Up In The Air
The World War I Diaries of Balloonist Cyril Gordon Jones
19 MON. Dull foggy day. Mac and I went to No9. Mac did parachute descent from balloon from 1300ft. Descent took about 40secs. Parachute got a big swing on it before it landed. Mac landed in a corn field quite safely.
Went to “Footliters” concert in evening at Nieppe arranged by No9. Very good. Mcneice gave leave from tomorrow. Turned in at 2.30am and arranged to be called at 4.30am.
20 TUES. Batman forgot to call us till 5.30am. Got up at once. Mcneice and I drove into St Omer in his car as fast as possible. Covered 35 miles in 1 hr. Caught train. Afterwards called at 1AD and talked about tubes. Returned at 9am. Had tea at no 2 Sectn. Dined at Squadron alone and turned in early.
21 WED. Warmer day. No view. Alone at Mont Rouge most of day. No news of Capt Warren. Raffles and Gavin dined at Squadron with me. Night signalling after dinner. Stringer & Gavin dropped in. Very cold. Everything very quiet.
22 THUR. Close day, sunny in morning.
Saw German machine (since ascertained this was ours) shot down by one of ours. I was watching the Hun through powerful glasses at the time. Machine was about 15,000 ft. It turned over and dropped about 2000 ft. It continued turning over sideways and endways like a piece of paper. It crashed to earth somewhere in front of Ypres. Many Hun machines over this morning, but none after this.
Dined with Lt Wilkins and Evans.
23 FRI. Cold dull day, went to No2 for lunch and checked their indents. Stringer and Gavin dined here. Had curried prawns. Raffles was ordered to shift back to Locre on Sunday. I arranged to get him another truck of gas tubes.
24 SAT. Fine sunny day. Capt Forde Bgde Major 2nd RFC Bgde called here and told me of various strafes which were on. He arranged to come to tea tomorrow and watch a big strafe from here.
Went to Hazebruck in afternoon with indents for stores. Saw Capt Lee Majors Connor and Burnett. Bought cherries and strawberries. Bateman dined here and slept. No2 Sectn in morning.
25 SUN. 1st after Trinity. Fine sunny day. Went for ride with Capt Evans in afternoon to No2. On arrival here found Gen Webb Bowen, Col Longcroft, Capt Forde, Major Prettyman here watching a Bosh Balloon straf. 2 aeroplanes attacked every German balloon with phosphor bombs which exploded and spread out over a large distance. It was a great failure and no balloons were damaged. They all hauled down. Everyone stopped to tea. Lettuces very good.