McCudden 12 Jan 1916

James McCudden’s account: 

“Between 12 – 18th I made several flights, but nothing happened of note except that one morning I went up with a certain pilot in a 40mph wind, and as soon as we were off the ground he turned and flew downwind about ten feet high, past trees, ditches and houses, made one circuit and landed again. I don’t know what he did it for, but I do know that I was absolutely terrified, for by now I had done a lot of passenger flying, and I knew whether a plane was being flown properly or not, and this one was certainly not. However we got down safely, and that was the main thing.”

P86 Flying Fury, James McCudden VC


McCudden 5 Jan 1916

James McCudden’s air combat account while observing with Tone as pilot in Morane Parasol 5081 on escort duty in Douai [WO 339/56618]

from Somme Success, Peter Hart p119 (also see p99)

“On January 5th I went off again with a Bayetto to escort No.2 Squadron to Douai Aerodrome and back. We met the 2c’s over their aerodrome at 6000 feet and having climbed to 7000, cross the lines just south of Lens. “Archie” gave us quite a good reception, for we were quite a large formation for those days – 15 B.E.’s escorted by two Morane Parasols. Soon after crossing the lines I noticed a German machine very low over the Scarpe, north of Vitry, but as it was so low I took no notice of it. We all arrived over Douai without incident, and the bombers gracefully jettisoned their souvenirs, which did the surface of the aerodrome an awful lot of good, and the local “Archie’s” were just mad with rage. We now all turned West, and our 80 HP Le Rhône started to give an occasional knock. The low machine that I had seen near Vitry on our way was now at our level, and proved to be a Fokker, and it had by this time been joined by two others. This was the first time that I had seen more than one Fokker in the air at one time. The first Fokker had now got behind a 2c on our left, about 300 yards away, and the English pilot had not seen him. I directed my pilot (Toné) to turn so that I could fire at the Fokker at long-range and distract the Fokker pilots attention, which I succeeded in doing at a range of 300 yards. I shall never forget how that Fokker looked on the 2c’s tail whilst the British pilot was calmly flying straight, not looking behind him at all, and no doubt thinking of Blighty home and beauty. To see a Fokker just steadying itself to shoot another machine in the air is, when seen close up close up, a most impressive site, for there is no doubt that the Fokker in the air was an extremely unpleasant looking beast.”

P84 Flying Fury, James McCudden VC