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#4501387 - 12/24/19 11:01 AM A Story for the Season, (my traditional OFF/WOFF Christmas post)  
Joined: May 2012
Posts: 3,686
RAF_Louvert Offline
BOC President; Pilot Extraordinaire; Humble Man
RAF_Louvert  Offline
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Senior Member

Joined: May 2012
Posts: 3,686
L'Etoile du Nord
.

"A Story for the Season"

1916: Christmas Eve at the Front. The War has dragged itself along on its steely, mud-caked claws for over two years, and the end seems no closer now than when it all began. At an RFC aerodrome not ten miles from the first line trenches, a group of airmen sit through the morning’s briefing, and prepare themselves for the day’s work. They are nearly all young men, at least in years. But with war comes age beyond a calendar’s mark, and one would find that each man is far older than first appearance would tell if a moment were taken to look into his eyes. As the meeting breaks the jovial banter can be heard amongst the group: the good-natured ribbing and warnings, the verbal jousting, the camaraderie and the closeness that bonds souls together in such tenuous and temporary times. Across the mud at a German aerodrome, a similar scene is being played out. The Jagdstaffel pilots there are also preparing themselves for the task at hand. To look at them, you might imagine they were schoolmates of their British counterparts, rather than enemies soon to be locked in mortal combat. For they too laugh and joke, and share that same bond. And they too are of the "old young".

The hour is at hand. On each side the signal is given and the small, fast scout planes skim along the cold, icy ground, and one by one lift into a winter sky as grey as the earth below. They form up, and after climbing to their prescribed altitudes, they head towards No Man’s Land and on to do their best; for King and Country; für Kaiser und Vaterland. They meet, and there is the initial gun pass as each sizes up the other. A few moments later and the aerial battle begins in earnest. To those in the fight it is a mind-numbing blur of action that runs in both accelerated and slow motion simultaneously. A split second given to pull the trigger as a plane zips across the sights: an eternity spent to try and twist out of the path of the bullets. An entire lifetime won or lost in less than an eye blink. To those on the ground it appears as a graceful ballet of the sky, the canvas-feathered birds turning and rolling and climbing and diving. But it is a dance to the death more often than not, and it will end when one or more has fallen.

And one has fallen. The long, slow, spiraling pirouette as the finale comes to the dance. The others have now tired and as if by mutual agreement or unseen signal the partners separate and turn away. The audience below does not understand how it can be over so quickly. They cannot see the fatigue and exhaustion of those in the air; cannot see their battered ships, or their bruised and aching bodies; or their tired, aging eyes. No, they can see none of these things, any more than the men in the air can see the pain or the agony endured by those who must fight on the ground. Each sees the other from afar, as through a glass darkly. It is an irony of war that in each case, either in the Sky or on the Earth, a man better understands and is more akin to the enemy he fights in his realm than to his own countrymen above or below.


Christmas Eve at the Front. Night has fallen and the pilots sit about the dinner table at their respective aerodromes, and talk of flying and fighting, and of family and friends. Wishes of the Season are shared, letters from home are read. Songs of hope are sung and toasts are made to fellow flyers, and to mothers and sweethearts. At one of the tables an empty chair stands in remembrance of the comrade lost that day, and to whom the final toast is made. He will be missed, and to a loved one back home he will forever be a young man with bright, happy eyes; forever a photograph, a memory of a life that could have been. It matters not which side he fought for. He was a man, a part of human kind, and with his passing we are all the lesser for it.

.

May you have safe and blessed holidays wherever you are, and may we each remember the true message of this season: Peace on earth, good will toward men.




[Linked Image]

#4501393 - 12/24/19 12:43 PM Re: A Story for the Season, (my traditional OFF/WOFF Christmas post) [Re: RAF_Louvert]  
Joined: Dec 2012
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MFair Offline
Senior Member
MFair  Offline
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Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 2,672
A Merry Christmas and Happy New Years to all. Thanks again Lou.


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!
#4501398 - 12/24/19 01:27 PM Re: A Story for the Season, (my traditional OFF/WOFF Christmas post) [Re: RAF_Louvert]  
Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 7,132
Trooper117 Offline
Hotshot
Trooper117  Offline
Hotshot

Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 7,132
UK
Very nice Lou...Merry Crimbo!

