Came down Suvla

In the fighting at Suvla in 1915, a number of Allied aircraft were forced to improvise a landing within the confines of that northern bridgehead. Although these incidents were recorded in war diaries, personal accounts and photographs, the evidence is fragmentary and frustratingly incomplete. How many aeroplanes came down? And where? Members of the Great War Forum have exhausted two threads on the topic!1 This article attempts to identify the men and machines who put down at Suvla between the landing of 6/7 August and its evacuation on 20 December.

Suvla: The Opposing Trenches, December 1915. Map prepared for the History of the Corps of Royal Engineers, volume 4.

Ahead of the August offensive, the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) had moved No. 3 Wing, commanded by Charles Rumney Samson, from Tenedos (Bozcaada) to a new airfield on Imbros (Gökçeada). This halved the distance to Anzac and Suvla, now just over 15 miles (25 kilometres) distant. From here the British airmen reconnoitred the peninsula and straits, directed artillery and naval gunfire and bombed enemy camps and supply lines. In late August, they were reinforced at Imbros by 2 Wing RNAS. Also operating over the peninsula was Escadrille MF 98 T, a French squadron based some 31 miles (50 kilometres) south of Suvla at Tenedos.

The main types flown over this front were the Maurice Farman MF.11, Henry Farman F.27 and Voisin III LAS. These somewhat archaic pushers – so called because the engine and propeller sat behind the pilot and observer – proved the workhorses of the campaign. Also in theatre were tractor ‘planes like the BE2c, Nieuport 10, Bristol Scout type C, Morane-Saulnier L and Avro 504B with a smattering of other landplanes like 3 Wing’s solitary Breguet. The Short, Sopwith and Wight seaplanes of Ark Royal and Ben-my-Chree complete the picture.2

Up against the Allied airmen was an Ottoman flying squadron 1nci Tayyare Bölük (1st aircraft company) based at Galata, about 17 miles (27½ km) across the peninsula from Suvla, and a seaplane group3 on the Asian side of the straits at Kusa Burnu, between Çanakkale and Nara Burnu. Until they received armed aircraft – the Albatros C.I in mid-September, then the Gotha WD.2 in October – Ottoman flyers generally avoided aerial combat.

More menacing were the artillery pieces especially detailed by the Ottoman army for anti-aircraft defence.4 These were field and naval guns on improvised mountings, firing mostly shrapnel but some high explosive, and generally sited in pairs. During the Gallipoli campaign, six aircraft were brought down by anti-aircraft fire with the loss of five aeroplanes.5

Of the 35 anti-aircraft guns, 21 were ranged across the Anzac and Suvla zones. They are almost certainly protagonists in the story to follow. Four 7.5 cm field guns protected the harbours of Kilia Liman (Kilye Koyu) and Ak Bashi Liman (Akbaş Limanı), eight 7.5 cm and two 7.6 cm field guns were sited between Boghali (Bigalı) and Anafarta Saghir (Küçük Anafarta) and four machine guns guarded the divisional camp at Osjamak Dere inland of Anafarta Saghir. A pair of mountain guns at Hill 141 (Kartal Tepe) and a single field gun at Hill 190 were placed north-east of the salt lake, near Ejelmer Bay (Ece Limanı).

Sketch by Leslie Hore, 14 December 1915. In the distance, an aeroplane over Suvla is chased by anti-aircraft artillery. State Library of NSW, PXE 702.

For airmen operating landplanes over the Gallipoli peninsula, engine failure – through mechanical mishap or hostile fire – meant falling into the sea or, to avoid capture, putting down behind Allied lines. Only Cape Helles in the south and Suvla in the north offered possible landing places. An intriguing note in Commander Samson’s standing orders (emphasis mine) tells of a map that may, one day, surface from the archives.

If you alight at Suvla or Helles (alight if possible on places marked on chart in Wing Commander’s Office) remember fire will be opened on aeroplane immediately. Leave the neighbourhood of the aeroplane at once, and wait until the fire ceases. Then remove the instruments and wireless gear. Immediately after landing, the observer is to telephone or signal to Wing Headquarters stating the damage if known, and the safety or otherwise of the crew.6

Samson is a key source in this story. His log book details daily flights by 3 Wing.7 Immediately post-war, as part of a committee headed by Commodore Francis Mitchell, he documented the Gallipoli air war in “Attacks delivered on and the Enemy Defences of the Dardanelles Straits.” Known as the Mitchell report, it notes three forced landings at Suvla.

