No 2 Squadron RFC
Diaries 1915 -1918
Capt Smith's diary No 2 Squadron RFC 1915 continued
Capt Smith with Capt Milne
Jul 31st Sat:
My turn to make Army Recce. Went up with Capt. Milne as observer, at 4.15, but found ground to the South & East covered with a dense fog & was obliged to descend. Made another attempt at 9.30 am in spite of clouds which had come up, but which were not thick. Crossed the lines over La Bassée above clouds at 9,000 ft. On nearing Seclin clouds were thicker, we turned in the direction of Douai but clouds became so thick it was impossible to see earth at all in that direction. Decided to return & steered by compass for South of Lens. We were fired at as we passed over gaps in the cloud and a piece of HE shell went through the fuselage hit a bracing wire & remained inside. Arrived back at 11.30. A bombing raid has been arranged to take place tomorrow & Aug 2nd on the aerodromes at and near Douai. No's 3 & 16 Sqn's to attack the aerodrome & workshops at Douai & No 2 Sqn to attack the aerodrome at Vitry, starting at 4.15 am.
Aug 1st Sun:
Aug 3rd Tues:
The Germans dropped a message last night over the French lines saying that Lt. William Reid is a prisoner & wounded in two places in the left arm but not seriously. He was hit by anti-aircraft fire.
Aug 6th Fri:
Did evening Reconnaissance with Lt. Davis as observer. He spotted the German anti-aircraft guns at Wingles, Pont a Vendin & Lens.
Aug 10th Tues:
Set out for Seclin this afternoon to photograph in company with Capt. Hearson. When at 10,000 ft & about to cross the trenches we saw a German aeroplane, probably an 'Aviatich' . We immediately gave chase. It was slightly faster than our RAF 2c's and was gaining. When over the Bois de Biez it came within range of our anti-aircraft guns two well placed shots caused it to swerve to the left and we caught up. My observer, Lt. Davis, opened fire, as did Capt. Hearsons observer, Capt Milne. The enemy machine did a bad side-slip which leads us to believe it was hit. However he continued on his course in a S.E. direction and was lost to view. We returned, took our photographs & got back to the aerodrome without seeing more enemy machines. On landing we found that Capt. Hearsons aeroplane had been hit by about 8 bullets from the enemy aeroplane's machine gun, mine was undamaged.
Editor's note: RAF refers to the Royal Aircraft Factory
Aug 11th Wed:
Am informed by the Major that my promotion has gone through & that I shall shortly leave for another squadron, probably No. 4.
Aug 12th Thurs:
Receive instructions to join No.4 on Aug 16th.
Aug 15th Sun:
Orders to join No.4 cancelled. Am to remain with this squadron for the present,- until a vacancy occurs, I suppose. Went up at 6.30 this morning to take photographs at Hulluck (H.I3 b.d. 14, 15 a.e. & 20). Heavy clouds came up & I was obliged to return unsuccessful. Attempted again successfully at 4.30pm. Was fired at by anti-aircraft guns at Wingles, Pont a Vendin and Lens.
Aug 16th Mon:
Receive instructions to report at F.C. H.Q. St Omer at once. Col. Trenchard arrives before I leave and informs me that I am to take charge of the 'school' at St Omer for a few days and after that unless a vacancy occurs in the meantime I shall join a home squadron as Flight Commander.
Copyright © 2004 in the diary text and photos from 1915 is held by Major Smith's family. Copyright © 2004 www.airwar1.org.uk