Lederhosen - close call! Gotta watch out for those Bebes...
Carrick - Glad to see Keith back up and at em!
Fullofit - Ah, rotten news about Thuillier, I was looking forwards to hearing more of him. So, the hated Walfisch have reached your neck of the woods...time to start treading lightly!
Sgt. James B. Fullard, Escadrille N.31 Ochey Aerodrome, France.
May 16th 1916:
We were blessed with Temps Aéronautique on the 12th, and spent the day lounging in the mess and tinkering with our aeroplanes. In the morning I found little Devienne with a most worried look on his face, sitting over the recently-arrived communiques with coffee in hand.
“Everything alright, Devienne?” I asked. “Le Violet’s been wounded…” “What? Is he okay?” “Shot through the calf”. “Ouch. Well, in that case, I wouldn’t worry about it too much. You Frenchies are a tough lot, I’m sure he’ll be knocking down Bosches again in no time”. “I hope so…”
As we were sitting down for supper that night, the rain was still beating heavily on the roof. In-between sips of pinard, Lemoine remarked “This is pretty good, no? Perhaps we won’t need to fly tomorrow either?”. With a grin, Ortoli replied “Lemoine, you lazy so-and-so! I’m almost starting to think you don’t even like flying!”. The portly Frenchman grinned. “Enfin! He understands!”. Devienne wiped his mouth down with a napkin, then turned to the pair. “Well, I hope the rain doesn’t stay too long. I still haven’t got my first Bosche yet!”. Quinchez nodded in agreement. “Me neither! In fact, I haven’t so much as seen a Bosche!”.
Unlucky for my two victory-hungry compatriots, Lemoine’s weather forecast was spot on. In fact, the rain hasn’t stopped for the past four days, and was still finding its way into our rooms through the (now numerous) holes in the roof this morning. Poor Jensen appeared in the mess soaked through, the victim of a leak springing right above his cot.
After breakfast, Georges arrived with fresh mail. I waited with baited breath for the order, but no word from l’Escadrille Americaine came. I frowned, considering that perhaps they had reached their quota of pilots. I hoped not. One letter did arrive for me though, with no return address. My interest piqued, I opened the letter and laid it flat on the table before me.
Sorry that I haven’t been in touch before. Until I saw your name in the Communiques, I did not even know that you and Michael were in France. I am here with Jack Brown and Tommy Jones from back home! Do you remember when they left for the war, how jealous we were?
Good news! The British are planning a big push soon, and we are meant to be part of it. We are being sent to the Somme. I had hoped to visit you on my next leave, but the distance might be too great. However, if I ever receive a good length of rest, I shall endeavour to visit you at your aerodrome.
I could not find the details of Michael’s posting, so I haven’t been able to send him a letter also. Please write him for me, and tell him I am doing well.
Your brother Andrew”.
I stared at the letter for a long time. Andrew. Images flooded to me of the morning, back in San Francisco, that we had awoke to find a hastily written note from Andrew that he had made for the Foriegn Legion, against our parent’s wishes. Young Andrew, headstrong, the first to go. Mother was inconsolable, father was furious. It was only two months later that Michael and I had made a similar escape, sending away to Washington D.C for our passports in secret and making for France the night they had arrived.
Immediately I rushed through the narrow corridor, nearly barrelling poor Chaput over, and fetched pen and paper, frantically scribbling a short letter to Michael, before filling an envelope with both my and Andrew’s letters.