No 4 Squadron R. F. C.
B. E. F..France.
My Dear Emily
This has been a scorcher and I am glad the day is over. Sunday is nearly always our worst day. It is generally a sign of increased activity and today has been no exception to the rule. Flying days like today is not all pleasure. The big 12 cylinder engine, stuck right in front of your face, is just like so many furnaces and the heat from it is scorching.
Today has been rather unfortunate for us too, I mean for our squadron. I may not mention any names or numbers, but it has been the worst day for fatalities and casualties since I came to the squadron 2 months ago. No one feels very chirpy tonight as a result.
However I had a rather amusing experience. I went over to get some rather difficult photographs, at least the fellows who tried to get them before, had had hard luck, with the Huns and Archie and etc. And I am the last man on earth for a job like that as I never know where I am when I take photographs. However I happened to know this particular place very well. So over I went. Before I had gone far I was attacked by a wretched Hun, a scout machine. This time I thought I would change my tactics and instead of turning for home, I went at him. He just fired a few rounds at me and then turned for home himself. Well of course I thought I was very brave, so I continued with my photographs. Then they shot up lots of archie, and I had to do some tall turns to get out of it. One does not stop long to consider what to do in such cases. Once I felt my belt tighten and when I looked down I saw the sky, so I guess I was a bit upside down, but I was doing 115 miles per hour at the time so gravity didn't have much effect. Finally I straightened out and finished my photos without any very great mishaps. But the funniest part was that when I got home I found that one of my chums from another squadron, in a fighting machine, who had been in to our mess during the morning and knew I was going over had escorted me, and was sitting just 1000 ft over my head all the time. It was he who chased away the Hun. Then when he came back he couldn't see me, but saw a speck away over in Hunland and concluded that I had gone over and lost my way, and went over after me. Then when he got there, miles over, he found it was a big Hun, who immediately attacked him. But he got out of it O.K. He is an awfully fine chap. I knew him at Catterick, and at present they are living right near our quarters. He came over today to call on me, when he heard I was here. When he got down he told me all about it, and thought it one of the best jokes ever. And so it was, what?
And to get back to the photographs. Fortunately they were O.K. In fact the Intelligence officer was good enough to say that they were the best set he has had in the squadron. One is rather a freak. It clearly shows one of the shells bursting just under the camera. It is rather a novelty in its way, because I couldn't have caught it if I had wanted to.
Your 2 letters May 20 & 27 arrived today. Glad you are all so well and that the wretched inspection is over and that you did so well. I hope that by this time school will be closed and that you will have a good rest. I don't know how you can teach in such weather. It is simply terrible here. Also Mother's of 22nd enclosed. Yes, the Jones and Reades have been very good to me indeed. They do not consider anything any trouble.
I am so glad Aunt Jean and Alfred are going down for a visit. I hope it will do them both good. I am sure they both need a change, and you will have jolly good times as Auntie is such a good sport and so is Ab. I only wish I could be there too.
I didn't know that Bill Addison was sick or wounded. What on earth was wrong with the kid? And where is H. G? If he had been in the army he would now be a Major General at least.
I am feeling absolutely in the pink as the sun and the heat from the machine have made my face a terrible sea?side red, but outside of that I am all to the good. Yes I will write Alf as often as I can. I do feel sorry for the kid too. He must be jolly lonesome and fed up, but I believe it will do him worlds of good. He still owes me a letter.
I see by orders just now that I have to do an artillery shoot in the morning. It is a hard job but a safe one as it is not necessary to go very far over the line. The work comes in pulling the machine around so often and it weighs tons in the hot weather. I hope it is cooler in the morning.
Lots of love for Father, Mother, and self and best wishes for Miss Smith.
P. S. Please tell Lockhart that her terribly long letter arrived O.K., is much appreciated and will be answered soon, I hope?
W. H. G.