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'Green Balls' The Adventures of a Night-Bomber   By: (1894-1966)

'Green Balls' The Adventures of a Night-Bomber by Paul Bewsher

First Page:

"GREEN BALLS"

"GREEN BALLS"

The Adventures of a Night Bomber

BY

PAUL BEWSHER

William Blackwood and Sons Edinburgh and London

1919

TO

MY FAITHFUL FRIEND,

WHO DURING THE WAR PROTECTED ME FROM THE ENEMY AND A THOUSAND TIMES SAVED MY LIFE,

THE NIGHT SKY.

PREFACE.

Lest it should appear that in this book I have worked the personal pronoun to death, I wish to explain my reasons for describing always my own feelings, my own experiences, my own thoughts. I feel that the lay public who did not fly in the war, and knew little of its excitements and monotonies, would rather hear of the experiences of one person, related by himself, than merely a journalistic record of events which had come to his notice. Therefore I have tried faithfully to describe the sensations, the strange inexplicable fears, the equally inexplicable fearlessness, of a desk bound London youth, pitchforked in a moment into the turmoil of war, and into a hitherto unknown, untried occupation bombing at night from the air.

Those who read this book will never see me I will be to them but a name so I feel that my egotism is only an apparent one, and that I am justified in slightly transgressing the service tradition of personal silence in order to give as vivid a portrayal as possible of a branch of war which, in England at any rate, influenced the general public more than any other.

The fragments of verse quoted at the beginning of each chapter are taken from the author's poems, 'The Bombing of Bruges,' published by Messrs Hodder & Stoughton, and 'The Dawn Patrol,' published by Messrs Erskine Macdonald.

CONTENTS

CHAP. PAGE I. THE DAWN PATROL 1 II. TO FRANCE 23 III. THE FIRST RAID 48 IV. UP THE COAST 91 V. COASTWISE LIGHTS 109 VI. BRUGES 148 VII. DAWN TO DAWN 187 VIII. THE LONG TRAIL 236 IX. TRAGEDY 260 X. WITH A KITE BALLOON AT THE DARDANELLES 288

"GREEN BALLS."

I.

THE DAWN PATROL.

"Sometimes I fly at dawn above the sea, Where, underneath, the restless waters flow, Silver and cold and slow...."

The Dawn Patrol.

Somebody shakes me by my shoulder, and I wake to the consciousness of a dark room and a determined steward.

"Four o'clock, sir!"

I get out of my warm bed, very unwillingly, and dress lightly in a white cricket shirt, grey flannel trousers, and a blue pea jacket and a muffler, and go out of the hut to the garage. Dawn is just breaking. The sky is still bright with stars, and a moon is drowsily hanging like a golden gong in the south west. The air is extraordinarily fresh and cold, and soon I am tearing joyfully through it on a clamorous motor bicycle. Down the road through the marshes I rush on my mile long ride to the sheds.

Outside the office I dismount and go inside the bare room, with its charts and its long table, and meet the sleepy eyed duty officer, who is wearing "gum boots" and an overcoat over his pyjamas, and is obviously looking forward to settling down once more to sleep. The duty pilot comes in after him, with a flying cap on his head, and a muffler round his neck, and a pair of gloves in his hand. A welcome cup of tea is brought in by a massive bluejacket, and then I snatch up a life belt, a pair of binoculars, the Thermos flask and Malted Milk tablets, my charts, and a few odd necessaries, and, accompanied by the pilot, I go over to the slipway, at the end of which floats the seaplane, with its wide white wings reflecting the pale light of dawn. A group of men in great rubber boots stand in the water holding the wings.

When I get to the edge of the water I climb on to the back of one, and he wades out into the water until I can stand on the float and climb up into a seat in front of the pilot... Continue reading book >>




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