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WAR FLYING .

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BOSTON HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY 1917 .WAR FLYING BY A PILOT THE LETTERS OF "THETA" TO HIS HOME PEOPLE WRITTEN IN TRAINING AND IN WAR And the sentinel stars set their watch in the sky.—Campbell.

y By Transfer MAR 25 1S24 .

— THESE .

.

Names. and places. letters and may stimulate others. His careless and unstudied notes. what they would have to face. dates.PREFACE This little volume of " Theta's " letters to his is offered in the hope that it prove useful. ii From first to last they have not contained a grumble. When " Theta " decided to try to enter the service he had nothing to go on save a determination to " get there " home people may and a general idea of the difficulty of achiev- ing his purpose. written at odd moments in the work of training and of war. and exThe traneous matters have been omitted. have been concealed. . The Royal Flying Corps in war-time works Many of our gallant lads would in secret. a cheery and are light-hearted record. do show how a public- schoolboy may become a flying officer and how he may fare thereafter. approximately. and not for glory or reward. and. gladly become pilots if they knew how to set to work. about which the Censor might have concern.

he may have very long the air and very trying reconnaissance work. and. even in one's own may have squadron.F. the duties of a colleague been more onerous and more trying than those described. that the experiences of the writer must not be taken as typical of those of all pilots at the front. . " Compared with that of some squadrons. and different types of machines suited to the nature of those duties." " our work is pleasant. 1916. has different squadrons for different duties." . In a fighting squadron the pilot may have almost daily combats in in another.C. faster type of In the machine it is possible to do better and more dangerous work. November 26." writes " Theta. The R.12 PREFACE It should be understood. however.

23 BOOK I IN TRAINING I. ON GOING "SOLO" TAKING A TICKET FIRST CROSS-COUNTRY FLIGHT II. From Theory to Practice EARLY IMPRESSIONS 33 33 34 38 4i MY FIRST FLYING LESSON . .CONTENTS PAGE Ordered Overseas (after Kipling) . 17 INTRODUCTORY The Development of an Idea . . . 44 " Some Episodes : and a " Crash . 47 53 III From Passenger to Pilot 13 .

Alphabet I. 56 The Opening Movements .14 CONTENTS BOOK II ON ACTIVE SERVICE R.F.C.

CONTENTS .

.

we relax To the music of the engines round the bend ? here that he is coming with his gun and battle 'plane To the little aerodrome at well. the traverses steep and stark. For he's ordered overseas and he must go. Has he seen those leagues of trenches. you know To a wooden hut abutting on a quiet It is ! country lane. High over which the British pilots ride ? Does he know the fear of flying miles to eastward of his mark When 2 his only map has vanished over-side ? 17 . does he know the criss-cross tracks With the row of sturdy hangars at the end ? Does he know that shady corner where. the job done.— ORDERED OVERSEAS (After Kipling) Does he know the road to Flanders.

England he looks back upon the he's going to For Lord alone knows where land. things he really ought to if know And there isn't time to swot 'em he's pursuing. And As the pilot gives the signal with his he rises over shore. the hand . . and it takes a There are many . that old of renown? Has he heard the crack of Archie bursting near ? Has he known that ghastly moment when your engine lets you down ? Has he ever had that feeling known as fear ? It's to Flanders he is going with a brandnew aeroplane To take the place of one that's dropped below. Then hangar door open and the engine the flies starts its roar. is going. Does he know that ruined town.18 It is ORDERED OVERSEAS there that he deal of doing. To fly and fight and photo mid the storms of wind and rain. a Fokker For he's ordered overseas and he must go. For he's ordered overseas and he must go.

comlow. pleting lap on lap. Till.ORDERED OVERSEAS Now the 19 plane begins diving to gather speed. by the comto go. . after down and skimming They're off to shattered pass and the map They were ordered overseas and had — Flanders.

.

INTRODUCTORY .

.

In December felt that he had a 19 10 " Theta message on airships to convey to the world. bears date July 30.THE DEVELOPMENT OF AN IDEA I The first number of the well-thumbed file of Flighty carefully kept by " Theta " up to the present day. and its first manifestation took the form of paper gliders. it through the medium the school Journal. Beyond the fact that they could be manipulated with marvellous dexterity and that they could be extremely disturbing to the rest of the class in school. interest in aviation.. Thenceforward he wrote regularly on flying topics for the Journal. no more need be . and for four years acted as its Aeronautical and he communicated of 23 . dated from considerably before that period. said. however. At that time this particular publicHis schoolboy was thirteen years of age. just two years after the first public flight in the world. 19 10.

and various serial stories based on flying adventures duly ran their course. A motley crowd of enthusiasts used to gather every Saturday and Sunday in one of the great open spaces of Editor. a cyclostyle sheet of small circulation proudly claimed as " the first monthly penny Aviation journal in the world . At least . The document : . Some of them took up real aircraft construction others became attached to the Air Service.24 MODEL AEROPLANES Throughout 191 1. two became flying officers. occasionally one or two grown-ups with mechanical interests." Therein the various types of machines were discussed with all the delightful cocksureness of youth. friends. as mechanics. with two school producing Aviation. and that was kept up until the German power-driven model drove the elastically-propelled machines into the realms of toydom. he also assisted in London all for the practice of their craft —nearly boys in their teens. is he had assisted in perhaps sufficiently interesting to reproduce from an Aero Club which founding. When the War came the group broke up. naval and military. For some years he pursued the construction of model aeroplanes with an assiduity that may well have been fatal to school work and games. 1 In July 191 " Theta " obtained his first Pilot's Certificate.


A JUVENILE
No.
X.Y.Z.
"
1

TICKE1

"

25

AERO CLUB

:

PILOT'S CERTIFICATE

I hereby Certify that " Theta " has passed the required tests for the above-named Certificate. The tests

have been witnessed by the undernamed
R. H.

:

W. and
:

J.

H. C,
Club.

who are Members of the X.Y.Z. Aero The tests are as follows
1.

Flight of 100 yards.
Circular flight of

2.

any distance provided the machine does not touch the ground and lands within fifteen yards of the starting-point.
(alternative) flight of
flies

3.

Or

not

less

any distance when machine than six feet higher than the starting-

point.
4.

Flight lasting at least eight seconds.

The above
the Club.

tests

have been approved by the members of
{Signed) R.
J.

H. W., Secretary. 1 H. C, President*

would have been very different a later, and really wonderful longdistance flights were afterwards accomplished.
tests

The

few months

In order to be able to write with some authority, " Theta " kept abreast of all de-

velopments
avidity
all

reading with the literature on the subject and visiting the flying- grounds. The first aeroin

Aeronautics,

1

Now

8

with the gunners in France. Interned in Germany since outbreak of war.

26

VISITS

TO FRANCE

plane he saw in the air was when Paulhan gave a demonstration of flying at Sandown Park. Subsequently numerous pilgrimages to Brooklands and

Hendon were made.

There followed visits to France in the vacations. On the second visit " Theta " and a companion, it was afterwards discovered,
cycled round the rough and narrow stone parapet of a fort when a single slip would have meant precipitation into a moat on one
side, or into the sea

on the other.

It

was a
third

test

of nerves.

The return from the

" Theta " had left his visit was memorable. platform in Norrailway portmanteau on a mandy and his waterproof on the Cross-channel but he arrived at Waterloo serenely steamer content with the wreck of his model aeroplane wrapped up in an old French newspaper and His knowledge of French a bathing- towel. and his customary luck, however, served him, and the missing impedimenta duly followed him up in the course of a day or two. Of his French friends three brothers one was killed a second in the opening months of the War was wounded and taken prisoner by the Germans, after an adventure that would have won him the V.C. in this country and the third, as interpreter, was one of the links between the Allied forces at the Dardanelles, and is now engaged on similar work.
;

;

;

AND GERMANY

27

14

few months before war broke out Theta " visited Germany and photographed the Zeppelin " Viktoria Luise " and its hangar

A

He was immensely struck by the ease with which the huge airship was
at Frankfort.

manipulated, and with its value as a sea scout but as a fighting instrument he put his money on the heavier-than-air machines. So grew day by day, month by month, and year by year without the least slackening that in;

terest in aviation

which came to

fruition in

war time.

II

" Theta " was born in May 1897 tne War broke out in August 19 14. On his eighteenth birthday " Theta " decided that it was time to " get a move on." His ambition from the first had been to enter the Royal Flying Corps. This was opposed chiefly because of his youth and seeming immaturity and the excessive danger attached to training. But fate, impelled by inclination, proved too strong. He had been a member of his O.T.C. for four years, and had attended camps at Aldershot and Salisbury Plain but he de>

;

liberately set his face against " foot-slogging."

He urged that though he was risk his own life he was not

enough to old enough to
old

" — — returned to school to await his summons. who said wearily. which was promised within two months. — u A. On the return to London a reminder was sent to the War Office. . " Theta " returned to his catechist. " Well. There Official " Theta " was subjected to a curiously interesting catechism which seemed to touch on nearly every possible branch of activity under the sun except aviation. After many preliminaries an appointment was secured at the War Office with a High Military of Aeronautics. That ordeal safely passed." Training began almost at once with a joyBut the weather ride often minutes' duration. suggested an immediate medical examination on the premises. but you know you have not many of the " Theta " qualifications for a flying officer. a motor-cycling The school term ended holiday in Devon followed and still no call. we'll try you. Finally the High Official.28 risk ACCEPTED FOR DUTY the lives of others his seniors by accepting an infantry commission. There immediately came a telegram ordering " Theta " to report for instruction at what may be called Aerodrome . probably seeing a way of ridding himself of a candidate who had accomplished little or nothing of the various deeds of daring enumerated in the Shorter Catechism.

TRAINING
was
for the

29

most part what the aviators in An " abominable call " dud." mist " hung over the aerodrome, and consequently, though the period of instruction was
their

slang

fairly prolonged, the opportunities for flights

There was much waiting and little and the bored youth was driven to music and rhyming to fill up the interstices. But before the end of the year a good deal had been accomplished. At the close of his eleventh lesson " Theta " was told to hold
were few.
flying,

himself

in

readiness

for

a

" solo "

per-

formance.
After four more flights came the successful tests for the " Ticket " which transforms the
pupil into a certificated aviator. liminary triumph was celebrated

This prethe same

evening by a joy-ride at nearly 2,000 feet, the highest altitude that " Theta " had reached on a solo performance. Nearly four years and a half had elapsed between the schoolboy " Ticket " and the real thing. Then came a transfer to another and more advanced type of machine. On this there were but three flights with an instructor, and Tothen another " solo " performance. wards the close of the year " Theta " left Aerodrome " A " for Aerodrome " B," having in the meantime been gazetted as a probationary second lieutenant, Special Reserve.

