Off to the great adventure! Quick brekkies of eggs and toast and out to the old BE with Captain Nash. We took off from Biggin Hill just after six and made course for Dover, where we turned southeast for the French coast. After about a half hour we spotted the curve in the coastline between Boulogne and Calais -- we'd veered a little west of our intended landfall.
Just as we crossed the coast, the engine began making odd noises. I turned east along the coast and searched for an airfield but saw nothing. The banging and thumping from the engine grew louder so I switched off and landed on the coast road. We phoned to St Omer and were ordered to make for the emergency field at St-Inglevert, which was only about three miles off. A maintenance team would recover the BE and bring it there for repair. It looks like we may be on our own for two or three days until a new engine can be fitted.
The field at St-Inglevert is under the command of a Flight Lieutenant and houses only a few mechanics and administrative rankers. The head man there had no accommodation for us so we got a tender to drive us to Calais and took rooms in the Terminus Hotel. I am trusting the RFC to pay for our lodging, as I shall be quick broke otherwise. In the meanwhile, we are both quite comfortable, but wish we were reunited with our trunks, which were sent to the squadron ahead of us.
Now to wait...
"The banging and thumping from the engine grew louder so I switched off and landed on the coast road."