Adj. James B. Fullard, Esc. N.31, Ochey Aerodrome, France.
May 27th 1916:
I was sitting down to breakfast when Messier entered through the door to the Barracks from out of the rain. Removing his cap and ignoring the obligatory hail of insults, he turned to me. “Fullard. The C.O. needs to see you at once. Come on - grab your coat”. I did so and followed the Orderly out onto the aerodrome, down the path to the C.O’s building. As Messier pushed the door open, I asked “any idea what this is about?”. He simply shrugged, before beckoning me inside. De Villneuve sat behind his desk, his hands steepled as he regarded me with a look of deep contemplation on his face. Finally, he spoke. “Have a seat, Fullard”. I obliged, and de Villeneuve offered me a cigarette. I accepted, and he struck a match, lighting his own cigarette and then my own.
“I have good news for you. You’ve been promoted to Adjutant”. My face lit up. Adjutant! Wait until Michael hears! “Thank you, sir!” I cried, but was halted by a wave of de Villeneuve’s hand. “With your new rank will come a new assignment. From now on, you are to fly a Nieuport 12, and will be taking reconnaissance photographs. Immediately my excitement turned to ashes. “....sir?”.
“I know that’s probably not what you want to hear, but you must understand how vitally important reconnaissance work is. As a Commissioned Officer, I expect you to carry out these missions consistently, and effectively. Your observer will be Caporal Lefevre. You will be able to meet him today before your scheduled mission”. Sympathy flashed for a moment in de Villeneuve’s eyes, but was quickly replaced by an undeniable will. “Is that understood?”
I tried in vain to hide my bitter disappointment. I wondered what would become of my Nieuport 11 , which Thierry had toiled so indefatigably to repair. I didn’t want to give it up.
“Yes sir, understood”.
De Villeneuve leaned back on his chair with a faint smile. “Good”. I slowly rose to my feet and turned for the door.
“Of course, this assignment won’t be permanent. I imagine you’ll be flying Bebes again in your new posting”. I paused, my hand hovering over the dull brass doorhandle. Slowly I turned to face de Villeneuve again, who was now wearing a knowing smirk. “New posting? What new posting?”
“I have received correspondence from Major Barès at General Headquarters, detailing your imminent transfer to Escadrille 124, where you will be a flight leader. I don’t know when exactly the order shall arrive, and in all honesty I am not really supposed to tell you this, but I thought you ought to know”. My heart skipped a beat. “124? But, isn’t that…?”
At noon I watched Thierry and Souris wheel my new machine onto the airfield, parking it next to Tartaux’s Nieuport. Alongside the three Nieuport 12s, I looked longingly at the Bebes of Lemoine, Jensen and Devienne. As I approached the flight line, Lemoine came over to me, fumbling with his flying coat. “Say, Fullard, can you help me with this damned button? I can’t get it done”. With a smirk, I took a hold of his flying coat.
“Ok, stand straight”. “Yup”. “I said stand straight!” “Merde! I am!” “Nearly….there…Dammit. I can’t quite reach”. “Oh, come on! Put some effort into it!” “Well I would if you’d stand straight! Straighten your back! That’s an order, Sergent...” “Don’t push it, Americain”.
Grinning, I managed to loop the button into its hole, and stood back. With a laugh, Lemoine gave me a mock-salute, before patting me on the back. “So, Nieuport 12s, eh? Hard luck! But don’t worry, we’ll keep an eye on you”. I batted his arm away with a laugh, and turned for my own machine, calling over my shoulder “You’d better, Lemoine!”.
Beside my own machine awaited my observer, Caporal Jacquez Lefevre. Even with his flying gear, it was evident that the youth was thin and frail. From the corners of his flying cap protruded small tufts of messy brown hair, and his feminine face was dotted with freckles. As I approached, he saluted stiffly. “Adjutant Fullard, Sir! It is an honor to fly with you!”. Confusedly, I returned his salute. I wasn’t yet used to being reacted to as an officer. “Er, sure. Say, I hope you’re handy with that rear gun”. Eagerly, Lefevre nodded. At that moment, a chillingly cold, monotone voice came from behind me.
“You’re the American one, aren’t you? The scout pilot”. I turned to see Tartaux, the Biplace pilot who had gone missing on my first sortie. “Uh, yes. That’s me”. Tartaux’s beady black eyes squinted at me judgmentally. “Well, these old buses are a different beast. You’ll need to adjust. Stick close to me, and don’t break formation”. Stiffly, I nodded. “Yes, sir”.
The scouts rolled first, and I watched as Devienne’s red-winged Nieuport skipped off the ground and into the blue sky. After they had cleared the air ahead of us, Desmond pushed his throttle forwards, followed by Tartaux. Then, it was my turn.
The Nieuport 12 was heavy. Unlike the Bebe, it didn’t immediately begin to roll forwards. Instead it lurched painfully, crawling forwards like a tired old dog before finally breaking into its stride. As the wheels lifted, my machine started to dip a wing, and I came within inches of wrecking the machine against the ground then and there. Grimacing, I straightened out and formed up behind Tartaux. Ahead of me, I could see his observer disinterestedly peering back at me, observing my flying - or, fumbling. I felt myself redden.
As I manoeuvred into my position in the formation, I felt how unresponsive the controls were, and grimaced in disgust. The three Nieuport 11s soared past our left wingtips, and I longed to be there with them, in my own Bebe. I staved off the misery with thoughts of my impending transfer to the American Escadrille, where I would see my brother again.
As we approached the lines North of Marbache, I peered upwards to see the shape of three Aviatiks heading into our lines. I stared at them contemptuously as they sailed indifferently overhead, thinking what easy prey they would make. Tartaux’s observer must have shared a similar sentiment, as I saw him grinning while tracking the German machines with his machine-gun. It felt unnatural to watch the three Bosches sailing uninhibited into our lines, but nonetheless I stayed my course behind Tartaux’s Nieuport.
Overflying the German trench-lines, Lefevre ducked into his cockpit to retrieve the camera, leaning over the side and bracing himself against the structure of the fuselage. Watching Tartaux carefully, I straightened out my Nieuport and held it as level as I could as we made our run across the top of the Bosche positions. The run went smoothly, and we turned in a slow circle for a second run.
During our third run, I spotted our N11 escort suddenly snap around to the North - facing our direction. Immediately I recognised the situation. They had spotted something. Nervously I looked up and through the cutout in the top wing and quickly spotted two Aviatiks, circling above us. They were higher than our escorts, but now I saw that Lemoine and his flight had started to climb. Immediately the Aviatiks turned away to the North, with the Bebes in pursuit. A moment later, Lefevre tapped furiously on my shoulder, and I swung around. He pointed up, a look of horror on his face, and I strained my eyes, following his gesture. Then, I saw them. Two Eindeckers. The Aviatiks were a trick.
Frantically I rocked my wings, trying to signal Tartaux, but he was absorbed in his photography work, as was Desmond. Crying out in frustration, I turned West towards the lines. As I peered over my shoulder, I saw the Eindeckers diving down on the now-helpless Nieuport 12s. “Dammit! God Dammit!” I cried, as I watched the tracer slam into Desmond’s machine. A moment later it listed to the side, the first licks of flame and trails of smoke appearing at the engine cowling. Tartaux curved away to the West, both Eindeckers turning to give chase, and a moment later I was engulfed by clouds.
As we reached Ochey, I was numb. We de-planed and, silently, I made my way to write my report. The Bebes arrived shortly after me, all shot-up, but Jensen claimed he had sent one Aviatik down in flames. On the airfield, Lemoine approached me. “But where are the other Biplaces?” he asked me, and I tried to contain the rage I felt towards him in that moment. It wasn’t his fault. “The Aviatiks were a trick to lure you away. We were attacked by Eindeckers the second you turned North”. The colour drained from his face. “...the others?”. I shook my head. Frantically, Lemoine reached for his hip flask.
