Saturday April 21, 1917 leading a B Flight patrol on a DOP. Several days I was assigned as flight leader (17th and the 20th) but the patrols were rained out and apparently we had a couple of days off. Wish someone would have told me I would have gone to town on a bender!
Typical weather it seems for a flight to the front.
Flying over Hunland for a while all is quiet till I spot 4 or 5 specks flying low and circling. I then see the airfield. Huns landing or taking off. Perfect! This should be easy right? I order the attack. Turns out they are two-seaters and I pick one out, and trying to avoid the observer, only manage a couple of hits when he lights up. I would like to think my shooting is that good but I see airplane pieces fluttering downward. I think one of my boys rammed him. Look for another target and see another flamer streaking across the sky - I think its a Se5.
Join HA Maxwell, in his distinctive paint job as he drives this enemy to his final landing.
No more enemy planes in sight so I circle around waiting for my flight to form back up but I am only joined by Maxwell. Looking back I see four flaming funeral pyres on the ground...uh oh.
In a attempt to salvage this disaster I come across this balloon on the way home and Maxwell watches as I set it alight.
Back at base Maxwell and I file our claims. He for two Hun aircraft and me for my balloon. Three flight members are missing and down. In a slight glimmer of hope in my flight leadership catastrophe all three are HA's and work their magic and return to the squadron - minus their destroyed Se's of course. Hopefully the CO won't hold a grudge as my balloon will be Victory #10 if confirmed.