#4501423 - 12/24/19 05:04 PM Re: A Story for the Season, (my traditional OFF/WOFF Christmas post) [Re: RAF_Louvert]  
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 1,237
elephant Offline
Member
elephant  Offline
Member

Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 1,237
Patras-Greece
I was waiting for this...Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

CT

Last edited by elephant; 12/24/19 05:04 PM.

WOFF UE, BOC member, Albatros pilot.

#4501428 - 12/24/19 06:16 PM Re: A Story for the Season, (my traditional OFF/WOFF Christmas post) [Re: RAF_Louvert]  
Joined: May 2012
Posts: 920
HumanDrone Offline
Just shoot me...
HumanDrone  Offline
Just shoot me...
Member

Joined: May 2012
Posts: 920
Near Pittsburgh, PA USA
The message is timeless, the story poignant and so sadly true; repeated how many millions of times through our blood-soaked history.

Thanks again, Lou. As we simulate war let us pray for the hearts of men, that they might learn to love their neighbor as themselves, and surely peace will follow.

Merry Christmas! There is hope!


Box: Win7 Pro 64 bit / I72600K @4.1 GHz / EVGA GTX580 OC'd / 16GB RAM / Corsair 240 GB SSD / WD 600 GB Velociraptor / 1050W Power
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Proud BOC inductee 4/30/12!
#4501431 - 12/24/19 06:40 PM Re: A Story for the Season, (my traditional OFF/WOFF Christmas post) [Re: RAF_Louvert]  
Joined: Mar 2003
Posts: 6,669
Polovski Offline
Polovski  Offline

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Joined: Mar 2003
Posts: 6,669
Thank you Lou for taking the time to write that.
Merry Christmas.


Regards,

Polovski,
OBD Software, developers of immersive flight sims;
Wings Over Flanders Fields and Wings Over The Reich
http://www.overflandersfields.com
http://www.wingsoverthereich.com
#4501452 - 12/24/19 08:57 PM Re: A Story for the Season, (my traditional OFF/WOFF Christmas post) [Re: RAF_Louvert]  
Joined: Oct 2017
Posts: 79
Deejan Offline
Junior Member
Deejan  Offline
Junior Member

Joined: Oct 2017
Posts: 79
Ottawa,Ontario Canada
Lou

That was excellent! Nicely done! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Cheers!

Warmest regards,

Deejan

#4501459 - 12/24/19 10:00 PM Re: A Story for the Season, (my traditional OFF/WOFF Christmas post) [Re: RAF_Louvert]  
Joined: Sep 2007
Posts: 112
Dezh Offline
Vice President Barmy OFFers Club
Dezh  Offline
Vice President Barmy OFFers Club
Member

Joined: Sep 2007
Posts: 112
Suffolk, United Kingdom
Bien fait, Lou! Comme toujours. A Merry Christmas to All. And to All a Good Night! May the Peace of the Season instill itself in all our hearts.


Oh that I was back in the dear old PBI.
With no more Triplanes on me tail, nor tracer tracing by.
And no more flames and clickerty-clack and no more blooming sky,
And only a couple of feet to fall whenever I want to die.

No. 56 Squadron Song
#4501479 - 12/25/19 01:06 AM Re: A Story for the Season, (my traditional OFF/WOFF Christmas post) [Re: RAF_Louvert]  
Joined: Apr 2018
Posts: 78
jakethescot1 Offline
Junior Member
jakethescot1  Offline
Junior Member

Joined: Apr 2018
Posts: 78
Thanks for posting. It doesn't seem like it's been a year since I last read this. It's a good read. Thanks, again.

#4501495 - 12/25/19 02:46 AM Re: A Story for the Season, (my traditional OFF/WOFF Christmas post) [Re: RAF_Louvert]  
Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 626
catch Offline
Member
catch  Offline
Member

Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 626
Sydney, Australia
Cripes Lou {sniff} you know how to {starts bawling, then composes himself} get to a chap. If only those poor {wails uncontrollably then burps} bastards had access to Nurse Gladys to relieve their {dabs eyes} suffering {sobs, tears streaming, disconsolate}. …. I'm sorry I can't go on …..

Lovely story mate. smile


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