THE FRIEDRICHSHAFEN RAID

THE FRIEDRICHSHAFEN RAID

 

By Nick Forder - Curator at MOSI

 

When war broke out in August 1914 the Zeppelin airship was perceived as being a significant threat to the Royal Navy and the latter's ability to defend Britain. The Zeppelin was potentially more effective than using naval cruisers for reconnaissance and there were great fears that airships would be employed as aerial bombers. In the latter case the Zeppelins would have proved to be unstoppable in 1914. There was no radar to give early warning of the approach of Zeppelins, there was no co-ordinated defence system and there were no aircraft with adequate performance for use as interceptors. However the Zeppelin was to remain a perceived threat during the early months of the war and it was not until January 1915 that airships were used to bomb mainland Britain, and major reconnaissance work for the German High Seas Fleet did not begin until March of that year.

 

Although both the Royal Navy and the Army overestimated the capabilities of the Zeppelins, even to the extent that an aircraft was sent to search the lake district for a secret German airship base, the threat was a real one. Consideration was given to providing naval installations with anti-aircraft guns and aircraft were allocated for Home Defence. The problems of how to locate, engage and destroy the Zeppelins remained. Winston Churchill, then First Lord of the Admiralty, employed some lateral thinking to the problem and drew an analogy of getting rid of hornets by destroying their nest. Churchill reasoned that the Zeppelins were at their most vulnerable when they were on the ground. Therefore the best way to counter the Zeppelin threat was to destroy the Zeppelin bases by aerial bombing. Thus the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) was instructed to embark upon the world's first strategic bombing campaign.

 

Captain Murray Sueter sanctioned the first raids against the German airship bases at Dusseldorf and Koln, with the raid on Dusseldorf being particularly effective because it resulted in the destruction of Z IX. The next target chosen was arguably the most important : the home of the Zeppelins at Friedrichshafen.

 

Friedrichshafen is in the Alps on the edge of Lake Constance where the borders of Germany, Austria and Switzerland meet. The nearest Allied aerodrome to the target was the French airship station at Belfort. Even this was 125 miles away, requiring an aircraft with a range of at least 250 miles and pilots with the ability to navigate across Germany while avoiding flying over neutral Switzerland. The one advantage the pilots would have was that they could follow the Rhine River Valley to Lake Constance itself.

 

For the raid to be successful the RNAS needed adequate equipment, adequate pilots and a suitable base. The first priority was securing the base. Noel Pemberton-Billing, founder of Supermarine Aviation, later self-styled parliamentary Member for Air and then a lieutenant in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, was despatched from England on October 21 to visit Belfort. He was chosen by Sueter because "whatever Pemberton-Billing's shortcomings may have been as a politician he was a fine organiser." (Airmen or Noahs ?, M Sueter). Pemberton-Billing arrived at Belfort three days later and inspected the two airship sheds there. At first the French were reluctance to allow the RNAS to use the base as the former already had plans to bomb Friedrichshafen. Eventually, however, the French relented though insisted that the RNAS should mount the raid in complete secrecy and within a month. Pemberton-Billing agreed to this condition and returned to England on October 28 with permission to use one of the airship sheds to house the RNAS aircraft and personnel. The French also provided useful information about prevailing weather conditions along the Rhine Valley.

 

Sueter took all this information to Churchill along with "very valuable information of a secret nature... obtained for... (Sueter) at much personal risk by a gallant Canadian officer, Colonel Grant Morden." (Airmen or Noahs ?, M Sueter, p11). Churchill considered the risks involved and gave his personal approval for the raid to go ahead.

 

The RNAS now needed to procure aircraft adequate for the task. The Air Department of the Admiralty had ordered an 80 hp Gnome powered Avro 504 biplane in the Spring of 1914. This was under Contract CP 46635/14 and was given the RNAS serial number '179' . '179' was thought to be an ideal aircraft for use on the raid but a further three aircraft would be needed. Contract CP 50788/14 was placed with A V Roe on October 30 calling for six aircraft of the 'Admiralty 179 Type'. The first three aircraft of this contract, '873', '874', and '875' were allocated for the so-called 'Avro Flight'. These aircraft were all two-seaters but they were fitted with extra full tanks which filled the faired-over front cockpits as they did in the later Avro 504C and 504D variants. The extra fuel almost doubled the aircraft's endurance, to eight hours. New racks for four 20 lb Hale bombs per aircraft had to be designed and made. 

