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Crashed British Aircraft - The Great Escape (II)

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I don't have the original but from my notes it is Bremner, IWM SR 4 The pilot being Flight Sub Lieutenant Donald Bremner, 2nd Wing, RNAS. It was right at the end of the campaign after the Helles strip was closed. It appears that an aircraft sized dug out had been made to protect against shelling.

Monoplanes, emergency landings, dugouts in the side of a hill, end of the campaign etc all fits with the other IWM article the Gallipoli Air War by Peter Hart who describes this specific action. The day before the evacuation Bremner and Burnaby are chased to the ground by a Fokker monoplane who had damaged the cylinders and the aircraft was losing revs rapidly.... they landed on the emergency aerodrome on the "Peninsula" .... it mentions skimming the trenches and the aircraft sized dugout in the side of the hill for the plane....he records how he was then sent down to W Beach. This is of course at Helles, not Suvla. MG

Article: http://www.iwm.org.u...oli/airopen.htm

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centurion

Monoplanes, emergency landings, dugouts in the side of a hill, end of the campaign etc all fits with the other IWM article the Gallipoli Air War by Peter Hart who describes this specific action. The day before the evacuation Bremner and Burnaby are chased to the ground by a Fokker monoplane who had damaged the cylinders and the aircraft was losing revs rapidly.... they landed on the emergency aerodrome on the "Peninsula" .... it mentions skimming the trenches and the aircraft sized dugout in the side of the hill for the plane....he records how he was then sent down to W Beach. This is of course at Helles, not Suvla. MG

Article: http://www.iwm.org.u...oli/airopen.htm

But the Helles strip had been abandoned

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michaeldr

I tried to destroy the machine, but they wouldn’t let me set fire to it

because they were evacuating that night. They didn’t want any fire occurring that

might have indicated that we were destroying stores and were about to leave.

That really puts it right at the very, very end of the land campaign

The list of Turkish claims has several at this time but no Voisin is mentioned by that name

4 Jan 1916 French seaplane shot down by Lt Schubert?

or

6 Jan 1916 aircraft shot down by Lt Buddecke?

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michaeldr

But the Helles strip had been abandoned

Obviously not.

or if you prefer 'but did Bremner know that it had been abandoned?'

No doubt in an emergency even an abandoned airstrip is better than the sea

quote: They didnt want any fire occurring that

might have indicated that we were destroying stores and were about to leave. I

was sent down to W Beach and went onto a lighter. I sat there from about 6

oclock that evening, till about one oclock the following morning. I embarked on

SS Partridge which was the second last ship to leave the Peninsula.

Helles was evacuated AFTER Suvla and the 2nd last ship to leave the peninsula left from Helles

Edited by michaeldr

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Guest

But the Helles strip had been abandoned

According to Hart's article the "aerodrome" with the dugout in the hill was implicitly still used as an emergency strip.... evidently up to the last day. The account is quite detailed. The pilot wanted to burn his aircraft as he realised he could not recover it as they were evacuating that night. He was prevented from burning the aircraft for fear the Turks would see it as burning stores before an evacuation.... so he walked down to "W Beach" which can only be Helles and got on a lighter to the SS Partridge....The details are all consistent with your earlier recollection - pilot name, monoplane, dugout, emergency landing etc except the location which is described as the "Peninsula"...the W Beach reference is the clincher.....Also if this was the last day, Suvla would already have been evacuated so it can't be an error in the reported location.

It may be that early historians have picked up this story and mis-read Peninsula as Suvla. As we all know this is a common theme that earlier mistaken accounts sometimes puck up small errors and subsequent accounts take these early histories as accurate accounts - I have seen many in my research on Suvla and the August landings - In this instance I have not seen the original source document but Peter Hart is a respected author (and GWF member I believe) who will no doubt have transcribed this correctly. To be absolutely certain one would need to see the original document, but circumstantially it looks as if this is the same episode.

Any errors are mine. MG

Edit: I see Michael got there before me...whistle.png

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michaeldr

I have a copy of a map of Helles dated 10 December 1915 and the 'Aviation Ground' is clearly shown

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michaeldr

This is a crop of the Dec 1915 sketch map referred to above

The 'aviation ground' as it was called, was abandoned for regular use

but as you can see, it has been pretty well left clear, possibly for use in an emergency

though the tracks crossing it would not have helped any landing

There is even something shown which could well be the aircraft-sized bunker referred to by Bremner

MapAirFieldaboveWBeachDec1915.jpg

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Guest

Michael - thanks for this. The proximity to W Beach is notable too. MG

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michaeldr

My copy is not great either - that's about as good as it gets

Which detail in particular are you after?

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Guest

My copy is not great either - that's about as good as it gets

Which detail in particular are you after?

Michael -no drama. I realised as I hit 'send' that I had it too.... Have a look at the attached aerphoto - I think it shows W and V beaches and will show the same area.

