16th February (1918)

6 p.m.  Whenever there is clear weather, like today, aerial and other activity revives.  Up go more balloons.  Fritz takes pot shots at them, aeroplanes buzz about, Archies bark, and the guns spark up.  Last night I could hear the machine guns rattling and see the big star-shells, or S.O.S. signals flaming in the sky along the line.  Dawn broke in a gentle pink deluge directly behind the front itself and it was indeed difficult to believe that this gigantic madness was going on in its midst.  You must understand there are no country lanes here – there may have been at one time, but now everything is militarised – metalled roads with ditches of mud on each side and the land between them thick with camps, stables, etc. all dreadfully ugly.

IWM Q 12028 Observation Balloon

[Image – Two observer officers in the basket of a kite balloon. Note the telephones, map rest, parachute and parachute harness. Photograph taken in Gosnay, 2 May 1918. IWM (Q 12028)]

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