30

"

WINGS

"

The advanced course occupied about three months. It proved more exciting in many ways. In the elementary portion of training 11 Theta " saw many " crashes," none of which, however, proved fatal. In the second, war conditions more nearly prevailed, and at times when, for example, three colleagues lost their lives in flying, and a Canadian friend who shared his hut in training was reported 11 missing, believed killed," within a few weeks

of reaching the front
his

the stern realities of profession were driven home. But youth is ever cheerful and optimistic. In fulness of time there came a flight of a covey of seven " probationaries " in one

new

taxicab to an examination centre for " wings," a successful ending, followed shortly afterwards by final leave, an early-morning gathering of

newly made
to the front.

flying officers at Charing Cross

Station, the leave-taking,

and the departure

Training was over the testing-time had come. Before his nineteenth birthday was reached (< Theta " had been across the German
;

lines.

His letters

may now

be allowed to " carry

BOOK

I

IN TRAINING
(October

—April)

31

.

so to speak).. but it is generally some one else they take and not you. and fidgeting with a gadget resembling an intoxicated lawn-mower. posted to " A " Flight (and wondering when I am going to get it. 3 33 . You spend some time in the shops. it's fine.K. You report at six o'clock if you are on the morning list at nine o'clock if you are not. and best Impre7sions.30 p. weather and number of pupils permitting. Then you smoke till 5. Am . If and the officers don't feel too bored with life.P part a P ers around. At four o'clock you report again. they may take you for a flight.F. followed by a lecture and then > Spent the of the morning signing and books and buzzing reported.FROM THEORY TO PRACTICE Arrived here O. When you report possibly you go for a joy-ride.C. On the way across to the hangars discovered two R. men lying on the ground trying to look like a mole-hill. the use of which I have not yet discovered.m. when you drill.

I flying lesson was in the gathering dusk of a cold evening. I'm enjoying myself. . a ten minutes' flight this evening. but an extra leathern waistcoat and an overcoa t and muffler kept me warm. and the pupils seem a decent lot. and felt how the pilot did it. I had my hands on the dual set. and confident. and sat tight. safest in the world. " Switch off. and felt happy. mounted to my seat behind the pilot in the huge biplane. again for a long time. Don't expect I shall get up I was quite warm. I don't think there will be anything doing for the next few days. However. and felt perfectly safe. My My first First Flying Lesson." sang out the mechanic. A duologue ensued between the pilot and the mechanic who was about to swing the propeller and to start the great 70-h. calm. splendid. donned my engine. Have had It was Machine seems quite simple to control. as there is an abominable mist The machines are the all over the place. Renault nacelle of the belt.34 FROM THEORY TO PRACTICE go home. fastened my safety helmet.p.

the pilot opened the throttle wide." he echoed. as the rule is to start facing the wind. . The pilot moved a lever." echoed the pilot as he complied with the request.IN THE AIR AT LAST 35 " Switch off. and a deep roar behind us betokened the instant response of the engine. The motion got smoother." shouted the mechanic. satisfied with its running. and we began to " taxi " rapidly across the aerodrome to the starting-point. Contact. " Suck in. he waved his hand. while the pilot listened to the deep throbbing of the motor. A slight movement of the elevator. The mechanic put forth his strength.h. For a moment the machine was held back. and turned the propeller round half a dozen times or so to draw petrol into the cylinders. A lusty heave of the propeller." he shouted. and then. and the engine was started. " Suck in." came back the echo from the pilot as he switched on. " Contact.p. and on looking down I found to my surprise that we were already some thirty feet above the ground. Then we turned. and we started to climb in earnest. 11 The starting-point varies almost every day. With the propeller doing its 900 revolutions a minute we were soon travelling over the ground at 40 m.

A gentle landing in the growing darkness and rising fog. after a few more stunts. again taking control. everyHowever. and took both his hands off the controls.000 feet into the almost invisible aerodrome. And so at last the I was enjoying it so much." dives. we were 700 feet looked round and signalled to hands on the controls. it did thing but looping the loop. Then. and taking her up to 1. a swift " taxi " along the ground to the open hangar. On reaching the other side of the " 'drome " he retook control. was satisfied. steep-banks. turned her.000 feet put her on an even keel. putting them on the sides of the nacelle and leaving poor little me This I did all right. and so on in fact. throttled down till his engine was just " ticking over. pilot." and did a vol plane from 1." keeping her horizontal and jockeying her up with the ailerons when one of the wings dropped a little in an air pocket. not occur to me at the time to be nervous. to manage the " 'bus. and my first lesson in aerial navigation was concluded. who kept casting furtive glances at me. and let me repeat my performance. pilot The me to put my — — . I did apparently to test my nerves so. the pilot.— 36 FROM THEORY TO PRACTICE couple of circuits and A up. and then he started doing some real sporting " stunts.

000 feet. Reprinted from the School Journal. After a time he is allowed to turn unaided. any excessive mistake being corrected by the pilot. a nice flight yesterday with Captain If fine. and If he finally to land the machine unaided. quite fit. hope to have another to- morrow. does this successfully he is sent " solo. to have come down unaided by the time this appears in print. and then is allowed to lean forward and amuse himself with the second set of controls." and " after a few " solos " is sent up for his " ticket At the time or Royal Aero Club Certificate. The pupil is taken up straight away on a dual-control to a height of about 1. and am to-morrow. — Had . weather permitting. of writing I am doing circuits unaided. machine Have not been up again. but hope to go up Am enjoying myself. to do complete circuits unaided. but I hope. but they are those adopted now by all the flying schools. 3* .— TEACHING METHODS 37 The teaching methods may be considered rather abrupt.

passed over a field and spotted a B. sent up At length.E. and we too have been wondering whether we were fated to follow the example of the others.38 FROM THEORY TO PRACTICE Up this evening. Nothing doing ! Nothing done ! At last I have gone "solo. I gave my hat as a parting gift to Y. and he got on all right. however. Captain X this evening. It had run into No one hurt machine new." Thus cheered." On Sunday and Monday two n g " sSo/' of our machines were smashed b y P u P ils on their first and both machines had to be scrapped. you'd better go and break your neck now. smashed. and amid lamentations and tears took my seat for solos the first time in the pilot's seat. the pilots have been rather chary about letting us go up alone. In consequence. . " Well. and would have gone " solo " in the afternoon but a pupil smashed the solo machine. Three flights yesterday. So he turned to me suddenly and said. shook hands mournfully all round. a hedge. We .

. A touch on the aileron control. This meant a turn so down went the nose. . and before I could stop it the machine had turned completely round. Faster and faster over the ground a touch of the controls. and the engine was going all out. I decided to come down.. . and the ground loomed nearer. and round we came in fine style. ! . then rudder and bank. and taxied to the starting-place. A very slight movement of the controls and we flattened out three feet above the ground and did a gentle landing. I took her outside the " 'drome. and then turned her to the right but " taxiing " is almost as tricky as flying. and we were off The next thing I recollect was passing over a machine on the ground at a height of 200 feet. and then I was at the other end of the aerodrome. we were went on for ten minutes. and as Captain had told me to do only one circuit and I had done considerably more. I got it straight again." then pointed her in. It was growing dusk. I Thus I did. and my engine was runpointed her out into the aerodrome. and Con tact/ I ning. However. so it was as well that level again. put the nose down and pulled back the throttle.IN " THE ' PILOT'S SEAT 39 etc. A " biff " of my left hand on the throttle. The roar of the engine ceased.

It is cold and misty. a roar. and when not misty it is windy when it is neither it rains and so on. So sometimes we sits and thinks and cusses and smokes and sometimes we just sits. surprised if I .000 feet. and looking " exceedingly happy. ' ' I Wednesday and shall be do so again before Christmas. . but bumpy and airpockety this morning. Heaps of love to you both. Then up came Captain very red in the face. week. " Good landing. object . Went up 1.500 feet on the third and stayed up an hour on the fourth. and a moment later A some all half a dozen pupils were shaking the hands they could find talking at once in loud voices. . but mist from the marshes is the worst by far.40 FROM THEORY TO PRACTICE touch on the throttle. " Damn good. and I taxied back to the waiting mechanics. Theta and so it ended." sang out one of them. between 900 feet and It was lovely flying this evening. and a crumpled violently all me by was handed to me. 1. Went " solo " last Have been up again for a at last — the first time Four solo flights to-day. and " Where's my hat ? " I asked.

while X. Got out of it all right in the end.000 feet this evening for a joy-ride. and get taken up as a passenger so as to learn to fly another type. 41 Tktart* said) I ! At last I am a As soon as I arrived tms morning they sent me up for my ticket. He finished his tests. When landed after finishing my eights. Rather interesting." C. was helping to extricate his machine from a ditch. so I hope I shall keep it up. and stayed up until I got bored and it got dark and began to rain. What ! certificated pilot.CERTIFICATED PILOT " Theta. etc. from pupils. I however. I have got my ticket without " busting " a wire. alone right I took my ticket in fine style. Was overwhelmed with Congrats. morning for a joy-ride with Sergeant and got into a fog bank and lost sight of land and sky. I expect I shall be transferred to"B" flight. landing on the mark each time. Well. who went up first for his. although (as I had never done a right-hand turn Av. all right afterwards. my instructor said I could consider myself " some pilot " now. I went up to nearly 2. this Up To-day was the first nice day for flying for .

Whizzing through the azure blue In an aeroplane. Went solo all This type is much nicer to handle than the other. The only part that can give pain it is. Ye gods How it blew ! ! Stopped bicycles going. but then. Is the return to earth again. This I managed so well that Sergeant clapped his hands and said "Very good " ! The wind has been blowing. but you land faster owing to higher speed. right.— 42 FROM THEORY TO PRACTICE officers ! a week. Not one pilot flew. Got on splendidly to-day. and men arranged a same I did manage I had my hair cheer-o. so the football match All the to get a flight so cut yesterday. new glass put in my and my glass cracked. my hair grown almost as long as before. Up above eighty-five Down below it blew well In this place dead 'n' alive — ! — It is absolute ! . in the night. To-day I find . say you. Must of So sports the nicest be . and a watch. you see.

