7 April 1917 – Dirty Tricks

For the last few nights, the RNAS has been carrying out bombing attacks against the seaplane base at the Zeebrugge Mole and against active aerodromes in Belgium.

During the attacks, the pilots spotted that as soon as the first aircraft appeared over the port, the German destroyers put to sea and anchored about a mile off the end of the Mole.

Vice-Admiral Bacon saw an opportunity to use some of his torpedo-carrying coastal motor-boats for attacks on the anchored destroyers and, tonight the destroyer Falcon, with four coastal motor-boats, set out.

The Short seaplanes were sent out later, at fifteen or twenty minutes apart, and the  motor-boats were four miles off Zeebrugge, ready to close the port at slow speed, as soon as the bombing began.

The first Short seaplane pilot opened the attack at 2315 with one 520-lb. bomb, and twenty minutes later 65-lb. bombs came from a second seaplane. A third appeared within ten minutes and, after dropping a 264-lb. and a 100-lb. bomb, attacked the Mole searchlights with machine-gun fire. Meanwhile the motor-boats had quietly approached four German destroyers and surprised them in the Wielingen Channel. Hits were made on the destroyer G.88, which was sinking when the motor-boats turned for home: the boats reached Dunkirk safely between four and five in the morning.


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