Read today's entry from Harry Gissing's 1914-18 war diaries

May 14, 1917

Spent the morning taking over and sorting drugs and dressings left behind by the 3rd Fld. A., their condition showing a messer of a dispenser. Witnessed a very thrilling incident at midday. A taube came over and was promptly shelled by our batteries. All at once when three shells burst close to him he dived and commenced to fall. At once cheers rang out, the greatest excitement and glee being shown. The fall was peculiar, altho’ coming straight down he appeared to make a spiral dive of it wobbling from side to side.

At once our guns ceased firing and we all waited for him to crash down, when all at once when only a few hundred feet up he righted himself and shot away for home. At once the guns started, but too late, and two of our airmen dived at him but missed, and it seemed to us that he got clear away, altho’ later we were told he had been brought down. Opinion differed as to whether he had been hit and had made a great fight to regain control, or whether he did the whole thing as a trick so as to get low down in order to locate a battery.

This latter appears to be the truth, his kidding being so clever as to call forth admiration from all, the general opinion being that he deserved to get away. The aircraft battery came in for much satire and will not cease fire so quickly another time. Had a look at Favereul village and found it had been a very pretty place containing a German cemetery with several hundred occupants, amongst which was one Australian, Capt.Pemberton. Every cross had had the regiment and date of death erased, the object being to suppress all information so as not to assist our intelligence branch.

Had another casualty to-day: one of our Sgts., Sgt. Vicars, being killed whilst handing over to one of the 15th. He was buried at 8 p.m. in cemetery close by. Heavy shelling during the night, our barrage at 4 a.m.being particularly heavy. More rain.


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