MFair, Carrick. Sorry to hear about your pilots. There is still a lot of alphabet left wave

Alfred Keers had a good week...

The weather has finally turned, shaking off the chill of early spring. The sun has real warmth now and I can see some beauty in the featureless landscape of Flanders. Scarlet poppies bloom in every field and the trees seem to open all at once. Their leaves are uniform pale green.

We flew twice every day this week. On 26 May we escorted a BE2 over the Hun lines in the north. The two-seater patrolled along the lines for an age, ranging our guns on one Hun position after the other. It had just turned west and begun to reel in its wireless antenna when Sergeant Long fired a flare. Two Fokkers were approaching from the southwest. The Huns must not have noticed us because as soon as we approached they broke for home. One got away quickly, but I was able to chase the other down to tree-top level and empty a drum into it. It wobbled and caught fire, crashing heavily into a tree stump in the shattered landscape below. Sergeant Long was able to confirm the kill, which brought my score to ten.

My eleventh official kill came the next morning. We were ordered to attack the Hun balloon line in the north, near the Channel coast. I bagged one and Sergeant Noakes another, and we were away home before the Huns could react.

That afternoon we flew an offensive patrol over the Vimy sector. Three Fokkers dived on us and would have surprised us but for Sergeant Noakess vigilance. Our fight was brief and confusing. I fired at two different Huns, and then the sky was empty. I circled, looking for the others, and saw an aircraft climbing towards the east. I gave chase and was soon able to identify a lone Fokker, painted a dark grey or perhaps green. I stalked him for fifteen minutes. We flew southeast towards Houplin, and were almost over that Hun aerodrome before I was finally close enough and comfortably under the tail of the Fokker. The first burst did damage, for the Fokker tumbled into a flat spin. But the pilot pulled out of the spin at a thousand feet and attempted to come about for a landing. I dived on him and fired again, and the enemy machine fell onto the aerodrome, destroying both the Fokker and a hanger! Chased by a host of machine guns, I zigzagged away towards home. Unfortunately there was no way to confirm the kill.

The rest of the week was uneventful, except that I finally got a letter from my sister Eliza. Unlike Rosetta, who wrote twice weekly with all the gossip about a shell factory full of women, Eliza had barely written. Shed been in service and her long days and Spartan accommodations lacked the material for good letters, she claimed. But now she wrote to tell me that Seaham Hall had been given over by Lord Londonderry as a hospital and the family Eliza worked for had given her permission to work as a VAD nurse twice a week. She was quite thrilled about this, and to read her letter, youd have thought her a true suffragette!

The fields about our aerodrome are inhabited by several battalions of Canadians. They are recently arrived and terribly keen. On Sunday, 28 May, I was assigned along with Lieut Oliver Black (newly attached to us from England) to attend the Canadian 10th Battalions church parade. We had several of their officers in the mess that night and have been invited to participate in a sports day, although flying may make that impossible unless the weather turns bad again.


"It wobbled and caught fire, crashing heavily into a tree stump in the shattered landscape below."


"I was assigned along with Lieut Oliver Black ... to attend the Canadian 10th Battalions church parade."