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Private Journal of Artemus Burroughs


6 June 1916:

Arrived this afternoon at my first posting as an RFC pilot, 15 Squadron based at Marieux. Met my G/O, Captain Knight, who I will be chauffeuring about in what appears to be a very clapped out BE2. Ive already written down my final wishes so that they may be carried out upon my demise. Still, better than eventually dying in the trenches with my old mates from the 1st Bedfordshire.



7 June 1916:

Morning sortie began at 8:00. Went with B Flight to bomb a rail yard west of Bapaume. Was very glad to see that we had an escort of Airco scouts watching over us. Gladness short-lived when all six of them went traipsing off after something on the horizon leaving us on our own as we crossed over the mud. Lt. Corwin led us well, dropping everything on the target. I on the other hand dropped everything well short. No Huns about in the air so a quiet out and back except for the occasional bump from Archie. Never did see the Aircos return. Lovely day in terms of weather.

Afternoon sortie had us going back out to attack the same bloody rail yard. Apparently the brass hats didnt like how we were holding our pinkies during the first attempt. This run resulted in all four Quirks missing the mark, blowing up nothing but dirt and scrub. As we were passing over the mud five Eindeckers attacked our flight. I held my bus steady to allow the Captain a good shot on one that was zipping down upon us. I could have done better myself and flown at the same time and after the second volley from the Hun went zipping past my ears I began tossing the Quirk about to throw off our attackers aim. Luck was with us and the whole of B Flight returned intact. Upon landing I was chastised by Captain Knight for not allowing him more time to line up his shot. When I mentioned that the Hun appeared to have plenty of time to take aim he called me impertinent and said Id better watch my step. Ive lost count how many times Ive been cautioned thusly since signing on at Kitcheners behest back in 14.



8 June 1916:

Sunrise take-off, again with B Flight, this time to bomb some Fritz gun positions along the mud near Courcelette. Lt. Corwin leading again, and again he found his mark. I stayed right on his tail and managed the same trick. Returned to Marieux without incident and enjoyed a hot breakfast.

Afternoon sortie was a disaster. Three of us from B Flight, led by Lt. Dawson, were sent to hit the Hun aerodrome at Bertincourt. We were supposed to have an escort of Airco scouts but they never arrived so we went on without them. Found the target and dropped our eggs but caused no real damage. On our return my mount began losing power and started giving up altitude. Just as we crossed the mud a trio of Eindeckers attacked the other two Quirks, now some distance above us, leaving the Captain and me with nothing to do but watch the slaughter. Dawson and his G/O Milligan were the first to go, their bus bursting into flames, then plummeting to earth. Steele and his G/O Hayden were next, forced down, crashing into a small copse of trees east of Beumont-Hamel. I realized at that moment it would be wise to get the hell out of the area and dove towards Bellevue aerodrome. We reached it just as the three Huns were about to pounce. However, the gunners down on the ground made our attackers reconsider their plans and they instead turned tail and headed back across NML. One last bit of excitement, as I was landing the engine conked entirely nearly causing my bus to ground loop, fortunately only busted the right lower wing as I straightened it out. A god-awful outing. Im putting in for a transfer to the scouts. They seem to come and go as they please and dont have to rely on someone else to do the shooting for them.


9 June 1916:

Morning grey and cloudy. First sortie, off to bomb the rail yard east of Bapaume, again! Due to certain observations I made at the evening meal the night before I was told to head up this outing. Led Sergeants Abbot and Sedgewick and their G/Os Lieutenants Bristed and Rodland, and we flew directly to the target without escort. Approached from the south, dropping to 1,000 before delivering our eggs. I scored direct hits on the warehouses and the rest of B Flight hit the ammo dumps and rolling stock. The entire yard erupted in flames. Turned immediately west and returned to camp as fast as our Quirks could go. Back at the mess in time for breakfast and boasting. Good news as well, Lt. Steele was not killed when his bus was forced down and he is now back in camp and swearing revenge for his lost brethren.

Afternoon sortie was a recce of the front lines south of Arras. B Flight actually had protection in the form of six Airco scouts that stuck with us the entire trip. They earned their keep by driving off a hoard of Eindeckers that tried attacking us as we began our reconnoitering of the area. Minimal interruption and we completed our task in about 25 minutes then returned to camp, everyone safe and sound. During evening mess I was informed by the CO that my request for transfer had been approved and good riddance to anyone who didnt want to be in his squadron. I would be moving first thing in the morning to Bertangles West where I was to report to Major Hawker. 24 Squadron and the Airco!



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Dawson and Milligan gone west.



Nearly an ender.



On target.


.


[Linked Image]

Three RFC Brass Hats were strolling down a street in London. Two walked into a bar, the third one ducked.
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Former Cold War Warrior, USAF Security Service 1974-1978, E-4, Morse Systems Intercept, England, Europe, and points above.
"pippy-pahpah-pippy pah-pip-pah"