Back in August the Bulgarians advanced and took control of Macedonia east of the Struma. At that point, it became necessary to make changes in the disposition of naval aircraft in the Eastern Mediterranean to give the maximum assistance to the ships protecting the British right flank at Chai Aghizi, and to the 80th Brigade operating on that front.
As a result of the fallure of the Greek army, Allied ships assembled in early September near Athens including the RNAS aircraft carrier Empress. Air reconnaissances were made of the Greek fleet in the Piraeus and there were daily patrols over Athens.
On 12 September the Empress was sent to Stavros to work with the British ships. Two seaplanes were transferred to the monitor Sir Thomas Picton and the cruiser Endymion, from which they made spotting flights.
‘D’ Flight of 2 Wing RNAS was moved from Mudros to Stavros at the end of August. THis enabled ‘A’ Flight at Thasos to be used for more extended reconnaissance work over the Bulgarian lines of communication, and for bombing operations.
Today ‘A’ Flight bombed the railway bridge across the Mesta river at Buk, an important supply line. A 100lb bomb destroyed the second span of the bridge, and the enemy was forced to transfer stores by wagon transport across a tempoary trestle-bridge over the gap.
At the end of May 1916 a flight of aircraft from 2 Wing RNAS based at Imbros had been sent to Thasos Island off the Greek coast in support of operations on the Salonika Front. The Flight consisted of three Henri Farmans, one Nieuport, and two Bristol Scouts. These were briefly joined by a flight of French aircraft but these were withdrawn at the beginning of July and replaced by a seaplane unit which had previously been based at Stavros on the Greek mainland.
The unit has spent most of its time carrying out primitive economic warfare by bombing missions to southern Bulgaria. The aim is to destroy ripening crops with incendiary bombs. Many fires were started and patches of crops have been burnt, but it is doubtful whether the results obtained are really justified by the risks involved and undoubtedly the aircraft could be better used elsewhere.
Back in April the HMS Empress, one of the seaplane carriers assigned to the East Indies and Egypt Seaplane Squadron was transferred to Port Laki to support operations off the Aegean coast of Bulgaria. Her main role is to support naval bombardments in the area.
Today a Short seaplane from the Empress spotted for the cruiser Grafton and the monitor Earl of Peterborough during a bombardment of the railway bridge, north-east of Scala Nuova at a range of ten miles. Two hits on the bridge were made.