Banjoman, thanks for keeping up with the chart. I haven't had much writing time this week so I had to add a week of entries in one go. Carrick, how are you finding the Morane?

Alfred Keers earns a wound stripe...

70 Squadron were a cheery lot. To a man we were delighted with the new Sopwith, and we set out to give the Hun a good walloping. My count now stood at seventeen. Id thought it one higher, but Wing later credited one of my DDOOC claims to a passing DH2, whod apparently intercepted the Hun trying to pull out at low altitude.

The next week saw us on the occasional long reconnaissance. These were long patrols up and down the area behind German lines, taking photographs of assigned areas. The tasks were laid out by Brigade and would often consist of following a road or a rail line and taking overlapping pictures up one side and down the other. McAulley operated the camera, which fit into a conical recess in the floor of the aircraft. My job was to hold the machine level over our assigned path and make faces at the Archie gunners below who tried to extinguish our young lives. Meanwhile, McAulley shifted the loading handle on the camera to drop new plates into place and shift exposed plates into their carrying box, all the while counting off the seconds until the next exposure was due. After eighteen plates and about two thousand barks from nasty black Archie bursts it was time to turn about and repeat the performance. Oh, and we while doing this we also had to keep our wits about us in case some cheeky Eindekker jockey wanted our tailplane for his mess anteroom.

Letters from home complained about them calling off the Whitsun bank holiday.

We read news of the big naval battle at the end of May. The papers all claimed wed smashed the Huns, but the casualty lists suggest it was not so clear-cut an affair. Lord Kitcheners death was the other big news. Closer to home we talked of the push that was sure to come soon. The RO confidently predicted next week and the CO confidently predicted August. All we know is that the reconnaissance and long distance patrolling is picking up. I have been in France for three months now and am third on the leave list; I expect to get it by months end. If the push interferes, the Kaiser and I are going to have words.

Rain swept through from the 13th to the 16th of June, turning the field into a quagmire. I got a ride into Doullens with Patrick and Cruikshank, the other two flight commanders (Patricks appointment is acting until our newly-arrived third flight completes its working-up). Doullens is overrun with waggons and horses and ambulences. It was difficult to get a table to eat, but still grand to escape into a real town for a day. We saw a Charlie Chaplin film and a couple of the fellows enjoyed a remarkable new experience about which I shall remain silent. I was tempted to partake, but the Wings medical officer has done a creditable job of terrifying me. Hence Chaplin.

17 June was a lovely warm day and I got back into the air for an offensive patrol from Lille up to the Lys. We chased some Fokkers and scrapped with them inconclusively. Then we spotted two two-seaters which turned out to be the new Roland machine. How they could be handled. They seemed every bit as good as our Strutters. I managed to hit one of them several times without apparent effect. Then the Hun gunner raked us while his pilot was in a bank. By rights the chap should have been on his Khyber, but he still managed a crack shot. I was grazed along my sitting parts and McAulley lost one of his little toes. This was a double loss, as McAulley is a fine dancer, while I prefer to sit and watch the ladies. Such is fate. We landed with a broken fuel pipe close to Bethune, barely clearing a row of stubbly trees. There we got patched up at a regimental aid post of the Royal Scots. Were both out until the 20th at least.


"We landed with a broken fuel pipe close to Bethune, barely clearing a row of stubbly trees."