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#4311353 - 11/12/16 03:28 AM Re: DiD Centenary Challenge [Re: CatKnight]  
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Dudley Nightshade
Sgt-Pilot
RNAS 6
A Sqn , 4th Wing
Petit-Synthe Flanders.

Nov 11, 1916.

Hokie Smokes, I over-stressed my kite on an Airfield attack this morning. Got my rockets off and they ended up tearing up a lot of trees and Shrubs + the side of a tent. The N-10 behaved badly all the way back maybe now they will give me a New N-11.


#4311781 - 11/13/16 09:08 PM Re: DiD Centenary Challenge [Re: CatKnight]  
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Here is the latest status report.



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#4311820 - 11/13/16 11:29 PM Re: DiD Centenary Challenge [Re: CatKnight]  
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Thanks for the stats Banjoman.
Now that you've been there for a while, how do you find the new country?


"Take the cylinder out of my kidneys,
The connecting rod out of my brain, my brain,
From out of my arse take the camshaft,
And assemble the engine again."
#4311874 - 11/14/16 01:54 AM Re: DiD Centenary Challenge [Re: CatKnight]  
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We love it. The people are wonderful and the climate is almost perfect. I know that sounds like hyperbole, but really the difference between the average high temperature in the summer and winter is only four degrees, it is almost a constant temperature in the 70s. As a matter of fact, we live with our windows open all the time and since we have screens on them we aren't bothered by mosquitoes.


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#4311877 - 11/14/16 02:02 AM Re: DiD Centenary Challenge [Re: CatKnight]  
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That does sound nice. Even though it is better than normal this year weather wise here, I already cringe thinking of the white stuff that will eventually come this way. Enjoy it!


"Take the cylinder out of my kidneys,
The connecting rod out of my brain, my brain,
From out of my arse take the camshaft,
And assemble the engine again."
#4311893 - 11/14/16 04:08 AM Re: DiD Centenary Challenge [Re: CatKnight]  
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Come on down when you've had enough of that white stuff. I think it's amazing that most of the people here have never even seen snow.


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#4312311 - 11/15/16 03:33 PM Re: DiD Centenary Challenge [Re: CatKnight]  
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Banjoman

Have U got settled in down there or still exploring ? Hope that all is well and fine.

#4312315 - 11/15/16 03:41 PM Re: DiD Centenary Challenge [Re: CatKnight]  
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Dudley Nightshade
Sgt-Pilot
RNAS 6
A Sqn , 4th Wing
Petit-Synthe Flanders.

Nov 14 1916.

Up on Patrol with 4 other a/c, flying as tail end charlie spotted a blue colored e/a. Tried to alert the Flight, but no go. Since I was so far back anyway, I did a loner and played tag with a 2 Seat. While making my last run , I emptied my last ammo drum at him, and Heard that awful Ripping sound The Fabric was tearing off my wing. Leveled off, down power, and very gently headed for a long road to land on.

#4312686 - 11/16/16 09:46 PM Re: DiD Centenary Challenge [Re: CatKnight]  
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Dudley Nightshade
Sgt-Pilot
RNAS 6
A Sqn , 4th Wing
Petit-Synthe Flanders.

Nov 16, 1916.

I say, A regular shambles today. Posted to a 4 a/c Aerodrome attack. On the final turn to target, we spotted a 3 e/a flight over target area + 2 of the newer Albatross planes on the down low. My flight leader turned for home only to loose one N-11 to flack on the way back. Boulder Dash !


#4313358 - 11/19/16 03:48 AM Re: DiD Centenary Challenge [Re: CatKnight]  
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Dudley Nightshade
Sgt-Pilot
RNAS 6
A Sqn , 4th Wing
Petit-Synthe Flanders.

Nov 17, 1916

Sent back on a Do-over attack. Hq seem a bit crackers about the Mission. Supply only had 8 rockets for the 4 of us.so Stiff upper lip and Off we went. I didnt see a lot of damage after I shot everything I had in 2 passes. After that Home and Tea.


