Carrick, these few drops of rain? It's just drizzling.
20 February , 1916 9:04 Senard, Verdun Sector Escadrille N37 Sergent Gaston A. Voscadeaux
Gaston rose from his chair after this morning’s briefing. He approached his C.O. “- Capitaine Quillien, may I have a word with you?” “- Certainly Gaston, but make it quick. We’re about to leave soon. What’s on your mind?” The C.O. always had time for his pilots. “- It’s about the mission, mon Capitaine. You’ve said this will be a patrol behind the lines - over enemy airfield. We have no offensive weaponry on board and we have no escort. What are we supposed to do if we encounter the Germans?” Gaston was concerned with a rather unpleasant Fokker rendezvous. The captain made a sour face, “- Let’s hope they’re Aviatiks and that you know how to handle them. I thought you wanted to be a pilot.” He gave Gaston a pat on the back, winked and strolled off to his office, leaving Gaston with a half open mouth. He wanted to protest, but couldn’t find the words. Le Capitaine was right, he will not be always safe. He must be brave ... and run away from Fokkers when he sees them. By now Gaston was used to this strange occurrence: as soon as they cleared the dark, low hanging clouds there was an entire new world above. Blue skies, bright sun and white fluffy clouds. Their mission flight path not always took them above these dark clouds, but when it did, it was a treat. After a lengthy cross country flight the Porcher aerodrome appeared ahead of them and above it 2 dots. Gaston’s greatest fear has just materialized in front of him. All his hair stood up on end, even on his back. The pit of his stomach was filled with ice and then it did a somersault, despite Gaston’s control column and his hands being frozen solid in the exact same position for some time now. Gaston found it hard to swallow his saliva, as he had none at the moment. He was about to turn around with his tail between his legs when he noticed the dots had two sets of wings. Not Fokkers after all. Le Capitaine’s words rung out in Gaston’s ears. “Handle” them! Voscadeaux and his wingman Cpl. Papinet begun to stalk the two German biplanes. They’ve snuck under the unsuspecting Huns and engaged. Gaston’s Nieuport was faster than the Aviatik and easily overtook the lumbering crate. As it did, S.Ltn. Roze opened up with his Lewis MG. He landed solid hits and the startled German pilot banked left but the engine stopped and he was forced to level out and only use his rudder to attempt an escape. Gaston knew the Boche was a sitting sausage. Roze just needed to pepper it a little more. He brought the Nieuport around for another pass. The alerted Hun gunner was prepared for them this time and machine gun fire hit Gaston’s port wing. The lucky shot severed control cables and Voscadeaux found himself struggling for control of his bus. He disengaged immediately and steered his wounded bird west as best as he could. Once they crossed over the front lines and the trenches below, Gaston fiddled with the fuel mixture controls. To his astonishment his plane stabilized when the motor revolutions were reduced. The torque, or lack thereof was doing the work for him and the Nieuport refrained from further banking. He couldn’t see Papinet anywhere near so he decided to continue back to base on his own. Later they found out that Caporal Papinet’s machine was also hit and he had to put down in the field, thankfully on friendly side. Gaston brought the damaged Nieuport safely back to base but didn’t claim the Aviatik. They couldn’t tell what had happened to the Boche. If they couldn’t tell, then no one else could either.
"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."