Ten minutes passed as we sat, hoping against hope, on the fringes of the aerodrome, when suddenly the distant sound of an aeroplane engine made itself apparent to us. Shooting up to our feet, we scanned the skies. “There!” Devienne cried, pointing to an approaching machine. “It’s Tartaux!”. Lemoine burst into relieved laughter. “Ah, Tartaux! The Bosche will never get him!”. We watched the aircraft wobble down towards land, touching down heavily before ground-looping. I immediately knew something was wrong. Two mechanics ran up to the machine, and then I heard the dreaded cry. “Toubib! Quick!”. Our relief turned to horror as we watched the limp, bloody Biplace crew be lowered onto a pair of stretchers and carried away to the medical tent.
At supper, scarcely a word was said. I replayed the event in my head, watching Desmond’s Nieuport fall in flames. Just then, de Villeneuve entered, standing at the head of our table and clearing his throat. “Gentlemen,” he begun quietly, “Tartaux and Genevois have both suffered severe wounds. We don’t know yet if they will survive.”. Silence. "And, Chaput is to be transferred to another Escadrille. He shall be leaving tomorrow. But, I do at least have some good news. I received a telegram from the front today. It seems that Quinchez is alive and well, and managed to escape back to our lines from No-Mans-Land. Pierre is on his way back with him now, and he should be rejoining us by the end of the night”. Our eyes lit up slightly, and we uttered our happiness at having Quinchez back. De Villeneuve looked over us, and then sighed. “We will pay the Bosches back for today. That will be all”.
Dawn Patrol : The Sqn's 5 a/c caught and shot down 3 Monoplanes near Ypres today. I couldn't get in a shooting position as I was flying as wing man. We went thru Head on then our 3 a/c Top Cover a/c corkscrewed on to their tails . I saw all 3 e/a crash. 1 Dh-2 damaged.
Afternoon: Solo Patrol, Chased and shot at a 2 seat near our aerodrome. The rear gunner put holes in my fuel Tank forcing me down on a road. Cruses foiled again !
Last edited by carrick58; 05/29/1909:32 PM.
#4475996 - 05/29/1909:42 PMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Finally, I can get back to WOFF. I still haven't caught up with everyone's stories, but first I need to bring Collins's English sojourn to an end...
An Airman’s Odyssey – by James Arthur Collins
Part Forty: In which I meet an odd little man who scared me
I was long overdue visiting Mummy in Cambridge. I slipped Tubby Chilton a guinea for the use of the Singer, as it had been his turn to have it and my taking it meant he had to make alternate plans for a filthy weekend in Brighton with a certain young lady. It was a beautiful day for driving and I made the journey in a little more than three and a half hours, with time for a sandwich and a pint at the Fox and Duck in Therfield.
I hadn’t been to the new family house before and was delighted with it – an ivy covered brick structure -- likely a former manse – in Grantchester, just outside of the city. The air smelled of lilac and freshly-cut grass, tulips and daffodils. The car crunched the white gravel as I pulled up in front and hoisted my bag from the passenger seat. An ancient lion knocker graced the door. I banged three times and heard footsteps. The heavy door inched open and a pleasant, mature face peered at me.
“Ooh, and you must be Mister James,” said the woman who now opened the door fully. “I am Mrs. Winthrop. I work for your mother.” There was a trace of Scots in her voice, and she carried herself with assurance and grace. I liked her at once. “Mrs. Collins is lying down, but Dorothy is waiting in the garden. May I take your bag?”
I told her I’d bring it to my room later, and asked if I could see my sister. Mrs. Winthrop led me through the hall and a library to the glass doors leading onto a bricked patio with a small fountain. Dorothy ran to me and planted a kiss on my cheek.
“How are you?” I asked as she sat and poured a cup of tea. Mrs. Winthrop retired inside.
“I’m good. Good. And you? I’m so happy to see you home safe.”
I explained that I still wasn’t sure how I had come to be here, but that I had enjoyed a short break from the front. I told her I really wasn’t looking for an extended stay in England.
“Mummy won’t like it if you say that,” she replied. “She hasn’t been herself of late.” Dorothy and my mother had always been close, and her tone gave me concern. “She’s taken Daddy’s passing very badly, I’m afraid. And she frets on you daily. And sometimes she’s a bit too fond of a cordial to settle herself.” “She’s drinking?” I asked. This was something new, and most unlike Mummy.
“It’s a real concern,” Dorothy said glumly.
We were interrupted by my mother, who emerged in a lovely violet dress and jacket, but with her greying hair awry. She planted a wet kiss on my cheek and hugged me a little too long. She sat and stared at me for nearly a full minute and began to sob – big, heaving, gasping sobs. “You are your father’s boy,” she gasped at last.
The next hours were spent in idle chat and story-telling, and gradually Mummy reclaimed her old balance and wit. Dorothy was engaged to a local banker, I learned, and Mummy had a modest social circle in Cambridge. I told them of my experiences, omitting the more hair-raising chapters. They laughed at my tales of Sergeant Wilson, especially the goose hunting escapade. They were thrilled by the stories of Jericho and Swanson from the American West. Mummy was offended that I lacked any decorations for my service. I told them of the encounter with the Zeppelin and was mildly surprised to find they had read about it in the Daily Express. We had always been a Times family, I was certain.
We ate early and I noted Mummy had three glasses of wine and ordered a cognac, all brought my Mrs. Winthrop. There had been a butler and an assistant housekeeper earlier, but the butler had volunteered last year and the assistant housekeeper was now a conductor on the trains. The household was down to Mrs. O’Reagan, the cook, and Mrs. Winthrop, the head housekeeper who doubled as a lady’s maid, plus a part-time tweeny named Peggy.
At length I ventured a question, asked in an offhand tone: “Mummy, do you have any idea how I came to be recalled to England?”
She slammed her brandy snifter to the table, breaking the stem and spilling the drink. “Of course not. How could you think such a thing?”
“Mummy,” said Dorothy. “Jimmy is just asking a question. He misses his friends in France.”
My mother’s eyes narrowed to slits. Her voice was heavy. “Jimmy would be better off looking after his own people here and minding his own business.” Then in a flash, her voice took on an unnatural sweetness. “Isn’t that right darling?” she said to me. “Isn’t it good to be home with your old Mum?”
“I’m needed in France, Mother,” I said. It was a mistake. My mother began to screech at me, calling me a fool and an ungrateful wretch. I’d become a hero over London according to the papers, and now I wanted to be an anonymous fool over the front in France. If I went back I’d be a line in the casualty reports, just like the rest of the fools. People depended on me. I had a business to run. I had my father’s legacy to carry on. That sort of thing.
I excused myself from the table, took my bag from the hall table, and headed to the car with a slurred voice shouting that if I left I should never come back. I got in the Singer and started the motor. Dorothy ran outside, tears running down her face. “Where are you going?” she asked. I had no idea. She said to check in at the Bull Hotel in town and she would find me.
It was not the visit I’d planned, but at least the Bull was comfortable and had a pleasant bar and lounge. I sipped on a glass of champagne and was surprised to see Dorothy enter less than an hour after my leaving the house in Grantchester. We moved to the sitting area off the lobby and ordered tea. Dorothy was understandably upset. Life at home had become unbearable, she said, and her engagement to Mr. MacDonald, the banker, was as much an escape from the past as a start to the future. She was an emotional tangle. “How did she do it?” I asked. “Get me here, I mean.”