  1. Alongside Lala Baba on the eastern side.
  2. On the Salt Lake.
  3. On a roadway to the west of the Salt Lake.

On occasions 1 and 2, the aeroplanes were hit and wrecked by shell fire, after alighting; but the engines were salved on both occasions.8

This is consistent with, and probably derived from, a report by Samson on 3 Wing operations dated 23 November 1915.

Of three aeroplanes which have landed at Suvla up to date only one has been saved.9

Samson’s log book also records three forced landings at Suvla, but in addition notes a crash into the sea off C Beach.

These incidents all involved aeroplanes belonging to 3 Wing. For 2 Wing, I have no evidence of forced landings at Suvla. For the French squadron, I am relying on the website authored by Denis Albin that features research by David Méchin.10 It describes one French aeroplane down at Suvla.

Based on this evidence, at least four machines made forced landings at Suvla and one fell into the sea just off its beaches:

The evidence for each is given below.

19 August, Samson and Jopp

At 9am on this late summer morning, a 130 horsepower11 Henry Farman biplane numbered HF24 rose from the improvised airfield atop Kephalo Point, Imbros, and banked towards the Gallipoli peninsula. Seated in the nacelle were Commander Samson and his observer, the Australian army captain Arthur Harold Keith Jopp.

The flight, noted Samson’s log book, lasted one hour.

Came down Suvla.

Samson tells the story in his 1930 memoir Fights and Flights.

I set off with Jopp on a Henri Farman to carry out a reconnaissance over the Suvla area. We hadn’t been over there for more than half an hour when we got hit in the engine by a piece of shrapnel, which stopped it completely. I had to make a landing on the only patch of good ground I could discover, just south of the Salt Lake, and well within our lines. The ground was fairly steep, and as soon as we came to rest the aeroplane ran backwards downhill again; but finally came to rest quite undamaged. On examination I found that the magneto was completely smashed up.

Within two minutes of our landing the enemy guns started on us, and Jopp and I had to make for cover in a small gulley.

After about ten minutes’ bombardment they ceased fire, and we went back to see what the damage was. It was surprisingly little considering the number of shells that had burst all round her ; but she was certainly out of action for some time, especially the engine, which had two cylinders hit by fragments.12

Where did they land? The Mitchell report lists three locations. We can discount the salt lake (the forced landing of 13 October by Newton-Clare and Walser) and the roadway west of the salt lake (Marix, 28 September) which leaves ‘alongside Lala Baba on the eastern side.’

The location is not inconsistent with Samson’s memoir – ‘just south of the Salt Lake’ – and it fits with his description of the ground as ‘fairly steep … as soon as we came to rest the aeroplane ran backwards downhill again.’

In Gallipoli Diary, John Gillam, then a captain in the Army Service Corps (ASC), 29th Division, tells of seeing an aeroplane in this general area two days later, on 21 August.

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.13

C Beach is about 1 kilometre from the eastern side of Lala Baba, and a relatively flat walk. The aeroplane might have been moved to C Beach for loading onto a lighter or to remove an obvious target for enemy artillery from the Lala Baba trenches and dugouts.

HF24 appears again in Samson’s log book a month later when it flies two spotting and reconnaissance missions from Imbros on 21 September. Was it recovered from Suvla? Samson’s memoir – ‘she was certainly out of action for some time’ – suggests the aeroplane was recovered and repaired.14

A tragic consequence of Samson’s forced landing at Suvla was the death of his good friend Charles Collet.15 ‘August 19th,’ wrote Samson, ‘was a black day.’

As Collet took off over Kephalo harbour with a replacement magneto for Samson’s machine, his engine failed. On turning to try and regain land, he lost flying speed and the aeroplane fell to the ground. Trapped in the wreckage, Collet was badly burned.

The Commander [Samson] got back just at dinner time on a destroyer. He knew nothing about Collet’s death. He and Collet were like brothers and have fought side by side since the first days of the war. He never shows his feelings but I know he is heartbroken.16

31 August, Garsonnin and Allier

Garsonnin's Maurice Farman MF.11 No. 505 of Escadrille MF 98 T. Illustration by David Méchin.

Evidence for the second forced landing at Suvla comes from the webpage for Escadrille MF 98 T published by Denis Albin. It records the following incident on 31 August involving a Maurice Farman aeroplane piloted by Sergent Louis Garsonnin with Sous-Lieutenant Jean Allier in the observer’s seat.

