Albert Earl Godfrey

18 Dec 1916 Training at Farnboroough

It has been a rather Hectic eleven days. I thought I had it made when the instructor was satisfied to have me do a single takeoff, circle the field and land, upon which he stated “that’s fine Godfrey, We can dispense with any further solo and orientation work. The fact that you made it here by air from St. Omer, gives me confidence in your standard flight and orientation skills, but since you have armourer skill with Vickers and Lewis guns, you will be able to provide very useful tutorage in the basic training course. You can volunteer your time there until the next phase of this course which will be familiarization with the Scout planes.”. So from the 10th to the 18th my time was split between giving and receiving training.
I learned much about the Sopwith Pup which I grew to love for it’s characteristics, and I spent many hours in the craft learning all it’s handling idiosynchracies, of which there were few. We all practiced gunnery and dropping practice bombs onto a ground target circle. I much preferred the guns to the bombs. Accuracy with bombs was proving somewhat challenging and I couldn’t see that 4 twenty five pound bombs would do much damage. Nevertheless, I was determined to pass all the tests and worked hard on my weaknesses of sighting on the target and judging the distance before bomb release. Visual acuity and allignment was difficult when the target disappeared under the fuselage.
I was however having more success with the bombs than most of the men.

While exploring the base one day, I spotted what I deemed to be a new scout plane being tested. It had a stationary engine and a rather squarish snout on it. It was not a particularly pretty profile by my judgement. It was the latest product of the Royal Aircraft Factory and Major F. W. Goodden was assigned as the test pilot. I was not able to get close to the scout as it was under extreme security.

I closed my personal logbook, shut out the light and turned in for the night.


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