Monday March 25th. After morning job Hanna touched hangar with tail skid landing. Jolly close. Evening – flew to [Bertangles]. Hanna and I went in the [Bristol fighter]. Wandered round and eventually found the drome. Just landing when we saw a ridge. Opened throttle in hope of clearing. Hit ridge going full speed. Turned completely over. Was caught and pinned down by gun mounting. Hanna got out, and lifted tail when I crawled out. Hanna badly shaken, me ditto. Old cord breeches finished off. Leg torn a bit. Machine smashed. Fuselage broken behind Hanna’s seat. Nobody knew where we should be. All slept in empty huts on floor.
Sunday March 24th. Spent day being offensive. Escorted Pybes on the [Bristol fighter]. Great fun! ← Afternoon.
Morning. Peronne in flames.
Difficult to see ones way about. Saw enemy machine on old drome. Attacked by three Albatross W. of Peronne. Think I bagged one. Usual jobs all day.
Saturday March 23rd. Cave returned about 3 AM. Cave Pybus M.Cs. Spent day being offensive. Idiotic staff want photos! PHOTOS!! Pybus Martin. Three machines failed to return. Pybus, Walker and . Chronic wind up. News late afternoon that all three were at V___ Town Mayor’s office. Machines burnt. Great rejoicings!
Friday March 22nd. Similar fog till about 12. Spent most of the day being offensive. Incident of gun. team. Only cheering spot in a black outlook. About 3 pm did a last job of work and flew back to [Chipilly]. Cave stopped to do his duty by the old drome with Arch. New drome a topping one. Squadron mess
Thursday March 21st Awoke about 4 am in the ‘hour before dawn’ to fancy myself back in the army. Shells screaming over and bursting quite close. Hellish gust up! 4.30 – Orderly officer entered with orders to arise. 4.30 A.M!! I ask you!! The Royal Flying Corps!!! 6 AM – Breakfast – last decent meal for some time. 7 AM Full daylight. Couldn’t see 20 yards for mist. Long range guns more active and bursts getting close and messing up drome. Squadron office resembled a cullender. Exit Major hurriedly. Spent next couple of hours dodging ignominiously about to avoid our friend the enemy gunner. 10 AM – local unrest over. Still impossible to fly. 12.30 A.M. Lunch off tongue and biscuits. 1 P.M. First machine up. Spent rest of day being offensive. Packed up in afternoon ready to move. Stayed the night. Slept in our flying suits. Nearly frozen. End of a perfect day.
Wednesday, March 20th. Arrived Péronne about 9.30. Breakfast at Club. Rang up squadron about 11. Tender arrived at two. Crowds of B flight and Hanna, looking strangely handsome. Discovered he was wearing a universal tunic and cap. Rumours of a German offensive on the morrow. Treated rumours as usual wind-up. Everyone seemed very glad to see me. Almost as good as going home. Geordie and Lee White gone home on H.E. and flying. Cave recording officer. Eye wonky.
Tuesday, March 19th Train to Amiens about 11 AM. Arrived about 6. Alighted. M. Police refused to let us out. Waited until the train running in connection with ours had gone. M. Police still refused; found another train which would land us in Péronne at 11 PM, after tortuous winding & sundry changes. Accidentally lost this train. Was rude to M.P. Told R.J.O we should probably find a squadron tender waiting. Next train 6 AM. Left station. Found no tender. Booked room at the Belfort. Went to the Godbert and devoured a mighty dinner. Met Martin Sinclair and Rees (going on leave). Decided to stop.
March 18th Monday; Got a Pullman seat on the 7.35 and a second breakfast (a source of very comfortable reflection in these days.) Had several hours to wait at Folkestone. Sent a line home and bought a Stylo. The good mayor of Folkestone appeared to have issued an edict that no officers proceeding overseas should be served with intoxicants. Presumptious ass! Obtained drinks by perjury. Smooth crossing. Put up at Hotel de Paris. Boulogne. Strolled along the front with Norton. All pictures full up. Excellent dinner at Officers Club.
March 17 Sunday. St Patrick’s day
Said Goodbye – Au revoir to Dad on St Denys station. My last words were ‹Will see you in two months time› What hopes?!? Got a room at a YMCA place near Victoria. Norton wasn’t at S. African Club – so went to see the Pracys. Heard that Buff was likely be called up.