FIGHT AT 11,000 FEET.
AIRMAN'S THRILLING STORY
A young aviator, Flight-Lieut. E. T. Shand, now m Wellington, related * a thrilling story of a flight he made from "Salonika. He was escorting a reconnaissance airman, and they were flying over mountains 12,000 ft high when attacked. He fought an. enemy machine at a distance of 150 ft. Each machine poured a shower of bullets into the other. The last he saw of the Avitik was the machine nose-diving to t the earth, but whether it was because of the engine or that the pilot was shot lie could not tell. He was shot twice m tho fingers — one through the trigger-finger — and the pilot was shot through, the arm. The controls were out, and things looked "pretty blue." At that time he was 11,000 ft m the air, ten miles across the Bulgar lines, at least 2£ miles from the nearest landing-ground. With the machine bumping along as best she oould, controls mostly gone, and the undercarriage riddled with bullets, the pilot turned her nose for home. Fortunately the engine was. sound, and they soon got out of range of the "archie' 5 fire. In the lower air, where the density increased, the machine bumped very badly, but they managed to flatten out— fly level with the ground. At last they landed with a shock— the pilot (who was strapped m) on his feet and he himself with his feet pointing skywards. He had been hanging on to the spade-handles of his gun, and had fortunately been caught by one of, the stays of the. gun. .They wero covered over with blood and dust, and the crowd of Frenchmen that ran to meet them concluded that they wore both dead. Tho pilot retained consciousness till after the landing, and then fainted dead away, and the i-elater was feeling very ,sick through loss of blood. After they found that the "dead" were alive, the French, soldiers J picked them up. kissed them, and prop- 1 ped them up against tho machine to boi photographed. "Those Frenchmen treat-, ed me better than I have ever been treated m my life," said (the airman, ! "and after the way I fared I shall j always have the greatest respect, admiration, and love for the French !"
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