The contributions of the RNAS Squadrons in France were highlighted today as a variety of missions were flown in support of British forces.
2 Naval Squadron flew a successful photographic reconnaissance mission over Zeebrugge without loss.
5 Naval Squadron carried out a bombing raid on Aertrycke aerodrome, dropping six 65lb and 59 16lb bombs. On their return journey they were attacked by enemy scouts. Flight Commander Irwin Napier Colin Clarke and Sub-Lieutenant Ronald George St John claimed to have shot down an enemy aircraft. Flight Sub-Lieutenant Lacey Norman Glaisby and 2nd Class Air Mechanic Saw were attacked by an enemy aircraft. Glaisby was wounded slightly in the head and Saw in the body, but Saw still managed to get off some shots and drive down the attacker. In the end though all the aircraft returned safely.
Sopwith Camels on patrol from 4 Naval Squadron were attacked near Westende. Flight Sub-Lieutenant Frederick William Akers in B3806 was shot down and killed. Leutnant Hugo Jöns from Jasta 20 claimed the victory.
Also killed was Flight Commander George Gordon MacLennan from 6 Naval Squadron who was shot down in Sopwith Camel N6360 after himself shooting down an Aviatik C near Wilskerke.
Flight Commander Charles Dawson Booker from 8 Naval Squadron also claimed to have seen off an enemy Rumpler C in his Sopwith Triplane. It fell completely out of control and was last seen at about 300 feet falling into the mist.
A patrol from 10 Naval Squadron, led by Flight Commander Raymond Collishaw in Sopwith Triplane N5492 was over Menin-Messines when they attacked a group of 20 enemy aircraft. Flight Lieutenant William Melville Alexander (in N5487) shot one down in flames, and Flight Sub-Lieutenant Ellis Vair Reid (in N5483) and Collishaw each shot down an Albatross out of control. Flight Commander John Sharman in N6307 was the unlucky one with no claim. Flight Sub-Lieutenant Howard William Taylor (in N5429) was shot up and wounded in the arm during the combat but got back safely. (A report of this combat is in Collishaw’s book, Air Command at Page 123). A copy of the combat report is available here.