15 August 1916 – “There was unfortunately a war on”

On 27 July, the seaplane carrier HMS Ben-my-Chree, captained by Charles Rumney Samson returned to Port Said for a boiler clean. Yesterday, the ship left Port Said with a French destroyer escort to carry out an extended reconnaissance of the lines of communication behind the Turkish forces in Sinai, covering 165 miles of coast line to a depth of twenty miles.

Today off Haifa, three Short seaplanes took off on reconnaissance/bombing missions. A Schneider seaplane was unable to get airborne.

One Short seaplane flew inland and dropped three 16lb bombs and one 65lb bomb on the El Afuleh rail junction where the crew spotted six engines, 30 passenger coaches and 40 goods wagons. Two engines and a store were hit and one coach set on fire.

The second aircraft flew south to Athlit, crossed the mountains and bombed a camp at Jeida. The third bombed Tubaun camp causing considerable damage.

The Ben-my-Chree then sailed south with seaplanes making further reconnaissance flights over Ramleh and El Shellal, and the area between El Arish and Bir El Mazar.

Captain Samson also received a letter from the Admiralty asking why Ben-my-Chree had used so much ammunition in the last three months compared with earlier periods. Samson replied ‘that there was unfortunately a war on’.

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