Separately I see in Steve Newman's book "Gallipoli Then and Now" a photo of a downed Marice Farman Shorthorn MF11 at Suvla near Lala Baba on p.125. Source is cited as an IWM photo. MG

post-55873-0-67213500-1302878974.jpg

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centurion

This article http://content.yudu.com/A193rd/navynewsjuly09/resources/51.htm

contains reference to Collet's last flight being intended to deliver parts to a broken aircraft at Suvla which suggests that there were aircraft on the ground there. The article also implies that he was buried at Imbros with other 3 squadron (wing) members which is at odds with the CWGC entry of him buried at Helles. Were the bodies moved? In the same article is the account of Bremner's landing but with no mention of W beach etc which may have led to the confusion. However if Collet was headed for Suvla there must have been a reasonable expectation of something to land on there.

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michaeldr

With all those well-to-do Yeomen at Suvla with their cameras, I was surpised that no photograph had been taken of such a remarkable event as this. What is sad however, is that I too have Steve's excellent book and had forgotten this picture :mellow:

Your aerial shot is great and a new one for me; it clearly shows the same area as the crop from the sketch map, including W Beach and the headland, with V beach just off the shot to the right - thanks for sharing this

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michaeldr

The article also implies that he was buried at Imbros with other 3 squadron (wing) members which is at odds with the CWGC entry of him buried at Helles. Were the bodies moved

Yes, your're right there - quote from the CWGC - The 97 graves in Row K and graves 31 to 83 in Row L were brought in after the Armistice from the following Aegean islands cemeteries:- KEPHALOS BRITISH CEMETERY, on the island of Imbros (Imbroz), was 640 metres inland from Kephalos Pier. There were buried in it 84 British, Australian and New Zealand sailors and soldiers, three Greeks, and one German prisoner.

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Guest

This article http://content.yudu....esources/51.htm

contains reference to Collet's last flight being intended to deliver parts to a broken aircraft at Suvla which suggests that there were aircraft on the ground there. The article also implies that he was buried at Imbros with other 3 squadron (wing) members which is at odds with the CWGC entry of him buried at Helles. Were the bodies moved? In the same article is the account of Bremner's landing but with no mention of W beach etc which may have led to the confusion. However if Collet was headed for Suvla there must have been a reasonable expectation of something to land on there.

Centurion - Very interesting.

1. My prev post refers to an IWM photo in "Gallipoli Then and Now" which shows a Shorthorn near Lala Baba at Suvla which was forced down due to mechanical failure. Maybe the very aircraft that Collet was setting out to help? It looks OK so the landing didn't wreck the aircraft. I am mindful that here is a difference between a forced landing and having an emergency strip. I don't doubt that Collet could land as the Shorthorn had landed, but I still don't see any documentary evidence of a designated emergency strip with ground crew at Suvla as there was at Helles. Maybe splitting hairs here. The article does not cite its sources but the accounts are all very close to the IWM versions. I guess a trip to the IWM is in order.

2. 19th August at Suvla was still a very precarious time and fighting was still intense. The last ditch attack at Scimitar Hill/W Hills was still 3 days away and any attempt to land at Suvla would have been an extremely dangerous undertaking. Ground troops had only been at Suvla from the night of the 6th August.

3. CWGC has Collet buried at Lancashire Landing. Graves were certainly moved after the War under the IWGC and consolidated. Hundreds were moved for sure, but it seems a rather long way to relocate. That said, how many men died at Imbros? Not many I would imagine. From the CWGC website on Lancashire Landing:

The 97 graves in Row K and graves 31 to 83 in Row L were brought in after the Armistice from the following Aegean islands cemeteries:
- KEPHALOS BRITISH CEMETERY, on the island of Imbros (Imbroz), was 640 metres inland from Kephalos Pier. There were buried in it 84 British, Australian and New Zealand sailors and soldiers, three Greeks, and one German prisoner. KUSU BAY CEMETERY, on the island of Imbros (Imbroz), contained the graves of 45 officers and men (14 of them unidentified) of the monitors Raglan and M28, which were sunk by the German battle cruiser Goeben and cruiser Breslau as they attempted to break out into the Mediterranean from the Black Sea on 20 January 1918 (both the Breslau and the Goeben later struck mines, off Cape Kephalos, which resulted in the Breslau sinking and the Goeben being grounded of Chanak). PANAGHIA CHURCHYARD, on the island of Imbros (Imbroz), contained the graves of one officer and five men from the monitors and four airmen of the 62nd Wing, Royal Air Force. PARASKEVI CEMETERY, near the South-West shore of the island of Tenedos (Bozcaada), contained the graves of four sailors, one soldier and one marine. There are now 1,237 Commonwealth servicemen of the First World War buried or commemorated in this cemetery. 135 of the burials are unidentified but special memorials commemorate ten casualties who are known to be buried among them. The cemetery also contains 17 Greek war graves.

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centurion

Separately I see in Steve Newman's book "Gallipoli Then and Now" a photo of a downed Marice Farman Shorthorn MF11 at Suvla near Lala Baba on p.125. Source is cited as an IWM photo. MG

I've seen a photo of a Shorthorn just off the beach at Suvla - is this the same one?

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michaeldr

Centurion- BTW Landing at Suvla might mean just that as there was a landing strip there. There was a fatal crash by an aircraft delivering spares there but on a different date and into a ravine.

