Lost Max Parry today. Routine patrol at 10, Ralph leading 8 of us, Me, Dewey, Whitey, Doc Ty, Bedroll, Simmy and Parry. Over Dormans 10 Fokkers observed, chased them about 12 miles into Germany before our fuel started to get low and we had to break off. As we banked to the South, I saw Parry still following the Huns. Raibly and Ty went back after him but were intercepted by a Fokker that flew rings around them. Too low on juice to play with Mr. Hun they turned back to rejoin. There's been no news of him, we expect he's been killed or captured. (1)
What could have gotten into his head! Makes me remember the stunt I pulled back in early June when the Major gave me what for, even if I did get my first Hun.
Doc and Ty are pretty blue, feel like they let Max down. We were discussing it at dinner when the Major cut in to say that there was no reason for any pilot to feel guilty when they consider a situation beyond their capability, as was the case here. "It's better to break away and be available to join the next patrol as a bit more knowledgeable and skillful fighter pilot."
He lightened the mood by reading a memo that he declared was the most ridiculous statement he had ever seen, even from our HQ. It read "The carrying of canes is prohibited. Riding crops, whips, and kindred ornaments should be restricted to officers actually on mounted duty. Much good boot leather is being damaged by the constant beating given it by officers who seldom see a mount." The Major paused, shook his head, then asked, "Now who do you think might write-up such an asinine memo?" The unanimous and immediate reply was, of course, "MAJOR ATKINSON!"
Orders have been received for the move. We go to Saints, 8 miles North of here, tomorrow at 0930.
(1) Credited to Ltn. Friedrich Friedrichs, Jasta 10, his grave site found in German records after the Armistice.
Good day to all, Very good stories Gents! Some real gems among them to boot. Fullofit, as bad as it was to hear Aldi had fallen, your send off was top notch. Been very busy and preoccupied as of late but hope to be back in the skies before it’s all over. Keep the stories coming folks, they make very good reading.
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!
Packed up everything and got an orderly to help me load it all on a truck. Trucks moved out at 5 am, our outfit took off at 10:00. Rick's not coming, his ear has him down again and he will probably end up in the hospital again.
The landing field at Saints is short, a lot of us ended up overshooting into the adjoining field, almost ended up in some barbed wire.
The place is square with big poplars flanking two of its sides with hangars on both sides. A 3rd side is a road and the 4th is the open field full of barbed wire I almost ended up in. It's littered with the debris of an earlier engagement, I may poke around there to see what there is to find but if there's much unexploded ordnance in there, maybe not.
We of the Canadian Flying Circus are on the right side of the field, while the French Squadrons are on the left, like minds with like minds.
I'm quartered in the village with a nice couple, Jean Luc and Diana. When I found the house, the baggage detail was still there, my host and hostess were serving all 10 of them wine and cakes while my baggage sat on the truck. Very nice folks. The house is neat as a pin and they have given me the very best room. They treat me very well but I don't like living in someone's house uninvited, forced on them by military law.
Got my stuff organized and went back to the aerodrome. At supper, Major Bonnell announced that Shawhan is being transferred to Group HQ to be Group Lision Officer. He presented him with a nice black marbled pen with the Major's initials on it. He then said he was going to start rotating officers to command the Flights as well as the Squadron so that everyone would be able to fill these positions if need be. Wolf Healy is Acting Squadron Commander as of tomorrow.
On alert this morning. Dud for flying, intermittent rain, fog. Group HQ ordered patrols to examine the lines. A few 3 or 4 plane flights went up but visibility was down to zero so they came back toot sweet.
A report came through about a pilot in another group who took a shot up into the seat of his aircraft. It hit him in a very critical point and it's assumed he's going to be a Eunuch now. We got so upset about it that the Major got us some steel plates. The Mechs screwed them onto the wood of the seats, under the cushions to protect our family jewels. A great relief to us all.
Quentin Roosevelt pulled off a neat trick today. He went out on one of those sight seeing patrols this morning and lost his 3 mates in the soupy weather. He saw 3 planes, figured they were his pals and pulled in behind them. When he saw the black crosses on their tails, he offed the tail man. Then he had to cut and run before the other two could pay the compliment back.
