9 July 1917 – Bombing Constantinople

After a period of relative inactivity the allies have finally commenced a bombing offensive on the Gallipoli Front. Their main objective is Constantinople and to assist in this a Handley Page 0/100 (3124) was flown 2000 miles from England.

To create diversionary attacks, ‘F’ Squadron and the Greek Naval squadron from Thasos were transferred temporarily to Mudros. Since 3 July 1917, day and night attacks have been carried out against the enemy aerodromes and other objectives on the Gallipoli Peninsula including Galata aerodrome and the flour mills and shipping at Gallipoli.

The Handley Page made a number of attempts to bomb Constantinople but was forced back by strong winds, narrowly avoiding a crash on 3 July.

Finally today, weather conditions were more favourable and the Handley Page, flown by Squadron Commander Kenneth Savory, set out at 2047 for Constantinople and reached it just before midnight.

The former German Battlecruiser SMS Goeben (now serving as the Turkish ship Yavuz Sultan Selim) was found surrounded by smaller craft including submarines and destroyers, undergoing repairs in Stenia Bay. The Handley Page attacked the Goeben from 800 feet, but although it appeared at the time that some of the eight 112lb. bombs dropped hit the battle cruiser, little damage was done.

Hits were made on the destroyer Yâdigâr-ı-Millet , and an explosion and fire followed which sunk the ship. The Handley Page then flew to the upper waters of the Golden Horn and dropped two bombs on the SS General which was apparently the German head-quarters, and afterwards attacked the Turkish War Office with the last two bombs, though little damage was done.

The raid took the enemy by surprise and it was almost over when searchlights and anti-aircraft guns finally went into action. The Handley Page arrived safely back at Mudros at 0340.

During the night the Greek squadron had made three separate attacks on targets in the Peninsula, and a pilot from Imbros had bombed the enemy seaplane base at Nagara.

Handley Page 0/100 3124

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