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Crashed British Aircraft - The Great Escape (II)

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In his book Samson states:

"Davies in his Nieuport had an unpleasant experience, as through engine failure he had to come down into the sea about 5 miles from Imbros. Fortunately a trawler was close at hand, and after picking him up tried to tow the half-submerged aeroplane to the shore; after about ten minutes the aeroplane broke up and sank. The trawler skipper then turned round to Davies and said "Bain't nobody else in the machine, Mister, be there?" Davies thought this was a bit late in the day to ask."

So it cannot have been this Nieuport with a single pilot.

Thank you for drawing attention to Sturtivant's "Miscellany" which, I am sure, hides a lot of 'unknown' data, possibly including the subject of this topic. He lists "local number" M.4 as "M.Farman. No information".

Horatio2 - does Samson give a date for this event? MG

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centurion

All - many thanks for your informative input. It seems that there are a few separate incidents and Suvla Bay/Salt Lake seems to have been a preferred landing spot as it was within Allied held territory and suitably flat. I imagine that mechanical failure was reasonably common so forced landings would not be unusual and therefore not always recorded. If I can summarise:

1. 13th October 1915. Suvla Bay. There are seven eyewitness accounts (5 British,one Australian and one Ottoman Army) that a plane had a forced landing (likely due to hostile fire) into the area of the Salt Lake.

a.
Nationality.
The airplane was described as being Allied or British. The British using French aircraft might be a source of the confusion.

b.
Type.
The plane was variously described as being 'large','huge' and 'the largest of the few aircraft of the Gallipoli force" which might suggest a seaplane. We are still uncertain if it was a seaplane or a wheeled aircraft. The Wright Pusher seems to have been eliminated as a candidate as there were allegedly none in theatre at the time.

c.
Shelling.
Most accounts record the aircraft was shelled and damaged whilst in the mud of the Salt Lake.

d.
Recovery.
Three accounts record the engine/aircraft being recovered at night.

e.
Crew.
Most accounts record 2 crew, although one account (Day) says 4 crew. Potential candidates are:

i.
Sqn Cdr Davies
. Flying a Nieuport with fin code N26. Ref Sturtivant & Page.
Note the single pilot does not fit with the record of 2 crew.

ii.
Flt Lt Newton-Clare and Capt Walser.
Flying a Farman M4 and 'landed Suvla'.
Note the 2 crew fits with the records of 2 crew escaping

iii.
Other
as yet unidentified.

My questions are:

A. What are the relative sizes of a Nieuport, a Nieuport XH and an Henri-Farman?

B. Is a Nieuport a single seater? i.e. Could Sqn Cdr Davies have had an observer with him?

C. Does anyone have a list of all the Allied aircraft types in theatre at the time? There is an IWM article by Peter Hart mentioning Maurice Farmans, Henri Farmans, Morane Parasols, BE 2Cs, Bristol Scouts and Nieuports. Also this article mentions the Short 184 Seaplane flown from HMS Ben -my-Chree
in Aug 1915
. Schneider seaplanes are also mentioned in a linked article. All the caveats of using Wiki as a reliable reference apply.

D. Were there any aircraft in theatre that had 4 crew? i.e. can we eliminate Day's account?

2. 18th August 1915. Ottoman Army report ahostile seaplane was damaged in the afternoon by cannon fire while flying overthe right flank of the Ottoman positions near Sedd uel Bahr. The seaplane fell into the sea and was towed away by a torpedo boat.

3. 19th August 1915. Suvla Bay. Flt Cdr Samson and Jopp forced to land at Suvla Bay in HF 24 around 10:00. The aircraft was not a seaplane as it rolled downhill after landing. Other than Samson's own account and log book, so far noother diaries record this event.

Any mistakes are mine. MG

There were three types of Nieuport in theatre - The Nieuport XI a single seat semi sesquiplane scout, the XII a two seater semi sesquiplane and the Nieuport VI monoplane float plane a two seater. There was no Nieuport XH and I suspect that this is a mis type for XII. All were relatively small. In addition no Nieuport VIs were lost

There were two types of Henri Farman. The F22 and F27. The F22 was underpowered and only flown as a single seater (and not used much some being sent back to Britain as 'useless'). The F27 had a bigger engine and was used as a bomber from July 1915 onwards operating from Imbros. It was a two seater. AFAIK only the F22 was available in theatre as a seaplane (although most were landplanes).

