Fullofit, Great video as always, Gaston will score before long. Carrick, it seems your squad is getting busy! Wulfe, Cambell's story is getting better by the episode. Lou, becoming a real celebrity aren't we!
Lt. Mark Jericho Auchell Aerodrome 47 combat missions 13 engagements with the enemy
Jericho and Christian have been on constant bombing missions the last few days. None of any real consequence. They were attacked by an olive green Fokker on a arty spotting mission southwest of Bapaume which was unusual to them both as all the others were of the normal tan looking color. They had suffered some hits during the attack and had sat down at La Bellaview to get their machine checked out. As Jericho told Christian, "she's fine, I just wanted to warm up before we made the last leg home!" Christian laughed and agreed it was a grand idea.
This morning at 10 they took off to bomb Bertincourt. It was heavy snow and cloud. Jericho was very apprehensive as he was to lead himself and Dickens. They were to have 2 escorts, if they could meet up in this soup. The prospect of of going that far behind the lines was not very appealing to the group but it seemed these deeper missions were becoming more often. At the rendezvous position they circled for about 5 minuets before the Nieuports showed up and they continued to Bertincourt. The cloud cleared long enough for Jericho to spot Bertincourt a few miles to the north and he turned the flight to begin their bombing run. As they turned he could see 4 or 5 Eindeckers in the process of taking off. "If we can just get these eggs gone and high tail it out of here we will be alright!" he thought to himself. He judged the distance and let the bombs go and turned west as hard as he could. They were at 2000m and should have enough height to get back to the lines before the Huns could reach them. The two Nieuports dove to engage and Jericho wished them well. Approaching the mud Jericho could see that one of the Huns had made it to them and was lining up for the attack. He and Dickens had their machines side by side daring the Hun to attack. When he did he was met by a blistering bursts from both gunners. Jericho could just see pieces coming off the Eindecker as it turned and made a hasty retreat. Again it seems they found their target as the flight was given a "congratulations' by the Major.
By the afternoon the snow had slacked a bit and Jericho found James at Madam FouFou's as he called his shack at the airfield. "Well Pard, you feel up to a riding lesson?" Jericho asked. When James hesitated Jericho added. "Just the basics James, no cowboy sh#t yet!" "Why not!" James said as well as he could with his cheek stitched up. "I made a set of proper cowboy spurs" Jericho said as he showed a shiny new pair of spurs to James. "This ain't that crap the cavalry uses. This is a real working pair but you won't need them today. Today we are just going to let you find your seat." James did not say anything but admired the smithy work on the spurs. "Very nice" James said. "Do these hurt the horse?" he asked. Jericho stopped and turned to James. "They can. That's why you won't be using them today. Spurs are just a way of communication with the horse. Now, if I wanted your attention all I have to do is tap your shoulder. Right?" Jericho asked James. Yes, I suppose so" answered James. Jericho continued. "Now it I hauled off and knocked the crap out of you, that would get your attention too would it not?" James looked at Jericho puzzled as he did not know where this conversation was going. "Its like this" Jericho said as he nudged James's leg with the rowel, "that's all I need to get the horses attention or give him a signal, I don't need to kick him with it. Matter of fact, the first man I ever see kicking Moon, spurs or no, he is going to get a lesson in abuse. But, forget about these for a while. That's for another day.
Once Moon was saddled up and James was sitting in on the horse, Jericho attached a 20' rope to to the bottom of the bridle and knotted the reins over Moons neck. "You wont be needin' these either yet" Jericho said. James was becoming more apprehensive by the minute. "Now, get yer feet outa' the stirrups and cross you arms on your chest." he told James. "I don't know about this Mark" James said. Jericho looked at James. "If your feet are in the stirrups, you will try to balance on them. If you have the reins you will do the same. Do either and you ain't gonna' find your seat. I got the horse. You just concentrate on relaxing and feeling the horse up under you. Got it?" James sighed and relaxed, "got it" he replied. With that Jericho stepped off a bit with the lead rope in hand and clucked to Moon. Moon obeyed immediately and started to walk in a circle around Jericho. "Relax Pard" Jericho said as he saw James start to stiffen up. "A sack of flour will ride on that saddle all day long. You put a stick of stove wood on it and it comes off in a heartbeat. Relax." Jericho stopped Moon to let James concentrate a bit and then clucked again. Moon started walking the circle again and James was much more relaxed. "Lookin' like a real cowboy Amigo!" Jericho said. After a few rounds Jericho asked how he felt. "Feels good." James replied. After a few more rounds James was getting the feel of the seat. Jericho said "Now close your eyes." "What!" James asked. "Just do what I tell ya and close your eyes. You will really get a feel for your seat." Jericho said. James did what he was told and on they went for another 15 minuets before Jericho stopped Moon. Jericho then untied the reins and the lead rope and told James to walk him a bit. They had already gone over right, left and stop. "Now he is a little spirited so don't use your heels to get him going. just give him a little cluck like you heard me do, relax and enjoy the ride. Just take him in a nice circle right here." James rocked a time or two in the saddle and gave Moon a cluck and off he went at a walk. "Now pull a little right rein and go in the other direction" Jericho said. James did as he was told and Moon turned to the right and went in the other direction. After 30 minutes of back and forth Jericho said "let that be the lesson for today. Your doin' fine Pard. We'll have you ropin' Huns afor its over with!" James eased out of the saddle and patted Moon on the neck. "That was fun!" James said. "H@ll yea it's fun! Next we'll teach you how to post a trot."
Note: Pair of old style cowboy spurs I forged under the tutelage of George Ainsle, Master Blacksmith and good friend who passed away a few years back.
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!