Here in this book, first published in 1931 and revised 40 years later, the author, Willy Coppens de Houthulst, relates his First World War experiences as a pilot in the Belgian Flying Corps during 1917 and 1918.
Among the Allied nations, Belgium (which had been largely overrun by the Germans in 1914) punched above its weight in terms of the fighting quality of its rank and file. Men such as Willy Coppens, who made a specialty of attacking German observation balloons over the frontlines, which served to direct artillery fire onto Allied troops and were highly protected by batteries of anti-aircraft and machine guns, making them extremely dangerous to air attack.
Coppens finished the war with 37 victories (35 of which were the German "Drachen" or observation balloons) and a grevious wound. Notwithstanding that, he went on to serve his country in the Second World War and lived well into the 1980s.