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Crashed British Aircraft - The Great Escape (II)

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michaeldr

i] Has it been decided yet which plane crash landed 13 October? If not then this may help a little

ii] This (or better) information must be already out there somewhere, but if so, then I have not seen it yet. Please oblige and check and if needs be correct this list

3 Squadron RNAS – from June 1915 termed 3 Wing RNAS - Arrived theatre 23 March 1915

The original list of planes (OH Vol.II, page 24) was eighteen strong and of six types:

8 - Henri Farmans (1 lost 19 November)

2 - B.E.2c's

2 – B.E.2's

2 – Sopwith Tabloids

1 – Breguet (per the OH, only made 3 flights)

3 – Maurice Farmans

Reinforcements received:

May; 6 – Henri Farmans which were sent back (without even being unpacked, I understand)

June; 5 – Voisins (3 lost by falling into the sea and 2 wrecked by shell fire but NO DATES; see also 2 Wing below)

July; 2 – Maurice Farmans

July; 6 – Nieuports

End of July; 4 Henri Farmans (with 140 hp Canton Unné engines)

2 Wing RNAS – Arrived theatre end of August, with twenty-two planes

6 – Morane Parasol (two seater monoplanes, described as 'troublesome')

6 – B.E.2c (bi-planes)

6 – Caudron (bi-planes; Note NOT used for active service)

4 – Bristol Scouts

2 – Voisin (these previously belonged to Samson's 3 Wing)

HMS Ark Royal – in theatre 17 February to 8 November

1 – Short seaplane (No.136) damaged 27 April and 'seldom' flown again

2 – Wight A1, seaplanes, two seaters, useful in good weather only

3 – Sopwith 807 seaplanes, two seaters (1 crashed 5 March; 1 lent to Doris and stripped by blast from after 6" guns, thereafter 1 Sopwith Schneider was lent instead [see reinf. 8 April]

2 – Sopwith Tabloids single seaters (1 to Minerva 8th April and back 20th for repairs; Note, Layman has the number of these planes as 4 however he may be mistaken?)

Reinforcements received:

1 - Wight – end of March or beginning April

2 – Sopwith Schneider Cup Seaplanes – 8th April

HMS Ben my Chree – arrived theatre 12 June

3 – Short 184 seaplanes

2 – "Scout type" seaplanes

(note; 1 Short placed on monitor Roberts in September and 1 Short placed on monitor Raglan in October)

Note: at the very end of the year sometime, 6 Britsol Scouts arrived, including Lewis Guns but it is not clear to which Wing they were allocated

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bob lembke

Didn't Klaus publish something (in German) on the air war over Gallipoli?

Our Pal LTC Klaus Wolf has published a book (Gallipoli 1915) on Gallipoli in German and Turkish editions, and has an interest in the air war at Gallipoli (he is a helicopter pilot), which I know mentions the air war, but I am not aware of anything he has published specifically on the air war there. He is extremely busy right now but I think that he will return to his Gallipoli studies when he is able.

If anyone knows of a specific work of his on the air war please chime up. I may do a WorldCat/abebooks search. I have been able to add Gallipoli 1915 to the collection of the University of Pennsylvania, so it may be available in the US by inter-library loan; it certainly is available through BorrowDirect, a system that links about 10 libraties at top North East academic libraries as if they were a single library.

Bob Lembke

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michaeldr

Another sighting

from Gallipoli Diary by Major John Graham Gillam DSO; pub 1918, George Allen & Unwin Ltd

Page 245/6 – October 13th

"A fine day, but a very strong cold wind blowing down the Peninsula... ... ...

As we are up at Brigade HQ, we notice on of our planes swoop down on to the Salt Lake, obviously having to make a forced landing. A short pause, during which we notice the pilot and observer climb out, when suddenly shrapnel bursts over the machine and very near. It is quickly followed by another and another, and later high explosive shells, when the pilot and the observer scurry away pretty quickly. They are wise, for the Turkish artillery are now well on to the machine, which is rapidly becoming a helpless wreck. I should think they put a hundred shells on that machine before they stopped."

--- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---

Bob,

Thanks for that clarification; my memory playing tricks again.