Dorothy composed herself and dabbed her face with a silk hanky that smelled of lavender. “Do you remember Mr. Dunn?” she began. I did not. “Daddy met him in Edmonton when you were tiny. Dunn was in a law practice there and Daddy wanted his help to take the company public, but that never panned out. Later he began to make a lot of money as a stockbroker in Montreal and eventually moved to London, where he made a fortune as a merchant banker. A couple of years ago his banking partner disappeared and his business fell apart. He owed a great deal of money to investors, including Mummy. Anyway, a couple of months ago Mr. Dunn came to see her and wanted to negotiate terms for repayment in order to avoid bankruptcy. Mummy knew he had friends in high places and she told him she’d forgo repayment for several years if he’d help get you back in England. He said he’d talk to a friend of his, a man he called Max...” 
I arranged to write Dorothy via a friend of hers and left Cambridge in the morning. Returning to London, I went directly to the Savoy. Jimmy was not on duty until six, so I sat in the lobby with a newspaper until he showed up. I ordered a Manhattan cocktail and asked Jimmy for news. He had none, so I asked him who could help me find out who was who at the Daily Express. Jimmy said to stroll down the Strand to Mooney’s Irish House on Fleet Street. There I’d likely find an RFC staff officer named Captain Hooper. He had some responsibility for RFC press liaison and might be able to help.
Mooney’s was crowded with journalists at seven in the evening and I drew many questioning glances at my uniform. A couple of patrons obviously recognized me from the recent story in the paper. There were only three other officers in the pub, only one of which was a captain. I stood beside him at the bar and offered to buy a drink, and he happily accepted. It was indeed Captain Hooper.
“Max,” I learned, was likely a fellow named Max Aitken. Aitken was a wealthy Canadian businessman and a Conservative Member of Parliament with newspaper interests. He had bought the Globe and, unbeknownst to most in the newspaper business, was approaching majority ownership of the Daily Express. Further, he was a colonel in the Canadian Army and the head of something called the Canadian War Records Office, a position with responsibility to publicise the Canadian war effort. Its office was about ten minutes’ walk away, so I decided to stay in town. I arranged to leave the car at the Savoy, but in a concession to budget I stayed down the street at Haxell’s Hotel. At nine the next morning I appeared in the lobby of the Canadian War Records Office at 15 Tudor Street and told the clerk at the desk that I was a friend of James Dunn come to see Colonel Aitken.
I waited an hour, during which the clerk asked my name several times and returned to his desk to mumble into a telephone. There was a copy of a book written by Max Aitken, recently published and entitled Canada in Flanders. I skimmed it. It told a jingoistic tale of Canadian heroism and made no attempt at understatement. At length a Lieutenant Willson arrived to escort me up two flights of stairs. And there he was.
Aitken was far younger than I expected, rather short and broadly built. He had a wide, tight smile set in an impish face. A face like a Toby mug, I thought, only younger. He wore the pip and crown of a lieutenant-colonel of the sleeve of his Canadian tunic and his boots were improperly laced but well-polished. He leaned over and shook my hand and I quite forgot to salute. Aitken did not seem to notice. He motioned for me to sit and asked what he could do for me.
“Well sir,” I said, “it’s really what you can undo. You see, I’ve been recalled to Home Establishment three months early, and I have learned that James Dunn had a hand in it. But I strongly suspect that Mr. Dunn worked through your office. I know that RFC headquarters jumped to release me from France and that smells of Cabinet pressure. You have influence in Cabinet, I’m told. And I’m told that you and Mr. Dunn are well acquainted.”
There was a long silence. And then Colonel Aitken began to chuckle. “That quite a pair you have there, my friend.”
“I need them to fight the Hun, sir. And I want to go back to doing just that.”
Just then the phone rang and Aitken shouted for Lieut. Willson to tell them he’d call back. “Look, Mr. Collins. I did a favour for another New Brunswicker and a good friend. I’m frankly loathe to let him down no matter what you say you want.”
It was now or never. I sat upright and folded my hands in my lap. “Sir, as far as I can tell you have established this office to promote Canada’s role in the defence of the Empire. I have read your book. It’s a wonderful piece of promotion. I suspect you have used your interest in the Daily Express to make me a bit of a star turn for doing not much with my squadron over London. All fine work, but...” I hesitated here. If Aitken thought I was bluffing I was finished.
“But what?” he said.
“If I am not returned to my old squadron in France at once, I shall get in my motor and drive to my hotel where I shall call the Manchester Guardian. And then I shall detail how Conservative cronyism conspired to send a brave Canadian pilot back to his mother so that she would forgive a debt from one of Colonel Aitken’s Conservative friends and fellow financier. I respect all your good work and obvious influence, but that is exactly what I intend to do.”
Aitken examined me like a mongoose studying a snake. “You do realise, Mr. Collins, that Canada will demand its heroes and you could be one of them. I can make you or break you, Mr. Collins.”
“We can break each other, sir,” I said. “Or I can be sent back to Number 3 Squadron at Lahoussoye, resume my duties for the Empire, and say no more about this. It’s your decision, sir. There will be other Canadian airmen you can write about, I’m sure.” In the silence that followed my heart nearly deafened me with its drumbeat.
Aitken pulled back his chair and at the sound of the scraping, Lieutenant Willson reappeared at the door.
“Mr. Willson, please escort Mr. Collins downstairs. Mr. Collins, it has been a pleasure to speak with you.” And with that, I left.
I had scarcely been back at Hounslow a day when orders came through to board a ship out of Folkestone for Calais and report to 3 Squadron no later than Thursday, 25 May 1916. I had enjoyed my brief time with 39 Squadron. We now had only one flight at Hounslow, so I hosted a fine dinner at a local restaurant for the fellows and the squadron command group. Tubby offered to buy my half of the Singer, and the next day I was at Victoria Station by ten in the morning.
 James Hamet Dunn, later Sir James, Baronet (1874-1956) was a lawyer, stockbroker, merchant banker, and industrialist. Despite setbacks in 1915-1916, he quickly re-established his fortune and established many large companies including British Celanese, Algoma Steel (Canada), and Canada Steamship Lines. A native of Bathurst, New Brunswick, he was a good friend of Sir Max Aitken, also a native New Brunswicker.
 Mooney’s Irish House on the south side of Fleet Street is today called the Tipperary. Its entrance features a long history of the pub, almost all of it inaccurate.
 William Maxwell “Max” Aitken, later Sir Max Aitken, Baron Beaverbrook (1879-1964) was a financial, political, and publishing powerhouse. Like James Dunn, he put together many companies, including the once giant Steel Company of Canada. Moving to London in 1910, he became friends with fellow New Brunswicker Andrew Bonar Law, who was a rising force in the Conservative Party, and with Winston Churchill. Aitken won a seat in Parliament and broadened his influence by acquiring newpapers, beginning with the Globe and then, later in 1916, achieving control of the Daily Express. He later acquired a number of other major papers and became the premier media baron in the United Kingdom. In 1915, Aitken was appointed as “Canada’s Eye Witness” to the war by Canadian Prime Minister Robert Borden and Minister of Defence Sam Hughes. Aitken then financed the establishment of the Canadian War Records Office, essentially an archive of Canadian war information and a propaganda machine for the Canadian war effort. The CWRO sponsored war reporting, filming, and art. Aitken was made an honorary lieutenant-colonel. A political animal of the first order, Aitken was instrumental in undermining support for Prime Minister Asquith throughout 1915 and 1916, leading to Asquith’s replacement by Lloyd George in December 1916. Aitken held a number of Cabinet appointments, and is best remembered as Churchill’s Minister of Aircraft Production in the Second World War.
