25 August 1916 – Affule bombed, Dacre lost

Following the reconnaissance of the Syrian coast on 14 August, the Royal Navy made plans to attack the Turkish ammunition dump at Affule. Conseuqently this morning three seaplane carriers the Ben-my-Chree, Raven II, and Anne assembled at Haifa accompanied by the French destroyer Arbalete.

Ten seaplanes then flew off to Affule. On arrival the pilots found the camp greatly enlarged and the anti-aircraft defences strengthened.

Nevertheless they set about systematically bombing the camp for the next 30 minutes, and railway tracks, stores and carriages were set on fire. One train, which steamed out of the station, was found by the Raven’s seaplanes who scored a direct hit on the rear coach of the train. Other bombs damaged the track.

All the seaplanes returned safely to the carriers, and when they had been hoisted in, the three ships and their escort went south down the coast. On their way they encountered two dhows, one of which was destroyed by gunfire from the Arbalete, while the other was captured and taken in tow by the Ben-my-Chree. Prisoners from this dhow confirmed that the two vessels were used for revictualling the Sinai troops.

About midday, seven seaplanes went off to bomb the camp at Bureir and the railway viaduct over the Wadi el Hesi. The camp was hit and damaged and camels were stampeded by Lewis gun fire, but the viaduct was not destroyed, the nearest bombs exploding on the embankment. Unfortunately, Flight Commander George Bentley Dacre DSO, who has been with the RNAS since the beginning of the war, failed to return and has been taken prisoner by the Arabs.

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