Still no word of Max. Hope he's at least a prisoner and Okay.
First things first Raine, a man has to have priorities.
2nd Lt. John B. Goode 147th Aero Squadron, USAAS
Thursday, July 11th 1918
Alk tried to take us on an escort for a Salmson photo plane, but within 10 minutes of hooking up the clouds became so dense that the photo man scrubbed the mission.
We used the down time to get our machines in better condition. Black, Sergeant Black now, is taking Babygirl's motor down to clean it up and put in a new cluster of connecting rods and new magnetos.
The enlisted men are living in tents or corners of hangars right now, so some living quarters are being constructed. After those are completed they will work on some officer's quarters, maybe I can give the Picard's back their peaceful house again soon. I can't help but feel like an intruder when I come tromping in a all hours.
All of us pilots went to the range for machine gun practice. Dewey and I brought our Springfield's along. Dewey's a crack shot, can hit a can on the fly 3 times out of 5. I'm pretty good but nowhere as good as him or Davy. I got 6 hits out of 13 in a 6"X8" target at 75 yds. Davy got 8 and Dewey 11 the show out.
Scheduled for an 08:00 patrol tomorrow if the weather allows.
Dud for flying today. After all the work done on her, Babygirl's guns are out of alignment. Had her taken down to the range to be put up on blocks and I and the armorer got them zeroed in again.
We expected Pershing this morning but, as usual when he's expected, he didn't show.
A bunch of us got a wild hair to go up to the Front, so we took the Hudson to Lucy-le-Boucage, 2,000 yards from the Boche Lines back of Belleau Woods. The town was heavily shelled since our last visit. Went up to the 75mm gun positions of the 101st F.A. (Massachusetts) and watched them spending some hate (1). They said they drop 800 shells per night into the German Lines. All the Yankee Division is up there now. One of the non-coms told us we were "crazy as bed bugs to go up in those contraptions." We agreed with him, he's perfectly right.
(1) spending some hate - Hate was a term used to describe regularly scheduled bombardments, usually morning hate or evening hate.
Jerbear, great reading all week. I've been on the road, so I'm just catching up tonight. Corderoy is on a real tear!
Diary of Maj. Geoffrey Corderoy, 43 Squadron RFC Part 59: 8-12 March 1918
8 March 1918 – La Gorgue aerodrome
Increasingly we are probing the Huns, flying deep into their territory. There is no doubt that we are in for it soon. Even after sunset, there is a touch of warmth in the air. As soon as the ground dries, I fear all hell will break loose, as the Hun has many divisions fresh from the East and wants to put us out of the war before the Yanks can get here in force. The great speculation, both in the mess and at HQ, is whether they will attack along the line of the Lys, where we are, or along the line of the Somme. My money is on the Lys. Their objective must be the Channel ports. But today gives me doubts. I join Trollope’s C Flight on a D.O.P. towards the Douai plain, but we see nothing.
Purdy, the RO, is a gem and makes my life simpler in so many ways. The mass of paperwork this job entails is play to him and he navigates it with ease. Documents are pencilled over with the important bits marked, and he works up a schedule for the next day every evening. He learned his trade under Sholto Douglas and has held down this job since before the Somme push. He came over from the Argylls and is fond of bantering with me about the inferiority of county regiments like the Royal Berks. Every morning I find him at his desk at the crack of dawn, hunched over a typewriter in shirtsleeves and kilt, pipe smoke curling up as if over a crash site. His humour is invariably good and his common sense invaluable.
I am informed that the sergeant in charge of the men’s messing has been pinching items for himself, shorting the men of a number of better foodstuffs. Sergeant-Major Worthing and Captain Purdy have conferred and draughted a charge. As the matter involves an NCO, I would be compelled to move it to court martial, so I have asked to see the culprit. He was marched in and gave a stammering confession, which quite unmanned him. I chose to offer him the option to transfer back to the infantry from which he came, in which case the charge would not be proceeded with. Until his transfer comes in, I have ordered him billeted under canvas, separate from the others of the squadron, and he is to take his meals in his tent. His duties have been limited to assisting the supply officer, who has assured me will keep him too busy to worry about.
