Monday 3rd July 1916. Marais ADS.
I saw one of our aeroplanes brought down today by anti aircraft guns, the shell seemed to burst right on the plane, certainly the petrol tank was hit because a great sheet of flame suddenly leapt up. For a few seconds the machine kept on an even keel then dived down but as suddenly righted himself and for a few breathless moments it seemed as if the pilot was still master. Gradually however her nose dropped and she began to descend at a steeper and steeper angle until it became quite obvious that she was hopelessly out of control. Then for half a minute we watched her, not dropping like a stone but fluttering slowly to earth like a butterfly. It made me feel positively ill to watch this horrible thing taking place and yet I was fascinated beyond words at the sight.
Well it fell between The lines in " no mans land" where 600 or 700 yards separated the trenches. O'Kell the M.O to the Sherwood Foresters, although comparatively elderly immediately ran out - A very plucky act! The two men were dead, but they got them in without themselves being hit. And later, the bodies were brought to the ADS where Porter and I collected all their belongings. The pilot had compound fracture of the jaw, the observer had no obvious injuries.
Tuesday 4th July.
After a bombardment two coy's of the regiment at Festubert went over but although they got into the first and second lines and did some good work they got badly caught by machine guns between the lines. It is generally believed that the enemy expecting the attack had machine guns actually between the lines waiting for our men. We had seven motor cars at our disposal and three extra officers to help. We were very busy from 1.30 a.m. until 6.00 a.m. and passed about 90 wounded down the line. Our evacuation from the aid posts by trolleys along the rails was most successful and we had no congestion.
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