27 October 1915 – Sykes’ grand plans thwarted

Frederick Sykes the Commander of the RNAS has been planing for the future of the campaign. He is expecting a fight that would last at least through the end of 1916 and has made continuous requests for more aircraft and personnel. He is also planning to bomb Constantinople both as a means of sapping morale and demonstrating British air power and promoting the RNAS image throughout the Mediterranean.

The Navy is not so keen on the plan and has turned down requests to expand the Air Force. The Vice-Admiral also rejected the Constantinople plan on the basis that it would not be effective, that it would present too great a risk, and that it would jeopardize the valuable work the RNAS is performing presently.

Sykes’ opinion is that the Navy is currently jeopardising even those operations. Sykes noted that weather and the enemy had made seaplanes, kite balloons, and airships ineffective tools at the Dardanelles; yet, without the aeroplanes he had requested, he was forced to use these naval machines.

In addition, no trained observers had been sent out, and Sykes had to improvise seeking volunteers and training them locally. This has resulted in poor cooperation between the RNAS and Army artillery officers.


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