AND FOG (Deleted 43 by R. and fogs that lurk Drive me to poesy. weeping as we pass we hear the voice of R for his pupils (which are not) and will not be exercise. And artful phrase compoundings With helpful muse To air their views On Nature's grand aboundings.WIND. 6d. And ever. RAIN. the pay (15s. comforted. As well they may. . and walked through slud and mush at drill time so we have not done so badly. . In this case it now appears No sunshine sets the muse to work In humble little me Tis wind. a day) is good. and rain. Some poets say. sufficiently expressive.F. Censor as not being However. we attended a very boring lecture.C. E'en so as joy and sorrow Do in cases bring forth tears (A simile to borrow). Congenial surroundings Conduce a lay With rhythm gay. Cleaning wires with emery paper is grand Howalbeit a trifle monotonous.) .

Teddie. A flying by Did you see your First Cross- country Flight." I found it all right. had a chat with the pupils. but as was about 4. I " about turned." — ! Before I left home streamers attached —two to you. with chocolate for Betty. then branched off at right angles for W.000 feet. I found out where I was and set out for Aerodrome " A. was overjoyed to see me. landed.m. and so. climbed to 2. was nursing. and Marix.. borrowed a " bike " and went round to my old rooms. and then made off at right angles to the railway for Aerodrome " B. and followed the railway to home Here I did a circle.. I dropped four letters with and one to the Head. I soon got going again and did a few circles over the hospital where Mrs.. .. and went over I I to S. one to A. Only a few words . Raynham. the dog. C. S. little son to-day emulating tne antics of Nature's aerial orni" thopters ? left Aerodrome " B I about 10." and after taking my map from my pocket and studying it on my knee for a few minutes.000 feet up I could not pick it out from the other parks and commons.44 FROM THEORY TO PRACTICE most wonderful exhibition of Hawker.15 a. trying to cover the houses of as many of my old friends as I could. finding myself running into a formidable set of clouds.

. Immediately there came the roar of a Gnome-engined biplane. having had a ripping morning. ( . I hope you saw did me . " B " eight miles away directly I left you. I have no I could see Aerodrome idea where they fell. upon me that you were on your way back. gaily waving its propeller then it turned and circled round home.A "RIPPING" MORNING inside. It was all very interesting. gurgled ' It is Theta. and has sent a thrill over the neighbourhood To ease your mind I may tell you that your letter was duly picked up and delivered within The Mater saw three hours of your visit. I " ! . and if you it did.' seized my handkerchief and waved it violently. I went to the door. and I yelled Here he is. eovered the distance in about seven and a half minutes. an aeroplane passing over earlier in the morning and told me she was sure you had taken Betty Later it became borne in her chocolate.' Up came the Gnomeengine biplane. how much ? money Dad win betting was me The following extracts are from a letter from home which crossed the above in post : We saw you. . so it does lost or 45 not matter whether they are opened by some one else. and I landed beautifully in time for lunch. Then there fluttered down from the aeroplane some little things .

appeared to go up over the school grounds and so home.46 FROM THEORY TO PRACTICE it . I shall hope when I wake in the morning to have the scene described as it appeared to you from above. and then turned away. . and we Then you was your machine. Meanwhile our that glittered in the sun as they knew . hearty congratulations flight. fell. I watched you till you were only a speck in the sky." on your first cross- county .

II SOME EPISODES {Extracts : AND A " CRASH " from " Theta's " Private LogBook) Date. .

Just got in. Was two miles from the 'drome. Lieutenant .. January. O. Had I not „ hangars when another and headed me and kept too close. Unpleasant. Remarks. Engine lost 100 revs. pulled her out of it.K. officers' nest " . Cut out just in front of trees at 50 feet. Connecting rod broke. but frightful day. . so „ could hardly see. Machine ought to have caught fire. No goggles.. trees. Chucked like a leaf. . turned quickly at low altitude might have rammed me. . Worst day about so far flown in. Landing all right. down. pilot. Lucky en- gine did not cut out altogether. As passenger . „ Another side-slip. and inlet valve went. but not so bad . Nearly strafed mess. machine vibrating horribly from 2. unpleasant.48 SOME EPISODES: AND A CRASH Date. Steep bank quick rightlanding close beside hand turn rose . Rising over aeroplane over tree. First forced landing. per minute Had to " bird'sover trees.200 feet February.

000 feet. dodging and steep banks just above ground.. and with pilot put nose . Climbed into clouds and steered by instruments out of sight of earth for practice. Then more tree March. starting engine . Turned and discovered Aerodrome " C " below .h. Glorious view from above of clouds 4. landing in aerodrome.]. the wheels actually touch- ing the top. up. Climbed till engine would go no higher.and left-hand spirals down. landing without again.000 feet below me. missing engine cleared them by inches. [No compass. 49 Remarks. Spiralled „ down. but seeing would crash into trees at the other side at 40 m. Started on cross-country to A. Climbed 7. field. Ed.p. Engine missing badly over Attempted to land in small trees.— ABOVE THE CLOUDS Date. and found myself over London . Mist very thick lost my way. February. then stopped engine and did right. Most beautiful spectacle I have ever seen.

so landed. but a following wind and mist made me overshoot A. and was told was four miles from A. Engine refused to start. . Eventually I found one and landed. so headed into it and flew for twenty minutes at 200 feet altitude unable to see either instruments or ground. clearing a large tree by one foot saw blizzard coming up. Landed in field again. to find out whereabouts.50 SOME EPISODES: AND A CRASH Date. me. Remarks. . restarted. and . and landed in field near D. So restarted. Restarted next day when weather cleared up. had no time to land. Later.. and again lost my way. Kept engine ticking over. Restarted. but all landmarks covered by snow..Q. 'phoned H. and could not find a landing-ground. so pegged down machine for the night. just stopping in time at the other end. Wind and storm increased in violence was frequently blown . when mist cleared. March. but decided to go on. Circled over town and railway. but could not decide what they were.

Elevated. I promptly circled round. and just recovering in time for me to clear a house. and I remained suspended upside down by my „ . clearing semi-invisible trees by a matter of inches (I was Finally landed well. and told). and turning it over. was running along the ground when a fence dividing the field in two loomed up a few yards ahead. but the tail skid did not..A BLIZZARD ADVENTURE Date. up on to one wing tip. safety belt. My head went through the top plane. Weather very bad for flying. Propeller smashes in mid-air. and caught the fence. the machine side-slipping once to within a few feet of the ground. March. When a lull came and I saw a clear place beneath. bringing the machine down on its nose with a crash. Tested new-rigged machine which had not been flown since it was smashed. Driving snow prevented machine from climbing and nearly drove it to earth. 51 Remarks. much less testing a re- constructed machine. and the nose cleared it. Did not .

52 SOME EPISODES: AND A CRASH Date. reckoned he ought to have lost his life fifteen and a half times ! . 1 reported on 1 In his private Log Book " Theta " apportions to the various " episodes " a figure showing the probable value From this it appears that he of each narrow escape. Remarks. Landed machine successfully and it. March. seem trols to answer well to the con- and flew left wing down.

Ill FROM PASSENGER TO PILOT The following notes from " Theta's " Diary pilot) to certificated aviator (solo) s show the progress from novice (with accompanying : Height. .

FROM PASSENGER TO PILOT .54 Height.

BOOK II ON ACTIVE SERVICE 55 .

V a V.C. Cold Feet. 6 oft precedeth a crash. 2C = B. U Under. first to go in a smash. as you wait for the thud. = Vol Plane.P. P Petrol used by the E of the B. ALPHABET A B C for B. 56 . for directing big guns. stops the seizing of E.E. X Y Z I don't want.E. V. for Mechanic in France most are " firsts. is the Gun that you keep on the 'plane. the Huns' greatest pride.2C. the Wireless. for the " Crash " when by " A " * " B " gets for the Dive before " C " ends the flit. am the Infant who flies a 2C. is M . too oft to be done. T is the Thrill of a big Fokker hunt. so I'll give to the Huns. S is for Side-slip. or a Stunt. is hit. R the Revolver you keep by your side.. W 1 2 a * 6 Archie = Anti-aircraft. H as per " trig " a is the height you attain. Firsts = 1 st Air Mechanics.F.P. Q is the Quiet one gets on a glide.carriage." 4 that for the Noise A makes when it bursts. which sometimes goes dud. some Shot. our biplane they deride. Trig = Trigonometry. for Engine. 3 I J the Joy-stick on most 'buses you see.R. L a forced Landing. D E P G stands for Archie. K is the Kick that you get from a gun. N which is oil.

You would hardly believe we were on Active I am here at last. and a passable aerodrome.— THE OPENING MOVEMENTS that is. although we are. within hearing of the big guns. of course. There is a stream near by where we can bathe. We had a good ournev ut I was snoozing k white J wh°re"" the carriage must door which have been carelessly shut by one of our men opened. and one of my field boots departed. I had taken them off so as to sleep better. too. . Service here. . The fellows all seem nice. and pack the odd field boot. I told a police corporal at the next station. Where . I had to put on puttees and boots. — . and he is trying to get it. can't tell > . however. . We have sleeping-huts fitted with electric light. I have met three of our squadron before. but have not 57 . nice beds. a good mess. I have been up several times. I you.

I . and cigarettes and tobacco are very cheap so are matches. — . much to my surprise. I have been learning the and how to land and rise on cinder paths ten feet wide. Every one here is cheerful. there is no more anxiety until your next turn comes round. My field boot has turned up.58 THE OPENING MOVEMENTS had a job yet. could not be conducted like that. I have just been over to get some practice . Our messing bill is reasonable. A fairly bad landing is a bounce of fifty feet and diminuendo. for you can read and sleep out of range of the enemy's guns. The ground here is rather rough. What a pity the whole war district. both sides out of range of each other's guns all the time One of our more cheerful optimists feels sure the war will end in the next four or five years. and infinitely better than the trenches when your work is over for the day. landing is a bounce of about twenty feet good into the air. and a diminuendo of bounces. and thinks flying is a gentleman's game. like a grasshopper until you pull up. and it speaks well for our underA carriages that they stand up to it so well. It was forwarded on to me by our local Railway Transport Officer. We are having quite a good time in our squadron and are rejoicing in bad weather.

owing to low clouds and bad . . to act as an escort to one of our men who was going photographing. He was always getting up and turning round. . The corporal was awfully amusing. I haven't been able to look at them. to look for Huns ap u y and gun flashes. originally green pasture land. Next time I write I hope to be able to tell you what the trenches are like at present. etc.OVER THE TRENCHES with the Lewis gun. We could so we came not see anything above 3.000 feet down to 2. I thus got a splendid view of the trenches on both sides for miles. — — of hours. I took up a mechanic who is a good gunner. though I . weather. I thought several times he was going to get out and walk along the planes. as you are probably aware. blotted out with for and mine There has been a craze here gardening . toys. The flight was quite uneventful. . or kneeling on his seat looking at me and signalling to me. On Thursday * went up with an officer observer on a patrol. and it was awfully interesting to see the fields in some places behind our lines.500 feet and flew up and down the for a couple lines well on this side. for 59 They are rather amusing you get rid of 100 shots in ten seconds. shell holes now almost craters.

