As we climbed out of the aircraft, Chris was full of beans. "Darn good work Aleck, darn good! Neither of those buggers even got a shot at us. All the way back for miles and they never got a shot. Made them look silly, you did! I think I drove a third one off with the Lewis!"
The Fokkers hadn't really been trying too hard, I thought to myself. Probably rookies ... it had been easy to out-turn them. And no, Chris hadn't hit anything with the Lewis, as usual, but I kept my mouth shut.
I was distracted; where were Norton and Xavier? They had carried on home, not noticing the two Eindekkers sneaking up behind. And where was Davis? His Bristol hadn't even shown up over the recon area. Not good.
We headed in to see the adjutant and make our report, all the time listening for aero-engines that might announce the arrival of the missing aircraft. Nothing.
On our way to the mess for lunch we were met by the Major. His face told the tale. "Davis is dead. Attacked by two Fokkers near Neuve Chapelle. He landed near a balloon regiment with a bullet in the chest and no magazine on his gun. They got him while he was trying to reload, I suppose. Xavier and his observer are at LaGorge, a bit shot up. Norton is there too, and apparently knocked down one of the Hun. At least that's a bit of good news."
So that's it. The Fokkers arrived in our area today in force and caught us napping and complacent. The sadness for the loss of Davis is palpable in the mess tonight; he was one of he most likable fellows in the squadron and a fine leader. We will carry on tomorrow, just as he would have wanted.