Journal Entry: June 17, 1915
St. Pol-sur-mer

I really don't understand my fellow fliers in the squadron. We get explicit orders for both the morning sortie and the afternoon sortie, to prevent the enemy machines from crossing the lines by any means necessary. So, what does Flight Lieutenant Sheely do during this morning's sortie when a Hun machine passes right over us, nothing is the correct answer? I'll tell you dear reader, he would've let the Hun pass completely unmolested if Thayer and I hadn't been present. Let me tell you exactly what happened and you can be the judge if we acted in a proper military fashion. We took off this morning for our usual morning sortie and this time we were ordered to do a line patrol, which consists of flying over a certain section of the front with the specific intent of stopping the enemy from crossing said front. Everything was going according to plan and we arrived at our patrol sector without incident. It wasn't long before I saw a Hun approaching us at a higher altitude. I motioned to Thayer and he acknowledged me by getting his Lewis prepared. I waved at Sheely and received no indication that he saw me, so I waited patiently for him to act. The Hun actually flew right over us, maybe 100 to 200 feet above us and no reaction from Sheely. Just so the reader understands, the Hun was flying across the front and toward our territory, exactly what we had been ordered to prevent. Well, you may call me many things, but I do understand explicit orders, so I pulled our bus into a climbing turn and began to pursue the Hun. I managed to close with him just south of Niewpoort. Thayer began firing and managed to disable his engine and the Hun had to crash land just inside our lines. I can't believe that Thayer and I are the only ones that truly understand what we are involved in, this isn't a gentleman's game, this is full scale war and I'm terrified that it will get much worse before it gets better. I wonder if maybe it's because my father fought in the Boer War and I remember his stories of how hard the Boer's fought and how it was necessary to totally defeat them if we wanted any chance for peace. I'm sure some of my fellow fliers think I'm a monster, but if by killing these Huns I could shorten this war by one day, then I would kill many more. I'm sorry if that sounds brutal, but that's the way of it. Now for some happier news, apparently, the CO had put my name in for a DSO and tonight after dinner he announced that it had been approved. We had quite the party, which I'm sure I'll regret in the morning. Sorry dear reader, but Thayer had forgotten his camera so no photographs of this sortie.

Member and provider of banjo music for the Illustrious BOC