9 March 1918
I led a composite patrol to the southeast to attack the Hun balloon line there. Major Holtcombe, my novice pilot who has retained his field rank from the infantry, got credit for downing a gasbag. We mixed with some Pfalzes and I sent one down, which was confirmed by Captain Balfour – number 48!
10 March 1918
We received special orders this morning by dispatch rider so I put together another composite patrol that included all three flight commanders. We were to shoot up enemy road and rail transport east of Loos. This is sticky work, as the ground fire is often intense and no amount of skill will help one avoid a lucky round. Nonetheless, we get the job done with nothing more than holes in our grids.
On the way north again, we saw a large group of Pfalz scouts approaching us. They were heading south and had a height advantage. I turned towards our lines to draw them westward, but they saw us too soon and were on us in seconds. What a scrap! I caught one Hun in a vertical bank and fired a full-deflection burst that tore his machine apart. The Pfalz immediately nosed down and before long its wings crumpled back and fluttered away while the smoking fuselage thundered into the mud below. And then the sky was empty. It’s odd how in an instant so many machines seem to vanish. I climbed westward and Woollett pulled alongside. He pointed down and then gave me a thumbs up sign and a wide grin. My 49th victory was thus confirmed.
11 March 1918
Today I led another D.O.P. nearly to Tournai. We saw several groups of Huns but they were too far off and showed no fight. Returning to the lines near the Hun aerodrome at Houplin, the Archie attracted attention to us and we were attacked by several of the latest type of Albatros. The fight quickly came down from 9000 feet to less than a thousand. I engaged several EA, but had to break off to avoid collision with other Camels. Finally I spotted a black Albatros making for Houplin and fell on its tail. Sands nearly ran into me, but then broke off and I closed to within feet of the Hun before firing. The machine fell vertically onto the Hun aerodrome.
On my return I learned that Balfour had seen the black machine go down. This makes number 50! We have a memorable binge to celebrate, and the chaps are planning a dinner in Hazebrouck which I am not supposed to know about.
"Finally I spotted a black Albatros making for Houplin and fell on its tail."
12 March 1918
It is late and I am too tired to write much, not to mention being a bit tight. Today I joined Woollett’s flight for a balloon attack. These are never enjoyable. Much like ground attack, balloon work leaves too much up to chance. The target balloon is north of Menen. I lead the attack but manage only to leave the thing smoking. Holtcombe, however, is successful with his rockets and bags his second kill.
We are regrouping south of Menen when we spot a large formation of enemy machines. I fire a red flare and turn towards the other Camels so that we can come together more quickly. The Huns are among us and we are reeling about the sky. There is time only for snap shots here and there and one does not dare fly straight for more than a couple of seconds. One of the Huns is a triplane. I have scrapped with one of these machines only once before, back in the autumn. This thing is painted with a sort of blurred green and black camouflage. The Hun pilot is competent enough, but I get the impression that he is new to the machine, for he seems to come close to a stall several times. God, how those machines zoom, though!
At length, I chase the Hun down to 2000 feet and he makes the fatal error of trying to reach the aerodrome at Ste-Marguerite. I have the height advantage and close on the triplane. I fire a long burst into it from such a close range that I doubt many rounds failed to hit. The Hun rolled over and dived straight into the field next to the aerodrome. Holtcombe saw it go down, and this one was quickly confirmed.
I have downed four Huns in as many days. General Salmond phoned his congratulations, and I am feeling far too confident for my health!
Geoffrey's on a roll, good show Raine. Lovely pic of the black Albatros too bad you had to mess it up.
