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HMS Ben My Chree aircraft


Sgt Stripes

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Hi. Looking for information that Flt Commander Charles Edmonds successfully torpedoed a 5,100t ship on the 17August 1915 plus on the same day Flt Lt George Dacre was forced to land in the sea suffering from engine trouble on the same patrol and while taxiing in the sea he encountered an enemy steam tug which he successfully torpedoed. I have looked at the log of the Ben My Chree and although it states that two seaplanes were airborne, there is no mention of them torpedoing any ships. Can anyone confirm the sinking of these two ships and if possible there names. Many Thanks       

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See The War in the Air, Vol.II, by H A Jones, page 64>

per Jones, the ship which Edmonds attacked was “set on fire, gutted, and eventually taken to Constantinople”

also from Jones: Dacre came down in the straits 5 miles south-west of Galata, and took on a 'large steam tug' in False Bay on the Asiatic coast. Jones says that “The small steamer which he attacked was sunk by the explosion.”

No names are given by Jones

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Details of these attacks are to be found in the history of the Ben-My-Chree by Ian M Burns.  Ben-My-Chree, Woman of My Heart, Isle of Man Packet Steamer and Seaplane Carrier, published by Cross and Cockade International, is still available at: https://www.crossandcockade.com/Store/

 

As explained in the above, "The identities of the ships attacked have taxed historians for many years.  Even now we can only make some educated guesses."   Also stated in the book: "Of Edmond's second target we know even less, but it has been identified as the German steamer Kios, or Chios, of 3304 gross tons."

 

Dacre's target is even more uncertain.  It seems that it was possibly some sort of personnel raft, similar to the British X-lighters employed at Gallipoli.

 

 

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Ian Burns is a member of this forum (hi Ian) and might perhaps be able to add information that has come to light since the publication of his book several years ago.

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4 hours ago, SiegeGunner said:

Ian Burns is a member of this forum (hi Ian) and might perhaps be able to add information that has come to light since the publication of his book several years ago.

 

Indeed he is.  I'm sure as soon as he picks up this topic he'll join in. 

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It must have been quite a feat to torpedo a ship while taxiing on the water. I can only take my hat off to Flt Lt Dacre. Has anyone heard of anyone else achieving this feat.     

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A couple of thoughts arising from reading around this subject

 

Dacre was awarded the DSO [Admiralty announcement 19 November 1915]

“For services in the Dardanelles when he flew over the Gallipoli Peninsula, and in spite of serious trouble with his machine succeeded in carrying out a difficult operation, and afterwards returned safely to his base. Great nerve and courage were displayed in prosecuting an attack under very adverse conditions.”

Does this refer to his 17th August success?

 

Regarding the difficulties of firing a torpedo while the aeroplane taxis;

there was a conference at the Admiralty on 4th January 1916 to 'Consider the Best Type of Aircraft to Carry an 18-inch torpedo' and one of the comments made was

“....it was generally agreed that the most hopeful type was a Short seaplane with special chassis (to raise the torpedo clear of the water) and a 250H.P. Rolls Royce Engine.”

Was this the result of Dacre's experiences? Documents Relating to the Naval Air Service, Vol. I, makes no mention of any Dacre input to this conference

 

The above volume also gives de Robeck's 'semi-official' letter to the First Sea Lord dated 25th August 1915 which mentions Ben-My-Chree and Edmonds, but not Dacre

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