Stories From The Great War

The Great War Was The Last War That Letters And Stories Were Published Free Of The Military Sensor. This Blog Will Contain Interesting Stories Taken From Newspapers, Periodicals And Letters From 1914-1918..The War Years.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


Flight August 10, 1916

The Daily Telegraph Paris correspondent, writing on
Sunday, says :—
" No more heroic deed has been recorded in this war than
that of Sergeant-Major Marquart de Terline, who gave his life
to bring down an enemy aeroplane. His machine gun
jammed soon after an air fight began, whereupon he deliberately
drove straight at his adversary, rammed his
machine, and both aeroplanes dropped to earth with their
passengers dead. Terline, who was 24, and had formerly
served in the Cuirassiers, had been twice mentioned in
Despatches, and had received the Military Cross for bringing
down a Fokker. He has once or twice said, ' If ever I cannot
shoot, I shall just go straight for the Boche aeroplane.'
" The fight began at 4 a.m. on Thursday, when an Albatros,
driven by a well-known German aviator, a giant with red
hair, nicknamed by the French Arminius, appeared over the
lines, making for Chalons-sur-Marne. In a few moments
three French flying men were in the air after him in wild
pursuit at 80 m.p.h. In spite of an incessant fusilade the
enemy was apparently unhit, and he was nearing his own lines,
while munitions were giving out. The three Frenchmen
resolved on desperate tactics. They endeavoured to surround
the enemy, and, should firing fail, to bring him down in sheer
collision. Two of the Frenchmen accidentally ran into each
other, and both machines fell, the aviators eventually landing
safe and sound.
" Terline was left alone, still firing his machine gun, with
the Albatros, mounted by two men, a pilot and an observer.
Suddenly his gun jammed. The enemy was some 60 ft.
below him, nearing his own lines. Arminius was still firing
his machine gun, and also shot with a carbine. Suddenly
Terline came straight down and drove his machine into the
rudder of the Albatros. Both aeroplanes fell instantly in
collision, stuck to one another for some seconds, then parted
in mid-air, and crashed to the ground just behind the French
lines at 100 yards from one another. Sergeant-Major de
Terline and his two adversaries had, of course, been killed
almost instantly. Terline, whose heroic self-sacrifice had
been watched through glasses by several officers, had been
true to his word."

The Times correspondent at the British Headquarters
WE have already recorded the heroic deed in which
Quarter-Master Marquart de Tcrline, of the French Air Service,
when his machine-gun ammunition gave out, deliberately
rammed the German Albatros machine which he and two
brother pilots were chasing, rather than allow his quarry to
regain the enemy's lines. The story has been carried a step
further by the following account given to the Paris correspondent
of the Daily Telegraph by Flight-Sergt. R ,
one of the three pilots who took part in this air-flight. On
page 663 we reproduce a drawing depicting this tragic incident,
which must be classed amongst the outstanding deeds
of the war.
" We left at 4 a.m.," says Sergt. R , " an enemy
air scout having been signalled. There were three of us,
with Terline. I sighted the enemy 20 minutes later. I was
up about 3,700 yards, and 20 kilometres from our line. My
comrades were close by, and Terline and another first attacked.
The Kokker tried spirals to escape. Being just above him, I
came down beneath and behind, and at about 30 yards
opened fire with a machine gun. It was then that the
accident happened which misled Terline, and in which I had a unmiraculous
escape. Our third aeroplane, not seeing me,
came straight into my machine, and both aeroplanes, put out
of action, dropped. Terline thought we had been shot down,
and gave his life to avenge us.
" As for me, I was certain I was done for. My machine
was dropping with a corkscrew movement, the motor still
working, and the machine gun still firing. I was suspended
beneath by straps to my seat. How I escaped and how I
managed to stop the engine and the machine gun I have not
the slightest idea. In a few seconds I dropped from 3,700 to
800 yards, and could not work the controls. At last I
managed one, whereupon the aeroplane steadied and planed
'' I was not sure, owing to the mist, whether I was in
our own lines, and when on landing I saw soldiers running up
I was just about to set fire to my machine, but I shouted,
' Qui vive ? ' and the cheering answer came ' Francais.' I
asked what had happened in the fight.
" ' The Boche was brought down right enough,' they
answered, and it was only later, when telephoning to the
base, that we heard of Terline's heroic end."

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