Albert Earl Godfrey

6 Dec 1916 Transfer from St. Omer to Farnborough

I had a good sleep last night, having avoided the usual high jinks that take place at Café Vincent. It was damn cold as a result of not attending to the tent stove, and I could see my breath forming wispy trails as I exhailed. Climbing out of my bed I felt the cold hit me and plunging my feet into my flying boots was no relief. It felt like they had been stored in the deep freeze. I broke the ice on the water jug and quickly washed my face in the cold water. The experience so far, was an encouragement to make it over to the mess as soon as possible for some hot tea and warm food. This would likely be my last warm meal before arriving in Farnborough. I made a mental note to pack some food for the flight and fill my thermos with hot tea. Approaching the mess I could hear the jaunty laughter coming from within. Seems 41 Sqn was in fine spirits. I trudged in with my flying gear and made my way toward the stove, flinging my coat and pants over a couple of hangars and set them nicely above the stove to warm up. My boots, I set close the side of the stove and placed my hands just above the red hot surface. It felt heavenly. I stood there for a time, alternately warming my hands and then rubbing my face with them. I felt the heat penetrating to my legs and in no time I was ready to take a seat and have a nosh.

I had just finished breakfast when an orderly stepped in to inform me the Strutter was ready and waiting on the field. I hurried to dress, picked up my kit, haversack with my thermos of hot tea, biscuits and sausage sandwiches, and headed out to my kite.

The flight to St. Inglevert field west of Calais was an easy jaunt if not a cold one and once there. I took advantage of the moment to relieve myself and have a hot tea while the Strutter was being refueled to the max. There would be no stopping from here until I reached Farnborough.

I headed west just after takeoff and soon was over the coast. Cloud cover was from 3000 to 6000 ft with big fluffy cumulus. I was in and out of cloud cover and coming down to break free of it when I spotted Folkstone just ahead of me. My course was true. I picked up the road heading SSW which would lead me Aylesford, and hence Guildford, at which point a change of direction WNW would soon have me at Farnborough. The flight was rather uneventful if not exceedingly long.
Cloud cover had forced me down to 2000 ft so I enjoyed some of the scenery along the way and filled my boredom with my thermos of hot tea, sausage sandwich and biscuits. It helped to divert my mind from the bitter damp cold that was setting into my bones.

I has just tucked my haversack away behind my seat when I passed over Guildford. In minutes I spotted Farnborough in the distance. One could not mistake those airship hangars.

I circled the field and started my approach nice and easy. The Strutter touched down nicely and then I spotted a dog running across the field directly in front of me. Damned dangerous situation but fortunately the dog was well out of the way when I crossed it’s path. I made a mental note to comment on this but not to be too forceful. There was no way to know if the dog belonged to an officer and it would be my luck to get off on the wrong foot.

I cut the engine, unloaded my kit and headed to the Reporting Office. It felt great to stretch my legs.



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