Out of fuel their MF11 made an emergency landing at Suvla. On the ground, the aeroplane was hit by Turkish artillery. The pilot was wounded by shrapnel but the observer was unharmed.17

The war diary of 9th Corps headquarters confirms the date and completes the story.

The French aeroplane which came down through engine trouble behind our lines at 103.U.6. on the 31st ult. was safely removed during the night to LALA BABA, apparently not seriously damaged although the Turkish Artillery fired over two hundred rounds at it before dark. The aviators were uninjured.18

The map reference places the forced landing south of Lala Baba Cemetery where today the unsealed road skirts the high ground to reach C Beach at Nibrunesi Point.

Remarkably, no less than five photographs of this incident are extant.

The first shows the Maurice Farman where it landed. The image accompanied a 1937 article written by Garsonnin for the French military aviation journal Revue de l’armée de l’air.19 The photograph is credited to the author’s collection.

‘An aeroplane of MF 98 T, hit by anti-aircraft fire, forced to land at Suvla between the British and Turkish lines (August 1915). It had hardly come to a stop when the enemy fired on it. A shell can be seen exploding over the aeroplane, the shrapnel raising a cloud of dust.'20 Revue de l'armée de l'air, 1937.

I walked this area with Bill Sellars in September 2017. The distinctive hills (far right) are clearly identifiable, but their profile didn’t match Garsonnin’s photo when standing on C Beach or its immediate hinterland. The photograph was taken, we found, from the southern slope of Nibrunesi Point, looking west. The Farman is landing roughly where today’s unsealed road goes out to the point, a close match to the map coordinates given in the war diary of 9th Corps headquarters.

1:20,000 map showing map reference 103.U.6. at bottom right of square 103. C Beach is immediately south of Nibrunesi Point.

The diary’s reference to ‘removing the machine to Lala Baba’ is especially helpful. It ties this particular incident to a series of panoramic images – Q 25125, Q 25141, Q 25133 and Q 2513421 – in the Imperial War Museum (IWM) collection. They were taken by the Admiralty’s official photographer, Lieutenant Ernest Brooks, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve.

Detail, Q 25125, Imperial War Museum.

Although the captions are not consistent as to location – Q 25125 is ‘near Chocolate Hill’ while Q 25133, Q 25134 and Q 25141 say Lala Baba – they were clearly taken at the same time and place. That place – Lala Baba – was confirmed in September 2017 by walking the ground and matching the contours of the landscape against the 1915 photographs.22

The captions for Q 25133, Q 25134 and Q 25141 – ‘Panoramic view of soldiers of the 13th Battalion, Black Watch (Scottish Horse) bivouacking on the beach near Lala Baba, Suvla Bay, after the landing, 3 September 1915’ – give us a date, which is confirmed by the war diary for Headquarters, 1/1 Scottish Horse Mounted Brigade. They assembled at Lala Baba from 1 to 3 September.

Detail, Q 25133, Imperial War Museum.

Why couldn’t this be Samson and Jopp’s machine? The French markings are not conclusive. The British squadron exchanged aeroplanes, informally, with their Gallic counterparts. The aeroplane’s number – 505 – is not one of the French serial numbers23 listed on Denis Albin’s website. The answer is simply that Samson was piloting a Henry Farman and pictured here is a Maurice Farman.

28 September, Marix

Reggie Marix, later Air Vice Marshal Reginald Leonard George Marix CB DSO, was one of the stalwarts of Samson’s squadron.

Not only was he one of the finest pilots that there ever was; but he combined this skill with the most conspicuous gallantry and grim determination.24

On this warm and sunny September day, Marix had flown BE50 to the aerodrome at Tenedos, perhaps to ferry equipment or stores. On his return to Imbros, he took Maurice Farman MF2 and set off solo for the enemy’s aerodrome with a dozen 20 pound bombs.

Samson’s log book records a flight of 1 hour 10 minutes.

Bomb attack. (Landed Suvla. Engine trouble.)

The RNAS report for the week ending 5 October has more detail.

