Up In The Air
The World War I Diaries of Balloonist Cyril Gordon Jones
26 MON. Thundery day. Fine intervals. Dined with Wilkins and Evans. Just started dinner when I was informed Col Longcroft at Squadron sent round and told me German balloons were going to (be) attacked again. At 7.40 pm he rang though to No1 Squadron and 3 Nieuport machines left. About 10 minutes later Hun balloon to right of Kenmel was seen on fire. The next one on its left was attacked, our machine diving just over its back and leaving a trail of chemical both sides of it. A moment later it burst into flames. The third one was similarly attacked and burnt. All three machines returned safely. They were only gone 20 minutes. The balloons blazed fiercely for about 10 seconds and then dropped, I saw no parachute descents. 5 were destroyed yesterday in 3rd Army.
27 TUES. Squally rainy day. No view. Went to Hazebrouck and brought back trailer and stores. Dined at no 2 Sectn. Very cheery evening. All furniture thrown out of mess window. Wilkins and Evans there too. Walked home. No ballooning.
28 WED. Very wet day. No ballooning, windy and thick. Raffles came up here to lunch. I walked to No 2 Sectn with him. Motored to St Omer and mat Major McNeece at 10.30 pm. Called at 2nd AAP and IAD. Arrived back about 12.30am. Fairly heavy straf on.
Gavin awarded Military Cross.
29 THUR. Rather windy day and cold. Several attempts to balloon but too much wind. Raffles, Henly, Stringer and Gavin came to dinner. Stopped till past 12. Wilkins and a French Flying Officer came in after dinner.
30 FRI. Fine day but windy. Went to Hazebruck in afternoon and got wire cable for connecting parachutes on tail to basket in event of balloon catching fire. Gavin went with me. Bateman dines at Squadron.
JULY 1 SAT. Took wire cable etc to No 2 Sectn and explained system of connecting tail to basket. Stayed there to lunch and tea. Winch was shelled in afternoon. Large piece of shell came close to me. Another piece and transport. Afterwards went to No 9. Watched bombardments of Armentieres after dinner. Saw aeroplane with Turkish Crescent, which had been brought down that morning. Probably came from Salonika.
2 SUN. 2nd after Trinity. Fine hot day. Visited Canadian Division and Ouderdom site with Major Mcneece. Went to No 9 for tea. Heard we had lost all ground gained down South. George Prettyman came to lunch at Squadron.