Scout, it seems we have a mystery eary in this Campagn.
Lt. Mark Jericho Auchell Aerodrome Feb. 10, 1916
Jericho eased his damaged Morane for a landing at Auchell. After rolling to a stop the adrenaline poured from his body leaving him exhausted and limp. He laid his head back and pulled his goggles off letting out a big sigh. "That was too d#%n close Robert!" "It certainly was" Robert replied as he examined the two holes in his flight jacket where a bullet had gone clean through missing him by a fraction. Jericho was going back over the fight in his mind. He, Gridder and Dickens had gone 10 miles behind enemy lines to bomb Avelin aerodrome northwest of Lens. "Why do they keep sending us over there without escorts" he thought. The wind was buffeting them all over the sky and Archie was light but very accurate. After dropping their bombs while forming back up , three of the dreaded Fokkers attacked from the clouds. The formation immediately broke up with Gridder loosing altitude and smoking. Jerico's new observer, Robert Christian kept up a good rate of fire at an enemy Jericho could not see. He did see the other Fokker coming to join the one already on their tail.
The two airmen were soon taking hits from their antagonist as Jericho turned right and left to stay out of their aim and give Christian a shot. One soon gave up as Christian sent it packing trailing smoke but the other was hanging on like a Mississippi tick! All of the maneuvering had caused them to loose a lot of altitude and Jericho was getting concerned as he was running out of air to maneuver in. They were at 1500' when Christian got in another good burst on the last Hun and sent him on his way.
Something was not right with the Morane. The engine was not holding full RPM and it was all Jericho could do to hold her level. Any attempt at climbing would cause a stall. Low behind the lines with an engine not giving full power, Jericho used all his skill to get a little more height out of her. Crossing the lines this low was suicide. By the time they reached the lines he had gained a little and they crossed without a problem. Jericho relaxed a little but not much much. He was still having a time keeping her airborne, They soon spotted Auchell and he made a beeline for the field not even thinking about circling.
As he climbed out of the plane, Robert reached up to give Jericho a hand. "I tell you what Pard. That was some d@#n fine shooting! You saved our a@$es today! You did fine for your first combat."
Robert was still sticking his finger in the hole in his jacket. "that sure was close" he said to no one in particular.
Gridder and Dickens were ok but their observers did not fair as well. One was badly wounded and the other killed. The flight was given a "Congratulations" for a good mission. "Congratulations for what!" Jericho thought to himself.
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!