21 January, 1916 11:02
Toul, Verdun Sector
Sergent Gaston A. Voscadeaux

Adjutant Mezergues was leading Gaston north. He could tell this only by looking at his compass. The weather was terrible and every single little gust of wind made his plane rock and bounce in all directions, despite a full load of bombs. Each and every one of them had the name of the factory at Vigneulles les Hottonchatel written all over them. Gaston attempted to locate Sergent Sourdiac somewhere behind them in the A flight, but gave up rather quickly. Wiping his goggles from the incessant rain Gaston checked the position of the flight leader ahead of him. Mezergues led them through the cloud layers and Voscadeaux started to believe he could get them over the target even in his sleep. When Adjutant gave the signal, they all dropped their bombs in unison, even though no target was visible below. Gaston crossed his fingers for some good hits. It was time to get back. They were crossing the frontlines when they came in contact with two Aviatiks. This was only possible because of a gap that opened up in the otherwise monolithic wall of clouds. They were flying a good distance away: too far to mount an attack, but still close enough to observe each other. Keeping one eye on the leader and the other on the enemy, Gaston noticed some movement in the corner of his eye. Becquerel, his mountain of a man gunner was waving his arms around. Gaston quickly scanned the sky again expecting a Fokker right on their tail, but there was none. The sky was clear, or as clear as a cloudy sky could be. What was he doing? Why was he waving his arms? And then it dawned on him that he must be waving to the Germans. He was waving to them! What does he think they're going to do, wave back? Gaston looked at the machines in the distance and he couldn’t believe what he was seeing. The German crews were waving back! The sight made Gaston smile. He raised his free hand and waved back as well and then they were gone, hidden by the gray wall of precipitation. Voscadeaux looked at his gunner and could only guess that the man was grinning back at him through his bushy beard. He realized it was the first time since Christmas that for that one single minute the war ceased to exist.

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Attached Files 1916-01-21-Enemy.jpg

"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."