Lieutenant Partridge RFC and his pilot QM Jean-Marie Le Gall have been reported missing following a patrol in their Nieuport XH Seaplane over the Sinai peninsula.
Both airmen are part of a joint French-British scratch force, known as the Port Said Squadron, formed to assist in the defence of the Suez Canal. It has been thrown together from stray resources from across the Mediterranean. The RFC sent out various Farmans in December 1914 but these did not have the range to reconnoiter inland. Fortunately, the French Navy sent five Nieuports with a longer range from Tunisia. The British supplied experienced observers, survey experts and additional ships to transport the planes.
Since early January, the Port Said Squadron has been tracking the Turkish advance across the Sinai towards the Canal. The intelligence supplied has identified the main force on a route from Beersheba to Ishmailia and the defences have been rearranged to meet this threat.