#4313667 - 11/20/16 01:44 PM Re: DiD Centenary Challenge [Re: CatKnight]  
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Here is the latest status report.



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#4313823 - 11/21/16 02:02 AM Re: DiD Centenary Challenge [Re: CatKnight]  
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Dudley Nightshade
Sgt-Pilot
RNAS 6
A Sqn , 4th Wing
Petit-Synthe Flanders.

20 Nov 1916.


I say, Bit of bad luck, I tangled with Hun who was a good flyer. We had 5 a/c in 2 flights on Patrol. B Flight took after 2 two Seats escorted by 1 Fokker I spotted Our Top cover diving on 3 Albatross Scouts so I went down with them. It was a turn and burn dissolving into individual fights. Spotted 2 smoke trails under me while fighting the Hun. I put on the last drum when he hit me with a good burst and I spun out. Luckily, Archie was popping and the Hun went home as I limped into a friendly base and the Hospital till 1 Dec. The Sgn Reported 2 Destroyed + (me) Wnd the other 2 had Lt damage. for 1 Hun destroyed ( 2 seat)






Last edited by carrick58; 11/21/16 02:04 AM.
#4313833 - 11/21/16 02:34 AM Re: DiD Centenary Challenge [Re: CatKnight]  
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Bad luck, Carrick58! At least your pilot is still in one piece (more or less).


"Take the cylinder out of my kidneys,
The connecting rod out of my brain, my brain,
From out of my arse take the camshaft,
And assemble the engine again."
#4314112 - 11/22/16 12:03 AM Re: DiD Centenary Challenge [Re: CatKnight]  
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Today Bernard Sorelle was bested by the Aviatik rear gunner. He cut Bernard's control wires with the first burst on the initial pass. Bernard went into a shallow spin north of Verdun with no chance of recovery. Once he realized his fate has been sealed, Bernard begun to sing La Marseillaise and did not stop until the bitter end. RIP Bernard Sorelle 1892-1916.


"Take the cylinder out of my kidneys,
The connecting rod out of my brain, my brain,
From out of my arse take the camshaft,
And assemble the engine again."
#4314145 - 11/22/16 02:54 AM Re: DiD Centenary Challenge [Re: CatKnight]  
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Tough week for everyone it seems. Sorry to hear about Bernard, Fullofit. And Carrick, that's a long time out. Best of luck for your return. Banjoman, thank you for the chart.

After a short break for real life, I have started a new career in the Warbirds Rising group. Meet Blaise St John-Cottingham. In the game and in my online report he is a Sergeant, but for the sake of the story below, he is a commissioned 2Lt and will remain so until the game promotes him past that rank.



War Journal of 2/Lt Blaise St John-Cottingham
Savy, France
20 November 1916

20 November 1916: Posted at last. Its been a long innings getting here. A few autobiographical notes are in order, just in case Im not around to fill in that part of the tale. I was born in Church Stretton, a lovely place. The St Johns have lived in the place since the Flood, Im told. My great-grandfather built one of the earlier woolen mills in the area, shearing fortunes from the black-faced sheep that dot the high heaths of the Long Mynd. The Cottingham side of the family came along in the presence of my paternal grandmother, whose father recognized the economic potential of the healthy air and mountainous scenery. He built hotels, spas, and acquired property. Between the two families, they did rather well, becoming little tin gods on their own island. The family names acquired a hyphen, and in 1880 my grandfather acquired a baronetcy, which has since passed to my father. Father is horse-mad and was until recently Master of the South Shropshire Hunt.

I came along in 1896, a boy at last after three girls. My sisters, all of whom are annoying, are married. I boarded at Shrewsbury School. Cricket and rowing and riding captured most of my attention, Im afraid. Father intended to see me off to Oxford, but the war saved me from having to explain that they would be unlikely to take me. I took a commission into the Shropshire Yeomanry in August 1914. We had a wizard time playing soldier in the fields about Peterborough. In November 1915, however, our brigade was dismounted. Having pleaded with Father to speak with someone to get me into the RFC, I made a dash for London. Father had talked with a fellow he knew who owned newspapers and who was owed a favour by someone in Asquiths government. All very confusing, but I was in without too much bother.

