8 November 1915 – Long range attack fails

On 5 November 1915, the Admiralty ordered attacks on the Berlin-Constantinople railway, where the line bridges the river Maritza, south of Kuleli Burgas. The destruction of this bridge, will not only cut the Berlin route, but also the Salonika line which branches off near the western end of the bridge. The railway was of strategic importance as a means of getting munitions to Turkey.

Today, the first attacks were attempted by a Maurice Farman from Imbros fitted with an extra petrol tank, and by two of the Short seaplanes from the aircraft carrier Ben-my-Chree, starting from near Enos. For the aeroplane this is a total distance of over 180 miles, of which 60 are over the sea. For the seaplanes, the distance was a little shorter at 120 miles, of which all but ten were over the land.

Each machine carried two 112lb. bombs. The aeroplane, piloted by Commander Charles Samson with Captain L A E Edwards as observer, flew over the target at 800feet. The two bombs were aimed at the centre of the bridge, but fell together about five yards south of it, causing enough damage to one of the piers to delay traffic for forty-eight hours. The observer brought back a full reconnaissance report of the area covered by the flight.

Flight Commander Charles Edmonds and Flight Lieutenant George Dacre in the seaplanes, attacked the bridge from 500 feet and 1,000 feet, respectively. They also failed to hit the bridge, but their bombs damaged the tracks.

Whilst the attack delayed traffic for a while no serious damage was done to the bridge. The Turks also reinforced their defences as a result.


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