Feature Letter of :

October 30, 2014

Gilroy, Wilbert

October 30, 1917

I felt quite a novice at flying yesterday. It was nearly two weeks since I had been up in a machine. About 12 days ago while I was on photography I ran into a bunch of three Huns. I missed my escort somehow, or else they failed to show up. Anyway, I had to go over alone. When I got over 3 scouts were there to greet me. Of course, I was scared stiff but it was too late to turn back so I did the unexpected and dived on the nearest one. I took him quite unawares, so I got my old machine going at about 100 or 110 m. p. h. and when within about 100 feet of him I pulled the trigger. But you can imagine how I felt when it didn't work. However, I don't think I felt any worse than he did. I saw his face and it was anything but pleasant. He saw at once that I was helpless so he got ready for a go at me, but just then a gust of wind got under one of his wings and before he had recovered I made a quick turn and my machine gunner in the rear seat got busy, and in less than 15 seconds he had 80 rounds into him and he went down. We saw no more of him. But the other two then came on and by attacking us from both sides at once, they gave us a busy time. My gunner was splendid and kept them off but they certainly got a few shots into the bus. I guess I turned the old machine upside down and into all shapes but it had the right effect anyway. Early in the scrap I got a bullet into my right leg, but it did not bother me much, and it was not until I was nearly home that my leg felt numb. At any rate we got our photos and landed alright, which are the main things. My gunner worked the camera with his feet while he kept the Huns off with the gun. Quite a stout effort on his part, don't you think?