Centurion - contains reference to Collet's last flight being intended to deliver parts to a broken aircraft at Suvla which suggests that there were (sic) aircraft on the ground there.

Navy News - He left the squadron's new airfield on the larger island of Imbros to deliver engine parts to a broken aircraft at Suvla Bay

I'm glad that that's sorted out

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Guest

With all those well-to-do Yeomen at Suvla with their cameras, I was surpised that no photograph had been taken of such a remarkable event as this. What is sad however, is that I too have Steve's excellent book and had forgotten this picture :mellow:

Your aerial shot is great and a new one for me; it clearly shows the same area as the crop from the sketch map, including W Beach and the headland, with V beach just off the shot to the right - thanks for sharing this

1. I think the well-to-do Yeomen were too busy keeping their heads down. Only the ones in the reserve trenches near the Salt lake witnessed it...

2. Look at the coast line and particularly the land that juts out.... it is very different to the coast line today... just shows how much erosion has taken place in the last 96 years...

MG

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centurion

Navy News - He left the squadron's new airfield on the larger island of Imbros to deliver engine parts to a broken aircraft at Suvla Bay

I'm glad that that's sorted out

So if he was intending to land at Suvla this implies an airstrip doesn't it? He was flying a BE2c landplane.

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Guest

I've seen a photo of a Shorthorn just off the beach at Suvla - is this the same one?

I don't know as I don't know which photo you have seen..... . It is very close to the cliff near Lala Baba - no beach can be seen. There are 2 people in pith helmets standing next to it... a very long landscape photo...

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centurion

I don't know as I don't know which photo you have seen..... . It is very close to the cliff near Lala Baba - no beach can be seen. There are 2 people in pith helmets standing next to it... a very long landscape photo...

No the one I've see shows a partly submerged aircraft

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nils d

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?

Sorry dont have full details .What l had was on a scrap of paper in about 1992 !

A Sgt in the 1/4 Cheshires wrote that "the Turks fired upwards of about 20 shells at it and only damaged the wings." so it wasnt a total write off

hence we get the detail of the engine being salvaged. This is on 13/10/15 at Sulva

in Dec 15 Buss ditched his AVRO off Sulva due to a "seized ball race and a broken connecting rod"

On 7/7/15 a French biplane ditched after a burst of Turkish shrapnel crew saved. no location but from a RAMC chaps diary in the RAMC museum

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Guest

No the one I've see shows a partly submerged aircraft

Interesting. I have never seen that one. Is it this? http://136.154.202.60/collections/items/1699501/photograph-damaged-seaplane-suvla-bay-turkey-private-john-lord-world-war-i-1915?createComment=True#commentform

On the landing strip at Suvla - Other than the modern article that you very kindly posted, there is no other documentary evidence and more importantly there is no original source material. No photos, no maps, no diaries, no letters. The author does not cite his source, but implicitly it could be material held at the IWM as the quotes on adjacent stories are nearly identical to the IWM articles.

Collet could have intended to land, but landing in a field or rough ground does not mean that they had an 'emergency strip'. Pointing at a field and calling it an emergency strip does not qualify in my view. I guess it ultimately comes down to a definition of what an emergency strip is. To me it implies they have a skeleton ground crew, fuel, a defined area that other troops kept clear etc. I have accumulated 85 maps of Suvla Bay and not one shows any designated area. The emergency strip at Helles (on the very last day) still had ground crew who helped push the aircraft into the dugout. I don't see the hard evidence of a similar set up at Suvla.

I hope you are right. I would prefer to see the provenance and the source material and until I have seen a document written by someone who was there (my definition of original source material) I think I will very politely have to agree to disagree on this one. I will trundle down to the IWM next week and see if I can find the original material......

Any mistakes are mine. MG

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nils d

I don't know as I don't know which photo you have seen..... . It is very close to the cliff near Lala Baba - no beach can be seen. There are 2 people in pith helmets standing next to it... a very long landscape photo...

lve seen the same photo , its a panaramic shot scaning round the beach with the aircraft a mere detail.

if you go to the IWM check Bremners file but start with the 3 sqn war diary - if its not still in one of the display cabinets!

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Guest

Looks like Collet was flying to help Samson....

"August 19th was a black day", recalled Samson. He and Keith-Jopp were on patrol over the Suvla area in one of the two new Henry Farmans, when shrapnel put the engine out of service, and a forced landing was hurriedly carried out within the British lines. The enemy then relentlessly bombarded the aircraft and crew for about 10 minutes, although little damage was done. Leaving their aircraft to be repaired, Samson and Keith-Jopp returned to Imbros by the mail trawler, which had to battle heavy seas - "Jopp got sicker and sicker", related Samson, "until he turned from a six-foot Australian into a mere helpless invalid". from WingsOvergallipoli

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centurion

Thats the one seeing it again I can recognise it as a Voisin not a Shorthorn - from No 2 Wing

Possibility

  • The Shorthorn near the cliffs is Samson's that landed on the 19th Aug
  • Collet was flying out a replacement magneto for it when he crashed on the same day
  • The aircraft that crashed 13th Oct was trying to reach the same area

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