22 October 1916 – Twas Schillig…

Following the abortive attempts at reconnaissance on 28 September, the Royal navy attempted to carry out aerial reconnaissance on the German fleet at Schillig roads with a few to attack by torpedo boats.

Two Short seaplanes from the Vindex were tasked with the job. . The ships of the Harwich Force arrived off the enemy coast before dawn and hoisted out the seaplanes. They were on their way by 0545.

The Vindex then returned home as th plan was for the Force’s cruisers to pick up the seaplanes.

At 0640 the cruisers spotted a Zeppelin but it did not appear to spot either the ships for the seaplanes.

At 0910 the first of the seaplanes, piloted by Flight Commander Harold Frederick with Chief Petty Officer Alexander Blackwell as observer, returned.

15 minutes later the second aircraft, piloted by Flight Lieutenant Francis Neville Halstead and observer Lieutenant Erskine Childers, returned. Both were hoisted in by the cruisers and the force then returned.

Both aircraft had unfortunately learned little as a thick fog shrouded their main objective, even though they came down to 50 feet. Flight Commander Towler and his observer saw some minor trawler and destroyer movements but nothing of the German fleet. Halstead and Childers, abandoned the main main reconnaissance and took photographs of the islands of Heligoland, Langeoog, Baltrum, and Norderney, and of two groups of fast-moving enemy destroyers.


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