Staying in was a bit more of a concern. I was quickly packed off to the Vickers flying school at Brooklands, but had not progressed beyond classroom instruction before being sent to Upavon. There I took a Rumpety (a Maurice Farman machine of the pusher type) up six times in four days. With about 150 minutes of dual time in my book, I was allowed to solo. Unfortunately I soloed into a line of trees, surviving much more intact than my machine. I was on the infirm list for about three months after the crash.

On my return I was welcomed with various dire threats, but a week later I got the bloody machine up and brought it down safely on the third bounce. I did better on the classroom work, for once an attentive student. From that point life became more interesting. We got to fly BE2s, a real combat aircraft, and then Avros. Before shipping out to France, I managed nearly two hours on a Nieuport 10C.

My first stop was the depot at St-Omer, where for two weeks I had my fill of bad food and good flying. On 20 November 1916, a year to the day after leaving the cavalry, I was posted to No 60 Squadron, RFC, stationed at Savy, near Arras. The squadron commander here is a severe looking chap, Major Smith-Barry. The squadron was on Moranes until a month or so ago. It has taken its share of casualties, but it has had its share of victories, too. Most notable among the old boys was Captain Ball, who has gone home on leave.
We are billeted in the fine home of the village mayor, directly across from our field. There is a world of livestock about us, so I fear the mayor will have to look out for his property. I share a room with a fellow named Willie Fry, a former bank clerk who started here a while back on Moranes.

My machine is a Type 16 Nieuport. It is very light and nimble and mounts a Lewis gun on the upper wing. My flight commander, Captain Gilchrist, warned me that the thing is also liable to break up if handled roughly. I got to take the machine up three times this first day in order to learn a little about the countryside and how to find my way home.

21 November 1916: At eight-thirty this morning, Captain Gilchrist took our flight down towards the Somme but stayed behind the lines. Several enemy aircraft had been reported west of Albert, but we saw nothing. By previous arrangement I left the formation over Doullens and navigated home. The Nieuport lacks a compass, so I must carry my own. I promptly dropped the thing to the floor and from that point I picked my way from landmark to landmark, finally recognizing the rail line that runs west from Arras towards Savy. I was thrilled to arrive back before the others. 2/Lt Oliver Phillips was gazetted for an MC today, so there was a party in the mess a binge its called. Im learning a little more about my fellow pilots, which I shall record when I have more time.

22 November 1916: To my horror, Major Smith-Barry told me I must lead a flight of five machines north of Ypres to our lines near Diksmuide, there to patrol for an hour. It took a long time to climb to ten thousand feet, just high enough to clear a rather heavy cloud layer. On our second circuit in the patrol area, Phillips pulled ahead of me and led the others in a sweeping turn to the north. I followed them, annoyed at Phillips usurping my lead when I was doing nicely, or so I thought. Seconds later a strange cigar-shaped machine swept past me to the left. It bore big nasty black crosses!

For the next three or four minutes I struggled to follow the action. I believe there were two Huns, as the enemy is universally called, and I was told later they were Roland two-seaters. The things were astoundingly nimble. I fired most of a drum away in short bursts, but I saw no effect and eventually lost sight of everyone. I climbed westward, as the wind was carrying us over the lines below. Then out of thin air emerged first one Nieuport, then another, then another two, until all four had taken up formation once again. It chilled me that four machines could take station on my wing without my noticing their approach. If they were Huns, I thought.

I managed to find Savy without too much trouble and regained a little confidence. Willie Fry claimed one of the Rolands, and I bought him a drink after dinner. Off to bed. I have an early wake-up in the morning.


"I promptly dropped the thing to the floor and from that point I picked my way from landmark to landmark, finally recognizing the rail line that runs west from Arras towards Savy."

