Lt. Mark Jericho Auchell Aerodrome Feb. 12, 1916 Today we were tasked with bombing Vimy Junction. Shortly after takeoff my engine started sounding like the clatter wheels of hell! Lucky for me and Christian we had enough height and the engine held together long enough for us to circle back to the field and make a safe landing. While the old crate was wheeled to the hanger, Jericho checked on the new addition to the squadron. Moon seemed to like his new home and Jericho was glad to have him around. The flight returned after a few hours and all were safe reporting no contact and that the railway was damaged.
The next few days were well. Swany had returned from the hospital. A bit sore but ready to resume his duties. Jericho hated to admit it to himself but he was beginning to miss the man. Other than freezing half to death and getting shot at for a few hours a day this was not a bad way to make a living thought Jericho thought.
Early on the morning of the 14th, C Flight was to bomb Hallvin Aerodrom. Rain and Snow as usual. Approaching the target the Archie greeted them but it was far from accurate. Jericho was enjoying watching the black puffs when reality hit him and he realized they were over enemy lines and the dreaded Fokkers could be anywhere. He immediately went back to scanning the skies. The dropped their presents for the German fliers and made one circle to assess the damage. When Gridder was satisfied he signaled to head home. The three Moranes turned west as one. Jericho was thinking this might be a good mission when Christian gave him the warning for the enemy. Jericho looked right to see an amazing sight. A Fokker was diving on Gridder and evidently his observer had given the Hun what for as it started to burn and dove past Gridder then in front of Jericho going down in a ball of fire and smoke. Jericho was not sure what Gridder's trouble was but he was loosing altitude. Looking around he saw a Fokker behind them but at some distance. The Fokker followed them to the lines and tried to make one pass but Christian drove him off with a blistering burst from his gun.
Jericho made it back to Auchell with Gridder coming in a few minutes later. Jericho was beaming as his flight leader came to a stop near their Morane. He started over to congratulate him when he saw his observer was slumped over in his cockpit. "Oh Lord" thought Jericho. There was nothing they could do. The man had been shot through the heart.
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!