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Night Bombing with the Bedouins   By: (1889-)

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First Page:

[Illustration]

NIGHT BOMBING WITH THE BEDOUINS

By One of the Squadron

ROBERT H. REECE LIEUT. D.F.C., R.A.F.

With Illustrations

[Illustration]

BOSTON AND NEW YORK HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY The Riverside Press Cambridge 1919

COPYRIGHT, 1919, ROBERT H. REECE ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

DEDICATION

In a spirit of the deepest reverence I dedicate this unworthy effort to the memory of a true sportsman, a loyal friend, and a gallant officer who was killed in action while serving his Country as a Pilot in the American Air Service,

LIEUTENANT SAMUEL PIERCE MANDELL

America has given of the finest of her Youth to uphold the Cause of Right, but she has given no one of more splendid promise than he, whose service was an example of devotion to duty, of readiness for action, and of undaunted courage.

His life was an inspiration to the living "to carry on" and finish the great struggle for which he died, that he and those like him may not have died in vain.

CONTENTS

I. PER ARDUA AD ASTRA 1

II. THE "BEDOUIN" SQUADRON 12

III. THE BEDOUINS AT OCHEY AERODROME 39

IV. A NIGHT RAID 50

V. SOME EPICS OF NIGHT BOMBING 71

VI. THE GUIDING HAND 86

ILLUSTRATIONS

LIEUTENANT ROBERT H. REECE, R.A.F. Photogravure Frontispiece

JIMMIE WALKS UP AND DOWN THE TRENCH 14

ENTRANCE TO OFFICERS' MESS 40

THE PATRIOTIC, SCIENTIFIC MECHANICS 44

AFTER THE LANDING 84

NIGHT BOMBING WITH THE "BEDOUINS"

CHAPTER I

PER ARDUA AD ASTRA

In prehistoric times the first man to make for himself a stone hatchet probably became the greatest warrior of his particular region. He may not have been as strong physically as his neighbor, but with the aid of so marvellous an invention as a stone hatchet he undoubtedly conquered his enemies and became a great prehistoric potentate, until some other great man made a larger and stronger hatchet; so down to the present invention has followed invention and improvement has been added to improvement to such an extent that it is difficult to imagine what new weapon of destruction man can develop in the future.

What would the past generation have said of a man who had prophesied great armies fighting in the air? Even in the early months of the war there were but few who realized what an important part of the war was to be carried on in the newly conquered element. When the infantry saw an occasional box kite looking machine drifting slowly over the lines, struggling to keep itself aloft, how many, I wonder, foresaw that in a few months these machines would be swooping down on them like swallows, raking them with machine guns by day and bombing them by night? How many artillery officers laughed at the suggestion that a day was coming when thousands of great guns would be directed from the air? Yet in a few short months two great blind fighting giants, their arms stretching from the Belgian coast to the Swiss border, learned to see each other; and their eyes were in the air.

The first aeroplanes to cross the lines carried no armament; they were for reconnaissance work only; they would fly a few miles back of the enemy lines, have a good look around, and then come back and report what they had seen. Often British and German machines would pass quite close to each other. Flying was considered sufficiently dangerous, not to add a further danger to it by attacking enemy machines.

The Germans, however, because they greatly outnumbered the British in the air, had more eyes to see with; something had to be done; so rifles were carried by the British and a finer sport than shooting ducks came into vogue... Continue reading book >>




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