I remembered that he wrote a book on Gallipoli and that he was a flyer, so putting two and two together got five and thought that the book was about flying at Gallipoli

regards

Michael

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bob lembke

Bob,

Thanks for that clarification; my memory playing tricks again.

I remembered that he wrote a book on Gallipoli and that he was a flyer, so putting two and two together got five and thought that the book was about flying at Gallipoli

regards

Michael

Michael;

Klaus would like to come out with an English edition of Gallipoli 1915, but, as I said, he probably will not be able to address that project for a while. Researching the Turkish/German side of Gallipoli is especially difficult, especially as the main German military archive was destroyed in a fire-bombing raid in 1945, but Klaus has found a novel data source on Gallipoli, used in his book. He is a diplomat as well as a General Staff army officer, and he found a good deal of material in the archives of the Foreign Ministry. Turkey was cut off from Germany for most of 1915, and German Army messages to Berlin were sent on the powerful short-wave transmitter of the German Embassy in Istanbul, and the messages turned over to the Army in Berlin (presumably to be destroyed in 1945), but the Foreign Ministry retained a copy, and these have survived. I believe that he found about 1000 of these cables relating to Gallipoli. He gave me about nine relating to my father's unit at Gallipoli, the volunteer Pioneer company, and these have been invaluable to me in my study of my father's service there.

Bob Lembke

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Guest

Bob, Michael - many thanks for the posts. It is very informative.

The Gillam account is consistent with Benn's who records 75 shells landing on the aircraft. Gillam's account says the aircraft was a wreck, so one wonders why they even tried to recover it...... I also notice he describes earlier driving a motor vehicle across the Salt Lake and was surprised to find the surface hard and not sandy. MG

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Guest

I went to TNA today and found a 17 point synopsis written by Samson on 3 Wing's operations in the Dardanelles from 28th March to 23rd Nov 1915. Some interesting snippets:

11. All the flights carried out daily necessitate long flights over the open sea on aeroplanes unprovided with floats. 6 aeroplanes have been lost by falling into the sea. On one occasion the occupants were 1 1/2 hours in the water before being picked up.

13. Cape Helles aerodrome has daily been used for work under shellfire. 4 aeroplanes have been wrecked there by shell fire.

17. If an engine failure occurs it always entails the loss of the aeroplane either by falling into the sea or into the hands of the enemy. The only possible landing places are at Suvla and at Cape Helles: both of these are in view of, and within range of the enemy, and aeroplanes landing at either are immediately fired upon. Of three aeroplanes which have landed at Suvla up to date, only one has been saved.

So it seems they only landed at Suvla in an emergency - 3 events in 8 months - and only one aircraft was recovered intact. MG

The TNA reference is AIR 1/664/17/122/699. It is one of about 10 miscellaneous RNAS and RFC reports held in one box.

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michaeldr

Quote: "17 point synopsis written by Samson on 3 Wing's operations in the Dardanelles from 28th March to 23rd Nov 1915. Some interesting snippets:

11. All the flights carried out daily necessitate long flights over the open sea on aeroplanes unprovided with floats. 6 aeroplanes have been lost by falling into the sea. On one occasion the occupants were 1 1/2 hours in the water before being picked up."

This last comment does not quite fit with Brad King and his book on the RNAS where has Samson's own brother (Bill) in the water for four hours with a smashed leg, and King suggests this was "By early June..." [see page 40, para 3, of 'Royal Naval Air Service 1912-1918']

Regarding changing an engine: King also mentions George Lacey & Arthur Beeton making a trip to Helles to fit a spare engine to a BE2c and all the lifting equipment mentioned is (three) bits of wood for a tripod and some rope

Quote from my post #151 above with further comments from King's book in blue

3 Squadron RNAS from June 1915 termed 3 Wing RNAS - Arrived theatre 23 March 1915

The original list of planes (OH Vol.II, page 24) was eighteen strong and of six types:

8 - Henri Farmans (1 lost 19 November) [these had 80 hp engines]

2 - B.E.2c's

2 B.E.2's [one of these was a 'Bitser' made up from spare parts]

2 Sopwith Tabloids

1 Breguet (per the OH, only made 3 flights) [this had a 200hp engine and its own Belgian, M. Dessessoir, who looked after it and the MF Shorthorn]

3 Maurice Farmans [two had 100hp Renault engines and the third is described as a MF Shorthorn with a Canton Unné engine]

Reinforcements received:

May; 6 Henri Farmans which were sent back (without even being unpacked, I understand)

June; 5 Voisins (3 lost by falling into the sea and 2 wrecked by shell fire but NO DATES*; see also 2 Wing below)

July; 2 Maurice Farmans

July; 6 Nieuports

End of July; 4 Henri Farmans (with 140 hp Canton Unné engines)

[ * King describes these as 'Voisin LA.S.' and implies that at least 1 of the wrecks must have been at Helles, as its bits were used to make a dummy to annoy the Turkish artillery]

regards

Michael

Edited by michaeldr

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Guest

Michael. Thanks for your continued input. Very educational and useful.King's and Samson's accounts are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Perhaps Samson was being selective and would avoid emphasising exploits by his kin. Samson's comments were a synopsis. I can post the originals.

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michaeldr

Martin,

Don’t worry too much about King. His book is useful as there are very few covering this field, and working with the IWM should have given him access to photographs, data, etc not freely available. Nevertheless, he slips up from time to time; eg page 37 in photo caption (No.57) he has Collet in July and dying 'the same month' [instead of the next ]

As I said in my ealier post 'check and if needs be correct'

regards

Michael

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Guest

Quote: "17 point synopsis written by Samson on 3 Wing's operations in the Dardanelles from 28th March to 23rd Nov 1915. Some interesting snippets:

11. All the flights carried out daily necessitate long flights over the open sea on aeroplanes unprovided with floats. 6 aeroplanes have been lost by falling into the sea. On one occasion the occupants were 1 1/2 hours in the water before being picked up."

This last comment does not quite fit with Brad King and his book on the RNAS where has Samson's own brother (Bill) in the water for four hours with a smashed leg, and King suggests this was "By early June..." [see page 40, para 3, of 'Royal Naval Air Service 1912-1918']

Regarding changing an engine: King also mentions George Lacey & Arthur Beeton making a trip to Helles to fit a spare engine to a BE2c and all the lifting equipment mentioned is (three) bits of wood for a tripod and some rope

Quote from my post #151 above with further comments from King's book in blue

3 Squadron RNAS – from June 1915 termed 3 Wing RNAS - Arrived theatre 23 March 1915

The original list of planes (OH Vol.II, page 24) was eighteen strong and of six types:

8 - Henri Farmans (1 lost 19 November) [these had 80 hp engines]

2 - B.E.2c's

2 – B.E.2's [one of these was a 'Bitser' made up from spare parts]

2 – Sopwith Tabloids

1 – Breguet (per the OH, only made 3 flights) [this had a 200hp engine and its own Belgian, M. Dessessoir, who looked after it and the MF Shorthorn]

3 – Maurice Farmans [two had 100hp Renault engines and the third is described as a MF Shorthorn with a Canton Unné engine]

Reinforcements received:

May; 6 – Henri Farmans which were sent back (without even being unpacked, I understand)

June; 5 – Voisins (3 lost by falling into the sea and 2 wrecked by shell fire but NO DATES*; see also 2 Wing below)

July; 2 – Maurice Farmans

July; 6 – Nieuports

End of July; 4 Henri Farmans (with 140 hp Canton Unné engines)

[ * King describes these as 'Voisin LA.S.' and implies that at least 1 of the wrecks must have been at Helles, as its bits were used to make a dummy to annoy the Turkish artillery]

regards Michael

Michael - trying to resolve Samson's synopsis on 23rd Nov 15 with the list above..... Samson says 6 aircraft lost in the sea (of which at least 3 will be Voisins listed above) and 6 aircraft wrecked by shellfire (Helles 4 , Suvla 2) of which only 2 are listed above, so we are 4 land wrecks short at the moment. I don't have Fights and Flights and wonder if there is any more detail...

Separately with specific regard to Suvla, we know of the 2 aircraft that landed on 13th Oct and one on the 19th Aug, and we know from Samson's synopsis that one of these was recovered. My guess is that it was the one shown on Nibrunesi point as it was still intact and being photographed with people milling around. From one of the previous posts...

Sqn Cdr Davies is up alone in something numbered N 26 for a recon of the Suvla area but comes down after 25 minutes and abandons his aircraft due to engine trouble.