 Lieutenant Henry Beckles Willson was a man of letters and historian who worked briefly as an archivist of unit histories and assistant to Max Aitken around this time. He left the CWRO as a result of a difficult relationship with Aitken.
 The Guardian was the standard-bearer for the Liberal Party.
#4476078 - 05/30/1902:27 PMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Wulfe, terrific story. As I read your work I can see the scene in my mind and feel the emotion.
Raine, that was a tough homecoming! I hope your Mother can get a grip. Your ultimatum to Mr. Aitken was perfect. Loved it. Jericho would have punched him out and accomplished nothing. He is not as smart as Jim.
Never approach a bull from the front, a horse from the rear or a fool from either end. BOC Member since....I can't remember!
#4476082 - 05/30/1902:49 PMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Raine, your writing continues to impress. Really cleverly written little details, like the bit about the Collins' being a 'Times Family', just add such a nice level of depth and authenticity to your cast. Every time I read one of your episodes I learn something new about how to craft a story. Bravo!
Now, the latest from the Verdun sector:
Adj. James B. Fullard, Escadrille N.31, Ochey, France.
May 29th 1916:
Chaput stood before me on the morning of the 28th, outside the NCO’s barracks. His warm, kindly smile remained unchanged from my first day in Escadrille 31. “So, I’ve heard you are to join l’Escadrille Americaine. Your brother, Michael, is there, no? I’m glad to hear it!”. I smiled and lit a cigarette, passing one off to him. “Yes, me too. But, what about you? Where are they sending you?”.
“Me? I’m going to Escadrille 57. They’re on Nieuports, too” “57? Aren’t they near Verdun?” “Oui. I’ll certainly be busy!” “Well, take care of yourself, Jean. If I ever get the chance I’ll stop by”. “You take care too, Americain”.
We shook hands, my other hand placed on his shoulder. And then, with a wink, he turned and slung his kit over his shoulder, walking down the path to Pierre’s awaiting Fiat. The door clicked shut behind him, and with a cloud of dust he was gone, the little fiat speeding away down the country roads.
At One O’Clock I made to the hangars to retrieve my flying gear and make ready for the afternoon artillery spotting mission. As I entered I found Souris tightening the flying wires on my Nieuport 12. He nodded to me as I entered, quickly dropping and averting his eyes in his usual nervous way. “Say, Souris, where’s Therry?”. From within the observer’s cockpit came a voice. “Right here”. Thierry’s head popped out over the lip of the cockpit, a look of misery on his face. “I can’t believe the C.O. is making you fly this wretched thing!”. I laughed. “Me neither. Glad you’re thinking of me though!”.
“Thinking of you? Merde! It’s not you I’m thinking about! These damned old coucous are a nightmare to work on! Every cylinder re-bored, every wire frayed, hell, even the canvas is wearing thin! Not only that, but how are you ever supposed to get my rudder now?”. “I’m just as annoyed about it as you are”. “Tch! If you say so! Well, seeing as you’re here, you can give us a hand in wheeling it out”.
Removing my tunic, I obliged Thierry and we parked the Nieuport next to what was now the only other Biplace machine in the squadron, which belonged to Adjutant Papiel. A moment later, I observed the Bebes of Lemoine and little Devienne being wheeled onto the field. By the side of the hangars I could see young Lefevre wrestling with his flying coat.
At half past One the pilots and observers gathered on the flight line. Papiel approached me with a wide grin on his face. “You must be Fullard! It’s a pleasure. How are you finding the Nieuport 12? She’s no Bebe, but she’s a fine machine, no?”. I raised an eyebrow. “I heard about your show yesterday. Sounds like it was rough. Anyway, I’d better get myself ready to go. We can meet each other properly afterwards!”. Lemoine, who had been standing idly beside my machine, now came up to me.
“Fullard, got a smoke?” he asked, a slight slur to his voice. On his breath was the faint aroma of Pinard. I frowned slighly, looking him over.
“Lemoine, are you drunk?” “What? No, of course not…!” “Dammit. Give me your hip flask”. “What! Hell, no!”
Despite myself, anger flashed wildly in my eyes. “Lemoine! I won’t be killed because you’re too drunk to think!” I roared, as Lemoine’s eyes widened in shock. “Now give me the damned flask!”. Mouth agape, Lemoine reached into his breast pocket and passed me the flask. It was near-empty. I dropped it into the pocket of my flying jacket, my blood boiling. From over Lemoine’s shoulder, I saw Devienne peering out from within his Nieuport, a similar look of shock on his face. Cursing under my breath, I climbed into my cockpit. “Everything okay, sir?” Lefevre asked from behind me. “Fine” I muttered.
As our engines roared into life, I immediately felt nauseous with remorse for my outburst at Lemoine. I looked over at him, hoping to catch his eye and mouth an apology, but he was staring straight forwards, a dull look in his eyes. I felt miserable. All of a sudden I heard Papiel’s engine roar as he pushed his throttle forwards, and I was snapped back into the situation. Papiel’s machine crawled forwards, and I followed.
The flying weather was beautiful, the best we had had in weeks with not a single cloud in sight, but I was unable to enjoy it. In my pocket I could feel Lemoine’s hip flask knocking against my side. We made St. Meheil in good time, and soon Lefevre was leaning over the side of the cockpit with his signalling lamp as we oveflew the German positions. Above our heads, the Bebes circled vigilantly. Even so, I scanned the skies by force of habit. Every so often, a series of flashes caught my eye as a salvo fell on the German positions. We circled several times, and I could see the responses of the gunners to Lefevre’s furiously blinking light with each new salvo. I was amazed that no Bosches had arrived on such an agreeable flying day. Before too long, our work was done and we turned back towards Ochey.
After we de-planed, I walked over to Lemoine, embarrassment and shame burning in my cheeks. I retrieved the hip flask and handed it to him. “Lemoine, I’m sorry. I don’t know what came over me”. Lemoine sighed, and then smiled. “No, no, I understand. It’s okay, mon ami. It’s just…” his smile faded. “After yesterday, I blamed myself. Falling for that Bosche trick, I mean”. Looking down, he turned the hip flask over in his hands, before holding it back out to me. “Say, why don’t you hold on to this for a little longer?”. I looked at him and made to protest, but my better judgement stopped me before I could get the words out. Quietly, I took back the flask and interned it in the breast pocket of my tunic. Lemoine patted me on the back and made for the barracks.
I was intercepted while making my way towards the mess for late lunch by Messier. “Fullard! The C.O wants you again”. I stiffened. Could it be, already? Quickly thanking Messier (to his shock - he was used to nothing but insults at this point) I rushed to de Villeneuve’s office, forgetting to knock as I burst in. De Villeneuve looked up at me with a sly smile on his face, and silently handed me a piece of paper. Hungrily I scanned the words on it, the corners of my mouth twitching upwards. This was it. My transfer papers. Wordlessly, I looked up at de Villeneuve. “You are to report to Capitane Thenault by 1200 tomorrow. Pierre is ready for you whenever you chose to leave”. Stiffly, I snapped to attention and gave de Villeneuve an impassioned salute. “Thank you, sir. For everything”. He laughed, a long booming laugh. “Best of luck, Fullard!”.
I ran back to the Sergeant’s mess, bursting through the door to the surprise of the pilots crowded in there. Waving the transfer orders for them to see, I cried out “They’re sending me to l’Escadrille Americaine!”. After a moment of stunned silence, the pilots broke into cheers. Little Devienne jumped to his feet, shaking my hand vigorously. “Congratulations, Fullard! Good on you!”.
