National Geographic : 1918 Jan
THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE H. M. S. "CANNING" AND ITS KITE BALLOON The captive balloon is the all-seeing eye of a warship. It not only gives warning- of approaching enemy fleets, but it readily detects the lurking submarine. It also directs the fire of long-range guns. of the crowd; but a little later he had a most terrifying experience. While cross ing the lines he had to pass over a very intense battle raging on the ground. Shells were dropping everywhere and he knew that in flying over this ground he was passing through air which was liter ally full of shells in their flight. Suddenly, with an awful sound, a shell struck his machine about two feet behind where he sat, passing clean through the body of the machine without exploding. The unfortunate part of it was that in passing through the machine it practically severed all his control wires, which meant that all the mechanism which directed the machine-except a few strands of the cable-had been destroyed. His machine immediately went into a spinning nose dive and fell, out of con trol. Simply by means of the most deli- cate handling and great skill he managed, when only 2,000 feet from the ground, to regain control of his machine and headed it in the direction of home. Any ordinary pilot would have been content to come down and land in the first field; but not so Ball. His aerodrome was still twenty miles away; yet he flew this damaged machine all the way to it and landed there without further damage. His flight home must have been a terri ble experience, as the shell in passing through his machine had strained it and damaged it tremendously, and at any moment the whole machine might have collapsed and fallen in pieces; yet Ball, with his customary coolness and courage, brought it back home to his aerodrome and landed. Twenty minutes later he was in'another machine and on his way to the lines to look for another fight.