Later in the day FLt Newton-Clare and Capt Walser are spotting between 2.30 and 3-35pm in Farman M 4 and are noted "landed Suvla"

The first account only mentions one pilot "up alone" and yet the accounts all mention at least 2 airmen, so my best guess stays the same - that the men in question were Newton-Clare and Walser. This is effectively reinforced by Samson's summary of only 3 aircraft having landed - the 2 above and his own on 19th Aug - effectively ruling out alternatives. It would be useful to discover which aircraft they were flying. MG

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Tunesmith

Martin,

Michael’s mention of Major John Graham Gillam’s eyewitness account of the Salt Lake landing on October 13th drew me to reread his Gallipoli Diary. I see that Gillam also recorded a downed aircraft on his first day at Suvla, August 21st:

‘…As I stroll across" C " Beach I notice a damaged aeroplane, around which men are clustering, inspecting it with curiosity. A Naval Lieutenant comes up and clears them away, saying to me that if only a few men collect together in a bunch they are very soon shelled by a Turkish 6-inch gun on Sari Bair, which commands the beach.’ (p. 203)

It’s conceivable that Gillam misremembered the location and this is in fact the same aircraft which came down at Nibrunesi Point on the 19th and had not yet been removed. However, I’m inclined to think it is a different one.

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Guest

Martin,

Michael's mention of Major John Graham Gillam's eyewitness account of the Salt Lake landing on October 13th drew me to reread his Gallipoli Diary. I see that Gillam also recorded a downed aircraft on his first day at Suvla, August 21st:

'…As I stroll across" C " Beach I notice a damaged aeroplane, around which men are clustering, inspecting it with curiosity. A Naval Lieutenant comes up and clears them away, saying to me that if only a few men collect together in a bunch they are very soon shelled by a Turkish 6-inch gun on Sari Bair, which commands the beach.' (p. 203)

It's conceivable that Gillam misremembered the location and this is in fact the same aircraft which came down at Nibrunesi Point on the 19th and had not yet been removed. However, I'm inclined to think it is a different one.

Tunesmith - I agree - Note that Samson records only 3 aircraft having landed at Suvla before 23rd Nov - two on 13th Oct and one (his own) on 19th Aug. Gillam's account is only 2 days after the latter event. I am just puzzled that it had not been shelled and destroyed as it should (in theory) have been in view of the Turkish guns. C Beach ultimately runs into Lala Baba and Nibrunesi point so C Beach could at a stretch describe the proximate locations. One possibility is that the aircraft landed on Nibrunesi point and was pushed down to C beach into some limited dead ground near C Beach? .......One other point is that for most of 21st Aug the Turkish guns would have been heavily engaged with defending large scale attacks at Scimitar Hill and Hill 60 etc and would probably have had little time to turn their attention to a single aircraft. MG

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michaeldr

Martin,

Sorry for not getting back to you sooner, but I despair of being able to provide any further meaningful contribution here, as the limited resources of my book shelf are just neither detailed nor reliable enough. (On reliability, King has the Breguet with a 200hp engine of one page and 100hp on another – pp 35 & 38).

Kew or the FAAM are probably your best bets, as it seems that the definitive book on the subject has yet to appear. One of the problems though, must be that Samson was a man of action and not best suited to desk-work (basically, wasn't this why Sykes was sent out?) so the records are probably incomplete.

regards

Michael

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Guest

Martin,

Sorry for not getting back to you sooner, but I despair of being able to provide any further meaningful contribution here, as the limited resources of my book shelf are just neither detailed nor reliable enough. (On reliability, King has the Breguet with a 200hp engine of one page and 100hp on another – pp 35 & 38).

Kew or the FAAM are probably your best bets, as it seems that the definitive book on the subject has yet to appear. One of the problems though, must be that Samson was a man of action and not best suited to desk-work (basically, wasn't this why Sykes was sent out?) so the records are probably incomplete.

regards

Michael

Michael - thanks for your response. Your contributions are always well informed and add considerably to the debate, so a big thank you and of course the many other contributors. "I have seen further because I have stood on the shoulders of giants" A great collaborative effort.