30 p. Snatch ten minutes for lunch. More study.30 a.m. this is something like what my diary would have been for the past week : 3. dud. so return to 4.m.m. Break off map study for dinner then go to bed and study maps till . " lights out. A counter-craze of dug-out digging was started by our CO. The dug-out was almost finished when the rain came and converted it into a swimming-bath. Raining." dull Here ends another derned day. Have some tea. Thanks for your advice about studying maps. and get back to maps.m.30 a. Wakened until : for early patrol is Weather 8. and building rockeries and what not. so as to provide a place of retreat if over-enthusiastic Huns come over some day to bomb us. and people are sowing seeds sent over from England.m.30 p. The dug-out mania has now ceased. having violent argument meanwhile on contoured and uncontoured maps. If I carried it out as you suggest in all my spare time. . 12. so study maps Breakfast.60 THE OPENING MOVEMENTS recently. work. to study room 8 p. maps.

. Finally I went through the clouds until I was very low. cleared .000 feet." We do not always get early work. and still no sign of the ground. so we were signalled to descend. I was up over the lines yesterday about 4. and then suddenly I saw a row of trees in front of me. as we never go far over the lines unless escorted. and then inquire. pulled her up. They were rather close. This morning anc* we were up at half-past two o'clock. the signal to proceed . and no sign of the ground at all.30 for work.000 feet. but from our leading machine the clouds below us completely blotted out the ground. one has only to fly west for a few minutes till one crosses the lines. When I 5. so I zigzagged quite understand If advice. Landing* We awa i tec* got up 8. had dived through the clouds at I discovered to my surprise what appeared to be another layer of clouds down I below.000 feet and they put up a few Archies at me. however. came lower and lower with my eyes glued on the altimeter. I have been up two mornings running at 3.LOST IN THE CLOUDS Still I 61 what prompted your one does get lost. to a cooler spot. of course we take it in turns. but the weather has been 11 dud.

We returned later I in the day when the weather cleared up.) I you . I was getting some well-earned sleep this afternoon when there came a knock at the door of my hut. and a goodly supply of balls. H. I flew west by my compass for about a quarter of an hour and came down very low again. We cruised around till we spotted a field. are very hard We — have been putting off writing to till I can tell you how I like German Archies. that we were in France. and. so I want you to send me a Ping-Pong set wooden or cork bats. landed all right. after a good examination of it. I them. and could occasionally see patches of ground fairly well from about twice the height of a small tree.62 THE OPENING MOVEMENTS lost in the fog or clouds again. to our great relief. I can tell you how I don't (To B. The observer-officer and I shook hands when we landed. He stopped to tea. and I showed him round. and R. not knowing where I was. walked in. and. but we all came out all right. . decided that that place was not good enough. This time we had more success. and found on inquiry. Well. am not the only one who had a forced landing. I can tell you now that is.C. W. I believe. and was up for games. He is not far from me and so motor-cycled over.

I had to stay over them. had a mechanic with him. you are such a good . and the Fokker dived for the ground. and was Archied like the er else this letter. little — dickens. What's more. shells bursting all round and directly under some riddled puffs of I me. perhaps I'd better not.— DODGING "ARCHIE" like 63 them if you promise not to show any one Still. had a scrap with a Fokker yesterday and got thirty holes through his plane about three feet from his seat. I was nearly 10. The Fokker approached to within twenty-five feet. So the pilot was either wounded or well. Why the machine wasn't don't know. and W. W.000 feet up too. The Archies burst. as an escort to another machine. Both W. dodging about until the other machine chose to come back or finished directing the shooting. leaving black smoke in the air. boy and have only just left school perhaps one day when you are grown up I'll tell you my opinion of Archie. so that the gunners ! could see the result. Yesterday I was some miles across the line with my observer. but are hoping to hear from the people ! — . and he fired a drum of ammunition at it. Talk about dodge Banking both ways at once 'Orrible. they don't know how the machine landed. and who came here with me got holes in their J. planes from Archie the day before yesterday. Those puffs were all over the sky.

not knowing how much petrol you have is rather awkward.64 THE OPENING MOVEMENTS The funny part is that the Fokker attacked as usual by diving from behind. . Incidentally. . that is ten minutes' petrol. as I landed with less than two gallons at the end of that flight in the trenches. I have had the petrol gauge put right now. had his main spar of one wing shot away..'s observer turned round and fired kneeling on the seat but W. etc. never saw the Fokker once during the whole fight or after. and W. I dropped i. and was registering twelve gallons when it was really empty. and was being Archied. so he had a lucky escape. rather strange having a birthday away from home.ooo feet before I could pump up the petrol from the lower tank to the top. . W. My top tank petrol gauge was broken.. . I have done some night It is . too but I could have got back to our side easily even if the engine had refused to start. though it would have been unpleasant to cross the lines at a low altitude.. and several bracing wires. My latest adventure is that my engine suddenly stopped dead when I was a mile over the German lines. but the letter and Aged 19 parcels I got to-day made it all seem like old times.

6.000 feet I could see flares and lights over in Hunland. . : girl. his experiences in the Marines. " The Foglifters " had really quite good voices. the other evening it wasn't at all bad. C —but can't. and some of the turns were One made up as a splendid The programme may interest you excellent. 5. tries 2. THE "FOG-LIFTERS. Six-foot picks his mark. presents." (They are thoroughly disinfected before each performance.- COMIC RELIEF flying here. and finally by a I stayed colossal fluke did the best landing I have ever done at the Aerodrome. 4. I went to a concert at ' Wing Headquarters . I The Fog-lifters introduce themselves. 3 # b B C 5 sings a Warwickshire song in Yorkshire brogue. 65 and when I was up 2. by kind permission of Lieut. on relates his visit to Hastings.) PROGRAMME Part 1. Colonel his renowned Vaudeville entertainment. . IN THE FIELD Lieut. up some time.

" . 14. 's memories of the Spanish Armada. 15. 19. his Favourite Topic. Part 11. II T The " Boss and B thinks of leave. Six-foot warns the unwary. Rather a Fagging Turn. and leave you to the tender mercies of " Watch your watch and chain yourself H to your seat. Fog-lifters. 18. 13. 9. THE OPENING MOVEMENTS T The on Acrobatic Eyes. T endeavours to sing a Sentimental Song. ties The Second-in-Command himself in a knot. retire at this point for a drink. " makes a bid for the biscuit. 20. The Beginning of the End. feeling dry. 8. . B Six-foot and C have a Serious Relapse. 17. B in Love.66 7. 12. Six-foot shows B how it's done. The Second-in-Command excels 'iself. The King. 10. 16.

as we were patrolling further down the line. thing at all of the fight. The smash was brought to our place and taken away by the French. - — The machine seemed very solid essentially German no object. I was Bag. orderly pilot. and a Hun was reported in the neighbourhood. I went to bed after two hours' flying and was knocked up again.— II INCREASING THE PACE Only time for a few lines before the post I was flying at a quarter to g° es French Aviator's three o'clock this morning. and thick. The pilot and observer were Neither my observer nor I saw anykilled. You bet I was fed up when we landed. The Hun I was chasing (or rather looking for) on my second patrol was brought down a few miles from our aerodrome by a French aviator. 67 weight . and spent another couple of hours in the air all this before I had anything to eat or drink. Luckily I was not at all hungry or thirsty.

but they were R.C. and a machine came is a true story. ." and a completely equipped German biplane landed and a guttural German voice was heard shouting for mechanics.F.— 68 INCREASING THE PACE The French aviators were very nice. ! Here There was some night The Enemy Ay m g a ^ one °f our aerodromes in our the other day. It was wonderfully kind of them to plank their machine down in that aerodrome. .F. I had a chat with them. and has since been flown and tested by the R.C. — pilot. The coincidence of the signals was extraordinary. The machine it was an Aviatik was in perfect order. and the surprise on both sides must have been extremely comical to watch when the Hun discovered it was an English 'drome. over anc fi rec a coloured light asking " Can I come down ? " The people on the ground fired one in reply meaning " Yes. and the mechanics discovered it was a Hun i | Midst. He got them all right. and not German mechanics. The rumours at the aerodrome were various one that I was brought down another that I had brought down a Hun and a third that a French aviator and I had had a scrap — .

I was rather pleased when I found that. Apparently one of those Archies got nearer than I thought.40. . for a piece of shrapnel has made a 6-inch hole in the tail plane. I have just been to look at the machine. so as to entice you over as far as possible. I . 5* . the lines I went up at 12. . when I was a mile and a half or perhaps less on our side of the lines they fired Archie on the French side of me.HIT BY ARCHIE I 69 a know that this is Sunday. and has not penetrated the top. For instance. Our escort lost us soon after leaving the 'drome. because it has only pierced the bottom surface of the tail. at 3 . as it is something to say that your machine has been hit by Archie. got Archied two or three times. The shrapnel must have been spent.30 and landed Not a bad flight ? I was up and down patrolling most of the time. as we have had lot of work to do. They generally let you cross the lines in peace. and then let you have it hot and strong all the way back. I have just come down from my job. hoping I would turn away from it and so get within better range. The ping-pong set has arrived. but nothing really annoying. but it didn't matter. They are very clever with those guns.

as there are plenty of laundries near here an old woman. the Canteen here. and the Huns weren't polite enough to ring me up the night before and tell me what time they were coming and so I had to move rather more quickly when they did come. I can get chocolates and biscuits at flying. The stuff comes back wonder- — fully clean. or perhaps they drew lots — — for it. Dunno why the other squadron was " mentioned " in despatches. We have had no flying yesterday rather like bad weather here when it is sufficiently bad. They have about seven of our chaps there perhaps that's why or perhaps the General lost some money at bridge to the CO. This is what you will call another letter (t restful" because I or to-day. If we have an early stunt we always get hot cocoa and breadand-butter. an old wooden bat. Don't you worry about I my food . however. I was orderly pilot that day. while night was a very 'ceptional case the other day. get that all right it . But you see. Our linen goes off to be washed at any old time.70 I'll let INCREASING THE PACE you know right enough when I want any more garments. and a smooth worn stone by a dirty stream.. .

