Tag Archives: Robert Benedict Bourdillon

4 August 1917 – Opportunities

Whilst the British offensive launched on 31 July has continued, the poor weather has also continued, limiting most flying for the last two days. Today some aircraft got up but spent most of the time attacking whatever targets of opportunity they could find.

For example, Lieutenant James Bass Finch and Lieutenant Arthur Sleep and Lieutenant Frank Warren Curtis and 2nd Class Air Mechanic F N Bell from 9 Squadron RFC attacked enemy transport in Langemarck from 900 feet in their RE8s.

Captain Robert Benedict Bourdillon from 27 Squadron RFC dropped one 230-lb and four 20-lb bombs from 5,700 feet on Cortemarck Station.

32 Squadron RFC attacked enemy trenches in their DH5s. 2nd Lieutenant William Raymond Fish reported hits on enemy troops. However, 2nd Lieutenant Lockhart Frederick Charles St Clair was hit by anti aircraft fire. His DH5 (A9404) crashed and he was wounded.

The only casualty today was 2nd Lieutenant Thomas Frank Preston Thwaites Dennett from 52 Squadron RFC who was wounded in the stomach whilst carrying out some experimental work with kite balloons in his RE8. No details are available about the pilot or the aircraft. Dennett died of his wounds the following day.

Whilst the British offensive launched on 31 July has continued, the poor weather has also continued, limiting most flying for the last two days. Today some aircraft got up but spent most of the time attacking whatever targets of opportunity they could find.

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25 June 1916 – New weapons assault German Balloons

Following the losses of British balloons to storms, the RFC attempted to get their own back on the Germans today with a concerted attack on 15 of the 23 enemy balloons in the hope of disrupting enemy observations during the preparations for the offensive.

Four balloons were shot down using Le Pieur rockets and one was destroyed by phosphorous bombs. One of the attackers, 2nd Lieutenant Beaufoi John Warwick Moore of 1 Squadron attacked in his Nieuport 16 (A116) and noted that the balloon went down in about 10 seconds after being hit by the rockets.

The rockets were invented by Lieutenant Yves Le Prieur of the French Navy and arrived at the front in April 1916. The rockets are a cardboard tube filled with 200 grams of black powder with a wooden conical head attached (by doped paper or linen tape) with a triangular knife blade inserted in a slot across its apex forming a spear point. A square wooden stick (usually pine) is taped to the rocket with about 5 feet extending back from the base of the rocket and fitted snugly into a launch tube attached to the aircraft interplane struts. The rockets are then fired electrically from the struts via a cockpit switch which launches all the rockets consecutively. The curved trajectory of the rocket means that the pilot must close to under 400 feet before firing them.

The first phosphorous bombs only arrived at the front on 16 June. They were invented by the RFC Experimental Section by Lieutenant Robert Benedict Bourdillon in co-operation with Captain Percy Henry Linthune and Major Bertram Hopkinson using converted phosphorus, the invention of Messrs. Allbright and Wilsons, of Birmingham.

9 May 1916 – Bullseye

Ongoing experiments attempting to perfect a bomb sight have been taking place at the CFS Experimental Flight at Upavon.

2nd Lieurenant Robert Benedict Bourdillon had been transferred from France, to develop a bombsight he had designed. He has been working closely with Captain Gerard Dobson and subsequently with Henry Tizard.

Today, at the Port Victoria Marine Experimental Depot, a Short 184 seaplane, using the bombsight developed by Bourdillon and Tizard, hit a target with a 500-pound bomb from a height of 4,000 feet.