I have spent 2 days at TNA last week and I think I have exhausted all avenues there. They have very little on the RNAS and Samson in fact. I shall get a copy of Fights and Flights as this thread has piqued my interest to learn more about the RNAs beyond its contribution in the Dradanelles. My aim was to identify the crew and the aircraft of the 13th Oct and I am fairly confident this thread has probably got the right crew. The aircraft type will remain a mystery until we manage to unearth some more material. More importantly the thread drew together a few sources that in isolation would have been of limited value, but when combined added a considerable amount of information. It has added to my understanding of Suvla. I have not yet tried the FAAM. At the start of this I knew next to nothing about the RNAS and aircraft at Gallipoli. Samson mentions in his synopsis how many hours were flown etc and reveals that on average only 6-7 of the 11 pilots were available at any one time, mainly due to sickness. Their contribution was quite staggering in my view and deserves a book of its own.

If anyone wants a transcription of the 3 Wing/Samson material that I referred to (for research purposes), please ping me a PM with your email and I will send you a link. Regards MG

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James A Pratt III

On salvaging the planes engine. None of us was there so it could have happened either like this: A party of men including the aircrew go out to the plane just after dark under cover of a tent or tarp thrown over the wreck of the plane the aircrew with some tools they either carried and/or scronged up disconects the engine from the airframe. The engine is then removed and dragged to shelter by a team of horses or mules with a assist from some men. Or a party of men slip out to the wreck of the plane after dark tie tow ropes to the plane tow it to a sheltered spot wherte the engine is removed and salvaged along with any other needed items.

On moving aircraft in the Book Royal navy Shipboard developments 1912-31 there is a picture of one of the planes used against the Konigsberg being unloaded and an account of the this work

OTF 9-1 has an artical on the Galipoli campaign and a photo of an aircraft being unloaded

The above and other accounts of both campaigns i have read deffinently show people knew how to move heavy objects back then.

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michaeldr

If anyone wants a transcription of the 3 Wing/Samson material that I referred to (for research purposes), please ping me a PM with your email and I will send you a link. Regards MG

Martin,

Your message box is full

May I take you up on your above kind offer

I should very much like to see this material

Many thanks

Michael

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Guest

Martin,

Your message box is full

May I take you up on your above kind offer

I should very much like to see this material

Many thanks

Michael

It should be clear now...

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Guest

Hello - Having been inspired to learn more about the RNAS at Gallipoli, today I received my copy of "Fights and Flights" by Samson.... on page 266:

"Newton-Clare had a forced landing on the Salt Lake at Suvla, and had a sticky time getting to dry land with the Turks shelling him. The aeroplane was smashed up; but we got the engine back at night" .

There is no date given but the chronological context fits. We know from the 3 Wing records that only 3 aircraft landed at Suvla - one being Samson in August and the other two on the 13th October. Post No. 20 show the record in the log book that Newton-Clare came down on 13th October and Samson's description above adds considerable weight, in that there are 4 pieces of evidence that fit exactly with the other eyewitness accounts: he describes landing in the Salt Lake, the pilot (Newton-Clare) finding it difficult to get to dry land, being shelled and the aircraft being destroyed, and finally the aircraft engine being recovered at night. It is worth noting that "Fights and Flights was first published in 1930, after Benn's "In the Sideshows" (pub. 1919), Day's "A Cavalry Chaplain" (pub. 1922) Strutt's "Derbyshire Yeomanry War History 1914-1919" (pub. 1929) so could not have influenced these published accounts.

I think the margin for error here is now very small indeed. It seems beyond reasonable doubt that Newton-Clare was the pilot of the aircraft that the Yeomen and others saw on the 13th. Unless we are to disbelieve Samson, it seems conclusive that the engine was recovered too. QED.

Regards MG

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michaeldr

Well done Martin!

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Guest

Well done Martin!

Without this forum and all the very useful contributions from everyone involved I really don't think I would have found it. I think Horatio2 first mentioned "Fights and Flights" - so a special thank you to Horatio2 as I would otherwise have never have known of its existence. Before this thread I had next to zero knowledge of the RNAS and it prompted me to get Samson's book. I see that Benn gets multiple mentions and high praise from Samson too. There are some really great photos of a wrecked aircraft being recovered from the sea, and poor old Collet's wreckage at Imbros. The camps at Tenedos and Imbros are shown well and there is an aerial photo of Lancashire Landing which should show the airstrip at Helles we discussed on this thread and should resolve well with the sketch map that you posted. I am working on an overlay. Regards MG.

