22 July 1915

Ypres

Since my last letter we have had a fairly quiet time as far as shelling is concerned though there has been a little excitement.  Last night was my first night off, that is to say I did not come on duty until about four o’clock this morning.  The first thing I did was to take a look round the German lines & see if anyone was about.  Imagine my surprise when I discovered that there had sprung up in the night a square sandbag tunnel with a large iron plate, & two ominous looking slits.  What its all for & what it all means we haven’t the least idea, but during the day have managed to add considerably to the ventilation both of the plates & the surrounding sandbags.  Further excitement came our way a little bit later when one of my Corporals ”Spotted” a German working party.  There were four or five of them working on a new trench about 1000 yds away, & exposed from their heels to their heads.  These we soon scattered & I think managed to hit one fellow, who certainly sat down with greater rapidity then seemed to be quite natural.  At all events they ceased work, & have not been seen again.  We shall keep a good look out on the spot & if ever they try any tricks again in daylight they will catch it.    I am sorry I look so thin in the photograph.  If you will send a copy along I will let you know whether or no there is anyone who might like a copy & to whom you could send it.  I cannot think of anybody at present.  Today we had a first glimpse of this new German bi-plane about which so much has been said in the papers & elsewhere.  It is a fairly large affair with a double body & carries two machine guns firing fore & aft.  The old thing came sailing over today look for something to have a smack at, but none of our machines were up at the time so it went away disappointed.  Their aeroplanes are very quick indeed at spotting any new trench–work & sandbags, & if they see anything they will get the guns on it in a very few minutes.  Their system of signalling between aircraft & guns must be very good indeed.  What we are expecting to see now is a battle between their “battle” machine & one of ours “Vickers biplanes”, which ought to be an exciting event to watch, though somewhat too thrilling doubtless for the combatants.

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5 thoughts on “22 July 1915

  1. I’ve had a bit more luck.

    The British press called this plane a “Battle Airman” but I can’t find out the official German name/designation which isn’t helping.

    The 29th June 1915 Daily Sketch has an account of a fight between one and a British plane
    http://repository.up.ac.za/handle/2263/45055 (Page 4 of the .pdf file. I love old newspapers 🙂 ).

    http://www.illustratedfirstworldwar.com/item/germanys-giant-machine-gunned-biplane-the-enemy-battle-airman-in-iln0-1915-0717-0005-001/
    This drawing is the only image I can find of this biplane. It also includes an account of the same action as in the DS article but the page scan isn’t complete.

    My interest was piqued because I didn’t know twin boomed aeroplanes were being built as early as this and according to the DS it seems that this is the first successful design of its type.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Just a further note say that it was most probably an AGO C1, AGO C2 or AGO C3.

    The descriptions in the media appear to have greatly exaggerated its size and armament.

    Liked by 1 person

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