Gents, these stories are getting better and better! My hat is off to you all. Hate to see frayed nerves so early in the war. Fantastic reading.
I just realized I am a day ahead but here it is.
Lt. Mark Jericho Auchell Aerodrome Feb. 2. 1916
Had it been 5 days since Jericho and Whorton had had their near miss? Jericho thought to himself. It seemed like only yesterday they had landed at Savy with control cables almost shot through. It had turned into a good day after all. Jericho had thought he might have some trouble after giving the Captain a piece of is mind but it seems the Captain was a good sort. After their machine was patched up as Jericho was getting ready to climb into the machine the Captain stopped him. "A word Lieutenant!"
"Sir?" Jericho answered matter of fact.
" I was out of line. You have given me no reason to doubt your bravery." The Captain paused as they looked at each other eye to eye. He then offered his hand to Jericho. "My apologies." the Captain said.
"Jericho shook the Captains hand. "No need for apologies Sir. I know that competing the mission is important to you. I just had a bit more information than you did" Jericho said with a grin.
"Right then!" said the Captain, "lets get this bird home before we miss evening mess."
They had flown back without incident. Both men knew they were in it together until the end, wether it be a good one or a bad one.
The next few days were spent doing recon and arty spotting up and down the line. Nothing out of the ordinary and if not for the shells exploding below it would have been a great time as far as Jericho was concerned. He was having the time of his life. Then came the recon mission NW of Loos. It started well with Chambers flying lead and Jericho number 2. They were on their 3rd round and every thing had been peaceful enough when chambers abruptly turned hard right to the west. Jericho followed instantly and got a the signal for "enemy" at the same time. A glance back and Jericho could see Whorton swinging his Lewis to draw a bead. Jericho then saw a Fokker coming up on Chambers tail to his right. He tried to bring his machine along side to drive it off but he was barely gaining ground as the Fokker opened up on Chambers. He pressed the nose down to gain speed and swung the Morane under the Fokker and came up on the other side. He could see pieces flying off Chambers machine. Whorton opened up on the Fokker chasing Chambers but had not fired but a few rounds when Jericho felt rounds hitting his Morane.
He swung the Morane to the left and dove again then instantly turning right back to west. Once Headed west again he was greeted with a horrible sight. Chambers machine was on fire and going down in an arc toward the earth 2000 meters below.
Again bullets struck the Morane. Jericho knew there were at least 2 Fokkers after them. Whorton was keeping up a steady stream of fire from his Lewis but the tracers were whipping past Jericho left and right. He had not known true terror in his life but this was getting pretty close. He did the only thing he knew to do and that was nose down and get out as fast as he could. He nosed the Morane over weaving left and right with Whorton hammering away with his Lewis and bullets striking the Morane from the 2 Fokkers. Whorton stopped firing but Jericho did not look back. He was intent on crossing the lines at low altitude and maybe let ground fire drive of their foe's as Whorton had told him. He was surprised when Whorton opened back up with his Lewis. "Those boys won't let go!" Jericho thought. At that moment it felt to Jericho as though a horse had kicked him in the calf. It was more a shock than pain. The ground was getting closer as he looked for a place to set the Morane down. "A road ahead!" Jericho yelled out loud. He was going full throttle at treetop level when he cut the engine. The Morane landed way too fast but he kept the nose level and they came to a stop not far from a balloon crew.
"I'm hit!" Jericho said to Whorton as he felt the blood pooling in flying boot.
"Well that makes the both of us then!" the Captain replied. Jericho was startled, he had no idea the Captain had been hit.
"Bad?" Jericho asked as he tried to turn around.
"Not bad enough I'm afraid. This one will not get me back to England."
The balloon crew had arrived and helped the two airmen from the machine and took them to an aid station. The doctor there patched them up with the words, "You do are done flying for a few days."
Never approach a bull from the front, a horse from the rear or a fool from either end. BOC Member since....I can't remember!