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Form for Dropped Messages

Note: This item is currently in storage.

This standardized form for dropped messages was used by aircraft observers to quickly report enemy ground movement to friendly troops and waiting intelligence officers. The hand-written report was dropped on Oct. 5, 1918, by pilot Lt. William C. Thomas and observer Lt. Justin P. Follette of the 12th Aero Squadron during a reconnaissance mission over the Front.

Follette made careful notes of German troop concentrations and activities during the flight. Their flight over Sommerance and Tannay, France occurred during the height of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, the final Allied offensive of World War I and one of the bloodiest battles of U.S. history.

Follette’s hand-written notes are transcribed below:

Arrived at lines at 6:45 and patrolled above them till 7:30. Our troops showed panels at 98.3-03.9 and at 95.6-05.7. Our troops were advancing at 7:10 over the hill at 91.0-07.1. Located a few Boche troops in trench at 95.5-06.4 and dropped a message to our troops about it. Found a few Boch in [illegible] at 7:15 catching break-fast. One wagon and two mounted men on road at 91.9-09.8 at 7:05. Also a few straggling Boche soldiers going back from the front. No explosions noted, no train movements seen. No enemy artillery. Shots falling at 6:50 on 98.5-04.5. No enemy balloons or aircraft seen.

A lumber yard on railroad N.W. of Tannay (shown on map) burning at 7:05.

Dropped most of the information in three messages to front line troops at 95.6-05.7 and at 91.0-07.1.

Justin P. Follette
1st Lt, A.S.

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