Yesterday Commodore Murray Sueter wrote to Lieutenant Colonel Frederick Sykes that the First Lord of the Admiralty and the War Minister had selected Sykes to inspect Naval Air at the Dardanelles. Sykes had up until 26 May served as RFC Chief of Staff, but was released at the request of the Admiralty to carry out this review. Sykes departure from the RFC was not without controversy as Sykes had clashed with those who believed that RFC units should be placed under the control of the corps or divisional commanders in the field.
It is the Admiralty’s view that fighting there was not going well. Naval operations on 18 March 1915 had failed to force the Straits, and the Navy had wired back that they needed more aerial help to improve their shooting. The Army’s landings on 25 April 1915, had left troops stranded near the beaches.
Few RNAS reconnaissance or gunnery spotting missions from February to April had been
successful, and during the 25 April landings RNAS machine gun units had helped the operation more than any aerial activity.
Sykes is to study air-power and consult both General Sir Ian Hamilton, GOC Mediterranean Expeditionary Force (MEF), and RNAS Commander Charles Samson. He is then to report by wire “briefly” regarding types of aircraft, organization, and transport needed. In addition he is to report, in person, anything of a confidential nature. Essentially, the Admiralty us unhappy with the aerial situation and believes problems might be due to poor leadership, particularly from Commander Samson.