Hasse, Julius seems like someone I would like. Too bad we will have to try and kill each other if we meet over the lines.
Carrik, Nigel seems to be doing well.
Fullofit, Your stories are breathing life into Gaston.
Lou, Congratulations on the confirmed victory! Also, its good you survived that last encounter to enjoy it a while longer.
Lt. Mark Jericho Auchell Aerodrome Jan. 20, 1916
Jericho got his wish to meet the enemy. He and Whorton had done a few Arty spotting missions and a bombing mission of the front lines West of Lille over the last few days. They had been given a hardy "Excellent work!" for the bombing mission. All had been a walk in the park with fair weather.
On the 18th they were to bomb the front sector south of Dicksmuide. They had two Nieuports as escorts. The wind was throwing the machines all over the sky but other than that the flight was like the others. After dropping their eggs and turning for home Jericho felt a rap on his head, the signal for "enemy near". his blood was up instantly! He stayed in close formation waiting for another signal from Whorton and trying to see anything behind, which was almost impossible. He did catch a glimpse of a Nieuport chasing one the Hun Fokkers but that was it. After five minutes of suspense which seemed like hours Whorton gave the signal for all clear. He told Jericho later that the fight had been inconclusive.
On the 19th they were on a Recon mission NW of Monchy. It was rain and snow on takeoff but had cleared a little over the front. Nearing the patrol area Jericho could see 3, then four specks ahead at their altitude. Even though he had never really seen machines in combat, it was obvious that's what was happening ahead. He reached back and signaled to Whorton. As they neared the fight Jericho could see it was to BE's and two Fokkers. As they drew close one of the BE's broke for home with the Fokker close behind. They passed under Jericho about a 100' below. Jericho saw the German pilot look up at them as they went under! At that moment he heard Whorton fire a long burst as the Fokker cleared their tail. Jericho saw the Fokker peel off and turn NE. He was sure the BE pilot was grateful. He saw the other BE headed home with no enemy in sight. He scanned the sky a second time but it was clear so the 3 machines continued with their Recon work. Jericho was tense now, with his eyes continuously scanning the sky.
Jericho had almost relaxed when Whorton slapped him on his right shoulder which was the signal for a slow climbing right turn. Jericho nearly jumped out of his seat at the signal. He instantly obeyed the Captain's instruction and stealing a glance back saw a Fokker below climbing to meet them. At that moment Whorton gave him a whole drum from his Lewis! The Fokker turned tail with the onslaught, and Whorton gave him the "all clear."
Alford, the flight leader, decided they had had enough excitement for the day and signaled return to base so they all turned northwest. Jericho looked around and could not find No. 3, Dickens. Looking all around he spotted him below and behind. "All safe" he thought to himself. When he looked back again to check on Dickens he was startled to see a Fokker on his tail closing fast. His mind was racing as he calculated what to do and on instinct dove on the Fokker. His action caught Whorton by surprise and he had to grab the sides of the cockpit for support. As Jericho maneuvered to give Whorton a shot, the Fokker peeled away and headed east. As they pulled up beside the other Morane, Dickens and his observer gave a hardy wave. Jericho could see the bullet holes in the fuselage. He waved back and thought to himself, "hope you can return the favor one day Hoss!"
When they landed back at Auchell, Whorton jumped from the machine and turned to Jericho. "Wonderful bit of flying Lt.! You gave me a perfect angle on that Hun! I saw my bullets hit him by God! Wonderful flying, just wonderful!"
Jericho was stunned. That was the first time the Captain had given him a compliment! "Thank you Sir!' Jericho replied.
Dickens and his observer walked up with grins bigger than sunlight. "We owe you one Yank! You sure saved our beacon today old man! How about a drink on us?"
Jericho shook their hands. "I'm sure you would have done the same for me Hoss. No disrespect but I'll pass on the drink, but, If they have any belly wash on, I'll sure have that."
Dickens looked puzzled. "Belly what?" he asked.
"Belly wash! You know, Coffee!"
"It will be my pleasure" Dickens replied.
Never approach a bull from the front, a horse from the rear or a fool from either end. BOC Member since....I can't remember!