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Remembered Today:

H.M.S. Riviera - Seaplane Carrier


RNCVR
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To tie in with Mark's recent post on Seplane Carriers I wanted to ask if anyone has some info on exactly what HMS Riviera did in the 1914-17 part of WWI.

I know she was one of 3 Mercantile conversions built by Denny in 1911, & requistioned &then converted at Chatham DY in '14. She was converted to carry 4 to 6 seaplanes & armament of 2 - 4inch deck guns, & 1 - 6 pounder Anti Aircraft deck gun.

I know she was a Harwich from 1914 & '15 & then transferred to Dover to '18, then subsequently to the Med to finish the war there.

Reason I ask is I have the WWI medal grp of a rating who served on her for the '14 - '17 period & as I know little about Seaplane Carriers would like to know more about her & her involvement in the War.

Bryan

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Bryan,

A couple of mentions in, The Dover Patrol. Adm. R. Bacon

The Riviera was a sea-plane carrier. She was a ship that promised to be of great service, but gradually lost in value, the real truth being that the progress in aeroplane design and construction quite eclipsed seaplane design on speed, reconnaissance and spotting work. The difficulty always was to hit off the weather when seaplanes could be hoisted out off the carrier and rise off the water ; many disappointments gradually led to the use of aeroplanes only and the Riviera left for other waters where she could be of greater service.

Early March 1916,

On the same morning a seaplane bomb attack on Zeebrugge Mole was carried out. Sea-planes from Dunkirk, HMS Vindex and HMS Riviera, took part. All the machines returned safely, two of those from the Vindex being eventually picked up off the water, one near Boulogne and one near Dover.

Regards Charles

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Bryan,

There are a couple of refs to the ‘Riviera’ in

“Royal Naval Air Service 1912-1918” by Brad King

Page 16;

‘With regard to operations of the Grand Fleet, it was quickly realised that the aircraft of the RNAS were not ready for sustained work. Three cross-Channel ferries were impressed and converted into sea-plane carriers. These were Empress, Engadine and the Riviera.’

Page 28;

‘Cuxhaven was a different prospect altogether. Far to the north of Germany any approach to the area would mean having to get in close. The three seaplane carriers Engadine, Riviera and Empress, carrying nine aircraft between them, with two destroyers and ten submarines as escort, formed the force that headed straight for the Heligoland Bight. They hove-to some twelve miles to the north of Heligoland on Christmas morning. Within the hour seven seaplanes set off but unfortunately the element of surprise was lost and the action developed into a running cat and mouse game between the attacking force, German seaplanes and Zeppelins, one of which collected six hundred bullet holes. The aircrews could not locate any of their targets, due in no small measure to the thick mist that hung over the area and the fact that the sheds were really at Nodholtz, further south..’

Regards

Michael D.R.

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THANKS mates! :D

Thats SUPER!!! More than I knew prior to posting! Have not had experience with seaplane carriers before - I'm into WWI subs! This man went onto subs AFTER his Riviera draft. Never had a medal before where a rating served on a seaplane carrier then went to subs!!!

I have Colledge Malcolm but do thank you for posting the detail,

Bryan

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I take it you know all about HM Submarine E22? If not, get googling - you may be surprised!

Adrian

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Thanks for that interesting oddity Adrian - its simply amazing to me that this would even be attempted off a submarine that has absolutely NO business being in the launching seplanes business!!!!

:(

here is the detail for those that might be following this thread:

Submarine Carriers

Over the years there have been many schemes to put aircraft aboard submarines. The chief advantage, of course, is that a submarine can approach a target unseen, then surface and launch a quick reconniassance or strike flight. The problem always came in trying to secure the aircraft for underwater travel. Not surprisingly, there are few real success stories involving submarine aircraft

carriers.

This is HM Submarine E22, carrying two Sopwith Schneider floatplanes. The submarine was outfitted as an "aircraft carrier" at Harwich, early in 1916. The intent was to intercept German airships over the North Sea, although the advantage of a submarine for this work is unknown, since the sub could not submerge with the aircraft

post-1536-1136390859.jpg

Edited by RNCVR
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E22 ballasts down to launch her aircraft. In the first launching trial the fragile seaplanes were destroyed by choppy seas before they floated free. One successful trial was carried out, but the scheme was abandoned as impractical. The submarine was soon sunk, taking her logbooks to the bottom with her, so little more is known about this experiment.

Sub E-22 was subsequently sunk by UB-18 on 25 Apl '16. I have no idea if she was attempting to carry seaplanes at this time or not!

Bryan

post-1536-1136391057.jpg

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Apologies - in my previous two posts the photos of E22 are reversed!

Bryan

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Sub E-22 was subsequently sunk by UB-18 on 25 Apl '16. I have no idea if she was attempting to carry seaplanes at this time or not!

Bryan

As far as I am aware she wasn't. However she was still carrying the launch platform and the two survivors clung to floating debris from it, enabling them to be rescued. As you'll see from my sig I have a vested interest...

Agreed, by the way, what a bizarre idea. File with the K-class, M1 and M2 under "Are you drinking what we're drinking?", I think.

Adrian

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I noticed that Adrian - is WJC Bewers a relative of yrs?

& has he a grave or commemmorated on a memorial??

Bry

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I noticed that Adrian - is WJC Bewers a relative of yrs?

& has he a grave or commemmorated on a memorial??