Saying goodbye to all my good friends of Escadrille was an emotional moment for me, but it was Lemoine who accompanied me to Pierre’s waiting Fiat. The first pilot to greet me, the first to see me out. “Still have that flask?” he asked, as we came to a stop beside the car. I nodded, taking it out and handing it to him. Kneeling down, he produced a small knife and laid the flask flat before putting the tip to it and starting to etch into it a sentence. After a few moments, he rose back to his feet, dusted off his knees, and handed it to me with a wink. I looked down and read the messily-carved inscription.
À JAMES, BONNE CHANCE! - ESC. 31.
We shook hands for the final time, and I stepped into the car. “Take care of yourself, Lemoine”. He nodded with a smile, closing the door for me. “Until we meet again, Fullard!”. With that, he promptly turned and strolled back towards the mess, and the car rolled forwards. In the front seat, Pierre turned back towards me. “So, off to fly with the Americans! I won’t miss having to drive out and collect you all the time!”. I chuckled, and told him to keep his damned eyes on the road.
The drive to Bar-le-Duc was lengthy, and the sun had started to bathe the few solitary clouds in pink as we arrived outside a large, luxurious villa which marked the home of the Escadrille Americaine. In the last moments of the drive, I came to find that the location of my new posting was something of great beauty - through the center of the town, which sat on a wide plateau, ran a sleepy river, beset on each side by clumps of wildflowers and great arching willow trees. I stepped out of the car and Pierre helped me to the steps of the Villa with my suitcase. “Well, this is it, mon ami Americain! I shan’t linger. I shook his hand, and watched him as he clambered back into his little Fiat, speeding away down the road. I lifted my suitcase and walked up the steps, pushing the large, heavy oak door open and stepping into a decadent foyer. Two sets of grandiose stairs swept upwards on either side towards the high ceiling, and large portraits accented the white walls, and in the centre of the floor stood a pilot.
The pilot held himself in perfect poise, his postured stance with his arms folded behind his back displaying an ease of confidence. From underneath the brim of his horizon blue kepi, two kindly, slightly squinted eyes regarded me with a keen interest. The corners of his mouth flicked upwards in a subtle smile, and his squared-off moustache curled with it. Instinctually I snapped to attention, my suitcase following heavily at my side. The Capitane’s smile broadened as he carefully and deliberately strolled towards me, stopping a few feet away. I was immediately awed.
“Bonsoir, Monsieur Fullard. I am Capitane Georges Thenault, commander of l’Escadrille Americaine. I trust your journey was pleasant? S'il vous plaît, no need to stand to attention!”. “Yes sir, thank you” I replied, standing at ease. “Your room has been prepared for you upstairs and on the left. Feel free to leave your luggage by the door, I will have an orderly move it for you. Tomorrow I shall drive you out to our aerodrome. But, for now, you must be hungry, and keen to see your brother, no? Come! We are just about to serve supper!”.
I followed Thenault as he led me through a doorway which stood underneath the balcony at the top of the stairs, and we stepped through into a large, elegant dining room, its high cream walls ornamented in golden trim. On the marble tiled floor stood a long dining table, covered with a fine silk tablecloth, around which sat nine pilots, laughing and joking among themselves in English and French. To hear my own native tongue was a larger shock than I expected it to be. As Thenault and I approached the table, I suddenly heard the cry of “James!”, and before I could even turn to see who had called my name I was almost barreled over by Michael crashing into my side, throwing his arms around me and laughing out loud.
“Ah, it’s so good to see you, kiddo! How have you been?” “Never mind that, Michael, how have you been!” “Come and have a seat next to me! We have so much to catch up on!”
Graciously the pilot that had sat beside Michael moved to Thenault’s side, and I sat down beside my brother. I studied his face for a moment, not exactly the same as I remembered it. Slightly thinner, with shadows under his eyes. But that broad Fullard grin was unmistakable. Suddenly, his eyes widened and he prodded a finger into the ribbons on my chest. “What the hell is this?!” he demanded, and I reddened slightly. “Oh, well, I didn’t get them for doing anything incredible”. He shook his head while laughing. “You didn’t even think to tell me that my little brother had won both the Croix de Guerre and the Medaille Militaire?”.
Across the table from us came a voice. “Dear lord, there’s two of them now! As if the war was hard enough!”. Laughter echoed around the table as I turned to see, a portly pilot with a thick, wiry moustache. Smiling at me, he leaned across and extended a hand. “Nice to meet you, James. We’ve all heard plenty about you. I’m Bill Thaw”.
One by one, Thaw introduced me to the other pilots of the squadron. There was Victor Chapman, a French-American from New York. Chapman was very polite, and seemed to me the type of person who was, inexplicably, a well of genuine cheer and happiness. Beside Chapman sat Elliot Cowdin, another New Yorker. Clenched in his teeth was a large cigar, from which plumes of smoke made their spiralling patterns up towards the ceiling. Norman Prince, from Boston, was the pilot that had moved to allow me to sit next to Michael. Before the war he had studied Law at Harvard. As Thaw explained, Prince was one of the founders of the Escadrille, responsible for its organisation, the other being Thenault and himself.
Next were the two Texans, Clyde Balsley, from El Paso, and Lawrence Rumsey, from Buffalo. Beside them were Chouteau Johnson and Gervais Raoul Lufbery. The latter I took particular interest in. He was the only one to greet me in French, and he reminded me slightly in his mannerisms of Metayer - he had the same cold smile, his eyes betrayed the same killing intent, as the young flier I had known at Ochey. However, he was certainly more socially adjusted.
On Thenault’s other side was Alfred De Laage De Meux, a Frenchman like the Capitane. He seemed to be very interested in what I had to say, much to my surprise. “So, James! I hear you are an Ace! I imagine you will have no trouble in upholding the Squadron’s good name, then! I think we’ll get on like a house on fire, what do you say?”. Taken aback, I politely agreed. There were a few chuckles around the table.
Finally, Thaw indicated to a pilot on the corner of the table. “And this is Bert Hall”. The room seemed to tense up ever so slightly. With a smirk, Bert waved a hello to me, which I returned. Everybody returned to their conversations. Leaning over, Michael whispered into my ear. “Watch out for Bert. He’s a bad sort. Does a lot of lying”.
As promised, Capitane Thenault saw me too my room on the upper floor of the villa. As I opened the door and peered inside, I was amazed. Above a grand oak writing desk sat a large mirror. A chest sat at the bottom of the bed, on top of which my suitcase had neatly been placed. The bed itself was spacious, and impossibly comfortable compared to my modest little cot at Ochey, and it sat beside two large windows that opened out onto a small private balcony. “All this, just for me?” I asked, turning to Thenault. He chuckled softly, and replied “Welcome to the Escadrille”, before sliding the door shut behind him.
1) The Villa which became home to the American Escadrille was supplied my Maj. Fabiani, which had been abandoned by its former owner.
2) 'Bert' Hall was greatly disliked by his colleagues in the Escadrille, gaining a reputation as a liar and a troublemaker. Unsurprisingly, he did not stay in the Escadrille for very long.
Adj. James B. Fullard, Escadrille N.124 'Americaine' Behonne Aerodrome, France. 5 Victories, 1 awaiting confirmation.
May 30th 1916:
After the most luxurious rest I had experienced since my arrival I wandered downstairs to find a plate of croissants and a pot of hot coffee. Awaiting there was Thenault and Thaw, both enjoying their breakfast. I was invited to join them, which I graciously accepted. Once we had eaten, Thenault led me out to the car which sat in the driveway of the Villa. We clambered in and drove down the roads towards a large aerodrome on the edge of a pine forest. We stepped out onto the field.“Come, James. Let’s meet your mechanics”.