Each shot fired meant a journey over the lines. Each crossed the lines I did so at a different fairly The first five times I climbed higher each time to throw the range out. and that probably upset 'em more than ever At any rate they fired about 600 shells at us in the course of that " shoot. had some ping-pong to-day laxation after — the Archie to right of us. The battery then fired. we ploughed over the lines to have a look at the target in Hunland. We went over to the lines." allowing roughly forty shells per crossing (at least) and fifteen crossings. and loosed off " Archie " at us in bucketsful.m. All being well. Archie to left of us. and the next five times I came down a bit each time. arriving there about 1 1 .1 5 a. and the observer watched for the burst and wirelessed back the correction. and each time we went over the Huns got madder and madder. The last five times I was so fed up with their dud shooting that I went across at whatever altitude I happened to be at. and " rang up " the battery. We time were I plastered in Archie. etc. and the only damage they did was altitude. ! . an officer in this case.AN EXCITING MORNING I 71 quite a rejob I did this lF mornm g* I went out with an " stuff observer on a howitzer shoot.

It was a wonderful sight seeing all the shells In his private log book " Theta " sets out the cost expended by him on a non-eventful flight. The Bosches Ig started a big " strafe " yester- " Strafe day. and we sent down as many in the afternoon as the battery had got in the previous six weeks. 1 of petrol . drawing out a balance of cash profit or loss to the R. . Of course it would never do to go on flying a straight course it is a case of dodge.C. and so kept us all busy on that is.F. and the cost to the Huns of the Archies fired at him.! 72 INCREASING THE PACE to put a small hole through my top plane. twist.000 feet altitude. different altitude. who either fire at them or note their positions for a future occasion." and wirelessing down their positions to the artillery. and when it gets really too hot. „ counter battery work spotting the flashes of the " hun. they must have been disgusted The " strafe " took place between 5. The artillery were naturally rather bucked. guns. the woods behind the lines were a blaze of flashes. and dive at odd and unexpected moments. With all the German guns going. The Archies got so near sometimes that we went through the smoke from the shell.000 feet and 6. l My. turn. run away and come back at a .

000 feet once. I felt them at 5. " Shell fairly I don't were not being shot at us. but pass through to Hunland. so : shells which . but moving at that speed they would affect the air for a long way round. One could hear the bang of our big guns when they fired salvos from under us. and at times we got bumps from the shells passing near us common. They in the air.SHELL BUMPS 73 bursting along the miles of trenches. and the huge white spreading gas shells at intervals. I and bumps " are have had them before. know how near the shells pass.

The naval battle was not a defeat after all. and I am — . ." We have had two or three days of rest. . believe is We it got the story wireless a couple of days ago. and it seems a case of "as you were " in France so we just sit here and play pingpong and wait for the Army to win the war. in the pink. that days in England. . . however short it is. But we don't have such a bad time here on the whole. Bad news has come through from the wing. It is a case of " so near and yet so far. . " INCREASING THE PACE Hoping this finds you as it leaves me.74 censor." An hour and a half or two hours' flying on a clear day would land me at home for tea always providing I did not miss my way. a big blow. We by It have just had the papers with the news of the loss of Kitchener. I only shall be pleased to have leave England. . but could not it until we saw actually in print. though probably morally more than in any other way. means five clear I know in this. Our ten days' leave will in future be cut down that to seven days from time of leaving here . as the weather has been too bad for flying. .

got a few Archies and came home. I tried a dozen or so shots at it." Fixing on an innocent little farmhouse as my objective. with the camera tied on very securely in case I " accidentally " turned upside down. I you in my for On I my is feelings. I thought I would try to do my first loop. and then. put my machine in such postures that the farmhouse was sighted by the camera. was a beastly day rain stings at seventy miles an hour and it was cloudy and misty. and.MAKE-BELIEVE perfectly frank with carefully analysing 75 letters. We stayed a couple of hours. and L the the sent me U P t0 st °P [t lt °Loop.000 feet. as I had reached a height of 6. the morning yesterda}^. beetled off to a spot behind the lines where I played a delightful game of " make-believe. I had a job in slight bombardment was - C0 — — ' The afternoon cleared up. believe am actually enjoying the we certainly do have the best time of any branch of the Army when our job over. A on. and. and my Flight Commander suggested I should go up and practise with a camera and some old plates. I shoved the I . I dodged imaginary Archies on my way to it. So up went. life. regardless of the laws of aerial navigation.

Down slower Jove. The any higher . Now the rush down. Now I'll get off to the aerodrome and show them how to do it.76 INCREASING THE PACE down 70 nose — 80—90— 100 miles per hour. and then level once more. and a final sweep the altimeter. how slowly she seems to be going Ah she's over at last. goes the nose. glanced feet. upside down. Too slow centrifugal force is not great enough. when at a speed of approximately a hundred and twenty miles an hour. Gee. I must do another. No. ! at had lost 400 Cheer-o Now I'll write home and tell them. —slower. The white blank overhead changes to a black mass of earth rising up at me. My feet seem to lose their contact with the . and up went pitot tube did not register the nose up up and there I was. Then. I me level. gazing at the sky. . If I did only one they would think I had funked it after the first shot. and the ! ! ! — — — nose dive part brings I is over too. I grip the " joy-stick " fiercely with both hands. the liquid went out at the top. then up —up—and By floor. I pulled the " joystick " back into my tummy. she's going to stick at the top of the loop this time. Ah I She's over.

HOW I IT WAS DONE 77 did a couple drome —beauties steep spiral.000 feet. and looped as a passenger. more quite close to the aeroand then came down in a They were all at a height of . I . I only lost 400 feet each time. Strangely enough. Four good loops at the first time of attempting a loop isn't bad considering I had never even 6.

fun.78 INCREASING THE PACE wasn't half so excited as I expected to be. We had a lovely nut chocolate from S. When they discovered that the more people there were on top of me the farther off became the chocolate. they got up. you mustn't trouble so in the food line. much over me though. " they were " d d good loops I am and it : — ! Thanks ever so much for the pastries and But really. did not suffer. to say the I have been heartily congratulated least. We . and I handed it round It was great in the usual civilised manner. They were ripping. the feat seemed easy and not out of the ordinary. top of it. and it discovered what with me on the box of chocolate on the floor. in a tin being chocolate the and though. though. it. at having done was a curious sensation. the cake. for we have to pinch ourselves " and tell each other " There is a war on sometimes when we get some unusual deliBy the same post I got a pound of cacies. and once accomplished. over it when I Mess in the scrap tremendous up with it ended was. But to set your minds at rest I do not intend to go in for stunting. and five people on top of me. had a visit from Ian Hay's friend to-day. quite bucked.

. and gave them all a spiral. however our work goes on according to the light and the weather. it again. Yesterday I spent four and a half hours in my machine Not all in the air. even sometimes to be put to the vote. It only alters the hour of our meals. have to contend day and Days here are all one to us. Then I chased the car. I took up fifteen different passengers. slowed engine and dived at it. My passenger was awfully bucked about it. Cricket is the great " stunt " here in the 1 The Prince of Wales. At Hendon I should have made between £30 and £40 for that. They were sent over to see what signalling on the ground looks like from a 'plane. I suppose you know we have adopted the new time now. He 1 recently got the Military Cross. and it has date. and a little later flew after must have he went me too into the ditch. I don't think any of them had been up before. As I was going out of the aerodrome I flew over a passing car and we waved merrily to of the difficulties is One I with here finding out the correct ! my each other. for .FIFTEEN PASSENGERS if 79 you recall a certain incident in the trenches. though. The driver been watching closely.

also conducive to short innings. I . you pick out a road here and a clump of trees there. and so on. do not interfere to excess. and did a It was almost pitch landing. as there was a long row of clouds at 2. seeing nothing till the altimeter tells you that you are high enough to turn. flying on. We had flares out. Higher. and the twinkling lights of the Aerodrome beneath. it the game provides much amusement. The mornings are spent in repairing the damage of overnight caused by the Rugger. . Then round. as you become accustomed to the dark. g°°d Fiyfng dark. had another twenty minutes' night flying a couple of nights ago. Still. and smites at every ball on the principle of a short it is life and a gay one. of course.80 INCREASING THE PACE afternoon and Rugby in the evenings. provided the little incidentals of flying. and for his further annoyance he may not smite the ball more than quite a moderate distance or counts as out. and as the batsman generally ignores the boundary rule. All this. and gradually. and a searchlight lighting up the track but from the moment you start moving you go out into inky darkness. The batsman is out-numbered by fielders in the proportion of fifteen to one.000 feet which hid the moon.

I suppose. because my last three journeys over the lines need not have been made.— "ALL till IS WELL" At 81 finally the picture is complete. carefully sighting the required trenches. I hear a lively bugle band in the distance on the march. and the rest had not come out. I spent nearly two and a half hours in the air. our gardens and flower-beds are blooming. The report came in I 6 . As I write. J. More troops going up to the trenches. Then you glide down and land alongside the flares. saw a scrap in the air to-day in which one of our machines was brought down. and air speed indicator. and all is well. and when I got back I found the string that worked the shutter had broken after my third photo. and went over the lines four times. stopping your engine just outside. you throttle down the To-day went up to take photos. aerodrome. Our gramophone still plays on. When about 400 feet up you open out your engine again. and taking eighteen photos. length. It was disappointing. and incidentally it would have saved getting a hole through one of my planes. and fly in towards the aerodrome. He was too far off to help. engine and glide keeping a watchful eye on the altimeter.

. and F being in a skittish mood played hide-and-seek round them. It was very cloudy. said to myself. and I have finished my job for to-day (a three hours' patrol) withHI e nd out seeing a Hun or getting an g e eJ Archie.82 first INCREASING THE PACE that it was my 'bus which was down. and was gratified to see him come out at the bottom in a vertical . when I was followhim a short distance behind. roaring with laughter as his passenger gave a little jump at every pumpful. it ing became boring. and I was to follow him. but after that All goes well. " If you think I am going to follow you there you're jolly well mistaken " so I waited outside the cloud. he ran slap I into the middle of a huge cloud. for the passenger sits on one of the large petrol tanks. Two of us went up and F had streamers on his wings he was going to direct the flight. which swells or " unkinks " itself as you pump. Once. and to his disgust he had run slap into the cloud without seeing it. about 500 feet directly below me. It was a wonderful sight among . which must have been some distance off. but neither I nor my escort machine saw the fight. bank. It turned out that he had been pumping up the pressure in his petrol tank. This was good fun for the first hour.

