13 September 1916 – Machine Gun Training

The ‘Machine Gun School, R.F.C, based at Hythe, was today renamed ‘The School of Aerial Gunnery, Royal Flying Corps’.

Despite its name its primary role is in fact to train observers in machine gun use. The recent arrival of synchronised guns enabling pilots to fire directly at the enemy has not yet really been catered for.

As part of this training the school has developed an innovative approach with the Hythe Gun Camera. It’s purpose is to mimic the action of the Lewis Gun and provide the prospective gunner with a feel for using a gun in the air.
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The camera was developed by the chief instructor 2nd Lieutenant Henry Chaney with the Thornton-Pickard Manufacturing Company.

The box contains the film and a glass reticule that has a ‘target’ imprinted on it. When the trainee fires the gun at a target plane the reticule’s grid is imprinted on the film with the photo of the targeted plane.

In addition, the trainee has to change the magazine (in flight) after each shot. There is a pin that pierces the film each time the magazine is changed. If a photo appears without the ‘pinhole’ it indicates the magazine was not changed.

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