On the aerodrome were six canvas hangars, much larger than the ones at Ochey, and two wooden workshops, around which scores of mechanics lay idly around on the grass, basking in the warm sun. Thenault led me to one hangar, in which two Nieuport 11s sat. One was painted entirely in a brown and green camouflage, and the other was painted in brilliant sky blue. As we approached, a lean mechanic appeared, the sleeves of his overalls rolled up to reveal two forearms like oak tree trunks. “Ah, Aubin, here’s your new pilot, Adjutant Fullard”. The mechanic broke into a warm, endearing grin and extended a bearlike paw towards me. “Allo, Adjutant Fullard! My name ees Aubin Joubert!” he chirped happily, in a heavily-accented attempt at english. “Eet ees...er…” his smile faded and his brow furrowed. “Eet ees nice to meet you…?” he muttered to himself, under his breath. Despite myself I chuckled, and I saw the mechanic’s cheeks redden slightly. “Ne t'inquiète pas, je parle français” I told him with a wink, and his face lit up anew. Capitane Thenault bit back a smile. “Well, I’ll leave you to it”.
In French, Aubin showed me to my Nieuport, the brown-and-green one. After my two brief trips to the front in a Biplace, I was relishing at the chance to fly a Bebe again. “So, what will your insignia be?” he asked, and I shot him a confused glance. He went on to explain that each pilot had their own insignia painted on their fuselage, so as to recognise each other in flight. Whereas most pilots simply painted the initial of their last name, some designs were more exuberant, with the most recognisable being Capitane Thenault’s, who had left his machine in its original unpainted linen, and Chapman’s - the owner of the sky-blue Nieuport beside mines. I told Aubin I wanted my initials - J.F. - to mark my machine. “But of course! I’ll fetch the paint”.
As I milled around, other pilots began to appear on the aerodrome. I bumped into Michael, and we started to talk at length of our experiences in the air so far. He was thrilled to hear the stories behind my air victories, and showed concern as I told him of my two crashes. He roared with laughter at my stories of the comical Lemoine and little Devienne, the hopeless romantic. At noon, Capitane Thenault gathered the pilots and informed us that we were to go on patrol at 1 O’Clock. As de Villeneuve had forewarned me, I was assigned to lead one flight, with Thenault leading a second flight.
To both our excitement, Thenault assigned Michael as my wingman, with de Meux, Johnson and Chapman behind us. Cowden and Lufbery were to fly with the Capitane. As our eight Nieuports were simultaneously wheeled onto the field, I felt a rush of childlike excitement. Never before had I seen so many Bebes flying at once! I felt a surge of pride to see my own Nieuport on the flight line, its initials shining brightly against the dark camouflage. Promptly we donned our flying gear, climbed aboard our machines and set off towards St. Mihiel.
The front seemed to be busy today - after all, it was beautiful weather to fly in. I first saw at a distance two Nieuport 11s escorting a Biplace, and wondered to myself if it might be Escadrille 31. Next, we saw the giant shape of a lone Caudron silhouetted against a cloud as it lumbered back home. Venturing out further into no-mans-land, I looked around eagerly for German machines, hoping recklessly for a scrap. All of a sudden the bright blue machine to my left shuddered and coughed out a great cloud of black smoke, and Chapman signalled that he was turning for home with engine damage.
The skies appeared to be entirely devoid of Germans, much to my amazement. In my confusion, I took the flight further north, but nothing appeared to us. Finally relenting, I turned back South to return home, but just as I was about to turn away from the lines something caught my eye. There! Yes! Flying low over the front-lines was a single Eindecker! Immediately I snapped my nose towards the Bosche and begun to descend, my flight following closely behind. The lone wolf spotted us, but too late. We came down in screaming dives, and in a flash I was behind the German, firing a long burst. Almost immediately as my bullets impacted the Bosche machine there was a terrific flash of sparks as the engine burst into flames. The stricken monoplane stayed its course, but then Michael appeared behind it and fired a second burst into the machine, at which point its nose tilted forwards and it fell into a spiralling dive.
Grinning with delight, I turned the flight back for home, across the lines. Then, with no warning, the revolutions of my engine suddenly dropped, and then fell silent. Dumbfounded, I stared at the propeller as it windmilled to a halt, before signalling to de Meux that I was going to try and ditch. My bewilderment soon turned to anxiety as I looked down for a place to land, seeing nothing but shell craters, rolling hills and copses of trees. Frantically I searched for a landing spot as I descended, but it seemed that every inch of Verdun had been purpose-built to destroy any aeroplanes that attempted a landing. With time rapidly running out, I finally spotted a relatively flat field and made for it. However, as I approached I saw that the field was surrounded by a picket fence. If I had been approaching lengthways it would have been no problem, but I was coming towards the field from the side. There was simply not enough room to roll to a stop. In one last ditch effort, I rolled the Nieuport onto its side, mere feet from the ground, and once I had performed a quarter turn I yanked the stick back to level my wings. There was a terrifying jolt as I hit the ground, and I screwed my eyes shut.
When I opened them again, I was astounded to find that...I was sitting on the ground, perfectly upright! Beggaring all belief, my Nieuport hadn’t even a scratch on it. I begun to laugh like a man possessed at the absurdity of the situation, before wiping the tears from my eyes and clambering from my Nieuport. Hearing the drone of an engine overhead, I saw Michael’s Nieuport circling above, and I gave him a cheery wave. He waved back, and turned towards Behonne.
After an hour or two of me sitting beside my Nieuport and wondering what to do with myself, a pair of trucks arrived and out hopped four mechanics, Aubin among them.Thenault appeared from the passenger seat of one truck with a grin on his face. “A little engine trouble, James? What rotten luck, on your first sortie with us! Well, I see that you managed to get her down okay at least. The others told me that you shot down a Fokker, by the way. Excellent work!”
I watched with interest as my machine was swiftly disassembled by the mechanics and loaded into the trucks. Eventually I jumped into one, and we drove back to the Aerodrome, where my machine was reassembled and wheeled to one of the workshops.
Dawn Balloon attack. Assigned as Top cover no e/a sighted. I can confirmed that the flight of 3 a/c got the balloon. for 1 DH 2 Danaged.
Afternoon Line Patrol. Our 3 a/c contacted one 2 seat escorted by 2 Monoplanes. Drove them down lots of holes and turns no kills. I took on the Recon fired from 600 meters down to 400 them replaced drum, Repeated till 4 drums were empty no score. 2 DH 2's damaged.
Last edited by carrick58; 05/30/1907:15 PM.
#4476130 - 05/30/1911:52 PMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Good even Gents! I have been having computer problems. As I am dumb as a box of hammers when it comes to computers I called in the big guns. My daughter came over today and downloaded Mr. Wiggins pilot backup utility and we did a clean install. Success! Jericho still lives and WOFF is flying better than it has in a while. I will be back in the mix tomorrow. Mark is a happy camper!
Never approach a bull from the front, a horse from the rear or a fool from either end. BOC Member since....I can't remember!
#4476137 - 05/31/1903:11 AMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Wulfe, thanks so much for the comments. While I'm going to miss James's friends (especially Lemoine and little Devienne), the first installment of the Escadrille Americaine story has gripped me. You've painted the different mood of the place quickly and well.
Lou, I love the Norwegian Swan livery! It didn't take you long to get blooded in No 70.
Maeran, wonderful vignettes, both the letter and the death of Tilley and Howell's landing.
Fullofit, Gaston is a man possessed. France will have to come up with some new gongs just for him. Wonderful stories and excellent flying in the vids. I envy your skill.
MFair, I think we'll need to ride different steeds in 3 Squadron before we go roping those Walfische.
