Ross Smith, image courtesy State Library of South Australia B6101
Smith, Ross – June 1918
June 15th 1918.
My dearest Mother.
I got back from my leave on the 7th and since then have had 3 letters from you, also papers & all the parcels you have sent. It was very nice getting your letters just as I came back and as usual the parcels were much enjoyed. The small cake you made Maw was very nice & I’m glad to have the emu feathers from home.
… I went on leave with Addison & Sutherland and we only had 2 days in Cairo & then went on to Alex. It was very nice in Alex and much cooler than in Cairo…I spent most of my time in swimming in the mornings & playing golf in the afternoons…
There were 2 dances at the Hotel but I watched them and thought of other days. I was going to fly a machine back from Alex but at the last moment they decided to keep it there in reserve … so I had to come back by train. I had a good holiday Maw & feel much better for it and ready to carry on for a few more months.
The day after I got back I did a “Furtherst North” trip. We went up to Haifa (on the coast). … we got some very good & useful photos of the new country we went over. I had a fine chase after a Hun a few days ago… It was a fine chase & I chased him for 30 miles behind his own lines before I caught him. I gradually crept up to him & then got under his tail & Kirk opend fire with his double guns. The Hun dived & went down in a steep spiral & I got a good burst in with my front gun as he went… It was a pity we did’nt have the satisfaction of crashing him after chasing him so far but I guess we gave him a nasty shock… I am very proud that I got the best machines (they are the best on the Front)…
… My mechanics are a splendid lot of men too & they were also very bucked at getting the best machines to look after … So altogether Maw you see that I have very little to complain of as regards machines & my men. The only thing I want is the war to end & let me get home again.
… I enjoyed the MTO almonds very much & the socks (10th Btn colours) are fine. We have heard that the 4th Aus. Div. did wonderful work in the big March offensive in France…
… You said you had a horror of me being taken prisoner Maw. Don’t worry about it a bit, of course its possible that I might be but is I am it won’t worry me much, in fact I think it would be rather an experience.
We had letters from some of our prisoners a few days ago & they are having quite a decent time apparently…
Goodnight Maw and very much love from your loving son Ruff.
June 25th 1918.
My dearest Mother
We played a very strenuous cricket match this afternoon amongst ourselves and I feel very fit after the exercise & making 8 runs… We are only about a mile from Ramleh and there are several spires of churches & mosques in the town & the sun sets right behind the town and is always very beautiful. I often stand and look at it and think how you would admire it too. I may be able to watch a sunset with you in a few months if things turn out as I hope… I’ll have a chance of getting to Australia for a rest… Won’t it be glorious?
…A week ago I had the best scrap I’ve ever had… At 5 past 6 along came the Hun but as soon as he saw me he bolted for his lines. I caught him just on his side of the lines & the fun started… This chap had 2 guns in his cockpit so I decided to fight him from under his tail… This chap was a real artist at handling his machine and had me thinking very hard at times… In my last dive I was doing well over 200 miles an hour when I pulled out. The Hun eventually landed in some rough ground & knocked his undercarriage off. We went down low & shot up the machine & only one man ran away from it so I guess the observer was pretty sick.
I had another good stunt a few days ago… On the way we saw a train pull up at a station & a lot of troops get out. It was too good to miss so down we went to 1,000 ft over them & pasted them with lead. The train then started again so we chased it and dived on it & flew along side of it shooting all the time until we were fed up. We then climbed over a hill & dropped into the next valley where there were 2 more stations. We shot up the first one & then flew low along the road sl to the next one shooting at everything we saw. The last station was the best target, there was a big camp there too, & a motor transport park & all sorts of other things. We gave them a fine old picnic & Kirk & I nearly fell overboard with laughter. You never saw such a mess, there were men, horses & carts & other things going in all directions. It was great fun twisting about among the hills & along the valleys. We just did it for the sport of the thing but the Col. of the Bgde. wrote a very nice letter to our Wing Commander about it. (Copy enclosed.) …
Did I tell you that we sometimes take a run over to Jaffa for a swim? It is very nice over there & we have tea at the Jerusalem Hotel afterwards. All the civil population are still there & there are some fine looking Jewish girls among them.
I must stop now, I’m having a day off flying to-morrow so will have a good lie in bed in the morning.
Goodnight Maw & very much love from your loving son