After a hazardous operation, with the airship being blown along at speeds of up to 25 knots, the lifeboat was eventually lowered safely into the sea, complete with all crew, including the cat.The airship, still airborne, and now considerably lighter, vanished over the horizon.He was commissioned in July 1917 and qualified for service in the Royal Flying Corps in September, before being posted to France and joining 49 Squadron in July 1918."Lt.Spurling then observed some 30 machines of the same type, heavily camouflaged; with great gallantry he dived through the centre of the formation, shooting down one machine in flames; two others were seen to be in a spin."Five of them then closed on his machine, but by skilful manoeuvring, Lt.The wind, however, freshened considerably, and so far as covering the ground was concerned he had been making only half the speed shown on airspeed indicator.As he circled over the aerodrome, preparing to land, a German Scout machine suddenly appeared from the clouds above him, and immediately to attack.
His 1916 postcard to Ethel describes how was "wounded in the hand" on July 3 and returned to the front to be "wounded in the foot and buried for a few hours" on July 13.
The British pilot set his course due west, and flew on for some time.
Having made what he thought was sufficient allowance for the distance to the British lines, he put down the nose of his machine and saw beneath him an aerodrome.
Realizing now that he was over an enemy aerodrome, he dived towards the first group of German squadrons, both he and his observer firing on every machine upon which they could get their guns to bear.
The enemy pilots appeared too bewildered by the outstanding audacity of the British airmen to attack them effectively at first, and their own tremendous numerical superiority seemed further to confuse them.