Carrick, three kills already. Careful of those two seaters!
Collins is back in France...
An Airman’s Odyssey – by James Arthur Collins
Part Forty-One: In which I come home - from home
The scene had not changed a bit. In the east, an intermittent rumble of guns. The engine whine and banging of the tender as it lurched away across a rutted bit of track. And in front the neat row of Bessonneau hangars, each with four machines. Corporal MacInch, a rigger, gave me a cheery wave and a cry of “You’re back, sir! Good to have you here.” My boots crunched along the familiar gravel path that led to the long wooden building behind the hangars and bordering on a small orchard, the squadron office. I dropped by bag beside the step and bent to pat Hobble, the three-legged dog that had adopted B Flight. Inside I found Major Harvey-Kelly in shirt sleeves, pounding on a typewriter.
“Mr. Collins reporting for duty, sir,” I announced with a smart salute. The Major turned with a broad grin and headed over to shake my hand.
“Welcome back, Collins. I’ve been hearing the most wonderful stories about the trouble you’ve caused in London. Couldn’t get you back soon enough, they say. Let me buy you a drink and tell me all about it.” He fetched his tunic and led me outside to his car. Just then I saw Jericho leading Moon to the stables. I stood in the car and shouted to him as the Major began to drive off. “Meet us in the C Flight mess!”
The car squealed to a stop outside the Café du Progrès where the ladies Defossez were peeling potatoes. This was our dining area, although we had set up a bar and anteroom in an adjacent farm building. The Major asked the younger Mme Defossez for un morceau de fromage and some wine and we headed into the back room where the flight took its meals. Our hostess appeared with a large clay jug of claret, a board, a quarter round of a delicious half-hard cheese and a piece of Camembert, and half a loaf of fresh, warm bread. I suddenly realised that I was starving and did my best to tell the tale of my encounter with Max Aitken while feeding my face.
Major Harvey-Kelly was genuinely concerned about my mother’s condition, but I told him I’d walled that off nicely and it would not affect me. “That’s good,” he said, “because I want to give Captain Mealing a bit of a rest. He’s not due for leave or HE for a little while, but I have him as Acting Technical Officer. He is still C Flight commander, of course, but I want to limit his flight time. You’ll be leading much of the time – temporary, acting, unpaid. You know the drill.”
I was flattered and told him so. I ventured the comment that Sergeant Bayetto was the most experienced fellow we had and should be considered for a commission. The Major concurred and I had the impression he was working on that plan already. He brought me up to date. We’d had a few losses – all new pilots or observers. C Flight now consisted of Captain Mealing, a chap named Whistler, a recent arrival named Lewis, and me. I was to billet with the Poidevins once more, which delighted me. I had brought them some fine cakes from Fortnum and Mason and was impatient to see them again. Lawley and Williams, the observers who roomed there with me, had both been invalided out. Lewis was now there, and so was an observer named Chickering. The Major stood to leave just as Jericho arrived at the door. It was like Old Home Week. Jericho grabbed my should like a vice and shook my hand until I begged him to stop. It was time to tell the Aitken story all over again.
We polished off most of the cheese and nearly all of the wine (I use “we” liberally on the last point, for Jericho asked for a coffee), and I lit a cigarette as my cowboy friend told me about a hair-raising tangle with the new Roland two-seaters. He was about to start another tale when I sat up and swore. “I almost forgot,” I said. “This arrived at Hounslow yesterday morning as I was preparing to leave.”
I passed an envelope to Jericho. He stared at the American stamp and the return address: M. Sigurdsson and he unfolded it and read. The beginning was mainly commenting with my Dad’s death and the family moving to England and my role in the business. Jericho read the last paragraph.
“Tell your friend that I was in Tupelo, Mississippi, last week and scouted out Mrs. Cameron’s place. I forgot the parcel you sent me at home but need to go back next week. By the time you get this letter, Mrs Deemer Cameron will know her son is in uniform, in France, and in one piece. Regards, Mike.”
Jericho smiled like a kid at Christmas. “Say, Pard,” he said. “Do you think the landlady has any more of that wine?”
The first few days were a blur. May was coming to an end, the sun was up until after eight, and we were flying at least two patrols each good day. On 27 May I led an artillery spotting show south of the Somme. Wilson was letting out the antenna wire when he spotted three Fokkers climbing towards our flight of three Moranes. He quickly cranked in the cable and readied the Lewis. I waggled our wings and turned to meet the Huns. The fight did not last long. I heard the gun hammer away while I held the Morane in a shallow spiral. After a minute, or perhaps less, the firing stopped. I saw Lewis’s machine circling above. His Hun had gone. Bayetto was turning with a Fokker off to the north, but held the advantage. Then I noticed a ribbon of dark smoke trailing from a yellow machine a thousand feet below and a half-mile to the east. One of the Huns was damaged. I reached back and pounded on Wilson’s back, and then pointed ahead. We dived, gaining on the stricken Hun. I blipped the engine as we drew alongside and Wilson began firing in short bursts. The Fokker’s propeller stopped and its gentle glide grew steeper. The machine was over a small wood and the pilot struggled to put it down in a rough clearing, but it stalled and fell into the trees. I noted the position – two miles northwest of Péronne.
"The Fokker’s propeller stopped and its gentle glide grew steeper."
There was no need to worry. Lewis came alongside, pointed at the column of smoke rising from the wood, and gave me the “OK” sign. Wilson and I had our fourth victory.
#4476167 - 05/31/1901:46 PMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
As you can see, he's had very little luck with the International Claims Department. After his first victory (a Nupe), he's managed to shot down three Quirks and one Fee, but unfortunately none of the claims were confirmed. Julius did finally get a promotion, but it didn't help with his Fokker E.III problem. I'm beginning to think it's not even possible to fly the Fokker E.IV in this particular squadron. In addition to Julius, there's only one non-historical pilot in the unit, and he's flying the same old Einie 3 as Julius, despite having the high rank of Hauptmann! Meanwhile, the historical pilots are all flying the E.IV and there are even two extra Einie 4s kept in reserve. Wouldn't it make sense to allow Julius and the Hautpmann to fly those reserve planes?
I haven't had the energy to write new stories, but I'm hoping to improve on that front now that my health is again getting better.
Awesome new stories in this thread! Keep it up.
"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
#4476185 - 05/31/1904:14 PMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Hasse, it's wonderful to hear from Julius and to know his "boss's" health is recovering. I sympathise with your EIII / EIV dilemma. Yet I remind myself that the Albatros will arrive later this year and dry my tears. Cheers, mate!
#4476200 - 05/31/1905:49 PMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Lt. Mark A. Jericho Lahoussoye Aerodrome Morane 126 Missions 150 Hours 2 Confirmed kills 7 Claims
C flight had just returned from bombing Athies Junction and made out their reports. Lt. Griffen asked if he could have a word with the Major who nodded in the affirmative and dismissed Jericho and Richards. Once the door was shut Lt. Griffen looked at the Major and began. "Major, may I speak frankly Sir?" The Major replied, "Of course Lt. What is on your mind." Lt. Griffen shuffled a bit and straightened up. "I don't know what you have against Lt. Jericho Sir but"....The Major held up his hand and stopped Griffen in mid sentence. "I have nothing against the man Lt. Not that it's any of your concern but Jericho makes it hard on himself. Is that clear Lt.?"
"Yes Sir Major!" Griffen replied, "May I continue Sir". The Major nodded yes.