I wonder when those Saterday nites with them will cum back. and old George's group is called I 11 up too. and tunnels. outlining the machine sharply against the cloud.A MEMORABLE^PICTURE 83 the clouds. I wish you'd send our cook the resepe for them cooked chips you used ter do on Saterday nites. and sometimes turning back from an impenetrable part with a vertical bank.000 feet. he's out in France. sometimes worrying a zigzag course through a maze of cloudlets. poking its nose here and there. they were times." No. just by the lines. in the pink. got a letter from Bert the other day. I have nothink to write about this time. we had a sham battle for the amusement of the Tommies in the trenches. and to see the other aeroplane dodging in and out of grottos. The squadron yesterday. 'As Pa got that job or is he still at the Green Man ? Well hoping this finds you as it leaves me at present. canyons. Give my love to Rose. I'm still sane merely a temporary lapse owing to an overdose of censoring. Finally we came down to a height of 5. noticing that I was — . and there. Then that supper with me and him at Eliza's after will —my ' 1 Everyone thinks as how the war ' be over with luck in a few years' time.

so there is nothing doing. to any great extent.84 INCREASING THE PACE orderly officer. We get French bread as well. strafing some trenches. nasturtiums. The gardens here have flowers planted out mostly pansies. We started at 3. If there is ever a move either way it would not affect the R." have sent word round to the M. yesterday. I suggested that asparagus would be rather a good thing to plant. and in a big bombardment it only — — I . where it became too wet and too hot at the same time for our job. decided to give me a run for my money. Our food here is English right enough. No fighting on the ground can reach us. It couldn't improve German Archie shooting or anything of that sort. in a tin by means of a spirit They are trying to determine its lamp fellows — I " flash point.F. My Flight Commander —one of the finest is busy cooking I have ever met tobacco with E. To-day the clouds are crawling about just and I over the ground. and it is generally preferred to ration bread. but the idea didn't seem to catch on There is no reason whatever to be worried about not receiving letters. to stand by with stretchers. etc.O.200 feet over a well-known town.000 feet and the clouds descended lower and lower till we ended up at a height of 1. I was up with K. and wrote millions of letters.C.

BAD NEWS means that we are kept the fire 83 fairly busy directing of our batteries. I am just doing a long glide down to the aerodrome my passenger has asked me not to spiral down as he has got a bad head. so go steady. but the weather was very bad. will you ? ") m shan't be able to write you to-day exce P t tn * s rou gh note written in »» my am biplane. My pal B. There is bad news to-day. etc. who was on a bombing stunt this morning. His writing is better than mine. is — smote I went up to take some special photos for the CO. It is a machine-gun bullet which in my fuselage It —that my rigger found is to say. so I am afraid he may have landed in Hunland. and writing in the hope of catching the post. Sorry « I have finished my job. has not returned. : — I've got a top-hole souvenir now. (Enclosure " Got a rotten head. and the sky as smothered in clouds as I was in Archie. bent " some/' as something rather hard a bomb. It took 6* me three trips over the line to get five . as he has written on a soft pad. I enclose his note.. I . and that is saying a good deal. the aeroplane it fuselage. to-day.

We are kept well up-to-date with the London theatre news by the fellows who come back from leave. Manhattan. I have heard and seen plenty of Archie before. and I looked up to see the corporal I had as passenger disappear in the smoke like as we actually went through it. It was still going strong when we changed it and put a new one in. was rather pleased. but there was not a scratch on the machine. I have tested the new one and flown with it. you can say I'd sooner be here than in the trenches these days. though only one photo was really of any use. It did over a hundred and ten hours' running without being touched or even having the sparking plugs changed. and I think the opinion of the whole corps is the same. but never before smelt it. The Huns got our range to a nicety. Four came out. and it is very good. and now the camp resounds with music from " The Bing Mr. The engine in my machine has put up a record for the squadron. The CO. Boys are Here " and " To people who think . It was going through a tiny cloud.86 INCREASING THE PACE photos. They also bring the records of them back for the gramophone. including on them corners of clouds I was dodging." this branch of the Service the most dangerous. One Archie burst just in front of us.

and the gauge still showed three gallons in the tank. One of our squadron was out on a stunt Next day the 'phone was the other day. and had to land in a Pancaking fiel( j f w heat about five feet high. I was 700 feet up and had to make up my mind where I was going to land in about four seconds. is playing the violin not two yards from me. It is jolly hard to land in wheat without turning over. minutes non-stop when my petrol ran out. I brought her down. J. My passenger said he enjoyed the flight more than any other he had had At the present moment there is some storm on. and pancaked her beautifully into the field about three yards from a road. . In a Wheat * na<^ Deen U P three hours and twentyField. ! as well. flew it that evening on a night stunt. though it was bone dry. and I cannot hear a single Perhaps -it is just note except during lulls. and there was so much " hot air " in the office that it was dangerous to fly over on account of the bumps.A LUCKY ENDING I 87 ran out of petrol a quarter of a mile from the aerodrome. continually on the go. . but I did it without hurting the machine at all in fact J. We wheeled it from the field along the road back to the aerodrome inside half an hour.

expect these are the last for a while. It is really quite Here comes the tender. owing to there being no holes in the clouds. and a tender is coming in a few minutes. I flew about behind the German lines for over an hour before I could get a single photo. I got practically no Archie. but am going to read it through. and we are all a very happy party. so here must catch the post first. Washstand. etc. and tea. and patisserie ! Ah I I think Gillespie's book {Letters from Flanmost interesting. and shelves and books and boots and clothes.. I have only dipped into it here and there at present. I am sitting hut about 8 feet by snug. craze ! I I hope and I was up on photos to-day. I am very fit. a Charlie Chaplin film. Send some more as soon ders) as you like. in my little 6 feet. Diabolo (home made) is the latest on my bed. it was quite good. I went to the flicker show the other day and A splendid divisional band. I had quite a job getting them owing to clouds. and got the photos. .88 INCREASING THE PACE Several of us have got special leave to go to a flicker show some way off.

The engine was still running on the ground. Or why didn't he let her Go by ? Yet he'd some sense or News even better You'd^get in my letter. . and. and most of our people who were asleep thought it was a Hun bombing us. He calmly got out of the scrapheap and walked away. A visitor landed at our 'drome from night bombing and a bomb blew his machine up on landing. stopped it by using a fire extinguisher in the air intake LandlM^ I know what to write about. ^ ut xt was ver ^ C0 anC c l 0U(ty anc* ^ * —a jolly clever and plucky thing to do. and the CO. He chopped up my letter Thus he was a base Censor. for all he knew. There is a darling puppy here belonging to one of the men. more bombs.. and quite looks forward to my visits. MIRACULOUS ESCAPE Blessed if 89 no Huns ventured out. At the Base was a Censor. It is a jolly little thing. as there were gallons of petrol all around. I did the three-hour patrol yesterday. and I go round and have a chat with it every morning when I inspect my transport. It was a miraculous escape.

t-tt i with me. The weather was hopeless our altitude was often under 2. M. A ii yesterday. We went up again dual control. or something like that. waking up now and then to give I when to 2." " for a . when it was just about a quarter of an hour before dinner time he took out his lever. as in looking up the black blob of the hat changes to the white blob of the face. Absolutely vertical bank on.go I INCREASING THE PACE am at present flying a machine fitted with couple of days ago Du *\ up to test it and E. We trotted round the country very low and stunted gently over neighbouring villages. I my lever a pat in the required direction when he did not get the machine level quickly enough after turning." I was up again this morning for two and a half hours with E. first attempt.. came went I „ Control. spiral that.000 feet or so. flew me lines. " Quite a good he said patronisingly to E.. He did jolly well. was very amusing afterwards. turning the machine splendidly sometimes. and had taken the machine signalled E. . and I brought the machine down in the most gorgeous spiral I have ever done.000 feet by the To relieve the monotony E. You can easily tell when people are watching you. Then. and he I fitted in his control lever and took charge. then had a pleasant little snooze of twenty minutes or so.

one of the ancient observers. thinking to himself (as he afterwards told me) that it was rather a bumpy day. lines for the benefit of a — I when took up some chocolate the other day I was on patrol. and when he did so he had a grin on his face and a sort of " Think-youcan-frighten-me-with-your-stunts-you-g i d d ykipper " look as well. and he sat there quite contentedly. and he did not know that when I waggled the joy-stick thus shaking the 'bus from side to side I wanted him to turn round. and we munched away for some time. so I had to take them with me. though on what theory I don't know. and just before it was time to come I ! about half an hour while — home did a beautiful spiral quite close to the few thousand Tommies and Huns in the trenches just to show there was no ill-feeling.AIR COMMUNICATION for 91 observed the Finally. Finally I nearly had to loop him to persuade him to turn round. we got up a bit clouds and mist higher. I had just got my letters to-day when I was sent up. you know. He was a sergeant. and gave some to the observer in the air. I waggled away for about five minutes. — — . Then I started switch-backing and he endured that. and read them in the air on the way to the lines.

billiard ball. That is one of the ways superfine Virginias depart this life quickly. (or aeroplane as the being called) * has gone under at last. the cue a rolled-up map . people must have " some " ears.93 INCREASING THE PACE The newspaper stories of the firing in France of Scotland. off. fly. to vamoose and the others buzzed cussin'. Those I was most frightfully sorry that you hadn't received up to about the postponement of my leave. . north being heard in Ireland. the and Timbuctoo amuse me greatly. and I did all our as 1 Reference to a humorously satirical caution against the use of the terms " 'bus " or " plane " instead of "aeroplane'* or "machine. I have a nice new But E." . Rescued the inkbottle from an untimely death as a letter . violent almost worthy of Mother Guttersnipe caused E. Six people have just invaded my 8 feet by 6 feet hut. Sunday my . One new pilot too many was called upon to fly it. and I raged round the camp until I finally simmered down again. and I may be bringing home a new walking-stick I have not been My dear old 'bus authorities insist on its 1 — er—machine to flying it for a week now. Never mind. It must have been a rotten disappointment. it won't be long.

