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20 March 1916. Imbros

20/03/2016

20 March.

Dickinson. Lovely day but north wind still very cold. Nothing doing during morning. After lunch went and did some work on the tennis court for an hour. After tea played stump cricket with S.P., Bosley, Barnato, Belton, Burnaby. Most amusing but got very hot.

Bunnie in 1264. Testing machine with le Rhône engine and le Rhône Bristol prop. Machine excelled in every way. About nine knots faster and climbed wonderfully well but I did not time the climb. Strong gusty north east wind. Crashed on landing. Exactly what happened heaven only knows. I intended to land rather faster than usual on account to extra weight in nose (though it did not make her nose heavy in the air) and I must have had a good deal of drift on. Why the devil didn’t I see that? Two crashes in two days, and I was flying very well in the air. Poor old ’64, she was such a ripper and I did love her. Only two machines have I so far damaged in any way, and they were the two machines I loved best.

1264 after Grandad crashed it.

1264 after Grandad crashed it.

Poor Bunnie! Only two days after crashing 1259, he’s crashed 1264 and his confidence has taken a big setback. You can hear the anger at himself in his writing.

Incidentally, 1264 was last flown only a couple of days before, on 17th. The mechanics must have worked wonders to remove the old engine and fit the new – although the engine itself was a fairly straightforward job, provided you had a trolley jack or something equivalent to take the weight of the engine, we now know that the controls would have had to be considerably modified, presumably by taking them out of another machine and fitting them to 1264.

One other thing strikes me; isn’t it odd how little contact there seems to be between Dickinson and Bunnie? There were around 200 people on the station, but only maybe a couple of dozen pilots, and yet their paths never seem to cross. You would have thought that Bunnie’s two crashes in three days would have produced some comment in Dickinsons diary, and yet there’s nothing.

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