about twenty miles from here.
  15. September report FSL Douglas Bell-Gordon 3 Wing, RNAS Luxeuil, France Sopwith 1 1/2 Strutter 11 missions 12.83 hr 4 claims 2 confirmed.

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