#4314158 - 11/22/16 04:11 AM Re: DiD Centenary Challenge [Re: CatKnight]  
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Good stories. Keep em flying

#4314489 - 11/23/16 11:58 AM Re: DiD Centenary Challenge [Re: CatKnight]  
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I'm sorry to have to report that my two-seater pilot flying in FFA 71, Offizierstellvertreter August Ege, was shot down and killed on July 26th, 1916, on a photo recon mission to Verdun.

It seemed like a typical flight, and August and his wingman even had three Eindeckers escorting them. Returning to base, they were attacked by a large group of French Nupe 17's. The Fokkers ran away without a fight, leaving August and his wingman to fend for themselves. August attempted to shake off the attackers by diving down, but it was of no use and soon bullets from a Nupe hit him.

He made a forced landing behind enemy lines, but soon perished from his wounds, and was buried near Verdun among countless other victims of that terrible battle.

***

Clearly my two-seater flying skills are terribly rusty after spending so much time flying Fokkers in the other DID! It didn't help that the escorts ran away as usual. But I should have known to expect that and been better prepared.

Oh well, c'est la guerre!


"Upon my word I've had as much excitement on a car as in the air, especially since the R.F.C. have had women drivers."

James McCudden, Five Years in the Royal Flying Corps
#4315053 - 11/25/16 02:09 AM Re: DiD Centenary Challenge [Re: CatKnight]  
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Hasse, so sorry about August. But it's time for another pilot. The war is starting to get interesting.

War Journal of 2/Lt Blaise St John-Cottingham
Savy, France


23 November 1916: Flew in filthy weather, snow and sleet, up to patrol the area near our field at Hesdigneul. Wing reported EA in that sector. Lt Cole led, and Major Smith-Barry flew on his wing. I flew on his other wing. At one point the two of them turned and began climbing. I followed some distance behind. A German two-seater emerged hazily thought the muck and Cole began to fire. The Hun quickly snapped about and began throwing his grid all over the sky (Keith Caldwell, our resident Kiwi, calls every machine a grid, which is an antipodean name for a bicycle). Then I found a second Hun on my tail. With the high wind gusts, my Type 16 machine passed quickly from straining due to speed to stalling and back to straining. I managed only a few brief snap bursts before stalling and falling below the fight. The Huns, which I later learned were Rolands, made off safely and we returned home, wet and frozen.

Capt Latta from A Flight is being posted out to Home Establishment this day. He took over the flight from Ball before he left at the end of last month. His place will be taken by Capt George Parker. I am sharing a room in the mairie with a chap named Bill Sowrie, a former infantry type and a quiet sort. He has two brothers in the Flying Corps and is quite mad about wanting to shoot down Huns, which I find distasteful.

At dinner I learned that the Halberstadt I claimed yesterday was seen to crash by a Canadian artillery battery, so it is my first confirmed victory. Far from being feted, this apparently calls for me to buy a round of drinks for everyone in the mess.

Mother has sent me a wonderful hamper from Fortnum & Mason: fruits, ham, gentlemans relish, tinned grouse, marmalade, chocolate, shortbread, ginger biscuits, and wine. The latter is a waste, since decent wine can be bought for pennies here. I wrote home to thank the parents. I also received a package with back issues of the Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News and the Tatler.

24 November 1916: Bad weather persists yet I went up again with Cole, Smith-Barry, Phillips, and Sowrey. We married up with two French Caudrons and picked our way through clouds. I got lost at one point for nearly ten minutes, but then spotted the others some distance off just as several EA attacked them. I joined in and fought a Halberstadt single-seat type down to about a thousand feet above the enemy lines near Oppy. I got a couple of good shots at him and saw rounds hit home. The Huns propeller stopped and I last saw it descending in swirling loops over the lines. I have put in a claim but heard nothing from the RO since our reports were filed. It will likely remain only a driven down.

I learned also that no squadron tradition obliged me to buy drinks yesterday. Captain Gilchrist told me that story and I was gullible enough to believe him. It will be necessary to get revenge or I shall look a fool.


