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About AlbertTross

  1. Hi Gents, apologies for my enforced absence but my PC went bonkers. I lost everything and I'm in the process of getting a new one. I'm typing this on my phone. Once I'm back up and running and I've reinstalled WOFF, i'll be back .
  2. Mfair - Congratulations to Gallagher on his first confirmed victory. With regards to the declined one, you can only try. Gallagher's actions 'forced the enemy from battle'....would be the official line I imagine.
  3. Sergent Simon 'Sid' Grace Escadrille C9 Epinal Caudron G4 2 confirmed victories 22nd December 1915 "So, how was your sojourn to Paris mon ami!" said Mondeme as Sid entered the mess. "Very enjoyable, how were your family?" responded Sid. "Oh they were fine, I was fed up with them after two hours and wanted to head back." exclaimed Mondeme. Sid laughed. It was good to be back he thought. After a few pleasantries with the others, including Capitaine Larsy, Sid was brought up to speed. Sorties had continued, thankfully without loss but the weather was worsening still and turning seriously wintery. That evening the snow started in earnest and didn't let up for the next four days. Despite the efforts of the ground crews, no flying was possible over the Christmas period. The festivities were heartfelt and included carols and a heartfelt rendition of Chant du Départ. A fine meal was had too, with a huge Goose, the centerpiece. Sid however, wanted to get back flying. On the 26th the ground was cleared enough to allow a reccie out to the lines. On the 27th, clear skies greeted the pilots although it was bitterly cold. The sortie was out towards Nancy and was passing peacefully enough until Sid spotted aircraft approaching them from higher up. It was a pair of Aviatiks and Sid didn't waste a moment. He went straight at them and as he passed underneath, Mondeme raked the underside of one of the enemy aircraft. The enemy split up and Sid's target turned to try and get back to the lines. Sid however had anticipated this and came across between the enemy and safety. Mondeme did his bit again and this time oily smoke started billowing from the stricken boche. He lost power and height and a final flurry from Mondeme as Sid pursued the Aviatik had him spiralling down into the ground on the French side of the lines. Capitaine Larsy, who'd been the other pilot on the sortie was able to confirm the victory meaning Sid now had three confirmations. Celebrations that night were heartfelt and long. It seemed an age since he's been in the air and now it was like he'd never been away. Further sorties including several bombing runs brought 1915 to a close. What would 1916 bring?
  4. Sergent Simon 'Sid' Grace Escadrille C9 Epinal Caudron G4 2 confirmed victories 21st December 1915 Sid had slept like a log and after a light breakfast and another bath, he went for a walk. The weather was worsening and getting seriously cold. He walked along the Seine and up towards the Trocadero and the Eiffel tower. The streets were full again with servicemen and shoppers. He decided to head over to the Cafe de la Paix for a spot of lunch. On reaching the restaurant he entered and was shown to a table. Having ordered some coffee he saw someone else enter. It was Nungesser, Sid waved and Nungesser saw him and came over. "Ahh bonjour Sid, comment allez-vous?" asked Nungesser. "I'm very well thank you Charles and you?" responded Sid. "I'm remarkably well considering." said Nungesser. "Considering what mon ami?" asked Sid, half knowing what the response was likely to be. "Being kept up half the night mon ami." responded Nungesser with that engrossing grin. Sid smiled. "How did you get on my dear fellow?" asked Nungesser. "It was a lovely evening, I've arranged to meet Sophie this evening." responded Sid. "Wow, you don't mess around do you. She does seem to be a touch of class." said Nungesser. "Well I have to head back to my Escadrille this afternoon mon ami. So shall we have some lunch here?" said Nungesser, taking a seat. "Of course, I'll walk you to the station later too " responded Sid. "Why thank you. Are you still intent on joining me at 65?" asked Nungesser. "I'd love to, I guess it depends on my CO of course, he's a good chap." responded Sid. "Well I'll get Capitaine Féquant to put in an official request." said Nungesser. The pair talked over a lovely lunch of Croque Monsieur washed down with some wine. Eventually however Nungesser had to take his leave. After picking up Nungesser's bag, the pair headed over to the train station. They shook hands, "Au revoir Sid, bon chance and stay safe. I'll write soon although hopefully Féquant will do his stuff." said Nungesser. "Au revoir Charles, you too mon ami." responded Sid as Nungesser boarded the train. Afterwards Sid went back to his hotel and went for a swim. The pool was lovely and he thoroughly enjoyed himself. As the evening approached Sid got himself ready. He was nervous but very excited. Thankfully he remembered the route to Sophie's and after picking up a bunch of flowers on the way, he was at the apartments. He rang the bell and after a few moments Sophie came to the