George Robert Gray
The letter and story below are historical fiction, based on available facts discovered about George Robert Gray.
It had been raining when I met him. His brown hair slicked back and his eyes fresh. He was a newcomer. Many of the newcomers were unwelcome. I had been one of the few to greet him. I remember the date. September 21st, 1917. He and I had soon later been posted to the 84th Squadron located in France.
He smiled at me when we heard the news. “This is going to be fantastic,” he exclaimed to me. He had been full of life, and excitement.
It all changed in October.
“Head up, John,” he whispered to me as we approached the plane for our third patrol. “They smell fear, you know?”
I shivered in my boots. This was only our third time flying in patrol and although I knew that I would be safe as long as Robin was guiding the plane. The thought of being in the air made me quake.
Heights had never been my forte. “Johnny the baby” is what he called me in his witty and playful way when we were alone. He had been the first British Columbian that I had met. In comparison to those of his home province, I must have sounded much different. He had asked me to repeat several things.
“Why do you need to make the boy even more frightened than he already is?” One of our fellow soldiers, Henry, asked, his brown eyes narrowed at Robin. “Do you not have better things to do, Gray?”
“It is just a playful bashing, Mantle.” Robin shot back at his fellow Lieutenant with a gentle smile playing about his lips. “A little humor will not kill you,” he mused before he began climbing into aircraft.
I should have died that day.
In the air, we had been in a dog fight with a German aircraft. We fought long and hard, but we did not succeeded. Our plane went down. I never saw Robin again.
News had spread days later that I would never see him again.
October 31st, 1917 was the day that changed my life.
That day, war had claimed my comrade.
Most of all, that day, war had claimed my best friend.
I will forever hold you close in my heart, Robin.
Created by Krysteena White.