On September 28th a pilot returning late in the evening after dropping bombs on Galata aerodrome was forced to descend on the coast N. end of the Salt Lake (Sq. 116). He returned before dawn on the 19th inst. thus avoiding the enemy’s artillery.25

Square 116 on the 1:20,000 scale map of Anafarta Sagir comprises the northern half of Suvla Bay. It would have Marix landing in the bay itself or towards A Beach, but a loose interpretation is consistent with the Mitchell report ‘on a roadway to the west of the salt lake’ and the RNAS description ‘on the coast N. end of the Salt Lake.’ A road did indeed follow the bay, bridging The Cut to connect Lala Baba with A Beach.

The forced landing is surprisingly absent from the daily summary and intelligence reports of corps headquarters.

According to Samson’s log book, Marix was back in the air on 1 October, his machine MF2 on 6 October, suggesting neither man nor machine was much affected by their stopover at Suvla.

For drama, we can look to the next incident.

13 October, Newton-Clare and Walser

This autumn day dawned fine and clear but a strong, cold wind blew down the peninsula. At 2.30pm, Flight Lieutenant Walter Shackfield Newton-Clare and observer Captain André (Andrew) Adolphus Walser departed Kephalo Point aerodrome in Maurice Farman M426 to direct the fire of 57th (Howitzer) Brigade, Royal Field Artillery.

[W]e had an unpleasant experience – I remember it well. Newton Clare and I were flying over a place called Teursten Keui [Turchen Keui, a large Ottoman camp a few miles south of Ejelmar Bay, today Beşyol] when suddenly our Maurice Farman began to spin, lateral control being entirely lost. Something had locked or destroyed the aileron control. We came down in a slow flat spin and eventually crashed on the Salt Lake without damage to ourselves. The Salt Lake is almost dry and hard in summer, and even at this time it was only slightly boggy; but it lay in front of our lines. Soon after we touched the ground, the Turkish batteries opened fire from all directions, but probably owing to the fact that they were all firing from a semi-circle simultaneously, and were thus unable to spot their own shots accurately, they made very poor shooting. We did not, however, know this as we moved laboriously through the mud towards our trenches. I never worked so hard in my life, and when we fell exhausted into our trenches both Wally Newton-Clare and I were violently sick.27

The Salt Lake, Suvla Bay: the advance of 21st August 1915. Norman Wilkinson. IWM ART 2326.

The 9th Corps ‘summary of events’ for 13 October tells us that the forced landing took place at 3.15pm and there was a pause before the stricken machine was shelled.

The enemy did not open fire on it until 15 minutes after landing. The aviators, who walked across to Lala Baba, were consequently clear before the shelling began.28

The high ground, from Anzac to Kiretch Tepe, overlooks the salt lake at Suvla, giving both sides a front-row seat. They recorded the event in war diaries and later in memoirs.

On Karakol Dagh (Karakol Dağı), the 57th (Howitzer) Brigade RFA saw enemy artillery knock out their observation platform.

Supposed to shoot with aeroplane but the machine descended on the salt lake through engine trouble 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 round through the left wing.29

The ASC captain, Gillam, had a similar vantage point from the left of the British line,

As we are up at Brigade H.Q., we notice one of our aeroplanes 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.30

At Chocolate Hill, after several listless days in reserve, the forced landing could not escape the attention of the Middlesex Yeomanry.

Our growing boredom was temporarily relieved one day by the fall of an aeroplane which descended from a great height into the Salt Lake behind Chocolate Hill in full view of the Turkish gunners on the Anafarta Ridge. The aviators escaped at once, but the Turks solemnly took on the job of destroying the huge helpless object sprawling in the mud.31

The Ottoman army report of 15 October, published in Germany, claimed for their gunners the victory over the Farman.

On the Dardanelles front near Anafarta our [artillery] fire damaged a hostile aeroplane on 13 October. The hostile aeroplane fell east of the salt lake and was finally destroyed by our artillery.32

Eyewitness reports33 generally agree that the shelling lasted about 45 minutes and Ottoman artillery expended some 75 shells.

On the salt lake at Suvla, summer 1919. IWM Q 14317.

Was the engine recovered? This question was debated by the Great War Forum, those in the negative pointing to the difficulty of removing an engine from its airframe at night, then transporting it across boggy ground. The evidence suggests these difficulties were overcome.

The machine was brought under cover at Lala Baba by night. The engine is intact, but the remainder of the aeroplane is apparently so damaged as to be valueless.34

The 9th Corps Headquarters war diary, from which the preceding paragraph was taken, explains how the wings and body were wrecked but the engine recoverable.

