Yesterday the seaplane carrier HMS Empress sailed from Port Said in Egypt to Karatash Burnu near the south-east coast of Turkey in preparation for bombing raids on cotton factories and crops in the nearby city of Adana.
This morning at 0457 the first Short 184 (8018) took off and by 0509 the other three (8004, 8019 and 8020 were in the air. All four pilots reported hits on the factories though it was impossible to accurately gauge if any damage had been done.
All four aircraft got back safely and by 0655 they had been hauled in and the Empress set off back to Port Said.
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.
In January 1916, the East Indies and Egypt Seaplane Squadron was formed from the carriers Raven II, Empress, Ben-my-Chree and Anne, under the command of C. L’Estrange Malone. The squadron, based at Port Said, was under the overall control of the General Officer Commanding, Egypt and its primary duty was to watch Turkish positions and movements in southern Palestine and the Sinai.
Robert Erskine Childers
Serving on the Raven II was one of the heroes of the Gallipoli campaign, Flight Commander Lieutenant Charles Humphrey Kingsman Edmonds, the first man to successfully attack a ship with a torpedo from the air. Today he and his observer Lieutenant Robert Erskine Childers (the author of “The Riddle of the Sands”) suffered engine failure while on patrol in their Short Type 184 Seaplane (849).
They landed in heavy seas and quickly the aircraft capsized. Fortunately, Edmonds and Childers were rescued by HMT Charlsen.
Following the aborted attack on the 20th by the HMS Empress on the wireless station at Norddeich and Zeppelin sheds at Norden, a further attempt was made today.
The HMS Empress was accompanied by the light cruisers HMS Arethusa and HMS Aurora Of the 5th Light Cruiser squadron of the Harwich force. Each carried a seaplane to supplement those in the Empress. The raid was foiled once again by bad weather as thick fog enveloped the enemy coast.