 

The aircraft for this second Avro 504 naval contract were all built in the new Avro factory at Newton Heath, Manchester. This factory had been rented from Mather and Platt in anticipation of large wartime orders. For A V Roe in 1914 six aircraft constituted a large order and there was some concern about whether the first three aircraft would be completed in time. Like many other companies called upon to expand at this time there were problems recruiting skilled workers, especially in competition with volunteering, and securing sources of suitable material. Squadron Commander Edward Featherstone Briggs was ordered to assume responsibility for modifying, packing and later erecting the airframes. Briggs had served with Charles Rumney Samson's Eastchurch Squadron and had gone with that unit to Ostend and Dunkerque. Samson later recalled that Briggs liked to be prepared for all eventualities, "as usual (Briggs) carried a complete outfit of tools and various spare parts. He always went up into the air carrying a regular store of things, and we used to wonder how his machine ever flew with the weight of material it was loaded with." (Flights and Fights, C R Samson, p7). Briggs selected a party of five riggers to accompany the aircraft. On October 29 Briggs visited Newton Heath to check on progress and was confronted with details of the company's problems. The only option was to compromise and Briggs was forced to accept manufactured parts which would not have met normal inspection standards.

 

Meanwhile thought had been given to the engines which were to power the Avros. Flight Commander John Tremayne Babington, Royal Navy, was ordered to select six proven reliable 80 h.p. Gnomes from stocks at Dunkerque. These were to be crated up, along with an adequate supply of spares, and sent to Southampton. Babington was further instructed to detail a small ground crew capable of fitting and maintaining the engines.

Briggs and Babington later took all ten of the chosen ground crew to Newton Heath to fully familiarise themselves with the Avro 504 biplanes. An eleventh man was selected from the staff of A V Roe to accompany the aircraft and take responsibility for the newly designed bomb racks. This man was Roy Chadwick, who was later to gain fame for designing the Avro Lancaster bomber. Squadron Commander Philip Shepherd, Royal Navy, was selected to command the party travelling to Belfort. Shepherd was an experienced pilot having served at the Central Flying School as an instructor, where Babington had been his assistant. The remaining two pilots were Flight Lieutenant Sidney Vincent Sippe, who had been taught to fly at the A V Roe School at Brooklands, and Flight Sub-Lieutenant Roland Portman Cannon. Sippe had been serving with Briggs in Samson's Eastchurch Squadron. The entire party travelled down to Southampton to board a tramp steamer whose destination the captain of the vessel refused to disclose. Shepherd had so far received no briefing or orders.

 

Just before the tramp steamer was due to sail Pemberton-Billing arrived or, it may be more true to say, made an entrance. A white car, driven perhaps with more elan than care, arrived on the quay and Pemberton-Billing stepped out. He was obviously dressed for effect in an approximation of Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve uniform with non-regulation buttons and an out-of-season white cap cover. Pemberton-Billing's attire was completed by a diamond tie-pin and a monocle. He greeted the naval officers in a rather informal manner, gave a parcel of papers to Shepherd, theatrically dropped a small sack on to the deck of the steamer and departed just as the vessel's captain was casting off.

As the steamer left harbour the captain admitted that they were sailing for Le Havre. The sack was opened to reveal bank notes and gold sovereigns, estimated at more than £500, and the papers given to Shepherd included his sealed orders. 

Meanwhile the crated aircraft and engines, carefully marked with Russian lettering for security purposes, had been loaded on board the 'SS Manchester Importer' also bound for Le Havre. At Le Havre the crates were loaded on to railway flatcars for the journey to Belfort. This was standard practice at the time, though it also heightened security and reduced the possibility of damage to the aircraft.

 

When Shepherd and his party arrived at Le Havre one of their first sights was Pemberton-Billing waiting on the quayside. He had already supervised the loading of the crates on to the train along with his memorable white car. Pemberton-Billing travelled most of the way to Belfort on the train, but later had his car unloaded to complete the journey by road. The train arrived at Belfort after dark on November 13 but there was no mistaking the white car waiting for them at the station.

 

The crates were hastily off loaded and moved into one of the airship sheds. The officers and ground crew followed and the shed doors where then closed to maintain security. The RNAS ground crew set to assembling the biplanes and were instructed not to set foot outside the shed. All requests were to be directed through Pemberton-Billing, who had yet to introduce himself and was simply known as the man from Switzerland. Living in the airship shed and sleeping on a bare concrete floor in winter proved to be impractical, however, and Shepherd soon fell ill. Pemberton-Billing was thus forced to take a risk, moved the RNAS party to a local hotel and arranged for the use of another car to transport them to the airship station each day.

