The last few days had been exhausting. The flights had been up for 2 shows a day and it seemed they were in the thick of it. "C" Flight had been to Athies Junction 3 times and Bertincourt in the last 3 days. They had been in combat on every mission. Lucky for them the Bristol escorts were wonderful at their job and made it easy on the Morane pilots. On the flight to Athies yesterday morning they had fought their way in, dropped their eggs and then they were attacked while crossing back over the lines. On this occasion Christian had got in a telling burst on their pursuer and both saw him go down in the middle of NML. They were both in high spirits as they made their claim. "Third times the charm" Jericho had said to Christian.
This morning as Jericho and Christian were getting ready for another go at Athies Junction they met Jim and his Observer Gunner. Jim's observer did not know what to think of Jericho as he had been listening to too many tall tales being told about him. As they talked Jericho casually took out his 45 and loaded it with 5 cartridge's letting the hammer down on the empty cylinder. Jim's observer asked, "May I ask what the pistol is for Lieutenant?" Jericho looked at Jim and said "Haven't you taught this man anything Jim?! Well, I tell you. I ain't going to be no Hun's flaming burrito. No Sir. If that crate catches on fire, It's one to the temple for this child!" The observer looked astonished at Jericho as he pulled out the 45 again and looked down the barrel. Jericho went on, "Now you might ask why I need 5 shots to send my soul west and that's a good question. The answer is simple. Christian here might not want to be a flaming burrito either so I need to send him west first and he might dodge a bit so it might take the first four to do him in proper like." Jim had to walk away trying not to laugh. Christian, who was getting use to Jericho's humor nodded in agreement as the Observer stood dumbfounded looking at the two. Jericho and Christian could not hold it any longer and both turned away and burst out laughing. As they neared the Morane Christian turned to Jericho and said "Don't worry Mark, I won't duck." Jericho nodded back. They both knew the score.
At 1400 hours they were up again to recon east of Fricourt. They were on their first round when Christian spotted 3 Fokkers coming up behind them. Obviously the Bristol's could not see the Fokkers under them. Soon Christian opened up and Jericho turned to survey the situation. There were 2 on his tail. He heard bullets impact canvas and turned harder as the two Fokkers flashed past. Christian swung the Lewis gun around and fired 2 more bursts but now the Bristol's were aware of the threat and dove into them. Jericho circled but had lost sight of his flight. Two more circles and he decided to head back, Just as they came over the mud on their side Christian opened up again and Jericho instinctively turned hard. He could not believe what he saw. The Fokker was going down in a slow spiral with a faint trail of smoke coming from his engine. Jericho tried his best to go down and get beside him for Christian to finish the job but the Hun was too fast and all he could do was stay up with him. Down they came from 1500 meters until the Hun made a fair landing on their side of the trenches. Jericho pulled up and leveled off as soldiers poured from the trenches to surround the fallen enemy. Jericho and Christian waved as the soldiers all waved up at the victor. Jericho made two circles around the Fokker then headed back to Bertangles. They landed and rushed to make their claim. "Two in Two days Pard! Ain't we the biggest toad in the pond."
It was a rowdy crowd at the mess that evening as Jericho's tent mate, Swany, had brought one down intact the day before. The Major walked to the head of the table and raised his hand which silenced everyone. "I just got word on Lieutenant's Jericho and Christians claim yesterday. While I do not doubt one minute that you brought one down, the claim has been denied." A loud groan came up from the table. Jericho threw his arms up and said "With all due respect Major! We can't deliver them with a bow tied to the wing like Swany can!" There were a few laughs as the Major raised his hand again. "A toast gentleman." he said. Jericho rolled his eyes, "What the h#@l are we going to toast." The Major raised his glass as did the others and he looked at Jericho and Christian "I just received word from the balloonatics near Fricourt and they saw your fight today. Here is to your first confirmed victory!"
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!