No 2 Squadron RFC
Diaries 1915 -1918
Captain Allcock's diary No 2 Squadron RFC Nov 1915 continued
Editor's note: Major C F de S Murphy took command of No 2 Sqn
Artillery Observation with Lt. Rice. Unsuccessful owing to clouds at 1500 ft. On return practised bomb dropping over aerodrome. 3/4 hr
Nov 3rd (2nd sortie)
Artillery observation with Lt. Rice. Successful. Archie active. 2 3/4 hrs.
Artillery observation with 1 AM Bowes. Successful. Archie active. 3 1/4 hrs
Artillery observation with Lt. Rice. Unsuccessful owing to clouds. 1 1/4 hrs
Bomb dropping practice. Looped the loop three times. It is very easily done. The first one was a perfect loop. I put her nose down to 95 mph and then pulled the joystick lack cruickly but steadily. On the top throttled off the engine and she came down gently. The next two I did one after the other. Height 5000 ft. 1 1/2 hrs
Stood by with Gilbert for long reconnaissance. Weather rainy, clouds thick and very low. They decided we should try to do it. Medlicott and Brown, Russell and Rice. Wind 60 mph. Medlicott left the ground first. Russell followed, I came next. I kept Medlicott in sight going due SW until we reached 2000 ft when I entered clouds, climbing all the time I reached 8000 ft still in clouds going SW. At 8000 ft the machine itself took control and started spinning, the controls would not work so I left her alone and she eventually came out herself. Then I descended to 1000 ft. still in clouds, came further down to 500 ft, saw the ground but had no idea where we were, so I went due East, hit the trenches South of Grenay and followed them to La Bassee from where I followed the canal to Bethune and eventually came to earth after a terrible experience. Medlicott and Brown lost themselves and were forced to land in Hunland 10 miles behind owing to carburettor freezing. They crashed on landing - Brown broke his hip and leg, cut his face. Medlicott got scot free. Latest report is Brown in hospital doing well and Medlicott is in a prisoners camp. 1 1/4 hrs
Editor's note: Brown referred to was Lt. Arthur Whitten Brown who together with John Alcock (no relation) was the first to fly the Atlantic non-stop in June 1919. Medlicott was later shot attempting to escape a German prison camp (May 1918).
Escort to long reconnaissance machine. Observer 1AM Bowes District Valanciennes, Douai etc. Three machines crossed the line at eight thousand feet. Kept together until we turned to come back when we had a very strong head wind. My machine was slightly slower so I got left behind. Over Douai a Fokker attacked us over my tail; he dived at us and fired through his propeller. The first thing we heard was the rattle of the machine gun then the thud of bullets hitting. I managed to put in a drum from the back gun bracket as he crossed behind my machine. He then cleared off. In the meantime an Albatross attacked from underneath but at fairly long-range. My observer did some long potting and we kept him at a good distance under. We got to Lens when Archie started shelling us and tore gaping holes in my planes. Fortunately, we arrived home safely, but much dilapidated.
Editor's note: The following is the RFC Communiqué (Comic cuts) account of the aforementioned action.
Nov 11th (2nd sortie)
Fetched new machine from St Omer. Lt. Nulue as passenger. This one called Malaya 5, one of five given by the Strait Settlements. Very fast and climbs exceedingly well. 30 mins
With Lt. Gilbert as Observer we did the long reconnaissance at 12000 ft. Wonderful clear morning. Nothing much very exciting happened. We kept together very well. Archie was active. Don Orchres Seclin Valenciennes Devarn Douai. 2 1/2 hrs
Nov 13th (2nd sortie)
Passenger 1AM Harris. Joy ride engine testing of Malaya 5. 1 hr
Hun Patrol with Lt. Rice. Height 10500 ft. Arras to Amentieres. Three hostile Batteries located. 2 1/2 hrs
Joy ride with 2 AM Aston as passenger. Testing wireless. Put the wind up Aston by doing a steep spiral and tail sliding. 1 1/2 hrs
Hun Patrol with Lt. Rice at 10,500 ft between Arras and Amentieres. No hostile machines seen but 3 anti-aircraft guns located. 2 hrs
Observer Lt. Nulue. Weather very thick. Went out as escort to Photography Machine, who descended owing to weather conditions. Spying a hostile aircraft sign out on our aerodrome we cleared off in direction of the lines and patrolled hoping to discover the Hun. In the meantime the clouds came up very thick, so I descended to 500 ft of the ground to find my way home. It came on thicker so I came down lower, not recognising the landmarks. I landed in a ploughed field. Having enquired my way we started off again and hitting a ditch we overturned. I was thrown out into a ditch full of water and appeared out the other side like a drowning rat. It however broke my fall and I got off with a shaking up and a few bruises. My Observer was strapped in and he was hanging down head first, so I helped to unstrap him and he got out OK. We went to an Infantry Brigade HQs, phoned up No 2 for a salvage crew, having had in the meantime a good wash. We had lunch with the General and I met a fellow in the mess who I knew out in the West, a veterinary surgeon named Watts. The mechanics turned up in good time and we took the bus to pieces and carried her away on trailers. Everything went OK. Poor Old Malaya. 3 hrs
Counter Battery Registration with Lt. Rice. Archie active. 2 1/4 hrs
Diary © Guy Griffiths