"Griffen cleared his throat. "I don't know what Lt. Jericho has in his report but as we were approaching the target we spotted 3 Eindekers coming down on us from behind. I signaled Lt. Jericho and he made it clear to ignore them and stay on the bombing run. It was a full 2 minutes we flew straight and dropped our eggs while the Huns were bearing down on us. As soon as we dropped we were in a go around with Huns. Jericho had one on his tail and we had two. Lt. Jericho kept breaking off from his Hun to scatter the two on my tail. It did not take them long to break off and head home. I realize the man's manners are not what we are used to and his language sometimes would make a Sgt. Major blush but he is one of the bravest men I have flown with Sir."
The Major sat back in his chair and eyed Griffen. "Duly noted Lt." The Major paused a bit. "Is that all?" Lt. Griffen said "Yes Sir!" Saluted and walked out of the office.
May 31st. 1916 Jericho was in high spirits. His friend James had returned from England. Some in the squadron had been grumbling about "people in high places" when he went back to England. Jericho would tell them right off. "You need to stop your blabbin' about s#@@t you don't know nothin' about. I ain't got no more idea than you about why he was sent home but I can tell you straight up, It was none of his doin." No one would dispute Jericho on his feelings for Jim. Jericho knew the ones who grumbled the loudest would have been the first to pack their bags given the chance. Jim had brought news that Jericho's mother knew of his whereabouts now which put him at ease. He knew it was hard for a mother to go 4 years without any information on her only son. At least now if he were to "go west" she would know.
The first mission today was bombing Athies again. They had 3 escorts on this mission and when 2 Eindeckers showed up the Frenchies took care of them with ease. The mission went off without a hitch. Their second mission. was to bomb the front lines southeast of Cappy. It was a beautiful afternoon and they were not even bothered by Archie. All the way back to Lahoussoye all Jericho could think about was Camille. "If I can get through this war alive I'm going to make her a proper woman" he thought.
Never approach a bull from the front, a horse from the rear or a fool from either end. BOC Member since....I can't remember!
#4476338 - 06/02/1912:01 AMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Keith Cunard Mallory Sgt, Rfc 29 Sqn, Ablee AF. DH-2's 3 Kills Jun 1, 1916.
Morning Escort Mission: 3 a/c + 1 FE2b to Harbourin AF I say old man, Cup of Tea.
Balloon Bust: 5 a/c a Real shambles the flight got the Gas Bag,but the monoplanes showed up and the fight was on. I was last over target and dove to help out a replacement pilot got off 2 strings of 8-10 rds then one dropped on me . Twisted turned and ran nearing the lines I caught some shells in my Motor smoked started puking out the back did some low level Blue Max flying thru tress into our lines. It was then the motor packed up and down I went in a pasture . Losses: Enemy 1 Balloon. 29 Sqn : 2 Destroyed machines + mine forced down with Heavy Damage + 1 Lt Damage.
#4476382 - 06/02/1902:14 PMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
2 June, 1916 Fienvillers, France 70 Squadron, R.F.C. Lt. Randolph Arvid Swanson, MC & Bar, CdG 13 confirmed victories
Lieutenant Swanson was thoroughly enjoying breakfast in his new accommodations at Mme Corcelles' boarding house. As he sipped at some wonderfully strong coffee he finished off a second warm brioche which he’d slathered with an apricot jam that he was sure had nearly as much rum in it as it had fruit – it was all beyond delicious. On the table in front of him was spread a two-week old copy of “Le Miroir” which Swany was muddling his way through, (while he was getting quite good at speaking French, reading it was still proving a fair challenge). On the cover of the newspaper was a photo of the Countess Markievicz seated in the back of an ambulance which was being used to transport her to prison after being sentenced for her part in the rebellion in Ireland during the week of Easter. ''La Comtesse Markievicz regagne la prison apres sa condemnation”, read the caption. As much as the young Minnesotan was willing to fight for Britain against the Hun, he was fully on the side of the Irish Republic and their fight for independence. How could he not be when his own country had done the very same thing little more than a century before?
“Will you be having more coffee Lieutenant”, Mme Corcelles inquired in a way that sounded more like a challenge than a question. Swany smiled and thanked the woman politely and informed her he was finishing up and would be heading over to camp soon, so nothing more for him. She gave a thin, stern smile as she turned back into the kitchen. He laughed quietly to himself, the woman amused him, and reminded him of his old Norwegian aunt. A good sort, and not willing to take guff from anyone.
It was about ten minutes of eight and Swany still had the table to himself despite the presence of another half dozen boarders in the house. Since taking a room here four days ago he’d come to the conclusion that he and the Madame were the only early risers. He took one last long, leisurely drink of his coffee then stood, folded the paper, and placed it back in the basket of reading material perched on the sideboard behind him. He smoothed out his uniform then headed out the front door into the bright blue of another beautiful morning.
As Lieutenant Swanson walked towards camp along the Rue de la Gare he thought about yesterday morning’s mission. It had been a line patrol to the north all the way up to Béthune with four of the squadron’s Strutters. The weather had been fair and winds had been light out of the west, and the flight to the AO had been very quiet. That changed shortly after they were over the city when Swany’s G/O, Lt. Christopher Dent, tapped him on the shoulder and pointed to a spot in the sky off their lower portside. Three Eindeckers were flying along towards the east not but 500’ below them. Swany waggled the wings of his mount and dove hard on the enemy craft. Two others of his flight did the same while the fourth Strutter stayed high to act as lookout.
It was again no real contest as the new Sopwiths completely outclassed the aging Fokkers. Swany’s target attempted to make a run for it by diving towards his own lines but was soon cut off and had to turn and fight. After a brief go-round Swany had the Hun in his sights and unleased a stream of bullets into the engine and cockpit. The pilot slumped forward as the Strutter flew past him. Suddenly, the enemy ship burst into flames and nosed forward. Just as suddenly, while Swany was looking over his shoulder at the blazing Eindecker, fuel began spewing into the cockpit of his own mount, spritzing him from head to toe. Quickly, the young ace shut the petrol cock and switched off the magnetos in an effort to avoid the fate of his fallen enemy. Then he began looking for a place to land. There was an aerodrome just to the south, near the town of Hesdigneul - that would do. The fuel continued spraying everywhere as he glided the dead Strutter towards the field, all the while praying they wouldn’t catch fire. He could see now that the supply line running along the side of the cockpit had been shot through, but how? That’s when he noticed the bullet hole in the floor. “Son-of-a-bich!” Swany swore to himself as he did his best to hold back the spray of petrol with his right hand. Some trigger-happy gunner on the ground must have been taking pot shots at the Hun plane and had hit them instead.
The glide to Hesdigneul seemed to take an eternity. When they at last settled onto the grass and rolled gently to a stop near one of the hangars, Swany and Chris scrambled from their mount like frightened rabbits. It wasn’t until they were several yards away from it that they breathed a collective sigh of relief. Swany stripped out of his fuel-washed flying gear, letting the sun and the wind dry it while he and Chris waited for the ground crew to repair the leak, clean up the cockpit, and refuel their bus.
"Cigarette?" Chris jokingly offered.
"Maybe later", Swany shot back in a matter-of-fact tone, then after a brief pause added, "cigarette - vut an ass."
Lieutenant Dent chuckled, feeling quite good about himself.
Shortly before lunch they were back in the air on their way home to Fienvillers where they turned in their reports and claims and grabbed a bite to eat. They hadn’t even finished their meal when confirmation of their victory came in from a British field gun unit south of Béthune. That made it number thirteen for Swany and if he were a superstitious man that would have concerned him. But he was not a superstitious man.
Preparing for take-off on the morning of June the 1st.
Fair skies and light winds.
No chance of escape.
Lucky the poor fellow was already gone.
Shutting off and looking for somewhere to set down PDQ.
On the ground and not toasted - thank God.
#4476394 - 06/02/1903:18 PMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)