7 April – Can you see me now – Binyon directs unseen fire

Since the start of April, HMS Revenge has been at Shoeburyness continuing experiments in wireless spotting with with aero- planes from Eastchurch and seaplanes from HMS Empress and the RNAS Isle of Grain. Today the Revenge went to her firing ground off the Maplin Sands to carry out further testing. Four consecutive seaplane flights could not get into touch with the ship due to wireless failure. Whilst the fourth seaplane was still in the air, Revenge got into communication with an aeroplane from the Eastchurch aerodrome, and directed the observer to get on with the spotting. The aeroplane was never seen from the ship, but the order to fire soon came down on the wireless, and Revenge opened fire at 11,000 yards. The fall of each was reported,and the target was quickly being hit.

HMS Revenge

For the first time in the history of the British Navy, a battleship commander had held communication with, and had had his fire controlled with uncanny precision by, an invisible air-observer in this case the inexperienced Flight Lieutenant Basil Binyon.

Binyon’s main trade was an an electrical engineer. In 1909 he worked with Marconi on the first transatlantic Morse code radio transmissions from Poldhu, Cornwall, to Newfoundland. He continued to work with Marconi until the First World War, when he joined the Royal Naval Air Service. Working with Royal Flying Corps personnel at Cranwell, in Lincolnshire, he produced some of the first airborne radio equipment for Morse telegraphy.


One thought on “7 April – Can you see me now – Binyon directs unseen fire

  1. Pingback: 21 June 1915 – Navy opens fire control school | airwar19141918

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