Oct 20th, 1916 Sub Flight Lt. Charles Choto 3Wing RNAS, Alsace
Four days ago Charles had awoke with a splitting headache and bandage around his head.
"Welcome back to the world old boy!" came a voice. Looking up Charles made out the blurry form of Colin Urquahart. Colin had been friendly to Charles since his arrival on the 10th. "Seems you celebrated your first confirmed victory a little too much",said Colin.
"What the hell happened"? asked Charles.
"It seems you were 3 sheets into the wind and when you arose from the table you went spinning like a windlass and came down on the table! Don't worry though. the table is none the worse for it. You should be fit to fly in a few days." With that, Colin stood up and said he had the morning patrol and must be off.
Charles thought back to his first mission. He led C flight to note troop movements near St. Die. Arriving at St. Die, he and the other machine in the flight started their circuit. It was a beautiful day. While patrolling around St. Die at the order of his gunlayer, Capt. Eggleston, Charles saw two monoplanes coming in from the northest. He instantly got on the tail of one and scored some hits and it dove away. His flight mate had sent the other one packing and they formed back up at about 6000". They resumed their patrol and Charles kept a watchful eye as he now had a few bullet holes in his tail! No sooner had they settled into their observation patrol he spotted 2 more machines above and to the east. "Must be B flight he thought." At that moment they nosed over into a dive. It took Charles a split second to realize what was happening and he turned into them with a head on climbing pass. As soon as the two Huns went over him he reversed and was on the tail of one of them. He fired 2 bursts and the pilot slumped over and the Halb nosed straight into no mans land! Looking around, Sharman was no where in sight. Charles turned into a slow circle and spotted Sharman at low altitude circling with the other. He dove and side slipped to loose height as fast as possible. By the time he was almost to their level, Sharman had got behind the Hun and was pouring it to him. The Hun started to smoke and nosed over into the hillside.
The elation turned to horror as Sharman tried to pull up and came down hard in a shower of dirt on the hillside!
Eggleston motioned to Charles to get out of there and they flew back to base without incident. They were glad to know that Sharman was OK. He was a bit banged about but OK and would be back by nightfall. Charles filed a claim for the Hun. Sharman had claimed two.
It was on his third mission, more observation near Herbarviller in the rain, when almost to the lines Charles saw "A" flight turn and head back. Eggleston motioned to follow. Charles thought they may have seen Huns and were returning to base but in fact had seen 2 Aviatiks and were intent on some fun. After loosing them in the clouds he looked all around to locate them when out of a cloud one one of the Huns appeared going in the opposite direction about 200' above with one of "A" flight on his tail. Charles turned the Strutter around and reentered the cloud he had just come out of. Coming out he could not see anything. He looked all around. Nothing! Then Eggleston shouted, "He's right above you!" Charles looked up there were those two black crosses plain a the back of your hand. He eased back on the stick and fired. The Hun dipped to starboard and went straight into the ground near Luneville aerodrome. He was beside himself! Another Hun! He made a heading for the patrol area and after about 2 miles saw an Aviatik tumbling to the ground about a thousand feet below. Looking ahead Collishaw's machine came into view and they resumed the patrol.
Their other missions had been uneventful. Word came down that the second Hun had been confirmed but the first was rejected. It did not matter. He had his first confirmed Hun!
Never approach a bull from the front, a horse from the rear or a fool from either end. BOC Member since....I can't remember!