Three Maurice Farman Shorthorns were used. The Shorthorn was available in land and sea plane versions but I think those at Imbros were landplanes. Again two seaters but sometimes flown single seat to allow extra bombs to be carried.

There were both Sopwith Schneiders and Sopwith Tabloids in theatre. Both types small single seaters. The Schneider was a seaplane.

The Morane Sauliner would be the Type L a parasol monoplane. Although a two seater the RNAS operated them as single seaters - a landplane

The BE2 were 2 seater land planes

The Short 184 saw most of its service in those waters after the evacuation. In the period in question it was being operated as a torpedo bomber and whilst one came down in the sea with a temporary engine failure none appear to have been lost at this time.

The Sopwith Folder seaplane was also used but because it was underpowered often as a single seater

AFAIK there was no Bristol Scout in theatre - this may have been a mistake for the similar Sopwith Tabloid

The only aircraft in theatre able to carry more than two was the huge five bay Wight pusher seaplane used for (relatively) high altitude recce over the Turkish lines and some one has already said this was not a possibility for this incident

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Guest

Centurion - Amazing detail. Many thanks.

So there are lots of candidates for the type of aircraft, but most appear to be single-seater or used as single-seaters which might narrow it down and help focus on the Sqns that used the 2 seaters..... from your detailed post it looks as if the Shorthorn and the BE 2 were the only 2 seaters being used as 2 seaters - any Idea which Sqns operated these anyone?

I suspect it will only be solved by finding a log-book or Sqn War Diary that records the event... MG

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centurion

Centurion - Amazing detail. Many thanks.

So there are lots of candidates for the type of aircraft, but most appear to be single-seater or used as single-seaters which might narrow it down and help focus on the Sqns that used the 2 seaters..... from your detailed post it looks as if the Shorthorn and the BE 2 were the only 2 seaters being used as 2 seaters - any Idea which Sqns operated these anyone?

I suspect it will only be solved by finding a log-book or Sqn War Diary that records the event... MG

All used by no.3 Squadron RNAS - but they don't fit the bill as all No 3's planes were land planes . No 3 also had a Breguet V. No 2 Wing RNAS relieved no 3 squadron and some Caudron GIIIs were added along with four Bristol Scouts to escort them (there were some after all). However whilst the French Navy operated some GIII seaplanes I think all the RNAS GIIIs were land planes. In any case I think these arrived too late for the incident in question. The RNAS sea planes in theatre all operated from ships mainly Ark Royal, Ben-My-Chree..

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centurion

Centurion - Amazing detail. Many thanks.

I suspect it will only be solved by finding a log-book or Sqn War Diary that records the event... MG

Essentially Samson's diary which does not mention the incident is the war diary!

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centurion

The British sea planes in theatre were

Short 166 (one carried by each Abercrombie Class monitor as a spotter)

Short 184

Sopwith Admiralty Type 807 (Folder)

Wight Pusher

Given that the accident doesn't get mentioned by Samson I'd guess it might be one of the Short 166s. They weren't within his ambit

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Guest

All used by no.3 Squadron RNAS - but they don't fit the bill as all No 3's planes were land planes . No 3 also had a Breguet V. No 2 Wing RNAS relieved no 3 squadron and some Caudron GIIIs were added along with four Bristol Scouts to escort them (there were some after all). However whilst the French Navy operated some GIII seaplanes I think all the RNAS GIIIs were land planes. In any case I think these arrived too late for the incident in question. The RNAS sea planes in theatre all operated from ships mainly Ark Royal, Ben-My-Chree..

Thanks. Noted..... I am not totally convinced it was a seaplane. I think only Father Henry Day says it is a seaplane and he is the least reliable source in my view. I have read his biography and it has too many inaccuracies, and he was a notorious rumour monger which I think reflects on his tendency to embellish. If his account is discounted as being unreliable (4 crew, poor shelling etc) it makes any type of plane a possibility. In other words the account of one person (Day) could lead us in the wrong direction when 6 other accounts only describe it as an airplane which was accurately shelled and had 2 crew (not 4).... I think it is important to consider that the Salt Lake was completely dry in August as it had been a particularly hot summer and although it had rained in a little September and October, there is a distinct possibility that the 'Lake' was not under water and was a still suitable landing spot for a wheeled aircraft. That said it sounds as if the pilot (wheeled or otherwise) didn't have much time to think about the landing....MG

P.S. Is is aeroplane, or airplane?

