16 September 1915 – Bare Bones

30 Squadron in Mesopotamia is now down to the bare bones following the loss of aircraft and crews.

The Squadron had been reinforced in August with four Martinsyde Scouts, and the arrival of seaplanes from East Africa under Major Gordon. The Martinsydes performed poorly in the conditions, however, only making some 50 miles per hour in tests.

By early September, the attacking forces (“Force D”), under General Charles Townsend were based at Ali Gharbi, some 30 miles south of Kut. The main enemy force was at Es Sinn, seven miles south of =Kut.

An airstrip had been constructed for 30 Squadron at Ali Gharbi but at this stage only four aircraft were operational a Maurice farman, a Cauldron and two of the Martinsydes.

The Maurice Farman was destroyed in a crash on 5 September and one of the Martinsydes crashed on 13 September in high winds. Today, the Squadron was reduced to one operational aircraft as the Cauldron was also lost.

In this case Captains William Trelaor and Basil Atkins were on patrol over Es Sinn, reconnoitring enemy positions, when they developed engine trouble. They were forced to land behind enemy lines and were taken prisoner.


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