20 MON. Fine still day, muggy but dull. Heard fight in air about 6am but did not look out. Heard machine guns “cackling” very plainly. Erected windscreen posts at new bed. Bosh machine over this afternoon, chased by two of our machines who fired at him, but after a good fly around Bosh pushed off, leaving our machines apparently standing still.
21 TUES. Balloon walked to winch and let up in ballast. Winch men practiced letting up and hauling down. Blake and O made trial ascent at 3pm. No view, wind at 350ft 16.4 miles per hour. Many ropes and gear cracked and snapped. Telephone wire snapped. Thought basket would come adrift. Rigging rotten.
22 WED. Dull wet morning went up in balloon to practise winch crew. No view, thick mist and rain. Mud from balloon poured on my cap and down my back. Selected spot in wood to bag down. Less conspicuous to Bosh machines. Balloon moved into wood. Worked till after midnight in sleet and mud. Men fainted from exhaustion.
23 THUR. Dull mist morning. Blake and I went up in balloon at 2.45 pm. Expected to be shelled. Very little happening. Fair view, 4.15pm hauled down and Mcneece went up alone. 4.30pm balloon shelled and 10cm shells fell in field opposite winch 200 yds away. I went to dig out shell when another fell within 20 yds of me. Fortunately it did not burst till it hit ground. Dug out this fuze cap and shell No 1.
24 FRI. Thick snow on ground, very cold. Snowed hard all morning. Clearer in afternoon, very little wind NE. Balloon had thick cover of snow on top which was shaken off. Blake went up for an hour in afternoon. Not good view.
Buchanan and I went to “Fancies” at Pop. Splendid show. Seats 2frs each. Very dark night. Could not find tender. Eventually found it, driver fast asleep.
25 SAT. Strong wind, SW. CO told me to make ascent alone and inspect view and take wind. Went up at 9.10 am. When about 100ft up, and clear of trees, terrific wind, about 40 miles per hour. Balloon kicked and strained. Cable badly lifted winch clear of ground. Thought it was going to Germany. Brake would not hold cable drum. Eventually hauled down after a very unpleasant nose dive on about 200ft. All Officers thought balloon would break away whilst I was up. Glad I had parachutes. Several rigging bridles carried away. Bagged down again.
26 SUN. 3rd in Lent. Strong wind SW. Too much for ballooning. CO swore at me for not making out returns, although we had no forms. Blake in very bad temper. Treated me like office boy. All Officers very fed up with his behaviour.
Men making sand bag protection for winch and dug out in wood. Major Mcneece visited us and complimented men and congratulated me on not being blown away yesterday. Said it was absurd to go up in such a wind. Orderly Officer and slept at Guard Hut. Very cold.