[M]ost of the damage to the machine, the wings of which were smashed, was done by shrapnel, the ground being so soft that H.E. [heavy explosive] and percussion shell buried themselves before exploding. It is believed that the engine was not damaged.35

The Mitchell report also says both machines ‘wrecked by shell fire’ at Suvla had their engines salved.

Walser, who spent a couple of days on the peninsula after the crash, is less explicit. He says “we were able to get some of the instruments and gun off the wrecked machine at night.”

The cockpit-mounted watch is still extant and went to auction recently. Mounted on a circular wooden base, it sports a silver plaque that reads Salved From a British Aeroplane Shot Down By The Turks, Salt Lake. Suvla Bay, Gallipoli. October 1915.36

6 November, Barnato and Annesley

In addition to the three incidents recorded in the Mitchell report, Samson’s log book reveals a forced landing by H6, a 130 horsepower Henry Farman ex 2 Wing37 piloted by Flight Sub-Lieutenant Isaac (Jack) Henry Woolf Barnato with observer Lieutenant William Robert Bathurst Annesley, Royal Engineers. The pair did not make dry land.

Fell into sea near Suvla, machine wrecked.

The Henry Farman came down just off C Beach, near 14th Casualty Clearing Station.

An aeroplane was brought down in the sea in front of this hospital and was beached. The airmen were taken to HS Leticia. The hospital was shelled for a couple of hours. Two of the tents were somewhat damaged but there was no loss of life.38

Not so lucky was 1/1 Highland Mounted Brigade Field Ambulance who had an orderly killed and several wounded.

About 1230 o’clock, a British aeroplane fell into the sea near the 14th Casualty Clearing Station, about 50 yards from the shore. The Turks opened fire on it with shrapnel and percussion shell. As our hospital was in the line of fire, 8 shells dropping short landed in our camp area.39

We are fortunate to have a detailed eyewitness account from an officer aboard Leticia, the hospital ship that picked up Barnato and Annesley.

On the morning of November 6th, as we lay at anchor opposite the hospital tents on the beach below Suvla Bay taking in the wounded, we had a very exciting experience. One of the British biplanes had been flying over us and round over the Turkish positions, while shells were bursting high up in the sky, aimed at it, and looking just like innocent puffs of fleecy cotton-wool.

Shortly before 1 o’clock we noticed that the aeroplane was descending with great rapidity, and, after executing a sharp vol plané, it came down with a rush into the sea between us and the shore, the two occupants being thrown out into the water.

Lieutenant Roberts, R.N.R., in command of the launch which had been conveying the wounded to us, immediately sprang down into the little vessel and shouted to his engineer to ‘give her hell.’ With a few turns of the propeller the launch was soon hurling itself through the water towards the wrecked airplane. Meantime, another launch was also racing towards the spot, but unfortunately it ran into shoal water and stranded, its crew being obliged to abandon it.

Lieutenant Roberts now jumped into the water to help one of the aviators who was in difficulties and could not be caught with the boat-hook. By this time the enemy on the heights to the south had trained his guns on the spot, and amidst a salvo of bursting shells the rescuing launch returned to us without any casualties. The aviators were given a hot bath (a luxury unknown for many weeks), a change of clothing and a good lunch, and were none the worse for their adventure. They had had trouble with their machine before, but did not know the reason for the stopping of their engine. No doubt the Germans will publish a report that the machine was brought down by one of the shells that had been bursting round it within a radius of a quarter of a mile!

No sooner had the intrepid Lieut. Roberts brought the rescued officers to our care than he was off again to try and tow the stranded launch out of reach of the shells that were being dropped every minute in its vicinity. The task was, however, impossible, and he and his jovial men returned to us through the bursting shells unscathed. We should have liked to give them a rousing cheer, but the Navy is rather touchy in some ways, and we were afraid of giving offence, so we tried to look as unconcerned as the heroes themselves.

That night under cover of darkness the salvage of the stranded launch and the biplane was safely effected, and the cost of the adventure may be calculated as fairly divided between the Turks and ourselves — the waste of some 50 heavy shells balancing the bill of repairs to the aeroplane.

In justice to the Turks it must be added that not once did they aim at our ship, though some of their shots fell within 300 yards, and one or two burst among the hospital tents just beyond the scene.”40

In a communique issued three days later, Constantinople did indeed claim the victory.

