Rick Rawlings No 24 Squadron Nov 4, 1916 Bertangles West
Well, a bit of excitement today. Yesterday we had a patrol-over-the-lines mission on my second day back from the cheering-up-the-troops tour after my tenth confirmed victory. I had to admit that I was surprised and a little saddened to learn of the death of the German pilot Boelcke while I was away from the front, he was a worthy adversary. Anyway, we were off to Riencourt as we had been so many times before. Captain Knight led us confidently over the lines at 8000 feet and just as we were passing over the enemy airfield at about 11:30 AM, we saw a flight of three scouts below us with big black crosses on the wings. Captain Knight turned into a dive and we followed, eager for the action. It turned out the scouts were Fokkers; not the old eindecker monoplanes, but the newer biplane versions. They were faster and more powerful than us, but we were more mneuverable. Short story long, over the course of the fight, I sent three of the enemy down! (A fourth joined in later in the fight, so I did not account for all of the original flight.) One of them, I got one long burst into in a quick pass and payed him no further mind as he spun down, figuring that he was just trying to escape, but the Captain later told me that the plane never pulled out of its downward spiral and crashed into the ground below. This morning, we got word that all three were confirmed. Oh, and they also awarded me the Victoria Cross this morning as well. So bit of a full twenty four hours, if you take my meaning!