The very best of love to The splendid news has come through pal my you. .THE TENSION RELAXED 11 93 hot-air it. I shan't write to-morrow." W. who is on leave. stuff " on the other • • • 'bus. and I looped • that B. as if all goes well it will be a race between this card and myself to get home first. is " safe and well though a prisoner.. wired us.

but my " machine " was not hit at all. emptied a 04 . When we were up to-day P. Bags of Archie were flying around. He was on missing. see the bombs going down in a string. and I Backto ^a managed bombing all right. and finally disappearing below. and there were about It was a wonderfully pretty sight to of us. S. • I shot a bullet into the air. ranging some batteries. stunt. The weather was pretty dud. is perhaps you have heard. as a long He • is reported unhurt and • • prisoner of war. I was first up to-day and we had a non-stop flight of nearly three hours. I my old friend Archie yesterj was on bombing y^ not ver y £ar over t ie j mes though. It fell to earth I know not where.Ill STORM AFTER CALM Back to work and quickly. but W. dwindling.

which must be caught and returned as per tennis.K." Last evening E. We . Isn't " it extraordinary how " Scramble Patience and Gilbert and Sullivan always seem to go together ? We went for a walk last evening. and I went in a tender to the battery we had been working with in the morning and saw the wonderful ruins of a town near there." —not of ammunition from the gun over the Gee whiz One of them knows practically all and Sullivan by heart as well. we use a rope quoit. We have a game here now which is something like tennis. made . but must not be held in the hand or thrown over-arm." 1 Gilbert etc. but luckily there was no shelling. I had a game of solo yesterday with three others. are it is getting after all a tennis court progressing quite well. but just to test the gun. and several from " Patience " and the " Yeomen. and sang the Nightmare song through. " This is some hail. I said to myself. and we got back O.AMUSEMENTS drum lines 95 firing at anything in particular. Instead of racquets and balls. and I have discovered two people who are frightfully keen on " Scramble Patience. The empty cartridges as they were ejected landed with clockwork regularity on the top of my head. We were really quite close to the lines.

96 STORM AFTER CALM is Here a story as it was told to me. I was ordered to fly over to a neighbouring aerodrome to be ready for a special job in the morning.You '11 f-find my n-number on my t-tail Staff Officer. so keep warm. but vest. I landed there all right and reported. the fleece lining from I double-breasted my waterproof and a leather overcoat. said. and was standing by the remains of his machine when a Staff Officer came up and remarked. " I suppose you've had a smash " " Oh n-no. " I always 1-land 1-like this. ^to°° He got out. and went into the mess-room slap . who was. Y. somewhat savage. just managed to Yesterday I was in the middle of a game of tennis when. to put it mildly. foundedly cold. One of the best pilots at the front one day d crasne d on the top of some trees. I had a thick was conand a leather waistcoat." The ! annoyed in his turn. with one or two others. It and leapt shirt heroically into the air at five. tunic. " Do you know whom you are speaking to ? What is your name ? " To which " Don't try to c-come the comic p-policeman over me." I was called at four this morning. : p-plane." stuttered the pilot.

and partly to the pilots. work before went into detailed for and the other pilots the work came in. sent to explain the nature of the I was for me us. I utter astonishment schoolfellow. and we returned to our aerodromes. etc. I recognised another old had dinner with him and stayed the night there. valise. His (or rather A k rS m y) ma chine was damaged. I brought back my bed. had my machine up to-day and met a Fokker. chatting with him when the CO.. " The " R. My machines always seem to be unlucky when in the hands of other pilots. with me in the passenger seat of the aeroplane. was flying must have been a comical sight.C. and to my his office.OLD SCHOOLFELLOWS into the 97 I arms of an old schoolfellow. partly owing to our " hot stuff new machines. One of our pilots ' 7 . but to his surprise the Hun went off home " hell for leather. This morning the weather was too dud for our work and it was washed out. as I had lost them at the other aero- pyjamas. I had to fly back without my goggles. But a Fokker running away from the machine L. have absolutely got the Huns " stiff " in the air. but he F? ht spun round and let fly at the Fokker. Then his gun jammed.F. drome.

^. Yesterday they started on me just before I got to the lines. and clattered away for ages. I got some magazines. and minutes showing about ten motioned me away. as they haven't — . else tried to get my hair cut this morning at a informed that " Surely not. but they were not nearly so good as those near the lines. but was twelve o'clock. and some new shaving soap and razor blades. and chocolate." village not far it away.'s record of unpleasant stunts. and. I hit something with one of my bombs that made a colossal burst probably some Hun ammunition. went on until I was a good ten miles the other side. but although I only went a few miles over the lines I was Archied Just now . Then the Archies started from the place I was going to bomb." to twelve. I think. I I bid fair to outdo H. The first one was just to whet my appetite. the whole blessed time. so to speak. The Huns must have spent fortunes on Archie in the last week. Piece. However. after and the barber said 11 produced a watch unblushingly and Si.98 STORM AFTER CALM To-day I have done very little else but and the weather has done very little but rain. I sleep. was said. as I nearly had Tail a third within twenty-four hours.

as it really was interesting to be so many miles behind the lines and see their — aerodromes. of course." They signalled to me to come down. It had two landing T's out great white strips of sheet. I looked round.— " REMARKABLE " ! 99 got so much practice. saw the tail still there. and I could not see the effect of all my bombs. said " Remarkable " and went on. Well. and the machine was badly shaken by one which made a most appalling crash just behind the tail. but I wasn't having any. I was horribly scared. When I had finished I came back with the wind. There were some wonderfully near shots. and as it was a bit misty I signalled down " bad mist. I dropped several bombs there. and hardly got an Archie at all. etc. I was jolly pleased when it was over. as it was rather cloudy. The Hun aero! drome was a very nice-looking place. and pleased too (in a way) that I had been. I went night bombing yesterday rather an Irish way of putting it. nose down. and Bombing . one landing on the road beside the 'drome and one by the landing T. I though I went up after dinner. and there was a machine on the ground. at some pace. I don't know if I hit any of the sheds or not.

to my surprise. so. and some deep craters. passing always over the top of me. but could not even recognise what part I was over.ioo STORM AFTER CALM turned my You and see. and came down to 2. Then. so I pulled the chucked the board over the side. but it was no go. when I saw some lights fired. but it did not show me sufficient to enable me to recognise what part of the Deciding it was hopeless. as clear as day. I crossed the lines about 4. sloped off towards the lines. from the ground I blind eye to 'em and beetled off. soon and then became absoEverything was lutely and completely lost. so but it looked I expect they couldn't see me ripping. and I could see the ground . inky black and I could only see an occasional thing directly below me. it didn't look misty.000 feet with my engine throttled down. It seemed ages before I picked up . by my I set out for home. the Huns loosed off some Archie nowhere near me. Then some more flares went up from the lines. They got a searchlight going and flashed it all round. and then flew due east for about a quarter of an way map off. there beautifully. hour.000 feet up and tried to find my objective. flying due west compass. I went about four miles over. lines I was over. owing to the mist. as I didn't want any doubts on the I subject. My mapboard was lost sight of the flares in the of my compass.

Altogether I had really enjoyed myself. so it has its advantages. They said it looked topping from the ground. the one I had in Germany and at Penlee and then gave an exhibition of spiralling and banking in the dark. and I 101 I was afraid might have drifted away sideways. I then switched on some little lights had on the wing tips. bombs would have looked 7* . and would much rather do night bombing than day bombing. and I am playing tennis at 5. Then I signalled down " N. and made a perfect dream of a — — landing.FLYING IN THE DARK the aerodrome lights again. of course). ain't it ? . and just as I was nearing them. 'cos so pretty exploding in the darkness. passed another of our machines by about 200 yards in the darkness. " perched " (with all my bombs on. and as he passed I could see his instrument lights in his little cabin. He was a wee bit lower than I was. The only thing that annoyed me was the that I couldn't find my target. and flashed my I pocket lamp you know.B. A little red spider has just landed on me and buzzed off again that's lucky." and came in. but I spotted them all right. I didn't get up until about twelve o'clock this morning.15.G.

for I made a perfect landing. He — — ! down. Just as I was coming in to land. not understanding or taking much heed. He turned round. and yelled to M. Finally. but just perched behind him and dodged him. he tried the throttle. He tumbled to that all right and removed the gun from behind his head and put it on the front mounting. thinking that I had a mad fit on. So all ended well. Have just been up with E.102 STORM AFTER CALM just Have had a forced landing. We spotted a . I Gesticulation in with me. and spiralled Mid-Air m ent. realising what I wanted. another machine cut in ahead of me. I warned M. but as I had no engine I couldn't " wai-at " (like Peg). wildly waving our arms at each other. just in case er we met a hedge We reached the aerodrome all right a couple of thousand feet up. was up him to compart- work the throttle from his smiled benignly on me. We must have been a comical sight up there. waved my arms at him. put his thumb to his nose and extended his ringers. and shouted. and in his turn waved his arms. As we couldn't use the engine and were descending. that we were going to have a forced landing. Finally I stood up. and. but did not succeed in working it.

It started raining in the early hours and is still going strong. Flying just above the clouds it was gorgeous one felt like leaning out and grasping a handful of snow and making snowballs. and was in topping form.A RAINSTORM 103 storm coming up and ran for home.000 feet this morning. the clouds were so fluffy and white. Great loss of dignity I came in again. Swish . this time right at the end of the aerodrome. We just got I was up 8. I had a splendid game of tennis yesterday. but the whole sky was clouded over and one could not see the ground. ! To-day has been " some " day. but the blessed machine went on flying. although ! the throttle was entirely closed. and I switched off just in time to prevent running out of the aerodrome. so had to go round again. Lightning services. and found myself going too fast. in before the rain came down. I came down to land. The throttle had become incorrectly set and the engine continued to run at half speed. We are going to have floats fitted to the machines so as to take off the lakes ! . and closed the throttle.

again and appeared to be running smoothly so. feeling that fate had willed me to stay up. and had hardly got up a thousand feet when my engine M chug-chug.'' and misfire. crossed the lines. I sent down " Engine O.104 STORM AFTER CALM as I was out all yesterday aftern °° n tTym Z t0 gGt my hair ° Ut * was unaD le t° write to you. and finally reached the was to bomb. and the CO. I left the ground shortly afterwards by flares. the aerodrome. and of course was pitch dark.45 a. lest my engine should let me down). ' Inasmuch A Firework Display it I was up at 2. picked up the Just after I left came up. Result I came in too high (not having had time to get used to the dark). now. trying not to come in too low. lines. and by this time I was absolutely furious with myself.K. I signalled that I was descending. go began to lose its revs.m.. would not road was to follow. and had to open up my engine and crawl round again at a couple of hundred feet. counter. and saw that the engine had found its revs. Again I essayed to land. Sorry. though." and went off to the : . clouds let the next pilot go. I gave a glance at the rev. but failed. I found my way quite well (in a blue funk. as I was afraid my engine might not pick up. and came down.000 and I place I . Here I ran into clouds and had to come down to between 1.

— THE WRONG AERODROME 105 2. spotted ours. Moreover. and went to bed again. to 5 p. bangs from My Flight-Commander has gone home after being out nearly eleven months. I am booked for tennis shortly.m. I soon picked out some flares which I headed for. I dropped my bombs all right. I am sure there is no better Flight-Commander in all France. Flying back by compass.. so will write more another time.m. We have now solved the trouble a semi-choked petrol pipe. and saw them explode as good as a Brock's — firework I heard the them. . and felt the machine bumped by the rush of air caused by the explosions. We are all sorry to lose him. in the upper regions. I have just come down from a long and rather boring job with E. had trouble with my engine yesterday. I looked round. reported.30 p.000 feet. which took us from I 1. got there. did a good landing. Realising that I was over the wrong aerodrome. display. I had a repetition of the stunt to-day when testing it. and had a forced landing. managing to get into the aerodrome and land in a cross wind.

