Up In The Air
The World War I Diaries of Balloonist Cyril Gordon Jones
27 MON. Strong wind SW too much for ballooning. Men continued sandbagging and making dug out in wood. Very cold, wind dropped about 2.30pm. Balloon topped up and basked toggled on but it came on to rain and blow. Bagged down again. Mcneece visited Section C. Very windy night pouring rain.
Went to lecture on Sanitation. BALLS.
28 TUES. Very strong wind SW 18.2 miles p h. No ballooning, big dug out finished. Also winch protection. Visited Field Cashier and drew 2920 Frs for men’s pay. 2nd A M Davidson contracted measles. 10 men isolated.
29 WED. Gale of wind in night. Balloon bagged down to squalor. Men called out in night to put up fresh screen. Strong wind up to 2am. Wind dropped at 2.30 pm and I went up in balloon alone, 2300 ft, 24 miles per hr. Pilcken just visible. 5.54 hauled down and bagged down. Another case of measles.
30 THUR. Strong wind SW 17 MPH on ground. Making dug out at balloon ground. 1.28pm I went up in balloon alone to take wind without coat or lunch. Let up to 2000ft. Wind 25 mph. Stayed there till 3.40 pm Frightfully cold, no view. Very fed up. Could see our trenches being heavily shelled.
31 FRI. Fine still day, thick fog up to 10am. Wind SW, 4mph. 10.40am went up with Liardet and showed him Country. Max height 1600 ft. Dropped to 850ft due to bung coming out of valve line hole. 12.50 pm balloon heavily shelled. 2 shells passed within 20 ft of right of basket and one within 10 ft of left. 6 guns opened fire, 10.5 cm. 7 shells fell very close to camp, within 20 yards. When 150 ft from ground 3 more shells burst in ground, just short. Men ran into wood leaving us suspended in very dangerous position. Reached ground, untoggled and bagged down. Dug up fuze cap no 2.
APRIL 1 SAT. Misty morning, fine and still. Blake ascended alone. First day of no shelling. Gavin and French balloon Officer went up. Buchanan in French balloon. Bagged down at 5 pm. Another case of measles.
2 SUN. 4th in Lent. Hot misty day. No view. No ballooning. Wind NE, lovely weather. Selected lovely spot in large wood for new camp and ballooning ground. Very hot today. Paid men who had been isolated.