Target Practice and a Plane Crash

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Target Practice and a Plane Crash

By: Lori Williamson | WW1 Daybook | December 6, 2017

As his military training continues, David Backus describes a day of still and moving target practice. The days seems fairly uneventful, except for the description of a plane crash and injuries sustained by one of his comrades. Lewis, he says, will live, but this incident highlights the danger these men faced even before seeing combat.


Backus diary page

Thursday Dec. 6-17.
Cold again. Well we; that is french waiting for 18 meter & 15 meter- Solo went down to the Rifle Range in trucks. Glorious autumn day- crisp & clear as a hell. Well I was high man (out of the 22 of us) 31 - out of 47 - at moving targets, shooting 2 to 5 shots at a time. Lewis Gun Vernon in aerobatic class got smashed up - in hospital. wing slip at 100 meters on turn. Cut about the head, ribs etc. will live - not dangerous[.] in the afternoon we went to the traps and shot clay pigeons. Got a good start 5 out of 8 then blew up - first score 7 out of 25 at that was third high out of 17 men, but that was rotton shooting should have broken ten to 12 anyway. Walked up to village got my laundry- had omlet and chocolate.

Citation: David Backus Collection. Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul, Minnesota. 123.D.10.6F