In these desperate times Collingwood Ingram never lost his passion for birds. The diaries are full of his exquisite pencil sketches of birds, landscapes and people.
edited by Ernest Pollard & Hazel Strouts, published by the diary specialist Day Books and available via the following links from
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For more on the diaries see the Royal Flying Corps page
Extracts from the diaries
27 March 1917, Candas
…… But of all the erstwhile villages visited by us, Biaches was the most complete ruin – it and its long contested wood had been literally wiped off the face of the earth – so much so that had my attention not been drawn to the place I could never have noticed that a village had ever stood on the site. The wood was like a Dantesque nightmare or the fantastic drawings of a petrified forest, for only the torn trunks of the larger trees remained.
And now let us turn to pleasanter topics. Near Cappy itself, I saw numbers of rooks together with jackdaws and carrion crows, and later a fair sprinkling of hoodies. Tree sparrows seemed quite at home in the chalk quarries and no doubt breed in the crevices of the cliffs when the time comes.
14 March 1918, Champien
23 March 1918, Fienvillers
There are quite a number of little owls haunting the wooded valley running northwards from the edge of the plateau which forms the
aerodrome. At night their muffled bell-like hoot may be heard at frequent intervals and today one commenced calling as early as 3.30 p.m. (4.30 summer time) in the full glare of the sun. I went
down to have a look at him and found him perched among the upper boughs of a stark ash tree. He did not seem in the least shy and, after glancing at me with half-closed eyes, soon recommenced his
musical cry, which he uttered with head thrust forward and throat inflated.
12-13 April 1918, Hesdin
...... Both days, English and French cavalry have been streaming along the roads, evidently travelling north to try to stem the German advance. Among these are intermingled refugees from the invaded territory - usually these latter travel dolefully along the highways - family parties with their worldly belongings piled high upon some cart or hand trolley.
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