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Sebtoombs

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  1. Sebtoombs

  2. 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. I look forward to catching up properly in a few days! Salute!!
  3. 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 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. 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. 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.
  4. 04:30hrs 31st July 1915
  5. 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! 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. 0445hr the sun is barely cresting the front and we are lined up ready to go! Salute!
  6. 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!
  7. 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. Chesham Grammer School ... Looking forward to the next chapter!
  8. 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. We dived and split the pair 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. 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!!
  9. Brilliant Maeran, cracking report! Classic Le Mesurier.
  10. 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! "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. The early July weather has been a poor show indeed! 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. 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.
  11. Nice Job Paroni!! Feels good to be on this side of the war (at the moment...) Great escape, though sorry about your claim! Vive la liberté 01/06/15 - 01/07/15 A good month. Some exciting moments particularly forcing down the unarmed Aviatik! Mostly patrols and reccy. The weather has been very mixed. Jefferson and I became firm friends - He is currently on leave and I have a new chap 'Davies' who doesn't say much at all - The patrols take longer without Jefferson. As I step into July I look forward to taking the war to the Hun. Grotty June weather
  12. 23 June 1915 St Pol-sur-mer 0500 The C.O. Christopher Cleaver, standing ramrod straight and impeccably dressed, briefed us. “Morning Gentlemen, hope you slept well after the fun and games last night. I’ll be flying with ‘B’ today” He began. “Our mission is a patrol deep into Hunland, we believe there is a large troop movement near Lager Abchnitt. Headquarters wants information, details and timings as soon as possible. You’ll have noticed that the Huns are not happy with us crossing their lines and are taking every opportunity to shoot at us with Archie and ground fire. Let’s be careful. And look sharp!” With that we strode with purpose across the dewy airfield to our waiting warmed-up aircraft and look to the azure skies. We spent 20 minutes. Climbing over our airfield, the ground crew and airfield paraphernalia becoming smaller and smaller each minute. It was another good flying day, only a few majestic clouds above us and a light breeze to hinder our return. We crossed the lines without incident and Cleaver set a course for Lager Abschnitt. As we were closing on the Archie that surrounds Ghistelles airfield I spotted two small dots flying directly towards us and slightly lower. It was far too early for our chaps to be heading home. Thinking it must be German Aircraft I cursed myself for forgetting my rifle. As we began to close I could clearly see the black crosses and quickly identified two Aviatiks flying within 500 yards of us. I couldn’t bear the thought of those Huns either photographing or bombing our chaps so Jefferson and I turned to engage. Diving between them Jefferson started shooting. The noise was deafening! I hadn’t quite appreciated how close the Lewis was to my head and very quickly my face was covered in black soot and the cockpit filled with the wonderful smell of cordite. Jefferson and I worked as a team, him telling me where to fly and taking wonderful shots at them me manoeuvring for all I’m worth, dodging puffs of menacing Archie and lining up our BE2. After about 5 minutes of shooting and dodging Ghistelles’ flak one of the Aviatiks, either damaged or scared stiff by our plucky antics retreated east. But the other fellow wasn’t for quitting. So again and again we dived and turned and turned and climbed on the other Aviatik. At one point Jefferson swears I looped the BE2 - maybe he's right, I was lost in the dance - though I’m told it’s impossible. (5:30-5:45 in the video below) After about twenty minutes of this Jefferson shouted above the wind in the wires, “We’ve hit the cads engine!” Sure enough, his prop was stubbornly still, his engine seized, he was hors de combat and descending towards Ghistelles. We closed on the hapless Hun, Jefferson taking the odd pot shot just to make sure. “Cut it out Jefferson ” I shouted, “We’re sailors, not bloody butchers!” The Aviakit landed softly. As we flew over the stunned Germans we could see the observer clutching his shoulder and appearing in pain. The pilot grimaced as we flew by cheering and making hideous soot-stained faces at the vanquished foes. It felt like a huge victory. Our first aircraft downed and one forced to retreat with its tail between its legs, unable to fulfil its mission. The squadron crowded around us, cheering as we landed and we told the incredible tales of our cunning and heroics. An incredibly good day!
  13. Oh No!!! I'm so sorry to hear about Viktor. such sad news! I hate it when a pilot dies. What will happen to his dog? Take care my friend
  14. I'm enjoying all the reports - thank you! June 11-22 St. Pol-Sur-Mer In the last ten days, I have flown about 10 hours over the front and behind enemy lines. The Archie has been more active, and the Hun are getting their eye in. This means it's a rare sight for any of us to come home unscathed. My singing companion is a firm friend now, we chuckle and sing together and most of the time this seems more like a jolly trip than a war. However, after some dismal days that had grounded us, we were airborne on the 22nd. After we had returned from an hours flight on our side of the lines I was just mooching in the Office, minding my own busy when our one and only phone rang. It was an urgent call from First Army HQ to locate some artillery that was causing our infantry a great deal of discomfort. 'A' fight was still up with the boss and 'B' had just landed - but Jefferson and I were happy to turn around and get straight up over the lines. After about thirty minutes of flying as low as we dared over the Boch lines, we spotted the offending artillery, close to a deserted farmhouse. Jefferson made some detailed drawings on our map. The Germans were undeniably unhappyto be spied on by us and fired everything they had at us, rifles, revolvers even a machine gun. One bullet actually penetrated the hull of our BE2 and hit my boot! To my relief, the bullet was lodged in the lining of my right boot. I was uninjured but it put the 'wind up' us somewhat. At that point, we felt we'd used up our luck and skedaddled back to our side of the lines slowly as the wind was against us all the way. We made a landing close to our lines and met in the mud a tremendous Artillary lieutenant called Tyrrel Hawker. He was an absolutely charming fellow, making us feel right at home with a cup of steaming tea. He was very grateful for our assistance and contacted HQ on his wireless set. It turns out He is Lanoe Hawker's brother. Hawker is in the RFC and an incredible pilot, warrior and inventor. Leaving the army chaps in their trench we headed home and were treated to one of the Good Lord's finest displays, the mesmerizing setting sun playing on a gentle sea. As we landed the C.O. rushed out to us beaming from ear to ear. A general from First Army HQ had called and wanted to thank personally RNAS-1 for its brave pilots. Particularly those who had located the Hun guns that afternoon! The C.O. chest was puffed to bursting. "Don't get that often from the Army Chaps Heh!" He beamed, "Well done!"
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