Page:Air Service Boys over the Rhine.djvu/16
positions in spite of the withering fire poured upward at them. Others had failed. There is always a certain percentage of failures in a night bombing raid. And some were unable to say with certainty what damage they had caused.
The last slowly flying machine came to a landing finally, and there was a rush on the part of the other aviators to see what had happened. When Tom and Jack saw a limp form being lifted out, and heard murmurs of admiration for the pilot who had brought his machine back with a crippled engine, they realized what had happened.
The two brave men had fulfilled their mission; they had released their bombs over an important German factory, and had the terrible satisfaction of seeing it go up in flames. But on their return they had been caught in a cross fire, and the observer, who was making his first trip of this kind, had been instantly killed.
The engine had been damaged, and the pilot slightly wounded, but he had stuck to his controls and had brought the machine back.
There was a little cheer for him, and a silent prayer for his brave companion, and then the night men, having made their reports, and having divested themselves of their fur garments, went to rest."Well, what's on the programme for to-day,