Sgt. Bryan Smythe
Warbird Rising
6th Squadron, RAF
Abeele, Flanders, France
20-22 June 1915
The French ground attack southwest of Lens is reportedly taking heavy casualties. During the past three days, the squadron has been assigned to patrol the front near Lens to help keep the German reconnaissance aircraft from observing the French and the British army in that sector. Weve gone up each day, but havent spotted any EA at all.

23 June 1915

We had a bit of a switch in missions today. Rather than heading south east to support the French, we were assigned to patrol behind the German lines to the east, near Ypres. For the first time, I flew the lead aircraft, with Sgt. Garfield as my wingman. It was a morning job. Surprisingly, there were a fair number of scattered thunderstoms in the area. Fortunately, we could avoid them fairly easily. Just behind the German lines, we caught two Aviatiks flying east. Myself and Sgt Garfield intercepted them. In the melee, we lost the lead aircraft, but we managed to severely damage his wingmans engine, which stopped. During our fight, I almost collided with his aircraft, missing by what seemed to be inches! Eventually, he crash landed about a half mile east of the German airfield at Menen. I almost joined him in crashing in the same field, as I was so focused on making sure he crashed, that I ended up flying both low and slow, a very dangerous technique. When I finally realized that I was below the height of the trees approaching in front of me, I pulled up, but almost stalled the aircraft because I was too slow. Fortunately, I put my nose down in time to avoid stalling, and barely cleared the trees at the end of the field that claimed the Aviatik. Sgt. Garfield rejoined me, and we flew back to base without further incident. Surprisingly, my claim was denied, despite Sgt. Garfield being on hand to witness it.


Storms on 23 June


Aviatik with stopped engine near Menen


No man commands safely unless he has learned well how to obey.