2nd Lt. John B. Goode 147th Aero Squadron, USAAS
Saturday, July 13th 1918
The 94th got their damn SPADs today, 14 of them were ferried in today. Davy's pissing his pants over them, his outfit will get some next. They're ugly things, big and clumsy, none of us from the right side of the field even went over to look at the things. I like Rick, but he won't shut up about them, he's like a slick snake oil salesman when he gets going, trying to convince everyone that they're the greatest thing since the wheel. I hope he's right because their lives depend on it. We got all their Nieuports for reserve machines and parts.
About half the 27th are quarantined with Scabies, a couple of them have it so bad they were sent to the hospital.
Pulled a hitch of alert duty, 12:00 to 17:30, useless occupation, low thick clouds, no calls. Reading Tom Sawyer again, read it when I was 10, good then but much better read as an adult. Much of the nuances of the relationships went right over my head as a boy. Got mail yesterday, not much, need to start on replies.
Cyril Woolly, DFC. Maj , Rfc, Instructor Pilot B Flight Commander 13 Victorys, 40 Sqn, Bryas, AF Flanders France.
Back at it, Arrived with rations Truck last night then posted to the afternoon Patrol today. July 14, 1918. It was a Sqn Show with Cpt Elroy leading ( 33 Kills ). The flight was at 8000ft when a lone Fokker zoomed to attack. It split the flight but led us to 4 Recon types over an enemy AF. During this fight we found 5 Fokkers joined in. By, Jove it was a Punch out. I got one , it was dark blue with a white circle and damaged a 2 Seat then zoomed over the AF shooting up some Red colored Fokkers on the ground. RTB All ammo gone. The flight claimed 3 Recon + 2 Scouts ( 1 was mine). The Sqn lost 1 Destroyed ( KIA) 2 damaged and 1 SE landed short of the AF a write off.
Hmmmmm... Stachel is having a hard time getting victories.
Today we escorted a Möbelwagen to bomb the lines. First group we bump into was Spad XIII's. A short fight and it seems the Frenchy's didn't have the stomach to stick it out. The 3 Tommies that later arrived were made of better stuff though.
Cyril Woolly, DFC. Maj , Rfc, Instructor Pilot B Flight Commander 14 Victorys, 40 Sqn, Bryas, AF Flanders France.
July 15, 1918. Bagged a Scout this morning, after bombing an AF. A flight with Maj Landis leading 4 a/c stayed high as Cpt Elroy ( the Big Hunter) led B flight. with bombs as the attack package. I brought up the rear as a rover/ bomb damage assessor. The flights flew under 2 enemy patrols then made good hits on the target ( we had to stay at 6,000ft to be under the overcast.) Reforming to withdrawal we ran into a flight of Pflaz Scouts Low Slow and landing at the next AF. A bit of a cake walk, I slid in behind and hose the e/a Rear to front with both guns. Elroy got 2, Landis 2 , and I got 1. The Sqn had 3 damaged + My a/c. Nearing the lines , I took a Flak hit and started loosing gas, but managed to make our side and land. ( Only in WOFF )
We put out all the French and American flags we could scrape together again, the least we could do after the way they honored our 4th, but the French aren't making a big deal about today. They're all hunkered down waiting for the next German push which is expected to be along the Marne.
The SPADs didn't come with any guns so the 94th's ground crews are scrambling to get them fitted out and having a Devil of a time getting them synchronized with those complicated, geared engines.
The weather started out nice and warm, almost clear sky, just a few patchy clouds here and there, light southerly wind. We had a patrol scheduled for 13:00 to Chateau T to look at the lines. By that time the wind had freshened considerably and thick clouds had developed. That was going to make it pretty easy to get into Germany and have to buck a strong head wind to get out if we got into a fight. The Major called to tell HQ that he was scrubbing the mission for that reason and because visibility had deteriorated so much. Atkinson told him that he was to do as ordered, take the patrol out and if the conditions worsened and proved to be too dangerous for him by the time he reached his patrol area he was then "allowed" to use his own judgement as to whether to continue or scrub the mission. He hit the roof, from what his clerk told us, but followed orders.
Seven of us went up, two fell out with engine problems. The Major took us back after only about 20 minutes in the air. When we got back he stormed off to Group HQ. Haven't heard what came of that.