On November 6th, an enemy aeroplane, damaged by fire, fell in the sea near Kuchuk-Kemikli [Küçük Kemikli Burnu, Nibrunesi Point], and our artillery again damaged the machine. It was then towed by the enemy to the bank near hospital ships.41

This photograph of an aeroplane forlorn in the water ‘in Suvla’ might seem to show Barnato’s machine but the distinctive nacelle is that of a Voisin not a Henry Farman.

In Suvla / Damaged Seaplane, Museums Victoria.

The caption is probably a red herring. The John Lord collection, from which it is taken, is made up of photographs taken by different people at different times. Most of the photos are of Anzac, but Helles is also represented and four photographs show Suvla, one of which is captioned ‘Suvla?’

At least three Voisins ditched in the sea during the campaign but probably not at Suvla. The identity of this particular aeroplane remains a mystery!


Acknowledgments
QGE (Martin Gillott) and members of the Great War Forum, Bill Sellars, Trevor Henshaw and David Méchin.


1 ‘Crashed British Aircraft - The Great Escape (II)’, accessed 4 November 2017, http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/topic/162375-crashed-british-aircraft-the-great-escape-ii.

2 Ark Royal’s seaplanes operated from Aliki Bay, Imbros, until 7 November, conducting submarine patrols and directing the fire of ships off Helles and Anzac. August saw Ben-my-Chree in the Gulf of Xeros where her seaplanes spotted the guns onto Ottoman supplies and reinforcements moving down the peninsula.

3 Alman Donanmasi Özel Müfrezesi Deniz Tayyare Grubu – seaplane group of the German Navy’s independent detachment.

4 ‘Report of the Committee Appointed to Investigate the Attacks Delivered on and the Enemy Defences of the Dardanelles Straits’ (London : Admiralty, 1921) p 512. (Hereafter Mitchell report.)

5 Mitchell report, p 502. I assume this tally doesn’t include machines from the French squadron.

6 ‘3 Wing-Extracts from Commander Samson’s Standing Orders.’ 4 December 1915, AIR 1/7/6/195, The National Archives, Kew.

7 Private Papers of Air Commodore C R Samson CMG DSO AFC, Documents.12080, Imperial War Museum, London.

8 Mitchell report, p 512.

9 ‘Flight Reports, 3 Wing, R.N.A.S.’ November 1915, AIR 1/664/17/122/699, The National Archives, Kew.

10 ‘L’escadrille 524’, accessed 4 November 2017, http://albindenis.free.fr/Site_escadrille/escadrille524.htm.

11 ‘24 – H Farman (130 hp Canton-Unne) at Imbros by 7.8.15; to Tenedos 11.8.15; Came down Suvla 19.8.15 (Cdr CR Samson).’ Ray Sturtivant and Gordon Page, Royal Navy Aircraft Serials and Units 1911 to 1919 (Air-Britain, 1992), p 431.

12 Charles Rumney Samson, Fights and Flights (Nashville, Tenn. : Battery Press, 1990) pp 259-262.

13 Major John Graham Gillam DSO, Gallipoli Diary (London : George Allen & Unwin Ltd, 1918) p 203.

14 This is at odds with Samson’s report of 23 November 1915 that says only one aeroplane was saved, which this article will argue is Reggie Marix’s Maurice Farman.

15 Flight Commander Charles Herbert Collet DSO RMA (4 February 1888 – 19 August 1915). On 19 August 1915, he was flying a BE2c. His passenger Chief Petty Officer George Lacey survived, jumping from the aeroplane as it crashed, but Collet was trapped.

16 Flight Sub-Lieutenant later Air Vice Marshal Harold Spencer Kerby, CB, DSC, AFC, quoted in Hugh Dolan, Gallipoli Air War (Sydney : Macmillan, 2013) pp 293-294.

17 Tombent en panne d’essence et posent leur MF11 en campagne dans les environs de Suvla. Au sol, l’avion est endommagé par l’artillerie turque. Le pilote est blessé par un éclat d’obus et l’observateur indemne. ‘L’escadrille 524’, accessed 4 November 2017, http://albindenis.free.fr/Site_escadrille/escadrille524.htm.

18 War diary, ‘Intelligence Summary. 1st Septr. 1915.’, 9th Corps Headquarters, General Staff (1915 Jun-Sep), Ancestry.com.

