7 March 1917 – No aeroplanes will be fired at

Such is the demand for trained personnel at the front, that the War Office continues to explore ways and means still further to reduce the number of pilots and aeroplanes allotted to home defence.

Despite the continuing threat from enemy airships and now aircraft, extraordinary order was issued today by Lord French, Field-Marshal Commanding-in-Chief, Home Forces. The order stated that:

“No aeroplanes or seaplanes, even if recognized as hostile, will be fired at, either by day or night, except by those anti-aircraft guns situated near the Restricted Coast Area which are ‘specially detailed for the purpose.”

The result of this order is that defences, outside the coastal areas, no longer need to be manned by day, and it is possible to make a considerable reduction in the home-defence
gun-detachments.

It appears that many commanders did not expect this to last once the weather improved. For example, the Anti-Aircraft Defence Commander, London, continued to prepare his plans to meet possible aeroplane attacks for immediate issue if and when the order not to fire should be cancelled.

 

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