Henri Patois
Verdun
April 21, 1917
Escadrille3 No. 23

I cannot wait for this month to end! Nothing but rain and death these last few weeks. I went up with my new ailier, Caporal Cousin, on a balloon bust. We snuck across the lines and climbed above the balloon on the east side, diving down towards our lines and firing as we went. By the time the drachen went up, we were already on our way home, the defending scouts left fuming behind us.



I should have known the sentiment would have to be repaid. After several days of weather washouts, we were up on a line patrol. To our amazement, we encountered a pair of German recce craft inside our lines! We were between them and escape! Moving to attack, we were beaten to it by A flight, who swooped down to dispatch one of the interlopers. As they went after the other however, Caporal Villars collided with the hun in a tremendous crash and his SPAD went down in a plume of smoke and flame. Minutes later, the tardy hun escorts dove on us, firing hard. I took a ball in the leg, which fortunately passed right through. After I had rapidly patched the bleeding with my scarf, I joined the fight in full. I gave as good as I got and after several minutes we had worked our way down to the trenches, where I finally dispatched one enemy. Deciding to head home and get my wound tended to, I broke south. Making my way back at low altitude, the Marquis finally caught up to me in his speedy SPAD. I continued to watch, but Caporal Cousin was shot down over the lines. Two ailiers in as many weeks! To add to my chagrin, we were surprised when Caporal Villars was driven into camp that night. It seems that he had only sustained minor injuries in the crash. I say it is very disheartening that we who fly the Nieuports are fated to die, while those who have SPADs survive! I can only wonder if it is my turn next...