July 2, 1916

Dear Father,

Before anything else, I'm in the hospital but I'm alright. We were tasked with supporting our troops and we were sent way behind the lines at a German airfield called Avelin. It was eerily quiet for most of our flight but my sixth sense told me things were about to change. The light was failing as it was roughly 1930 hours and I thought I saw some black specks to the east. When we were close to Avelin, I led our flight around to get in a good position to fire.

Sure enough there were two enemy Roland CII's and they were not too happy to see us in their backyard. We were four, but these craft they give us leave much to be desired. They're slow and I can't even fire a gun for Pete's sake! They attacked and shot us up pretty good. I felt a burning pain in my back and knew I was hit and I heard my observer Omar Swithin call out in pain.

I dove for the lines and two of our three craft followed. I didn't know where Wright and Rodden were and I assume they got caught up in the fight behind us. The sun was quickly going down, I was losing blood at an alarming rate and all I could think about was getting back home. I thought about my times as a child when you and I used to fish down by the river. I believe that kept me alive as many times I was close to passing out.

As we approached Bruay the sun was just dipping below the horizon and it took all my remaining strength to bring the bird down. It was tough to see with all the blood on my goggles. As I rolled toward the hangars I lost consciousness and the next thing I knew I was in a hospital. I was told my injuries were not life-threatening and my stay would be roughly 10 days. I learned that Wright and Rodden were killed but not before downing one of the two Rolands.

I put in for my transfer to RFC-32 as I want to be a fighter pilot, not a damn chauffeur. They fly these stout craft called Airco DH2's and other than their nasty tendency to spin, they're pretty stout.

All my best to mother and please tell her not to worry. We Calderwood's our made from the good strong stuff.

Your son,