Thanks, Raine & Lou! At the moment, the 'cast' are works of fiction, save for Maj. Wilson, who was 20's first C.O. I plan to write in some more historical characters as the story progresses!
Sgt. Graham A. Campbell No. 20 Squadron R.F.C Netheravon, England.
January 4th, 1916.
The snow continues to keep us grounded here in Netheravon, and no flying has been done whatsoever since the start of the New Year. On the one hand, the chaps are rather tired of the lack of activity, but I will say that we have been thoroughly enjoying our day-excursions to Salisbury.
Today, I decided to conduct my own inspection of the workshops on the Eastern end of the aerodrome. Maj. Wilson has been toiling day and night to prepare 20 for our eventual deployment to France, and, as a result, the men have been running around in a frenzy collecting deliveries, maintaining our engines, and stocking our inventory for the journey. As I arrived at the workshops, I saw Warrant Officer Billing ordering around a gaggle of corporals, who were carefully unloading three 160hp Beardmore engines from the back of a truck. The engines were to be taken over with us as spares, along with twelve additional Lewis guns and a handful of Sterling Wireless sets, that would be installed in our F.E's overseas. I have been enjoying the modest comforts of the Sergeant's mess while I can, as I have also seen fabric tents being unloaded from trucks yesterday - no more stone walls for us over there! Hopefully it is slightly warmer in France.
Speaking of - I wonder how our boys who have left already are doing! Teddie Lawson promised he would write us at Netheravon, but as of yet no word has come. His letters are probably sitting on some Censor's desk, being appropriately mutilated in case of interception by German Spies.
I found out from Pearson that the Major has, in fact, already seen service in France, with No. 5, and has been previously mentioned in Despatches and received a MC! Rumours have even spread among the men that he is the legendary "Mad Major" - the R.F.C airman that has been seen stunting over German lines in spectacular fashion, as well as strafing the hun trenches. But, that can't be true, for he was just a Captain during his time! I had noticed his speech impediment when I first reported to Wilson, but, again having found this out from Pearson, it turns out that this is not an ailment from birth - but, in fact, the result of a serious air crash in which he badly broke his jaw and fractured his skull, in 1914. Although it is an awful thing to think, I am glad that the Major had the smash. It makes him feel more like one of 'us' - that is, the air fighter - and less like the harsh Captains that I knew in my initial excursion into France with the Sherwood Foresters. I must admit, the constant cold has me worried that a second touch of pneumonia will scupper my second chance at reaching the war.
Grounded again! Hopefully we'll get this war underway soon, though