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The day book. (Chicago, Ill.) 1911-1917, July 11, 1916, LAST EDITION, Image 18

Image and text provided by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library, Urbana, IL

Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045487/1916-07-11/ed-1/seq-18/

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THE AIRMAN'S STORY
By Frank Filson
(Copyright, 1916, W. G. Chapman.)
"You will fly to Sarcy," Said my
general, "and deliver this plan of our
dispositions to Gen. Dufour, in com
mand of the advanced posts there."
I stared at my general in amaze
ment How did he suppose that I
could fly the hundred miles to Sarcy,
across the apex of the enemy's lines,
when his Fokkers had command of
their air? However; it is not for a
French soldier to submit advice. I
took the precious plan and made my
way to my monoplane, which, like a
great bird, lay with outstretched
wings ready for me.
I had no observer. There was noth
ing to observe and my flight was not
for observation. In a few minutes I
had climbed to a height of a thou
sand feet and was making my way
steadily along the front, a little in
side our lines.
All went well so long as I contin
ued along the straight line of the
army. You know it runs for thirty
miles straight as a die, then it bends
suddenly inward, where the enemy
have their salient. It was this salient
that I had to cross.
I reached it and ascended another
thousand feet. Then I saw a puff of
cotton wool appear beside me and
sink slowly to earth. The anti-aircraft
guns were at me already. I
mounted to three thousand.
Now, from the far-flung lines of
the enemy below, little rising dots in
dicated the advent of the hostile ma
chines, the dreaded Fokkers. Light
and swift, I knew that they could
out-distance me. But I made my
course at top speed, while all about
me the shrapnel burst in little clouds.
One bullet buried itself in my hand. I
tossed it from me. And then the
shrapnel ceased, for the enemy ma
chines were nearing me.
There were five of them. They
. were flyjne Darallel with, my course. ,
l"wo of them ranged alongside, or,
rather, what passed for alongside
a distance of 500 yards. I heard the
drilling maxim open as one of them
turned bow on toward me, firing
through her rudder. I rose and the
bullets passed harmlessly beneath
me. At the same time I answered
with my rifle. I could distinctly see
the pilot's body as he bent forward
in his seat I fired and he pitched
forward headlong. The machine
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I Mounted to Three Thousand
stopped dead in the air as he took
his hand from the levers, turned over
and dropped like a stone.
So now there were four of them.
They circled about me like great
birds of prey. I rose. I rose until I
was a thousand feet overhead and
swooped like an osprey. As I swooped
I fired ten rounds from my rifle. By
good fortune I riddled the motor of
the machine that I was attacking. It
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