19 October 1916 – “The crack of doom”

The poor weather from yesterday continues to curtail flying activity. The lull in the fighting gave Lieutenant Sydney Philip Smith from 6 Squadron to write home about his escape on 16 October.

“A letter by way of a change this time. Things have been happening with a vengeance since I returned. I daresay you heard from the aunts about some of ‘em: my observer getting a “Blighty” in the leg; fellows being blown to pieces by bombs, etc., etc. Well the day after I brought down Captain Duff wounded, I went up in the same machine on a “Shoot” with another observer, and got it in the neck properly from “Archie”: my propeller was smashed, petrol tank punctured [emptied itself all over my observer’s feet in about 2 seconds!], both main spars of the two top planes split right through, engine cowl pierced and about 27 holes in other parts of the machine. This was all from 2 practically simultaneous bursts dead over the machine, and they sounded like the crack of doom! However, we managed to struggle painfully back to the aerodrome, feeling jolly lucky that there was enough propeller left to drag us back and also that the spare petrol tank was intact [machine is still in the process of rebuilding!!]…”

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