A pilots' war
No 2 Squadron RFC 1915 continued
Flying Corps HQ St Omer
Aug 16th Mon:
Receive instructions to report at F.C. H.Q. St Omer at once. Col. Trenchard arrives before I leave and informs me that I am to take charge of the 'school' at St Omer for a few days and after that unless a vacancy occurs in the meantime I shall join a home squadron as Flight Commander.
I reported at HQ at 7.0 pm. Am billeted at 'Aircraft Park' billet. Others there:- Maj. Reynolds, Capt.s Gould, Smithers and Lt. Gold. I have for the purpose of instruction two BE 2b's & one Martinsyde machine.
Editors note: Capt. Smith had completed 101 hours flying with No. 2 Sqn.
Airfield at FCHQ St Omer August 1915
Photo shows 3 aircraft (?Caudron left & 2 BE2s) and lines of Leyland lorries in front of the hangars.
Aug 17th Tues:
Having no pupils ( I passed out the remaining two before breakfast this morning) I took Capt. Smithers to Boulogne & back this afternoon to test a new long distance wireless set.
Aug 18th Wed:
Took Capt. Smithers to Le Crotoy to test wireless set. We struck the coast just North of Boulogne & followed it down, while passing Le Touquet we came down to 800 ft. & watched people bathing on the beach. Had lunch at Le Crotroy started back at 2.30.
Aug 19th Thurs:
Four new officers having arrived from England yesterday I have morning and evening flying. Officers Lt.s Johnson and Sabot.
Aug 21st Sat:
Receive instructions to proceed to England to-morrow. Ask for and obtain permission to fly over on a new Caudron aeroplane which is to be delivered at Farnboro'.
Aug 22nd Sun:
Took out Caudron before breakfast to try. Reached about 300 ft. allowed machine to stall, side slipped & nose dived completely smashing the machine. I, not being strapped in, was thrown from my seat half way through the top plane but was not hurt.
I proceeded to Calais by car in company with Col. Maundon & crossed to Folkestone. An enemy submarine had been sighted in the channel the day before & a boat sunk by mines so great precautions were taken and we did not leave Calais harbour until dark -7.30.
Arrived London 1.00 am
French built Caudron GIII crashed by Capt. Smith at St Omer, 22 August 1915. (Note the windmill bottom left of photo.)
Aug 23rd Mon:
Reported at War Office, was given 7 days leave.
Copyright © 2004 in the diary text and photos from 1915 and 1916 is held by Major Smith's family. Copyright © 2004 www.airwar1.org.uk