door. On seeing Sid she smiled. "I'm just getting ready, do you want to come in?" said Sophie. Sid presented her with the flowers and followed her in to her apartment. The dwelling was sparsely decorated but definitely had some feminine touches. Sophie put the flowers in some water and invited Sid to take a seat. "I won't be long Sid." said Sophie, disappearing into her bedroom. Sid decided to stand and took a look out of the window. There wasn't much of a view, it looked out over a small courtyard towards more apartments. The chill near the window was considerable so Sid went and sat back down which was near the small stove which served as the main heating it appeared. After about 10 minutes, Sophie appeared. She looked beautiful, her peach coloured dress finished just past her knee and her hair was in a twirling set of curls. She put a creme coloured hat on and announced herself ready. "You look amazing." said Sid. Sophie smiled, "Thank you, you are as handsome as you were last night." she said. The pair left, "Where are we headed?" asked Sophie. "I thought we'd go and see a show and then some dinner?" responded Sid. "That sounds wonderful." said Sophie. Sid hailed a taxi and the pair headed into town. They ended up at the Vaudeville theatre watching a comedy performance. The performance was good but the highlight for Sid was when Sophie having laughed out loud at a particular joke, leaned into Sid and put her head on his shoulder. Once the show had ended the pair left and crossed over the road to La Petite Chaise, one of Paris's oldest restaurants. The pair were seated and ordered their food. They talked about their pasts. Sophie's family were still in Dijon although she'd not seen them since the war started. She had a younger sister, Daphne who was still at school. Her father worked as a tailor in Dijon although most of his work was now military. Sid explained his family were in Liverpool but he hadn't seen them since he joined the Légion. Sophie hesitated before the next question but eventually said it. Why had he had to join the Légion? Sid hesitated before answering but thought someone deserves to know the truth. He certainly wasn't ashamed of it and he'd rather it be with someone he actually wanted to tell. "We were in Liverpool town center and talking with my father's friends, some of whom were military types. The conversation got onto Ireland and the increasing tensions over there. One of the Officers, who seemed to delight in creating arguments, asked me a direct question, did I believe there should be home rule in Ireland? Well, I certainly wasn't going to lie and I'm no rabid fanatic, but I told the truth. I said yes I did, no more no less. Clearly the officer decided he didn't like the answer or that he didn't like me, as he left and arranged for my application to the Royal Engineers to be cancelled. The manager of my firm called me in a few days later and told me I'd brought dishonor to his firm and that my services were no longer needed. Finally I had an argument with my father. At that point I just decided I'd had enough. I left the next morning, leaving my mother a note, explaining. I had barely enough money to buy the fare to Hull where I caught the ferry to the Netherlands..... the rest.....as they say...is history." stated Sid. Sophie listened intently, then rose up. Sid thought she was about to walk out. She leant over the table and gave Sid a soft and loving embrace......"you poor thing." she said. The pair continued talking but Sophie brought her chair nearer Sid. "Do you never wonder about your family Sid?" asked Sophie. She'd meant the question in all innocence but there was something cutting about it. "When I first left, yes, when I first joined the Légion, definitely. But once the training got tough and I sorted my head out. My thoughts cleared, so maybe the question should be 'do they never wonder about me?'" said Sid. Sophie realised she'd dug a little too deep and seemed sheepish. Sid saw this and smiled, "I don't tell many people that Sophie, not even my CO in the Légion knew. Not because I'm embarrassed but that it simply doesn't matter anymore. It all seems so long ago now. I've pledged allegiance to France and right now, France needs me." said Sid, quietly. Sophie smiled and kissed Sid again. "Can I need you too?" she said as he drew close. "I was hoping you would say that Sophie. I'd like that very much." said Sid. The pair eventually finished and walked back to Sophie's apartment. "I'd invite you in Sid....." said Sophie. "I can wait Sophie, I have to leave early tomorrow to return to my escadrille. I very much want to see you again......if you want to." said Sid. "Of course I want to see you again." responded Sophie and the pair embraced deeply. Eventually they parted, "Please stay safe Simon..... please." said Sophie, pleadingly. "I'll do my best Sophie. Promise you will write." responded Sid. "I will, au revoir mon bel anglais." said Sophie. "Goodbye Sophie." responded Sid. Sid walked back to the hotel and slept well once more. In the morning he rose early and headed off to the station for the return journey. He was looking forward to getting back in the air again.
