Great stories all. Looks like the weather has been keeping everyone on the ground. Lou, properly scary stuff with the engine failure over the Channel! You and MFair are very brave getting assigned to fly the Parasols. Raine, how do you learn to dance foxtrot on a virtuous couch?
5 January, 1916 Le Bourget Sergent Gaston A. Voscadeaux
New Year came and went. The snowfall hasn’t stopped until the 3rd and was quickly followed by a torrential rain, which ceased in the evening of the 4th. Gaston was on pins and needles ever since receiving his orders to transfer to Toul, where he would join Escadrille C17 flying Caudrons. He was anxious to get underway. This would be his longest flight to date and he wanted it for once to be a worry free journey. No breakdowns, no crashes, no getting lost. He would stick to his usual plan, which was to follow the roads, train track and rivers. There were puddles everywhere. The recently snow-covered green grass once again dominated the take off area. Grass and sodden soil, the two factors responsible for today’s share of slips, falls and stuck-in-mud footwear. Gaston was glad his travel kit included l’antidérapant (“non-slip” - the French word for wine). He had left Le Bourget at 9:00 and was flying towards Epernay on the by now familiar trail. The weather was improving with each minute and the further east Gaston travelled the more dry it appeared to be. He reached the city one hour later and that marked the furthest point he had ever flown away from his home base. It was all new to him from now on. Gaston continued further east until he reached Chalons and turned southeast to follow a network of roads and train tracks that were crisscrossing each other. This would lead him to the enormous Lake du Der-Chantecoq where he would turn east and pass just as impressive La Val Forest. As the sprawling forest was passing by on his starboard Gaston promised himself to come back here hunting after the war. Oh, the size of the wild boar roaming these woods must be colossal. Gaston continued his journey eastward until he finally reached Toul city. From there it was just a short hop south to the west edge of the Haye Forest, where the Toul aerodrome was located. Gaston was relieved that everything went well and the weather cooperated. He began his descent and final approach. It was approaching 11:36. He took one last look. It would be his home for the unforeseeable future.
"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."