The 95th sent 7 planes out at 11:00 and attacked 7 Fokker monoplace over Dormans with everything in their favor except the wind. They got in a general rat fight with the Huns when Quent and Knowles didn't pull up with the rest of the formation after they delivered a burst into the Fokkers but kept after 2 of them, then were attacked by the rest. Everyone had to make their way home alone, as you usually do after that kind of fight, against that wind. Everyone came back except for Quent. There's been no word, he hasn't landed at any of the American or French fields around here. Davy says none of them saw a machine fall. They believe he's landed somewhere and can't get through on the phone and they'll hear from him soon.
yril Woolly, DFC. Maj , Rfc, Instructor Pilot B Flight Commander 15 Victorys, 40 Sqn, Bryas, AF Flanders France.
July 16, 1918. The Huns dont seem to be aggressive anymore. While on Patrol near Roulers, we passed under a flight of 5-8 Scouts only 3 came down to play. As we chased about, we nosed into a flight of Albatross Types in a landing circle. It was a repeat of the day before, I just slid in behind and held down the triggers the 303 cal Guns just tore the e/a up. 1 for me and 3 more for the flight we had 2 damaged Se's and one with a serious Wnd pilot.
The long expected serenade woke us all up at about midnight, our artillery beat the Huns to the punch. It must be hell for the boys up there in the trenches, first our preemptive bombardment, then the German's throwing everything they have at them, gas too from what I hear.
Hotter than the dickens today, the whole group was on alert, got called to the operations tent 3 times to look at the changes on the map. According to reports the Germans hit the US 3rd Div. hard and are crossing the Marne east of Dormans.
Small patrols went out all day, flying low to see the extent of the enemy advance and strafe the pontoon bridges on the Marne. These planes, mostly from the 27th, came back looking like colanders.
At 18:00 the Major took a 15 plane patrol up, the largest patrol we've ever sent into Indian Country, to cover the area from Chateau T to Triessy. Two flights, ours at 3,000 meters and the top cover at 3,500. Shortly after we took off, the Major, Ken, SImmy and Alk had to turn back because of the water and rust in our US Issue gas.
We made our first pass over the patrol area and were making our turn to go back over the route, a left turn which took us over Germany, when we were jumped by a gaggle of Fokkers, I couldn't tell you how many, they were just everywhere. I was in the son-of-a-#%&*$# position (1) and saw one in my mirror, coming down on my tail, put Babygirl's nose down for some speed, then pulled her head up and over on her back in an vertical virage. which put us head to head. I'm not good at this maneuver but I got off a decent burst at him before her nose dropped and I could no longer see him. I don't know if I hit him but I heard a few whacks somewhere on Babygirl.
The other flight joined in and we had a real mob riot, planes rolling and turning and diving, firing at anything that was unlucky enough to get in front of us, hopefully hostile, everything happening too fast to see results. I extricated myself from the general melee as soon as possible and got in the rear of a Fokker trying to go Ches Eux. (2) I fired about 50 rounds at him from too far away then pulled up to protect Abe as he came in fast and tore into him. The Fokker went straight down, engine on full, probably with a dead pilot leaning forward on the stick. I saw it's wings break off before it hit the ground. I lost sight of Abe. He got into another fight with 5 other Fokkers and was lucky to get out of it, engine all shot up, landed east of Chateau T within our lines, cracked up his plane. Robertson got all shot up too and had to make an emergency landing at Angers. (3) No confirmation on Abe's Fokker, didn't expect any.
Lost contact with the rest of the patrol so I headed back on my own. Sgt Black showed me 2 holes in Babygirl's stick, lucky it didn't snap.
The Major ordered all the gas to be filtered through chamois before use, that'll get the rust and dirt but won'f help with the water.
(1) Son-of-a-#%&*$# position - rearmost plane in the formation
(2) Chez eux - literally "at their home" seems to have been somewhat misused by American flyers.
(3) Abe Abernethy was claimed by Ltn Harry von Bulow of Jasta 36; Ltn Frommherz of Jasta Boelcke' was credited with Robertson.