We buried Viktor and Paul today. They were ordered to fly an artillery shoot up near Arras and they never came back. Finally, after calling all of the Ballonzugs in the area I found out what had happened. It seems they were set upon by a pair of Nieuports and fought bravely, but what could they do against two of them. Their bodies were burned horribly and I didn't let the other men view them, what would be the point? I wonder if those Nieuports were the same that attacked us while we were doing our job? Manfred, Wolfgang, and I were ordered to take photographs of the lines in the Guillemont area. We had an escort but we don't pay attention to them anymore since they never perform their duties. Anyway, I saw two Nieuports approaching from the east and signaled the flight to prepare themselves. I assume the escort ran because I never saw him again. On came the Nieuports, I noticed one had singled out Wolfgang and the other was making a play for Manfred. I turned and pursued the frog attacking Wolfgang and I managed to close the range sufficiently for Hans to fire a couple of telling bursts. Almost immediately the Nieuport flipped over and started spinning towards the earth. I watched the frog suspecting a ploy, but he spun all the way in, Hans must have hit the pilot. I turned and saw that the second Nieuport was at that moment diving for home. After we had reformed, Manfred gave me the dud machine signal and turned for home, while Wolfgang and I completed our job. Upon arriving at our aerodrome, I noticed that Manfred had crashed upon landing but he and August were fine. I now get to write to Viktor and Paul's families and say what, that they died gloriously for the Fatherland, or maybe they died like sheep at the hands of wolves. No, I can't speak the truth, better to speak of the glories of war and the Fatherland. I desperately need a leave. By the way, my claim for today was rejected.
Member and provider of banjo music for the Illustrious BOC