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Guest

I went to the IWM today and ploughed through Samson's files to try and get the hard evidence. His own log book has no entries between Oct 10th-16th, but there is a Log Book for 3 Wing RNAS (which I assume is the one Trevor is referring to in a previous post). On 13th Oct it has the following:

M.3...........Ft Comm Young..............Midm Chapple..........11:25-2:15..........Spotting for Raglan

N 26..........Squad Comm Davies..........(tick)............................25'...................Reconn of Suvla area.....(Abandoned. engine trouble)

M 4............Flt Lt Newton-Clare........Capt Walser................2:30 - 3:35..........Spotting.......ditto..............Landed Suvla

Davies is shown as having an observer (Chapple). Reading the other pages of the log book it seems the 'abandoned' means the flight was curtailed and they landed back at base rather than landed at Suvla. 'Landed Suvla' is what it says on the tin. Here is the original as well as Samson's own log book entry for 19th Aug "had to land at Suvla". Regards MG

P.S. For anyone researching 3 Wing RNAS or 3 Sqn and also 2 Wing RNAS , the complete set of log books is held at the IWM, as well as all of Samson's personal log books. It is an impressive collection. One could easily rebuild the flight operations from the data. The log books note every aircraft type that was taken on each flight so it is possible to reconstruct the flight records of every pilot, observer and airframe and also what they were doing - bombing, spotting, test flights, delivering new machines, reconn etc.... On a previous thread some time ago there was a debate about the amount of reconnaissance aer photography done at Gallipoli. It is possible from these records to rebuild that part of the intelligence gathering. It is a real gold mine. MG

post-55873-0-41514800-1305307690.jpg

post-55873-0-37405300-1305308277.jpg

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Guest

Hello again - I discovered one more excellent piece of evidence today at TNA in the LVII Bde RFA War Diary. The crashed plane was actually trying to spot for this Artillery Bde when it crashed:

13th Oct 1915
"Supposed to shoot with aeroplane but machine descended on to the Salt Lake through engine failure or because it was hit. The Turks fired on it with percussion shrapnel and hit the right wing smashing it to pieces and put one through the left wing...."

It is noteworthy that the RFA made this observation. It was 'their' spotter plane, so they would have had a heightened level of interest in it's fate. The RA Observation Officers would be equipped with good resolution binos and would be able to watch the action. This Artillery Bde was located on the slopes of Karakol Dagh and would have had a grandstand view. I note they record it landed 'on' the Salt Lake and not 'in' the Salt Lake, perhaps confirming it was still fairy dry and not yet inundated. Also it is interesting to note the RA's specific description of the type of shells used and exactly where it was hit. This might also help explain why recovery was possible as it seems the damage was mainly to the wings. Good supporting evidence. It also concurs with the post above showing that Newton-Clare and Walser's M4 was 'spotting'.

Regards MG

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Guest

I am completely lost on this link.............we have over 10 accounts, including Turkish of a specific event on a specific date. I don't understand whatpoint is being made. It seems to refer to Sep and Dec, not 13th October which is the subject of the thread..... It would be useful if you could expand on this. Regards MG

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Guest

More eyewitness accounts from the CRA 11th Div and the two RFA Bdes under its command:

LIX Bde RFA War Diary, 13th Oct 1915
"
British aeroplane alighted on SALT LAKE with engine failure. Enemy fired 75 rounds before damaging it"

LVIII Bde RFA War Diary, 13th Oct 1015
"
16:05. Turks have destroyed aeroplane which was forced to descend on SALT LAKE"

CRA 11th Div War Diary, 13th Oct 1915 "
...
At 15:15 o,clock one of our aeroplanes was forced to land in the centre of the SALT LAKE. The enemy did not open fire on it for about 1/4 of an hour. They then fired about 75 shells at it and broke it up but it is doubtful if the engine was damaged as the HE and percussion shells buried themselves in the mud before bursting...
"

All ref WO 95/4297

What is interesting is the description of the shelling and the buried shells. A good explanation why the engine might have survived intact and worth recovering. I also note a consistency in the number of shells expended on the aircraft, and the fact that we now also have an exact time for the event. Regards MG

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