E. t ^iat this time. quite accurately. To sum up my work for the last twenty-four hours. and each time some trouble with the engine broke out when I had got up 500 feet. By great good luck I managed to get back into the aerodrome. I was all on my — 1 . and with * am navm £ your usual Sherlock Holmes intelligence you deduce. to its molecular constituents in other — words. Each time that we thought that we had discovered the trouble and I took her up again. and one night flight. four hours'-odd flying. It was with my own machine. and a crash not bad. On one occasion I had bombs on too Now the machine is being practically pulled to pieces and altered by almost raving mechanics. eh ? The three forced landings within that short space of time constitute almost a record. she cut out just the same. 2C." Now don't worry. I will first te ^ y° u new will several walking-sticks made.106 STORM AFTER CALM I Well. I had. that I have carefully and conscientiously reduced a B. I have had three forced landings. a three and a half hours' non-stop flight. as I am perfectly all right and thoroughly enjoying life. " crashed it. as I wrote you yesterday. and later was down for night bombing. 6 have a little To Grin let news for you you down lightly.

but what little had pushing me on instead of holding me back. worse than it looked from the ground. I looked round at the flares and found I was flying all on the skew. owing to trees being at the other end of the 'drome. I expected to touch ground by the first flare. I knew it was hopeless trying to leave the vicinity of the 'drome. and signalled that I was coming down.IN DIFFICULTIES 107 own. . there wasn't there was I much wind. I couldn't tell my height. I had been told to land down wind. and the machine was an old one and not very stable. the CO. and with no moon everything was black as ink. left wing down. though from the time I passed the last flare I saw absolutely nothing. but owing to these things and the fact that I was flying a strange machine the engine of which " ticked over " . asked me if I would like to try. and several people said they thought it was too misty. However. I went up all right. So down I came. and got ready. and I put that right but not being able to see even a white road directly below me. There was a horrible ground mist. Well. and I said I was quite willing. and although that enabled me to see the ground directly below me. Likewise I lit a flare at the end of my wing. I could not tell whether I was flying upside down or anyway.

The landing was right. tail afterwards : The and to I flare on the wing tip was still burning. this is how the machine looked a second contortionist. had hardly time to get over my surprise m bursting. " This is no place for me. and undid my safety at the bombs not me belt double quick and slid down one of the wings to the ground. when it occurred that there might be a lot of petrol knocking about. flare —but I did not touch ground at the first all at the last.io8 STORM AFTER CALM rather fast. similar to those of a stage and endeavoured to mix up its and rudder with the propeller. . At any rate." I thought. but I plunged merrily on into the pitch darkness until I came to a nice new road and a ditch which pulled up y e machine with a " crunch " It at once began to take up 1 peculiar attitudes. Meanwhile some dozens of breathless mechanics and officers arrived at the double. Y boy.

as long as you are the Wing. I am then absolutely certain I more scared than relieved lit they were infinitely was. landed. At any rate. have just come down . observing with satisfaction that my hand was quite steady. and they all seemed when I told them I was all right. and walked up to the CO. and took up my machine to test it again. I got out all how I One of our pilots managed to land is said he didn't know I at all. and thinks experience and it didn't have nothing to grumble about. landed. as there is none going here just now. and all tell right just ring up J them our machine has : — . I a cigarette (as being the correct thing to do). I don't expect to get my next leave much before Christmas at any rate." I my to I felt inclined pass the hat round. hurt was jolly lucky. it me in the least. This time the engine ran perfectly and I did some splendid stunts coming down. that's all right. so I I had a good game of tennis yesterday. an officer who was " beautiful When me I had the visiting for aerodrome came up and thanked exhibition. By the way. and apologised." Everybody was bucked that right.JOLLY LUCKY and made kind inquiries as to 109 my health. " Oh.

and tail . On the way back I did a spiral on the other side of the Hun lines. • now. I Altogether I it was quite a • • jolly flight. fired a drum of ammunition at me. but the clouds harder for me to photo. stalls. and as the artillery did not shoot well. and a rather pleasant bombing raid. I told him he must be a rotten shot. on a railway station—my objective. Archie was scarce owing to clouds. thinking I was a Hun going down. I obtained the sanction of my passenger. • • was testing *kis stalling my machine round the 'drome morning when it occurred to me to indulge in a few stunts. • • • Just come down from a shoot. and we proceeded to do vertical banks. except that have had a splendid game of tennis. I got a beautiful shot with one of my bombs. We got some prettygood Archie at us. but I did the shoot. and got hardly any Archie at all. and have been taking photos. was up with me. G. • • • • I have not much news to-day. I dropped a couple of bombs on the target. and had better have some practice on the range with me. We went a long way over. and one of our chaps. past a Hun aerodrome. and then to tennis.no STORM AFTER CALM made it Made a toppinglanding. I must get tea. owing to the clouds.

officers in much to the enjoyment of a group of who (I heard afterwards) were watchfound it most enjoyable. don't know what " stalling " ing. 3^ou You are flying level so : then you pull the nose of the machine up so till at last it becomes perpendicular. I Perhaps is.STALLING slides. so .

sticks there a moment. : and then so until it regains sufficient speed under control again and level.112 STORM AFTER CALM of course falls it when stops dead in the gradually slows down and air. The feeling after the machine has stuck at and plunges on to bring it .

and I and two others went the cinema and saw " Charlie " in the evening. • • • • My me adventures of the past two days remind of the great motor-cycle ride R. — down. to 8 . for there was an officers mess within a hundred yards of where we landed. we didn't need the hospital. and told you about our forced Well. the day before yesterday. we decided to land. We have " fallen " among friends here. and then falls 113 stummick up above more so. and we are being splendidly treated. We are. that I last wrote you. Let I me see — I it had was think. near a town. and stopped the night in an hotel.ADVENTURE AND PLEASURE the top. pulling up six inches from a ploughed field. but are stuck here owing to rain. and show " to-night ' to see Charlie Chaplin. and came down in a nice little field. The exhaust pipe blew off. and soon got the machine to rights. is the " left tube-lift feeling " —only your have been on a cross-country flight. Altogether an ideal place for a forced landing. However. and are going to a " flicker I E. and as the hot exhaust then became directed on the petrol tank. E. landing. and conveniently near a hospital. however. and from Devon to London.

it come down. we should have gone head over heels. and started the engine myself. pulling up with the wing tip touching a bundle of hay. and Howit to the aerodrome for help. At last I found a good place. I had hardly left the ground before I went slap into the clouds at I 50 feet. The petrol tank started getting hot again. pulling up a couple of yards from a hole in the ground. getting to the went on ever. where. and when the rain stopped I went up alone from the field to dry the machine and examine the weather. if we had landed. got two farm labourers to hold the machine while I swung the propeller. and while they were gone repaired the damage myself. Later in the day when it cleared up we started again. They were all humps and bunkers and hazards. the blessed to and we were only a few miles away when exhaust pipe popped off. and E. so we had took us an awful time to find a decent field. and plunged down again into a bigger field close by the other. We stopped a car. got a spare bolt from the car. Then I clambered into the machine and went off alone. I aerodrome just as my helpers were leaving.H4 STORM AFTER CALM The next day we made a few purchases. and perched. turned quickly and crawled back just above the ground. . missing a factory chimney by a few yards.

I believe. is the only one in our Flight air. I saw two of our shells pass in the air while I was flying." " Can you pit tell me where ahm tae ahm no tae pit them. but I just got an impression of them as they went down. but.F. I am thinking of sending to Cox's for my passbook. I ago. Four of us played pitch and toss yesterday with pennies for two hours. I saw a very curious sight the other day. splendid. huge grin. but P. Commanders down is gripped. alas ! . an' where He I quite enjoyed the flight.C. They were not near me. I who has seen them from the think the idea of dividing R.— SHELLS THAT PASS 115 The weather is pretty dud. see them go if you are standing behind the guns. You can. though. and I lost sevenpence. They have every one from playing them. and looked round once with a and said " Bon " By the way. The gambling fever has caught on here tremendously Flight . and a very rare one. You remember the two games of Patience I used to play the Four Aces and the Idle Year." ma feet. took up a Scotch sergeant a couple of days He was a perfect " scream. Squadrons is up by public schools impossible.

and damn quickly too. I waited till he was about a hundred yards away. and then suddenly the Hun stuffed his nose down and swooped behind us. and glued himself on his target again. looked up. Once he passed right over about 200 feet above us. while the third circled about very diffidently watching us. st the Hun. I was busy watching to about 6. and at that G. " you'll wake up with a jump in a minute.'s attention to the matter. I watched and waited. He sat up with a jerk. never noticed 'em." I said to myself. and when they got within a few hundred yards. There was a Hun patrol of three machines buzzing around that neighbourhood. moved. and then did a vertically banked " about turn " and went slap for him. " All right. and at that moment G. and we heard his machine gun pop-popping away like mad. and let him have about forty rounds rapid at about seventy yards . You could see the black iron crosses painted on a background of silver on the wings. and were doing a big shoot f? m* some four miles anc as ** was a * sat right over our target for about a quarter of an hour.000 feet m y we went up ^ and i or so over the lines. and didn't feel a bit excited or nervous.n6 STORM AFTER CALM I Yesterday G. I thought it was about time to draw G." To my surprise two of the Huns took no notice of us and went on. gave a quick glance round.

STILL RUNNING
range.

117

G. had his gun ready to fire, when the turned and made for home. We chased him a short way just for moral effect, and then went back to our target and on with our job. We were awfully surprised when he didn't come back. I suppose we scared him or something. This little chat took place about

Hun

7,000 feet up, and five miles on their side of the lines. Was up 'smorning ; jolly cold. The guns are going like Rachmaninoff's Prelude.

Before I stop I want to say this If my adventures and amusements are going to cause you loss of sleep when they are over, you ain't a-goin' to hear no more. Please don't let them disturb you. I have generally forgotten all about them by the time your
:

return letter arrives.

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»y 2001 PreservationTechnologie A WORLD LEADER IK PAPER PRESERVATK 111 Thomson Park Drive Cranberry Township.Deatidified using the Bookkeeper pxoces Neutralizing agent: Magnesifjm Oxide Treatment Date: ». (72A\ 779-2111 PA 1 6066 I .

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