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centurion

Thanks. Noted..... I am not totally convinced it was a seaplane. I think only Father Henry Day says it is a seaplane and he is the least reliable source in my view. I have read his biography and it has too many inaccuracies, and he was a notorious rumour monger which I think reflects on his tendency to embellish. If his account is discounted as being unreliable (4 crew, poor shelling etc) it makes any type of plane a possibility. In other words the account of one person (Day) could lead us in the wrong direction when 6 other accounts only describe it as an airplane which was accurately shelled and had 2 crew (not 4).... I think it is important to consider that the Salt Lake was completely dry in August as it had been a particularly hot summer and although it had rained in a little September and October, there is a distinct possibility that the 'Lake' was not under water and was a still suitable landing spot for a wheeled aircraft. That said it sounds as if the pilot (wheeled or otherwise) didn't have much time to think about the landing....MG

P.S. Is is aeroplane, or airplane?

Given that it was also described as one of the largest aircraft, ignoring the Wight the three largest were

Short 184 63 foot wing span

Short 166 57 foot wingspan

Voisin V 48 foot wingspan

Samson would surely have remarked upon the loss of the Short 184 or the Voisin so I'd still go for the Short 166

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horatio2

Acknowledging the apparent unreliability of some of the aircraft data, I note that Sturtivant lists the following RNAS Serials for "Short Type C (166 Type) Seaplane": 161-166; 811-818; and 9751-9770. In the main text these batches are variously described as:

161-166 Short Type C Tractor Biplane Seaplanes (Later 166 Type). These were the HMS ARK ROYAL/EARL OF PETERBOROUGH/ROBERTS/RAGLAN flights, all of which he records as still flying after October 1915.

811-818 Short Type C Folder (Improved Admiralty 74 Type) Tractor Seaplanes none of which are recorded as being at the Dardanelles.

9751-9770 Short S.90 (Admiralty 166 Type) Tractor Biplane Seaplanes ordered under a 28/10/1915 contract.

On the face of it, this rules out the 'Short 166s' not under Samson's command.

The Davies ditching in his Nieuport is recorded by Samson in the "October" part of his book.

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centurion

Acknowledging the apparent unreliability of some of the aircraft data, I note that Sturtivant lists the following RNAS Serials for "Short Type C (166 Type) Seaplane": 161-166; 811-818; and 9751-9770. In the main text these batches are variously described as:

161-166 Short Type C Tractor Biplane Seaplanes (Later 166 Type). These were the HMS ARK ROYAL/EARL OF PETERBOROUGH/ROBERTS/RAGLAN flights, all of which he records as still flying after October 1915.

811-818 Short Type C Folder (Improved Admiralty 74 Type) Tractor Seaplanes none of which are recorded as being at the Dardanelles.

9751-9770 Short S.90 (Admiralty 166 Type) Tractor Biplane Seaplanes ordered under a 28/10/1915 contract.

On the face of it, this rules out the 'Short 166s' not under Samson's command.

The Davies ditching in his Nieuport is recorded by Samson in the "October" part of his book.

I've seen reference to a Short 166 on the Abercrombie at the Dardanelles

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horatio2

Although ABERCROMBIE is not specifically mentioned by Sturtivant in the Short 166 listing, I would not be surprised if some of the mutiple seaplane movements between ships were not recorded. Some embarkations were only for a few days. Certainly she was designed from the drawing board to carry a seaplane. The monitors were supposed to off-load the seaplane before firing but, when carrying Ser 164 ROBERTS failed to do so and the aircraft was damaged by blast from the 14-inch guns.

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centurion

Although ABERCROMBIE is not specifically mentioned by Sturtivant in the Short 166 listing, I would not be surprised if some of the mutiple seaplane movements between ships were not recorded. Some embarkations were only for a few days. Certainly she was designed from the drawing board to carry a seaplane. The monitors were supposed to off-load the seaplane before firing but, when carrying Ser 164 ROBERTS failed to do so and the aircraft was damaged by blast from the 14-inch guns.

Each of the four monitors was supplied with a seaplane

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centurion

I further find that they could carry either a 166 or a 184 so its possible that Abercrombie might have had the larger aircraft. She didn't have it in 1916 when she was carrying a Sopwith Schneider for a while. Raglan certainly used her 166 for spotting.

