It's been a long time since I've written anything in my journal, mainly because it's been so blasted dull around here. We fly plenty of sorties, but they are all of the same type. Shooting enemy aeroplanes has even lost it's excitement, something needs to give. All of the above was true until this morning's sortie. Some wise person once said, "You should be careful what you wish for", well they were right.
This morning we were ordered to fly a line patrol down along a line from Lens to Loos. We've flown this sortie a hundred times, we could probably fly it in our sleep. We always encounter the Huns down there and sometimes we are successful in bringing down one or two. I was leading with my mates Andy Baker and Fred Bates and we had settled in for our usual patrol. In a short while, I spotted three Aviatiks approaching from the south. I signaled the flight and we dove to attack. I thought, "three's a good number, we will each get one today". What follows was probably my fault because I've always taught the other pilots that the key to successfully attacking the Aviatik is to get really close, I mean really close. I usually get Tom within 25 to 30 yards of the enemy before he attacks. I think that is why almost all of our victories are flamers because I've also instructed Tom to aim for the engine. Anyway, I'm sidling up close to my Hun and I look to the right and see Fred is as well. I look to the left just in time to see Andy's machine collide with the Hun machine. The Hun immediately went into a spin which led to his top wing collapsing. Andy's machine also started to spin, but fortunately Andy was able to recover and began limping to a friendly airfield. Once I saw that it looked like Andy would be okay, I turned my attention back to my targeted Hun. I quickly sent him spiraling to earth. Tom was also successful in bringing his Hun down. Today was my 36th victory, but at almost a cost I wasn't prepared to bear.
Of course, when Andy made it back to St Pol, the first thing he said was, "How'd you like that, mate? Think of all the ammo I saved."
Member and provider of banjo music for the Illustrious BOC