"The Huns propeller stopped and I last saw it descending in swirling loops over the lines."

#4315055 - 11/25/16 02:31 AM Re: DiD Centenary Challenge [Re: CatKnight]  
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Raine, what I love most about your stories is your ability to make the everyday life of your pilot sound so interesting. Where do you find the names of the stores and other businesses that you have in your stories?


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#4315156 - 11/25/16 04:50 PM Re: DiD Centenary Challenge [Re: Banjoman]  
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Originally Posted By: Banjoman
Raine, what I love most about your stories is your ability to make the everyday life of your pilot sound so interesting. Where do you find the names of the stores and other businesses that you have in your stories?


Thanks for indulging my insanity, Banjoman! I'm happy you appreciate the stories, because like a true history geek I try to ensure that they are as accurate as possible.

You asked about stores and businesses. Fortnum & Mason, mentioned in the last story I posted here, has been a London purveyor of fine foods since the 1700s and wealthier British families famously sent F&M gift hampers to men at the front in both world wars (In Rommel's 1942 attack on the Gazala Line in North Africa, so many retreating British officers had to leave so many of their goodie boxes behind that the former defensive position was jokingly called the "Fortnum & Mason line"). You can still visit the store on Piccadilly. Two years ago my son and daughter in law in London sent us one of their famous hampers of delicacies for Christmas.



Most business references are researched on line. For example, I've referenced Gieves and Hawkes, the London tailor known for making officers' uniforms; period hotels like the Regent Palace; theatres like the Alhambra (making sure to know what was playing where); and restaurants like Ciro's or the Criterion. Because the stories have to make historical sense, I'll check the rail lines from Southampton or Dover and make sure that the character on leave is arriving at the right station. Sometimes this leads to weird searches, such as "what soldiers' canteens were operating in Charing Cross Station in 1918 and by whom -- Red Cross, YMCA, someone else?"

Other references come from book or Internet searches, or from personal experience. For example, I spent Christmas of 1971 and 1972 at the Lion Inn in the town of Shrewsbury in western England. Having got to know a little of the surroundings, I placed my latest pilot in that part of the world. Back in 1971 I watched the South Shropshire Hunt in Church Stretton, which inspired the reference in Cottingham's first story to his father having been the Hunt Master. A book on 60 Squadron described the accommodations at Savy and helped me get the squadron and flight commanders right. I knew that the "Tatler" was a popular society magazine of the day (I think it was mentioned in Downton Abbey), but I googled up the sporting magazine that Cottingham got in a package from home. The reference to "gentlemen's relish" came from V.M. Yeates's "Winged Victory."

Sometimes I'll use modern maps or Google Earth and combine them with period memoirs to make sure that descriptions of places are accurate to the time. In the other DiD campaign my characters were in Paris. You could trace their outings easily on a map.

Finally, sometimes I'll use tales from family history. For example, my Jack Cairns character in the other campaign was born in Glasgow after his vicar father moved there to stay with his parishioners, who had moved north when Yarrow shipyard moved from London to Glasgow. That pretty much mirrors my great-grandfather, who was an engineer with Yarrow and moved to Glasgow from London around 1911 when the business relocated.

One of the hardest things is to get the language right. In my last post, Cottingham says "We had a wizard time playing soldier in the fields about Peterborough" (incidentally, the Shropshire Yeomanry were in fact training in that part of England in 1915). It took a half hour to confirm that the use of "wizard" to mean "terrific" or "wonderful" was in current use as early as 1916.

I admit I've gone a little nuts about all this, but it's fun for me, and helped RAF_Louvert accept that I was barmy enough to join the BWOC. I remember one night searching online sources for three hours to make sure that a character forced down over British lines would meet folks from the right regiment for that place and time, and that he would be processed through the right casualty clearing station and end up in the right hospital for his situation.

Sad, isn't it? I suppose the payback is that you really become immersed in your pilot and his times, and try very hard to take care of him. It makes for a wonderful flight sim experience.




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