Sgt. Bryan Smythe
Warbird Rising
6th Squadron, RAF
Abeele, Flanders, France

18 June 1915
Another Artillery spotting mission, but again we were too high to do good work. No HA seen.

19 June 1915-AM

Two missions today. The morning job was a front line patrol over Lens with Lieut Williams and Lieut. Garfield. By the time we reached the front lines, I was trailing badly. While over the lines, I spotted an unidentified aircraft, slightly above and north of our position, at about 3 miles distance, heading southwest. It appeared to be greyish, so we thought it might be a German. I tried to get Lieut. Williams attention, but they were almost a mile ahead of me, they didnt see my warnings.

Lieut. Lloyd and I determined to pursue the HA, and turned west to intercept. We quickly gained on the aircraft, and identified it as an Aviatik. I tried to approach it from underneath and behind. The Aviatik did not appear to take note of our approach. Possibly he was concentrating on reconnaissance. When we got slightly in front of him, Lieutenant Lloyd gave him about 30 rounds. We saw a few hits on the aircraft, but it simply turned back towards its own lines. We tried pursuing, but I found it to be very tricky to get into a good firing position for the Lieutenant. While slow, a maneuvering Aviatik presents a significant collision risk because we have to get slightly below and in front of him to fire. All the time, Im trying to fly the airplane, while trying to help the observer aim at a target behind me! Eventually, we simply let him go and returned to base, much pleased with ourselves. After landing and reporting, Lieutenant Lloyd pulled me aside. We discussed the engagement, and decided that by Lieutenant Lloyd would try to help point out the enemy aircraft position once I passed in front of it. We may get a chance to try this new system, as we have a patrol mission scheduled for this afternoon.

Stalking an Aviatik

A good firing position

No man commands safely unless he has learned well how to obey.