Absolutely love how the Netheravon mob's characters are all directly interconnected! Very, very cool stuff, and I can't wait to see how the connection plays out in France! Speaking of France, what has that crazy Gaston fellow done?! I hope Monsieur isn't injured!
Sgt. Graham A. Campbell. Hounslow Heath Aerodrome December 9th, 1915.
It appears that the storm on the 6th was to be the last recent excitement to be had, for over the past few days we have all been subjected to an unbearable tedium.
The B.E.2 that had been upturned by the wind has been written off. As the men couldn't upturn the machine until the storm had passed, merely lashing it down in place, the engine was quickly waterlogged in the downpour, and the drenched canvas became so heavy in places that it led to the eventual snapping of a spar in at the lower port-side wing root, causing the entire wing to warp, its tip touching the upper planes. And so, it came to be that we had only one training machine left to share between nine of us (save for the old Boxkite, but there was nothing left to learn on such a basic craft). Naturally, this meant that our flying time became very limited, with long stretches of empty conversations and half-hearted card games of 'Rummy' and 'Beggar my Neighbour' (neither of which I knew how to play, so that option was closed to me). The effect was mind-numbing dreariness, in which only two pilots were able to go up in the B.E. for training exercises a day. To make matters worse, Cpt. Andrews had revoked our right to take trips into London! According to him, there's a "thousand things to learn, even out of the cockpit, so get your heads in the damned instruction manuals, you devils, and no more of these bloody excursions!".
On the 8th, Freddy had tried to arrange us into two teams, for a game of rugby. Of course, we had no ball, but a kit-bag stuffed with mines and Freddy's tunic was a fitting substitute. We all eagerly lined up as the two de-facto team captains (Freddy and a fellow I've not yet mentioned, named Albert Chapman) picked out their players. At first, we thought we'd found a way to beat the boredom, but this soon came to an end after a particularly boisterous tackle by Freddy on poor old Moore knocked the wind right out of him, causing the competition to abruptly cease. Our Kiwi doesn't know his own strength! He was awfully apologetic, and Moore bids him no ill-will over the incident.
Being cast back into the merciless boredom, we took to watching the two active R.F.C squadrons, No. 15 and No. 24, going about their training exercises, as well as analysing with a critical eye to rival Andrews' our fellow trainees, when the two lucky fellows were picked to fly. My favourites to watch were the De Havilland scouts of No. 24, which were capable of performing all manner of weird stunts and tricks. Earlier this morning, I had watched in amazement as their C.O, the famous Lanoe Hawker, who had won a Victoria Cross in France (A V.C - for an airman!), took up a DeHav and proceeded to demonstrate a series of spins and recoveries to his pilots. I had desperately wanted to fly after seeing this display, but sadly for me, our lucky two trainees for the day were Teddie Lawson and Hugo Lane.
Our lunch in the Barracks mess was interrupted by the appearance of Cpt. Andrews (who has been in a continuously foul mood ever since the loss of our second B.E.). At first, we expected to be scorned for some small thing or other, but for once the 'Hellhound of Hounslow' had brought us good news! Andrews had gotten off the phone with Hendon's Adjutant, having arranged to collect two brand-new B.E.2s! It was only a short drive, and we should have our machines by the end of the day. Losing our heads, we all cheered the Captain who, in embarrassed surprise, roared back at us to "Be quiet, you rowdy lot!".
Doyle Weston and Jacky-boy (our affectionate recently-given nickname for Jack Fisher) were ordered to go by car to Hendon and ferry the new machines back. We all watched with an envious eye as they got up and practically ran to the barracks door, literally jumping at the chance to alleviate the boredom. As he exited, that cheeky sod Jacky-boy turned and winked at us! After another brief stint of boredom, we heard the B.E's arriving at about Two O'Clock, and all bundled outside with critical eyes to assess their landings. Jacky-boy, of course, performed a perfect three-pointer. Weston's was not as aesthetically pleasing, but did the job. A gaggle of mechanics quickly appeared to roll our new machines into their hangars, and our excitement was done for the day.
Before turning in for the night, we checked the roster. Ah, relief! We were all to fly tomorrow! And, wait, what's this? Freddy, Jacky-boy and I were to fly an hour-long solo flight each! I relished the mere thought of a full hour to myself in the air, and retired to my bunk knowing full-well that I would be too excited to sleep.
Flight Instructor Cpt. Richard Andrews, the 'Hellhound of Hounslow']