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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Flight Commander H.A. Williamson RNAS, Ark Royal


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On 17 February 1915 an unusual ship arrived off Tenedos Island, base of the Allied Fleet blockading the Dardanelles. The 'Ark Royal' had been a merchant steamer. Acquired by the Admiralty in late 1913, the ship had been completely redesigned.The deck had been converted into a runway for aircraft and the hold converted into a hangar, capable of accommodating ten seaplanes.

With one exception, the seaplanes that came with the 'Ark Royal' were unsuitable for the work they were called upon to do. Most of them were unable to take off from seas that were too calm or too choopy. Four flights were attempted on the day of arrival, but three were unsuccessful.

The successful flight was made by a Wright seaplane flown by Flight Lieutenant Geoffrey Rhodes Bromet, with Flight Commander H.A. Williamson as observer.

I would be very grateful if any Pal could come up with Williamson's first name/s, please.

Kind regards,


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He was Hugh Alexander Williamson, seniority 31st October 1914.

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Williamson was a fascinating character. Already in March 1912 he had written a paper titled 'The aeroplane in use against submarines' which Layman argues fore-shadowed the Depth Charge, and in August 1915 he suggested to Narbeth, the Assistant Director of Naval Construction, a design which eventually became the classic for aircraft-carriers; an offset superstructure 'island' on the starboard side

See 'Naval Aviation in the First World War' by R D Layman, Chatham Publishing, 1996 [iSBN 1-84067-314-1]

best regards


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ARABIS and Michael,

This is indeed very helpful and most interesting.

With grateful thanks,


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