Billy Barcroft, R.N.A.S.
To give the Hun pilot his due he made no attempt to throw up the sponge. He might have made a nose-dive, trusting to flatten out' and gain the surface of the water. The machine would have sunk like a stone, but there was a faint chance of the pilot being able to unbuckle the strap that held him to the seat and make an attempt to save himself by swimming.
The Hun did unfasten the leather strap, but for a different purpose. The monoplane, being of a self-steering type, could be relied upon to continue her flight more or less in a straight line, without a controlling touch on the rudderbar.
With a stealthy, cat-like movement the German made his way to the observer's seat, and gripping the firing mechanism of the machine gun prepared to return the dangerous greetings from his pursuer.
Less than fifteen miles off--twelve minutes flight--lay the flat outlines of the Belgian coast. Unless Fritz could