  5. Hasse - So the sun didn't shine for Petain's visit. A real shame that Auguste couldn't wangle some leave, but the gift from Casale should wash the sadness away.
  6. Seb - So Runt has finally seen the back of Ackart. He's a charmer isn't he, a cad, a liar and a gambler. Congratulations to Hoskins and good luck with the confirmation. Paroni - He's a character that Nungesser that's for sure. Full of bravery and bravado. Mfair - Hopefully he'll wangle a move, might be a little while away yet. Sid will have to wait and see if Nungesser is as good as his word.
  7. Sergent Simon 'Sid' Grace Escadrille C9 Epinal Caudron G4 2 confirmed victories 20th December 1915 The train was rattling along at a fair pace. The carriage Sid and Mondeme were in was packed, soldiers mostly, a couple more pilots and some civilians. They'd caught the Epinal train on time at 8am and changed onto the Nancy to Paris train at 10. The carriage was full of cigarette smoke and as Sid didn't smoke it wasn't pleasant. He sat looking out of the window. The weather was decent enough for late December. Mondeme had been asleep but woke up as the train blew it's whistle. "Sacre bleu, I was hoping we'd be in Paris by now." said Mondeme, yawning. "Not long now mon ami, 20 minutes or so I think." replied Sid. Mondeme took a drink from his hip flask and offered it to Sid who also took a glug of the brandy they'd 'aquired' before they left. "Merci" said Sid. "So where are you staying these next two nights Sid?" asked Mondeme, he still said it like 'seed' which still amused Sid. "Two nights in the Hôtel de Vendôme." replied Sid, checking his paperwork. "Very swish! I've got another 3 hours on the train to look forward to." Mondeme bemoaned. "It'll be good to see your family, who knows when we'll get the chance again in the coming year." said Sid. "True, very true. It's a shame you can't go and see your family though." said Mondeme. "I wouldn't know where to start with them mon ami. I left suddenly, I doubt they even know I joined the French Foreign Legion." replied Sid. "That's sad, let's hope the chance presents itself one day mon ami." finished Mondeme. The train screeched to a halt at Gare de l'este station and the pair made their way off. Mondeme had to catch a taxi to the Gare de Lyon to get his train to St Etienne so the pair said their au revoirs and went their separate ways. Sid checked in to the hotel and after sorting his clothes out ran a hot bath, it felt SO good, he could have spent the whole leave in there, but he eventually got ready and decided on a walk around the town. The weather was still decent enough as he strolled out in his clean uniform. He walked along the Rue de la Paix. The streets were busy with shoppers and servicemen. He spotted the Cafe de la Paix, it was one of the best restaurants in Paris and was already busy. As he made his way along, a voice spoke loudly from one of the tables outside the Cafe. "Ahhh a fellow pilote! Bonsoir Sergent". Sid turned and saw another man in uniform sat at a table. He was a pilot too, an Adjutant. "Apologies if I startled you, would you care to join me?" said the adjutant. Sid sat down "thank you sir" he said hesitantly, still unsure who he was speaking to. "Haha, less of the sir. Let me introduce myself, Nungesser, Charles Nungesser. You can call me Charles." said the pilot. "Hello Charles, I'm Simon, Simon Grace, although my escadrille call me Sid." responded Simon. Nungesser got another glass from the waiter and poured a glass of fine champagne for Sid. The pair talked for some time. Nungesser had recently joined Escadrille 65 flying Nieuport scouts. Sid explained where he was based. He also confirmed he was ex Foreign Legion and originally from England. Nungesser, initially taken aback, smiled, took a long drag on his cigar and poured Sid another glass. He explained how he'd scored his two victories, how he'd been disciplined after the first one. When Sid explained he also had two confirmed victories Nungesser was aghast, "two victories, in a Caudron? even an Eindecker!" said Nungesser. "You must be skilled. We need to get you in scouts mon ami. How do you fancy joining me in 65?" asked Nungesser. Sid wasn't expecting that, "I'd be honored Charles, I must admit