Great stories all! Wulfe, I hope Switch-off lives to be 15 and a half!
19 December, 1915 Le Bourget Sergent Gaston A. Voscadeaux
Gaston was tracing a route on the map with his finger. It ran north to Oise River, then north-east through Ermenonville Forest then past Compiegne Forest where Oise joins with Aisne and cuts through the front line. This is where Gaston would do his patrol exercise. First, he would fly along the trenches running north-west toward Noyon. This would take roughly 10 minutes, then turn back and fly south-east for another 10 minutes back to the river. He would then fly further south-east toward Crouy for yet another 10 minutes after which he would turn back and repeat the same route until the prescribed 1 hour would elapse. He reached the front lines after a 50 minute flight from Le Bourget and proceeded along the front as planned. A light haze was obscuring the scene below in a few places and when Gaston’s plane got too close to the other side of the NML, the German Flak would let him know about it immediately. Black puffs of smoke appeared close to his location. At first, slightly below and behind, but as he continued the explosions came closer and Gaston corrected his flight path to get out of range. Eventually he completed his 1 hour long reconnaissance mission and took the same way back to the aerodrome. He was glad his training was now complete and before being posted in the new year he will be able to spend the holidays with his family. The next day, after finally receiving his military pilot’s license, a short drive to Paris and purchasing his train ticket, he was now sitting in the Buffet de la Gare de Lyon (now called Le Train Bleu), waiting for his train to Marseille, sipping a glass of red and observing all kinds of travellers passing by. Mostly soldiers, fresh ones leaving, wounded coming. Some businessmen, nurses, and families seeing their loved ones off to war. He even caught a glimpse of two young women without a chaperone blowing kisses to the officers. Youth these days! The times are changing. He looked again at the poster on the wall. It was an advertisement for l’Ècole de Haute Enseignement Commercial. It was the first business school for women, which opened on 2 December and invited women of all walks of life to attend. Gaston wondered what sort of business would they be taught there. One of those days he’ll have to catch a show at Moulin Rouge. The departure time was getting near. He left a tip for the garçon and off he went to find his platform. He will be with Violette and his two little girls soon. The 10 day pass in his pocket was reminding him of how little time he has left. Better get a move on, Gaston!
The Blue Train Restaurant in Gare de Lyon, Paris
"Take the cylinder out of my kidneys, The connecting rod out of my brain, my brain, From out of my arse take the camshaft, And assemble the engine again."