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Monday, 7 May 2012

Diary Entry - 7th May, 1917

After breakfast, while sunning in the glorious day, there was a buzz of engines overhead and, looking up, we saw three of our scouts skimming towards us at a very low height. They were over us like a flash and one could observe the pilots (one only, they being Nieuport scouts) straining his head to see how close he could take the trees at the Sucrerie.. At the same time our field guns opened a covering fire on the trenches to keep the rifle fire down. We stood and watched the Bosch balloons, imagining they were the job on hand. We did not wait more than 3 to 4 minutes when down came one in flames, quickly followed by another on its left. By this, the archies were much disturbed and firing madly in every direction, but we saw one machine come back very low, going like the wind, followed by a string of mad Bosch archie bursts. We were glad to hear later that all three machines got home and that seven balloons had been sunk. It was the most amusing sight to see the remaining balloons (10, all told) being reeled in at a frantic speed. At eleven thirty a.m., as Sandford and I went to the OP, we saw one of our old BEs shot down near the railway that runs out of Bailleul. It simply went down like a shot bird, with an awful crash. We registered on a crucifix to the north of Oppy, standing out well, with a bunch of trees round it, and got a very accurate registration of it. The Colonel watched the firing, and I went back to brigade with him and Murdoch, to see Todd about my ears. We had lunch there at two and waited for Todd, who blew in about four p.m. from the wagon lines. His opinion is that they want resting.

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