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Guest

I further find that they could carry either a 166 or a 184 so its possible that Abercrombie might have had the larger aircraft. She didn't have it in 1916 when she was carrying a Sopwith Schneider for a while. Raglan certainly used her 166 for spotting.

I assume the Navy kept logs and they are at the National Archives?

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Dolphin

There was no Nieuport XH and I suspect that this is a mis type for XII.

The Nieuport XH was a two seat monoplane fitted with floats, powered by an 80 hp Clerget or Le Rhone rotary engine. Those used by the RNAS in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Red Sea retained their French serial numbers.

The XH looks very much like the Nieuport Tractor Monoplane Seaplanes ordered by the RNAS from the manufacturers and given the serials 3187 to 3198, though I think these had 100hp Gnome engines.

There's a chap making a model of a Nieuport XH at: http://pedro81570.sk...IEUPORT-XH.html

Gareth

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centurion

The Nieuport XH was a two seat monoplane fitted with floats, powered by an 80 hp Clerget or Le Rhone rotary engine. Those used by the RNAS in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Red Sea retained their French serial numbers.

There's a chap making a model of a Nieuport XH at: http://pedro81570.sk...IEUPORT-XH.html

Gareth

My sources (various) all show these as being the Nieuport VI Hydro. If the French history of Nieuport floatplanes is correct only 10 Nieuport X floatplanes were built and all were used by the French Navy until 1916. They do not appear to have been designated as Nieuport X Hydro or XH. The two types were very similar BTW the link didn't work

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Guest

My sources (various) all show these as being the Nieuport VI Hydro. If the French history of Nieuport floatplanes is correct only 10 Nieuport X floatplanes were built and all were used by the French Navy until 1916. They do not appear to have been designated as Nieuport X Hydro or XH. The two types were very similar BTW the link didn't work

I also saw a reference to a single aircraft called a Breguet de Chasse which I assume is a form of fighter (chasse/chase) aircraft... Was in the same unit as Samson when on Tenedos before they moved.... Pilot was Marix who was very precious about his aircraft.. Attempted to fly to Constantinople to drop bombs but failed apparently.... In the picture on the link below it looks reasonably big. Looking at it one understands why some called them crates. MG

http://www.iwm.org.uk/upload/package/2/gallipoli/airopen.htm

http://www.iwm.org.uk/upload/package/2/gallipoli/pdf_files/GallipoliAirWar.pdf - interesting article and type in Wings Over Gallipoli into Google... more good info..... MG

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centurion

I also saw a reference to a single aircraft called a Breguet de Chasse which I assume is a form of fighter (chasse/chase) aircraft... Was in the same unit as Samson when on Tenedos before they moved.... Pilot was Marix who was very precious about his aircraft.. Attempted to fly to Constantinople to drop bombs but failed apparently.... In the picture on the link below it looks reasonably big. Looking at it one understands why some called them crates. MG

http://www.iwm.org.uk/upload/package/2/gallipoli/airopen.htm

http://www.iwm.org.uk/upload/package/2/gallipoli/pdf_files/GallipoliAirWar.pdf - interesting article and type in Wings Over Gallipoli into Google... more good info..... MG

Yes the Breguet V which I mentioned in a previous post but inadvertently called it a Voisin (must be going gaga). 58ft wingspan. Type used by the RNAS as a night bomber. Turned back from the Constantinople raid with engine trouble. No record of it being lost

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nils d

I assume the Navy kept logs and they are at the National Archives?

Yes there might be but lm reminded of a reseacher who contacted the IWM on this or a similar case.They told him they had no records for this unit but l then visited the IWM and saw 3 Wings war dairy in one of the public display cases! l think we concluded that the force landing was Newton Clares on the Farman. My contact had a piece of the fabric from the wreck.

<

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centurion

Yes there might be but lm reminded of a reseacher who contacted the IWM on this or a similar case.They told him they had no records for this unit but l then visited the IWM and saw 3 Wings war dairy in one of the public display cases! l think we concluded that the force landing was Newton Clares on the Farman. My contact had a piece of the fabric from the wreck.

