Rick Rawlings

No. 24 Sqn,

June 1916

Bertangles Aerodrome

Had a big tangle with a bunch of Eindeckers last week. We were doing a line patrol at 7000 feet when we ran into a bunch of them escorting a recon flight. For a bit, it was just avoiding collisions and clearing each other's tails. Then the fight broke up and were on our own for a moment before we found another flight. Then the fight was joined in earnest. I put in claims for two but as they went down over the lines at low altitude, no one else saw them, so no confirmation for old Rick Rawlings! Oh well, I know I did my part in my heart!

Winding my way back on my own, I was amazed to see a train racing full steam across the front, right through No Man's Land! When I landed, I told the others about it, but they said it was very hush-hush... called it "Olham's Express" and said it was doing "God's work"...they advised me not to speak of it again...

* Right after that flight, we learned that Max Immelman had been shot down. Now this is weird, but some pilots started reporting of a phantom scout that dives from a sweeping turn on high to shoot at their planes, saying that it is the shade of the downed pilot, seeking revenge! Normally, I would not be one to give much credence to such tales, but the strangest thing happened to me on this morning's flight. I was flying along, more or less in formation, when suddely, I was attacked! The crack of machine gun rounds sailed past my ears, spars were hit and shredded and canvas torn from its ribs! I sent my machine into a spinning dive and when I pulled out, I looked around but no enemy machines could be seen! What was worse, there was the rest of my flight, carrying on as if nothing had happened! They all claimed that they had seen nothing, and had thought that I was having a seizure! What was worse, when I got down, there was no damage of any kind to my bus! The Major was sympathetic, but I noticed that our ration of alcohol was cut way down at the mess tonight. Or maybe it was just mine. Spooky!

The older I get, the more I realize I don't need to be Han, Luke or Leia. I'm just happy to be rebel scum...