to wanting a chance to fly these new scouts." He responded. "There is nothing like it Sid, if you have the skill to down two flying a donkey like the Caudron, you'll fly rings around the Boche." exclaimed Nungesser. "Leave it with me, I'll speak to the CO when I get back." said Nungesser. The pair continued talking whilst taking in the passers by. "Where were you planning on eating tonight Sid?" enquired Nungesser. "I hadn't booked anywhere, I was just going to stroll around and find something." responded Sid. "Fancy accompanying me? I know a great spot nearby, it's very popular, especially with the ladies." said Nungesser winking. Sid smiled, "That sounds good to me Charles." Shortly afterwards the pair left the Cafe de la Paix and after about five minutes walking, they were there. 'Le Consulat' was somewhat off the beaten track but was still busy as the pair entered. "It looks full Charles." said Sid. "Nonsense mon ami, patience." replied Nungesser. After a few moments the mâtre d' approached "ahh Monsieur Nungesser! It is good to see you again. Wait one moment sir." he said. The next second a table was brought out and immediately decked out with chairs, cloth and accoutrements. Nungesser gave the man a tip and the two pilots sat down. They ate splendidly and as they drank another bottle of vintage champagne, Sid spotted two ladies across the room. They had been occasionally gazing over at the pilots and now one had caught Sid's attention. Nungesser saw this too and smiled, "there are no flies on you Sid that's for sure.....come on" said Nungesser who stood up, took the bottle and walked over to the ladies' table. Sid went too and the pair introduced themselves. The ladies turned out to be out for the evening. They were both nurses in the hospital in town, although they had this evening off. The one who'd been gazing at Sid made room next to her and he sat down. Her name was Sophie and she was 22. Nungesser seemed engrossed with his lady friend, Theresa. The four drank and talked for the rest of the evening. Sophie was from Dijon and had been in Paris for two years. Sid wasn't sure how she'd react when he said he was actually from England. Sophie however seemed even more engrossed. Eventually the four finished, paid up and made their way out. Nungesser and Theresa said their farewells to Sid and Sophie and headed out. Judging by the glint in Charles' eye, he was onto a winner. They agreed to meet back at the Cafe de la Paix tomorrow afternoon. Sid walked Sophie back to her dwelling which was about 10 minutes away. "Thank you Sid, I've had a lovely evening." said Sophie. "Me too Sophie, it's been a real pleasure. May I see you again?" asked Sid as they reached her apartment. "I'd like that very much Sid." said Sophie. "How about tomorrow?" said Sid. "I'm in work but I finish at 7pm. If that is not too late?" said Sophie. "That's fine, shall I call for you here?" asked Sid. "Yes, that would be perfect, shall we say 8.30?" said Sophie. "Perfect. I shall look forward to it Sophie." confirmed Sid. The pair shared a brief kiss and parted. Sid virtually skipped back to his hotel.
  8. Mfair - It's a lovely aircraft to fly the Bristol Scout, the shooting is weird but doable. Paroni - So Bastian dreams of scouts too. It's a shame about the Christmas leave but at least he got some gifts from home. Fine pictures as always.
  9. Mfair - Great tale, so Gallagher sets eyes on the prize, well one of them anyway. A Bristol Scout and what's more it's his. Those Fokkers proved to be that more experienced though and there were more of them. They knew they'd been in a fight though and Gallagher got back ok.
  10. Paroni - Welcome to Bastian, fresh from the Wurttembergers. A welcome also to that spy. Not sure her shoes are quite appropriate in a canvas covered aircraft but hey, I could live with that. Raine - Hawkwood seems to have it ok finding a billet even if he has to share a bed. The two SM's sharing is classical, who needs an alarm call with to SM's in the same room. Tinker, great name, he must have been ribbed to death in training. As for the update, yes it sounds very good.....but I'm still looking at getting into single seaters asap. Albrecht - It's a cracker of a skin, definitely..... striking.