Gt Grandmother's brother. A second brother died near Guillemont in August. They are both commemorated on a family grave stone at Woodham Ferrers in Essex and on the war memorial at Wickford. William is also on the Chatham memorial to the missing (as a sailor attached to Chatham), while his brother is on the Thiepval memorial. Neither has a known grave.

There are only five casualties named Bewers on CWGC. Of these two are brothers and the third is, by geography, almost certainly related but I cannot find how. One of those little tragedies that must have been so common.

Are you aware that Dirty Dick is also interested in WW1 Submariners? If you have a rellie who was killed in subs in WW1 the Submarine Museum at Gosport were collating copies of all their service records. I found this when I went to Kew to look up William's record and met the chap doing it - so we were at Kew on the same day looking for the same man. Some coincidence!

Adrian

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Adrian,

The waters of the North Sea and English Channel are relatively shallow and divers have and continue to locate the wrecks of German and British submarines lost during the First World War. Aside from handling much of the Great War material for the uboat.net website, I'm also trying to determine whether and where these wrecks have been located (diving is a semiclosed community; what's common knowledge in diving circles in a particular area generally is not know outside of that circle/area), which boats these wrecks are, and how wreck discoveries impact our understanding of other submarine losses and sinking by submarine.

To the best of my knowledge, the wreck of E 22 has not been located to date.

Best wishes,

Michael

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Are you aware that Dirty Dick is also interested in WW1 Submariners? If you have a rellie who was killed in subs in WW1 the Submarine Museum at Gosport were collating copies of all their service records. I found this when I went to Kew to look up William's record and met the chap doing it - so we were at Kew on the same day looking for the same man. Some coincidence!

Adrian

Yes Adrian I know him & we corresp fairly regularly. & I know the Sub Museum as well altho I have never been there & would love to visit it if I ever get over to UK!

Bryan

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Adrian,

The waters of the North Sea and English Channel are relatively shallow and divers have and continue to locate the wrecks of German and British submarines lost during the First World War. Aside from handling much of the Great War material for the uboat.net website, I'm also trying to determine whether and where these wrecks have been located (diving is a semiclosed community; what's common knowledge in diving circles in a particular area generally is not know outside of that circle/area), which boats these wrecks are, and how wreck discoveries impact our understanding of other submarine losses and sinking by submarine.

To the best of my knowledge, the wreck of E 22 has not been located to date.

Best wishes,

Michael

My son is a diver Michael & would love to dive those site I am certain!

I expect the water would be at the best of time VERY COLD!

Bryan

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Ah, missed the fact that Bryan was in Canada... Suspected you already knew DD, news spreads fast here, but just in case...

Michael, interested to hear that people are researching these wrecks. If E22 is ever found I'd love to know! If my dodgy ears would let me, I might even have to learn to dive...

I recall reading somewhere that there was the hull of a U-boat in a creek somewhere (Norfolk?) in the 1970s - is this true? And if so is it a known wreck?

I've also just had a Google and cannot find anything - wrong choice of words, I think - on the U-boat wreck that appeared on the Godwin Sands after the 1978 storm. Presumably you know about this one? If so, can you point me in the direction of its story please?

Thanks,

ADrian

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Adrian,

Over half of the British and German submarines that went "missing" have been found by divers. The overwhelming majority of those located so far were mined. There a number of submarine wrecks that have yet to be identified. Hopefully a few more of these cases can be closed this summer. (The dive season is only about four months long, with the main constraint being visibility.)

The boat that went aground on the Goodwin Sands was indeed U 48. As the sands shift, she becomes visiable again from time to time.

The remains of one or two German surrendered UBIII U-boats are at Gillingham. IIRC they were sold by the RN to be broken up but the company went ouf of business. Or something like that. Yes, the location of these is known; I even have the UKHO file on it.

Michael

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Thank you both, gentlemen., Good job you knew what I was talking about, seeing as I obviously cannot type to save my Goodwins!

Adrian

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  • 6 years later...

It is now 6 years plus since this Riviera thread started but not her i want to highlight.

Please look at posts 7 and 8 and the RN E class boat E22 and this unique trial with this pair of Schneiders she undertook.

It was undertaken with E22 embarking the 2 planes at Felixstowe, both planes on the wooden rails stowed abaft her conning tower in post 8. Post 7 shows her trimmed down by the stern to enable the pair to be floated off and fly back to Felixstowe.

It was the only time this trial was attempted but whether it proved satisfactory or otherwise is not known.

The reason being it was conducted on the 24th April 1916.

E22 was sunk the following day.

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  • 3 years later...

Adds nothing and probably totally irrelevant but Aug, 1914 to Aug, 1915. H.M.S. Riviera was commanded by Lieut-Colonel E.D.M.Robertson, RAF who apparently was much involved with Experimental Armament and went on to command R.A.F.Felixstowe.

Suegray

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Adds nothing and probably totally irrelevant but Aug, 1914 to Aug, 1915. H.M.S. Riviera was commanded by Lieut-Colonel E.D.M.Robertson, RAF who apparently was much involved with Experimental Armament and went on to command R.A.F.Felixstowe.

Suegray

I think you mean Wing Commander Edmund DM Robertson RNAS. The RAF did not exist until 1918.

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The picture that I have of him is dated 1918, as is his record however by Sept/Oct 1918 the RNAS had changed to RAF and that is why. He was originally Royal Navy and as his career went on changed to RNAS and Finally Commander of RAF Felixstowe, RAF. His service record is long, starting in 1901 and varied.

Suegray

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