19 Louis Garsonnin, ‘Commentaires et souvenirs d’un pilote de l’Aviation française des Dardanelles / Par le Capitaine GARSONNIN, Le Débarquement de Suvla’, Revue de l’armée de l’air, number 91, February 1937. Writing some 20 years after the event, Garsonnin recalled the difficulties faced by the French squadron as Germany reinforced the Ottoman flying company with armed aeroplanes. First one, then two French machines fell. He, presumably, was the third, the aeroplane ‘seriously hit’ and ‘saved by the bravery of the Tommies.’ Un autre fut sérieusement touché et dû se poser à Suvla entre les tranchées turques et anglaises et fut sauvé de justesse grâce à la bravoure des ‘Tommies’.

20 Un avion de la M.F. 98 T., touché par un obus, dut atterrir à Suvla entre les lignes anglaise et turque (août 1915). À peine arrêté, it fut en butte au tir ennemi. On aperçoit un éclatement au-dessus de l’avion et la poussière soulevée par les balles.

21 ‘Q 25133’, http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205224458, ‘Q 25134’, https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205197003, ‘Q 25141’, http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205266580, ‘Q 25125’, http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205266568, accessed 4 November 2017.

22 Subsequently the author found he had followed in the footsteps of Steve Newman, who identified this location in 1999. See Gallipoli Then and Now (London : Battle of Britain International, 2000) p 125.

23 ‘Société Farman’, accessed 4 November 2017, http://albindenis.free.fr/Site_escadrille/Societe_Farman.htm.

24 Samson, Fights and Flights, p 271.

25 ‘R.N.A.S. Eastern Mediterranean - reports of operations, etc.’ 1915, AIR 1/361/15/228/50, The National Archives, Kew.

26 3 Wing log book: “M. 4 Flt. Lt. Newton-Clare Capt. Walser 117 [?] 2.30 – 3.35 Spotting – Landed Suvla.”

27 Philip Jarrett, ‘MEMORIES OF GALLIPOLI 1915, Squadron Leader A. A. Walser MC DFC’, Cross & Cockade International, 2014, Volume 45, Number 4, pp 237-238.

28 War diary, ‘Summary of Events. 0600, 13th October, to 0600, 14th October 1915’, 9th Corps Headquarters, General Staff, Ancestry.com.

29 War diary, 57 Brigade Royal Field Artillery (1915 Jul-Dec), 10th (Irish) Division, Ancestry.com.

30 Gillam, Gallipoli Diary, p 246.

31 William Wedgwood Benn Viscount Stansgate, In the Side Shows (London : Hodder and Stoughton, 1919) pp 40-41.

32 An der Dardanellenfront bei Anafarta beschädigte unser Feuer am 13.Oktober ein feindliches Flugzeug, das östlich Tuzlagölü niederstürzte und schließlich von unserer Artillerie vernichtet wurde. Quoted by Jasta72s in ‘Crashed British Aircraft - The Great Escape (II)’, accessed 4 November 2017, http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/topic/162375-crashed-british-aircraft-the-great-escape-ii/?do=findComment&comment=1576605.

33 Not all have been quoted here. For completists, there is also a mention in Samson’s Fights and Flights p 266 and George Davidson’s The incomparable 29th and the "River Clyde" (1919) p 203.

34 War diary, ‘Summary of Events. 0600, 13th October, to 0600, 14th October 1915’, 9th Corps Headquarters, General Staff, Ancestry.com.

35 War diary, ‘9th Corps intelligence summary, 14 October’, 9th Corps Headquarters, General Staff, Ancestry.com.

36 ‘Crashed British Aircraft - The Great Escape (II)’, accessed 4 November 2017, http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/topic/162375-crashed-british-aircraft-the-great-escape-ii/?do=findComment&comment=1931489.

37 Sturtivant and Page, Royal Navy Aircraft Serials and Units 1911 to 1919, p 431. This machine was originally numbered HF6.

38 War diary, Royal Army Medical Corps, 14 Casualty Clearing Station (1915 Jul-1916 Jan), Ancestry.com.

39 War diary, Royal Army Medical Corps, 1/1 Highland Mounted Brigade Field Ambulance (1915 Aug-1916 Feb), Ancestry.com.

40 ‘AIRCRAFT AND THE WAR.’, Flight, 6 January 1916.

41 ‘AIRCRAFT WORK AT THE FRONT.’, Flight, 12 November 1915.


This article was first published in The Gallipolian (no 146), the journal of The Gallipoli Association.