to Dead Aviator--Letter Written
Father Received Day of Death
That George Beach, son of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Beach of this city, who was killed in an aerial collision in southerly Italy on Sunday,
realized probably better than many of the folks at home the serious nature of the great war and of his place in it, is shown in a
remarkably interesting letter received by his father the same day that the shocking telegram tellling of his death, arrived in Fort
Collins. Mr. Beach has kindly consented to allow The Express to publish this last letter from his son, it being as follows:
December 17, 1917
My Dear Dad:
This is to answer your letter of Oct. 28, which came about a week ago. It is fine that the crops are so abundant not only for the sake of the farmers there, but also for the sake of all who need food. A good harvest these days can parallel a very good sized military victory in importance, and from the looks of things we need something in the way of success, with 'Russia and Italy situated as they are.
The war is certainly taking on odd and fanciful characteristics -- may expect many peculiar situations when it comes time to untangle this mess which is being created. I can't see any reason why the trouble of adjustment will need consideration tho before a year and a half more. It must be evvident to anyone that our own real force will be, zero before the Spring of nineteen. The newspapers try hard to spread tiny possibilities of military achievement. huge vital blows, but no one who reasons, believes. Of course, we have troops in France and they will fight next Spring just as Britain's hundred-thousand fought-and they'll exhibit our determination to lend military support, and there'll be about as much left of them, of America's "The First Half-Million," as was left of the pioneer British.
But eventually we are going to make the grade, after much grief, many mistakes, and lots of official decapitations. And then if America and England can only keep the happy hand-clasp, which they should have formed, we will be fairly justified.in educating our sons, and maybe their sons, with the assurance that they won't be shot off in battle.
I would pay almost a life to be allowed to see the results of the conference, the. meeting of the few, which will parcel out the various patches of our old earth. After the gigantic destruction, after the butchery by millions, we'll get fifty men comfortably seated and we'll talk and argue and barter over this and that piece of territory until the stage is properly set for another period of commercial competition.
Flying has been going fine. I've gotten now to the stage of military pilot, having passed the second brevit of the Italian system. And. now I'll probably start in on the Caproni as soon as we can get some here. Evidently Italy has use for all of her Caproni, but we expect some soon, of the 450 horse power each type.
Day before yesterday I made the cross country flight which is the big trick, the big feat which winds up the brevit. We go from here over to a town on the Adriatic down the coast a ways and back here. Then, after taking gas anrl oil down to our inland town, back to the first coast town and home.
The first triangle was pleasantly made. I got up to about 14000 feet and from such height on the clear day I had, a great portion of Southern Italy was spread out below in beautifully distinct relief. I can probably be permitted to say that at once the water above the spur of the boot (which we call Italy) and the outline of the front part of the heel could be seen, quite a little view you see.
And inland were the snow-covered peaks of the mountain range on the western coast,
jutting out of the white clouds which seem always to surround them I hope that the censor won't assume I've given a location by
telling you this.
I was interested in flying over the Adriatic to see how the horizon is lost to our airman at sea. The sky and water seem to run together in a very misty, undefinite sort of fashion. I shouldn't like to fly for long with no view of land for when one has no instruments he uses the horizon as his reference for position,. But still, by looking at the water underneath where it can be recognized as water, it might not be so difficult. And it was interesting, too, to verify the fact that the water can be seen into from an airplane. I was surpised to find so much of truth in the fact.
I had poor luck on the second round. The spark on these motors is held advanced by a spring and when I retarded to glide in from the first trip this spring was broken. I had only stopped long enough to take gas so the motor wasn't well inspecfted upon taking off again. The motor ran without missinggbut turned up only 1300 revolutions while it had given 1380 before. Thinking it would pick up I struck out from camp but after trying to climb and getting only about 4000 feet in a half hour, I knew it was all up.
One can't fuss around much up in the air but my monkeying as I could I found that the spark lever was too easily moved so I guessed the trouble and then when I knew what was wrong it bothered me because I was unable to do anything. But by ceasing to try to climb much I got near enough home to be safe. And then I tried to make 10,000 feet because the brevet rules require that altitude. It was useless for as soon as the machine was put in a climbing position the motor would slow up and that would mean nose over or stall, and stalls in these tail heavy machines are not nearly safe. After an hour and perhaps forty-five miinutes I had to give up with the barograph up only to 7000 feet.
They gave me another machine immediately and I did the second lap again. This bus was fine, walked right up to 14,000 feet without a complaint--a good machine, after anxiously coaxing a faulty one seems like a true friend. To close the story, dad, it is over. After about 5 3/4 hours in the air I had finally wound up the affair and that meant that I'd get my commission--am recommended now. Somehow I think it is earned.
At present I am 'di riposa,' which is the way the Italians explain taking it easy. I get a couple rides a day testing machines for the unbreveted flyers and that is all there is in a day.
I expect to go to Rome on a three days leave in a few days and upon returning will start on the Caproni, if the machines are here then.
You have all the news now, I think.
We had another visit of the angels yesterday. A fellow got frightened in a bump yesterday, pulled the machine up into a stall and sideslipped into the middle of town. He landed in a heap in the only vacant lot around, tore all the telephone wires loose, fixed the machine so that it could be thrown into a wagon with forks, a flying bit broke a kid's arm who was nearby and the pilot did no more than faint after it was over. He wasn't scratched. We are guarded here by all of the heavenly hosts. whom the Lord has to spare, after the Kaiser gets his share. I've seen angels come down and hand men sky hooks--they couldn't have stayed up as they did any other way.
I shall write you again, dad, when I get back from Rome.
As ever Geo..