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Remembered Today:

where to find operational reports

Guest Gav

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I'm looking to find operational reports from RNAS flying corps based on Imbros Island during the Galipolli campaign.

Does anyone know where I can find them. I'm looking specifically for operations carried out by Richard bell-davies VC.

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I found the following references using the PRO Catalogue search engine:

AIR 1/2284/209/75/11 Reconnaissance reports by 2 and 3 Wings R.N.A.S. 1915 Oct. - Nov.

AIR 1/2284/209/75/12 Reconnaissance reports by 2 and 3 Wings R.N.A.S. 1915 Nov. - Dec

The Liddle Collection at Leeds University has a lot of material from pilots and "other ranks" that served with 2 Wing and 3 Wing in the Aegean theatre - this is another internet searchable site.

Brad King uses a lot of "Aegean" material in his Hikoki book "Royal Naval Air Service", it might be worth contacting him, presumably "care of" the IWM.

I'd be very interested to know if you find any more information.


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Just to back-up Mike's suggestion of contacting Brad King

His book mentions Squadron Commander Richard Bell-Davies as being i/c the ground crew for their journey by the steamer 'Inkosi' from Plymouth out to the Aegean. And that by early June '15 over work was taking its toll on the RNAS flyers; Samson had clocked-up 180 hours since 1 April and Bell-Davies was down to 9 stone in weight.

King also gives a description of the rescue of Smylie on 19 Nov '15

"On the return flight Flight Lieutenant Gilbert F. Smylie was hit and forced to land about a mile from the station they had just attacked [Ferejik]. If caught, his chances were slim, but luckily he was seen to land by Bell-Davies in his tiny Nieuport. Circling, he spotted a good place to land and squeezed the 6 foot Smylie "in some mysterious way" into the cockpit. They took off in true 'Boy's Own' fashion with bullets whizzing around them.

After he had landed, Samson said to Arthur Beeton "......I passed Davies on the way back, I simply shot past him, I wonder whether his engine is [alright]." "I don't know Sir." "It's funny" he said "They're the same type of machine, they should keep together really." Well, half a hour later Davies comes in. I asked "Your engine alright Sir?" "Yes, perfect." Then he said "Cramped are you?" "I beg your pardon Sir?" It turned out he was talking to Lieutenant Smylie, who he'd rammed down under his feet in the cockpit. It took about two hours to get him out."

Finally he has this pic of Bell-Davies


Michael D.R.


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I should also have mentioned the excellent chapter on Bell-Davies in Stephen Snelling's book 'VCs of the First World War - Gallipoli'

Snelling refers to a posthumously published autobiography where, reflecting Bell-Davies' genuine modesty, "no mention is made of his VC award."

'Sailor in the Air' by Vice-Admiral R. Bell-Davies VC, CB, DSO, AFC. pub. Peter Davies,1967

Also per Snelling, the 'Flying Logbook of R. Bell Davies' is at the Fleet Air Arm Museum and the RNAS Wing War Diary at the PRO

Good Luck

Michael D.R.

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