  11. Sergent Simon 'Sid' Grace Escadrille C9 Epinal Caudron G4 2 confirmed victories 14th December 1915 The sorties continued throughout the middle of December with varying weather, ranging from cold sleet to relatively mild sun. Sid and Mondeme continued to complete the objectives with determination and skill. There were persistent attacks on the railyard across the lines from Nancy as there seemed to be a lot of freight heading west towards Verdun. On each occasion, Sid flew as low as possible and allowed Mondeme to drop the bombs accurately, causing considerable damage and delays to the flow of enemy troops and equipment. On the evening of the 18th, after a fine evening meal, Capitaine Larsy spoke to Sid and Mondeme. "Gentlemen, although I'd sooner not lose you at present, you are both due some leave. I'd sooner you take it sooner rather than later and you certainly deserve some. Arrange some over the coming days with the adjutant please." explained the Capitaine. "Oui Capitaine" confirmed both of them. Sid had been quite keen to carry on, but now that Capitaine Larsy had mentioned it, a few days in Paris sounded good. "Where will you go mon ami?" asked Sid. "I'll head down to St Etienne, go and see my family, especially if I can't be there at Christmas. What about you? You're welcome to come with me, my mère has plenty of room". replied Mondeme. "Thank you my friend, that's very kind of you, but I fancy a couple of days in Paris, my family are in England and I've not seen them since I joined the Légion." explained Sid. "That's too bad, but Paris will be fun. I'll come with you as far as Paris, I'll have to change trains there for St Etienne." confirmed Mondeme. The pair arranged 72 hour passes with the adjutant as well as transport and a hotel for Sid. They'd leave first thing on the 20th.
  12. Albrecht - Well done to Jean-Fidele, 11 confirmed victories before 1916 is fine work indeed. More fine work is his paint scheme, the Germans will run a mile.
  13. Seb - What an awful thing to happen to Cleaver, especially with everyone looking on. Runt is fortunate to have a lot of fine pilots around, Rod Dallas, Red Mullock and Noel Keeble. The sooner he is CO and can move Ackhart on the better.
  14. Sergent Simon 'Sid' Grace Escadrille C9 Epinal Caudron G4 2 confirmed victories 01/12/1915 The rain continued to fall as December started and flying was cancelled for the day. Sid decided to speak to the ground crews about an idea he'd had to paint his aircraft. After checking they had some red, green and gold paints available. Thankfully they did and he gave them the design and left them to it. A few hours later and all was done, although it took a lot longer to dry thanks to the awful weather. The weather improved enough to allow flying on the 2nd although the skies remained grey with occasional spatters of rain. The sorties were still one a day at present as the front was relatively quiet, although the local French headquarters were always keen to keep the enemy on their toes. An attack on the front lines was followed by attacks on the airfield at Buhl-Lorraine in improving weather, alongside the routine reconnaissance patrols. On one of them, the Caudrons were escorted by a trio of Nieuport scouts from Escadrille N48. Sid watched them zooming around and was more than a bit envious. He was determined to get himself into a scout escadrille sooner rather than later. Sid hadn't seen any enemy aircraft for some time now although the increasing and accurate flak bursts were more than enough to contend with. On the evening of the 8th, Capitaine Larsy called Sid to his office. Sid entered and saluted, Larsy responded. "Please Sergent, take a seat." "Thank you Capitaine" responded Sid as he sat. "So, how are you mon ami? Glad to be back in the air I assume." asked Larsy. "I'm very good thank you Capitaine and yes, it's good to be able to take the attack to the Boche again." replied Sid. "Indeed and you've been doing plenty of that since your arrival. I never really had any doubts about your determination Sergent, three years in the Légion Étrangère proves that, but I obviously didn't know about your abilities until you started flying. I clearly needn't have worried on either account." smiled Larsy. "Thank you sir for those words. I was taught well, but yes, I'm very determined to do well." replied Sid. "Well, headquarters are very impressed, those two confirmed victories, especially in this quiet sector...that was really something." continued Larsy. "Keep it up Sergent, I see great things ahead for you if you can mon Ami." concluded the Capitaine. "Thank you sir, I fully intend to....." said Sid.
  15. Hasse - That was a nasty blow learning of Schlumberger and Montezuma. Those early SPADs were not great although you can see where their later development would end up. Mfair - I'm glad to see Gallagher survived the hit and run attack, especially as he's the sole survivor from when he joined.

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