Up In The Air
The World War I Diaries of Balloonist Cyril Gordon Jones
17 MON. Very thick morning, cleared later. Went to No15 and inspected their stores hut and store. Drew pay for men in Bailleul and paid men after lunch.
18 TUES. Dull thundery day.
Went through Pop to No4’s old camp about tent boards. Got 5 sets. Plucked a lot of radishes from our garden there. Had some for tea at No15. Pop had been badly smashed up by shelling last week. Many houses down.
19 WED. Hot day and sunny.
Went to St Omer with No15’s tube conductor and winch drivers. Picked up winch and started it off for Ouderdom stores. Arrived back 9pm. Raffles, Thornton, Fielden and Capt played poker with the Major. I wrote letters.
20 THUR. Hot day and went to No15 in morning and lunched there. Tested their winch at No2’s balloon in afternoon. Not satisfactory. Bearing got very hot. Engine stopped 4 times.
German aeroplanes over nearly all evening from 5 to 8pm. Bomb dropped in Remninghelst when Major passing through. No one hurt.
21 FRI. Fine hot day. Very little wind.
No15 exercising their balloon. Great shortage of gas. Major instructed me to go to A D St Omer. Hurst went to No15. Then to No2 and afterwards to No9. Lunched at No9
. Started for Omer with Fulton at about 2.30pm. Nieppe was being shelled just as we started. One shell went through roof of house and landed in road in front of us. Dined at Hotel du Commerce at Omer, arrived back at about 11pm.
22 SAT. Fine day. No15 received their French balloon and inflated it. Balloon held 149 tubes. Transferred 40 tubes from No9. A few holes in balloon which were easily repaired. Lunched at No2.
23 SUN. 5th after Trinity. Fine day. All morning at No15 arranging about tubes etc. Balloon topped up. Gen Webb Bowen and Col Longcroft came along.
Orders received in afternoon for balloon to make ascent. Major and I went along. Major made first trip. I did ground officer. No excitement no shelling contrary to my expectations.