Letter 21 - I was a bit surprised you bet but I have had my first trip over hunland.

A note from the Editors:

We are missing a letter which is a pain, as things have moved on a pace since Olivers last letter! He has now been posted back to 70 Squadron and straight back in the saddle, with a description of his first eventful flight over enemy lines - 'Hunland'. It has been just 3 weeks since his crash.

Franked 8 SP 17
Mrs Chas. E. Pearson,
Letter No. 15 II

70 Squadron RFC BEF France
Letter no 15

Dear Mother & Dad.

I have just received two letters from you dated 2 Sept so that they have only taken 4 days to come. I am again with my Squadron. I played my last card and won. I slung my weight about till I must have made everyone fed up with me & so they got a hustle on. I came back yesterday morning & flew in the afternoon for about an hour & a half. This morning at 5.30 I was wakened up to say I was for patrol at six. I was a bit surprised you bet but I have had my first trip over hunland. It was very cloudy indeed & we were above the clouds so that you could only occassionally see the places where the trenches are. I saw a gas attack in progress but that was all the activity I could see besides I was using my eyes too busyly looking round for huns. However we didn’t meet any & I only saw one & he was in the process of being downed by a bunch of our machines.

Five of us set out but we lost three leaving me & the leader to stroll about for an hour alone when we picked up another of the party. The hun honoured me with my first Archie which burst only about 20 yards from me with a loud report & knocked me over sideways & that was his first shot so will give you an idea of how good they are. (I was 16,000 ft up in the bargain.) Of course we had been flying straight for a long time myself in ignorance that we were even over them. The funniest sight was to see the opposing lines of kite balloons facing each other solemnly each side of the lines.

Coming home I followed the leader alright till we had to go through the clouds. He picked a hole & went through & I did ditto but shortly after lost him underneath so as I hadn’t the foggiest notion where I was I flew around at only 400 ft till I saw a good field in which I landed quite successfully & found myself near a Divisional headquarters. I had breakfast & lunch in an ASC mess & a jolly good one they gave me. I rang up the nearest squadron & got more petrol & some mechanics & they sent me off after lunch when with much difficulty I found my way back. Of course I had phoned my squadron to let them know so they weren’t anxious. I was altogether 2 ½ hours in the air & didn’t at all mind my first trip although it was a windy time first trip over & for a time only two of us together. Still “the words which he said & the deeds which he did shall they not be written at full length in the diary of O.C.P.”

I have bought a topping little book for a diary which I am filling up as I go along. I have received your parcel. Thank you very much for the contents. The pen I am using now but the knib is a bit broad for me & the flask is a topper & thank you very much indeed for them. Please pay the enclosed bill by the first post & I enclose my address. I am writing to slang them well as they deserve it. Fancy requiring me to pay a bill befor they send my goggles as if I don’t want them & as if I can get English money here the blighters & I am left with no goggles. The crash hasn’t upset my nerve much I don’t think : during my fly to-day I felt quite alright & happy.

Aunt Mary seems to be giving Betty the same sort of worrying time as she detailed at length to me in her letter. Now I am back at the Squadron I am hoping for happier times. There is a pretty heavy thunderstorm going on at the present, & the the weather doesn’t seem to be going to change. I saw two kestrals here yesterday & around where I had my forced landing magpies were as thick as sparrows. With love to all & best wishes from

Your loving Son
Oliver xxx
O.C.Pearson 2nd LT

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