<

If so it would have to be one of the steel framed F27 landplanes with 140 HP engines which arrived in July 1915. Samson later used one to drop a petrol filled 500 lb bomb (with an explosive core) on a Turkish barracks (it failed to explode on impact but went off afterwards, with horrific results, when troops had assembled around it to have a photo taken). I'm surprised that Samson doesn't mention the incident at the Salt Lake. Do you have the specific details from the war diary?

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Dolphin

My sources (various) all show these as being the Nieuport VI Hydro. If the French history of Nieuport floatplanes is correct only 10 Nieuport X floatplanes were built and all were used by the French Navy until 1916. They do not appear to have been designated as Nieuport X Hydro or XH. The two types were very similar BTW the link didn't work

This is going off on a tangent, but it's worth getting things correct.

There's information on the Nieuport X Hydroplane here:http://www.ctie.monash.edu.au/hargrave/nieuport.html

Whatever Centurion's sources say, the impeccably researched Cross & Cockade book is clear in stating that the RNAS used 28 Nieuport XHs, 16 with with French serials N11-N23 and NB1-NB3 in the Mediterranean and Red Sea (there are six photographs of these machines), and 12 with RNAS serials 3187-3198 in the UK (three photographs). The book includes a brief history of each aeroplane.

Gareth

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centurion

This is going off on a tangent, but it's worth getting things correct.

There's information on the Nieuport X Hydroplane here:http://www.ctie.monash.edu.au/hargrave/nieuport.html

Whatever Centurion's sources say, the impeccably researched Cross & Cockade book is clear in stating that the RNAS used 28 Nieuport XHs, 16 with with French serials N11-N23 and NB1-NB3 in the Mediterranean and Red Sea (there are six photographs of these machines), and 12 with RNAS serials 3187-3198 in the UK (three photographs). The book includes a brief history of each aeroplane.

Gareth

Impeccably or not I'd like to know how a build of only ten was stretched that far - loaves and fishes time?

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Dolphin

Impeccably or not I'd like to know how a build of only ten was stretched that far - loaves and fishes time?

I don't want to become involved in yet another endless saga. It might just be possible that the supposed production total of 10 is incorrect.

In simple terms, more than ten Nieuport XHs must have been built, as the RNAS used 28 (though 16 were really French aircraft) and presumably the French Navy used some as well. Each of the RNAS XHs can be accounted for by serial number and aircraft history.

Perhaps, and I stress the word perhaps, the French Naval XHs were numbered N1-N10, ie before the ones used by the RNAS. This might be where the incorrect production figure of 10 XHs arose.

Gareth

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RobL

All, hopefully not going too off topic, but in my research on Handley Pages I came across the memoirs of a chap named Buss, I only made scant notes on his pre-HP days but I this was in his memoirs - "Ditched at sea of Sulvla Gallipoli in an Avro 504, picked up by monitor, rescued by earl of Peterborough" - does anyone have any more information on this?

Very interesting fellow, worked as a mechanic at Hendon in exchange for flying lessons to get his certificate, then flew defensive sorties over Christmas in the Dover area armed with a shotgun loaded with metal balls linked by chain, supposedly to cut through the struts of an enemy aircraft

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centurion

I don't want to become involved in yet another endless saga. It might just be possible that the supposed production total of 10 is incorrect.

In simple terms, more than ten Nieuport XHs must have been built, as the RNAS used 28 (though 16 were really French aircraft) and presumably the French Navy used some as well. Each of the RNAS XHs can be accounted for by serial number and aircraft history.

Perhaps, and I stress the word perhaps, the French Naval XHs were numbered N1-N10, ie before the ones used by the RNAS. This might be where the incorrect production figure of 10 XHs arose.

Gareth

Les premiers Nieuport à flotteurs by Gérard Hartmann provides a good history. In it he lists Sweden, Japan, Russia, Italy, Turkey and Great Britain as buying Nieuport VI G Hydros, but only Italy buying any Nieuport Xs with floats. Given that contemporary accounts refer to Nieuport Floatplanes or seaplanes without any type designation I would suggest that ascribing XH (a designation not actually used by Nieuport) to the RNAS aircraft was an error made (possibly retrospectively) some time ago and they were in fact VI Gs. (I do know that some Russian Nieuport VI land planes are shown in some photo captions as Nieuport Xs)

The French Nieuport X seaplanes were based on the carrier Campinas at Port Said until replaced by FBA flying boats in 1916.

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