George Lyons Sergeant 3 RFC Chocques, Flanders May 1915
...as 15 May came, I was granted a 48-hour pass! Having planned this for the last three weeks (since my last pass to Loos was a dud), I hit the sights of Paris!
I then made it back to base in the early morning hours of 17 May, catching only a few hours sleep. Upon awakening and heading to the duty room, the message was posted “due to poor weather, all flights canceled for 48 hours”
...so back to bed I went! Indeed, the skies opened up and it rained for two days straight, so much so that on 19 May, flights were canceled again, but only until 20 May. I have been at this more than a month now, and I must say that the pace is grueling and exhilarating at the same time.
Forty-ninth mission Thursday 20 May AM....I was a bit concerned about being a bit “rusty” after not flying for five days, and today was certainly a day to be aware! Perhaps all of the air services felt the need to get back out in to the air at the same time, because I have never seen the skies busier than I saw them on this mission. 'Bay', Simmons, and I (with our respective Officers) were given a bombing mission to the front lines just east of the River Lys and a bit west of the occupied town of Lille. The runway was soggy but we managed to get in the air without incident. As we reached altitude and headed towards the lines, two crates appeared in front of us. These were BE2s and seemed to be headed back to a friendly aerodrome.
Then right before we bombed the enemy front, two other planes appeared, and these were Bosche! Aviatik B-types!
However, after my dressing down from the last time I broke ranks (which even Halifax gave the go ahead, but I was too eager), and especially carrying bombs, I stuck right to formation and let the Huns go. Then, after we bombed, two more Aviatik appeared!
I wasn't sure if they were the same ones we saw earlier (probably were), but either way, 'Bay' and Reinard in their lead crate did not go after them; at some point, they got close enough for observer 2nd Lieutenant Jeffrey Alden (fine chap!) to shoot a few rounds at them with no discernible result however, we maintained formation all the way to base. It seems to me, since we have some of the best and most armed aeroplanes in the skies, we should be going after our enemies when the situation presents itself, and I will do this when I am flight leader and I get permission from the observer/leader. However, when I am not leader, I will from now on not deviate from the formation unless we come under attack, and attack from the sky is not likely based on reconnaissance showing only one or two squadrons of Pfalz A.I in our area (these are copies of the Morane L we fly). If we only had a Vickers Gunbus at our disposal (Note: ), although I hear they are rather ungainly, but at least they have a forward firing gun that could give us an advantage in the skies.
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