 

The assembly of the aircraft was completed two days after arrival and the engines were test run within the confines of the shed. Attention was now focused on other potential problems. 

 

The rough ground at Belfort represented no problems for the operation of airships but it was a different matter for heavily laden aeroplanes. A section of the station was selected and cleared by removing a wire fence and some of the larger loose stones. The risk of potential damage and limited spares suggested that test flights were not going to be practical. Briggs produced some lengths of bungee cord which could be used to hold the control column in position, thus acting as a type of automatic pilot, which would prove invaluable if the aeroplanes proved to be inadequately rigged. Shepherd, however, was still concerned about flying an overladen and unfamiliar aircraft. Against Briggs' advice he decided to conduct some taxying trials for '179' but only managed to buckle one of the biplane's wheels and damage the tail skid mounting. As '179' was moved back in to the airship shed for repair the other pilots must have wondered what their chances were of being able to take off with a full load of fuel and bombs.

 

There were additional concerns about the bomb racks. Each of these carried two of the 20 lb Hale bombs, that were mounted under the lower wings close to the fuselage. The bombs were held on their racks by split pins and the pilot had to pull four separate wooden toggles, attached by cable to the pins, to release them. Chadwick insisted that the racks would work and has none of the pilots had ever dropped bombs they were not in a position to disagree. This was one of the problems caused by the Admiralty's insistence on tight security. There was experience of bombing in the RNAS but this was not called upon. Tests had been carried out to determine a safe minimum bombing height and another RNAS officer, Marix, had used Hales bombs for his successful raid on 9 October. Furthermore the designer of the Hales bomb, Martin F Hale, had been known to some RNAS pilots since 1913. The manufacturer of the 20 lb Hale bomb, the Powder Company, was based at Faversham which was only ten miles from the RNAS air station at Eastchurch. 

All was now ready and the timing of the raid now depended on the weather. On November 21, a Saturday, the wind increased and the clouds began to clear. This was the best weather for some days and the decision to go had to be made swiftly to ensure that the returning aeroplanes would approach Belfort while it was still light. The Avro biplanes were pushed out from the shed and by 9:30 a.m. all four were lined up at the western end of the airfield awaiting last minute checks of the engines and bomb release gear. As these completed on each aircraft they took off at intervals of four to five minutes. It was hoped that the sky above Lake Constance would be clear by the time that the aeroplanes reached it.

First away was Briggs in '873' and he took off without incident and was closely followed by Babington in '875'. Next was Cannon in the repaired '179' but he failed to get airborne : the tail skid mounting had broken once more. Sippe was last off in '874', circled the base and set course eastward at 9:55 a.m. Now there were only three.

 

Although the clouds were clearing the flight to the target was still difficult. Heavy mists were expected up to a height of 3 000 feet and the biplanes would have to remain above that height to fly safely in the clear air. The proximity of neutral Switzerland was also a problem and prevented a direct flight to the target. Instead a dogleg flight of some 125 miles was planned with a turn north of Schaffhausen. Lastly there was the nature of the country to be overflown. Much of this was sparsely populated and wooded, including flying over the Schwarzwald, and so any forced landing was likely to be particularly perilous. To make matters worse the French insisted that no maps should be carried that could reveal that the Avros had flown from France and so the route for the first part of the flight had to be memorised.

 

Given the navigational problems involved it is not surprising that the flight plan was not strictly adhered to. Sippe passed north of Basel in Switzerland at around 10:25 a.m. and began to overhaul Babington. Sippe saw a biplane several miles to starboard and assumed that this was Briggs. If it was Briggs he was certainly over neutral Switzerland as he was south of Basel. It seems that Briggs had decided to take the most obvious course and follow the Rhine river. Sippe used the same navigation aid though he maintained that he kept north of the river which would have placed him over Germany.

 

At 11:00 a.m. Sippe flew over the Rhine Valley to follow the river to Lake Constance. At 5 000 feet, and well above the clouds, he spotted Briggs about a mile to port and Babington about two miles astern. Babington was experiencing trouble with his aircraft which seems to have been rigged nose heavy. Babington's engine was also low on power and he could not coax the Avro above 3 500 feet. As the Rhine turned north towards Schauffhausen, and the point at which the pilots had planned to turn to make their final run in to the target, Briggs disappeared from Sippe's view.

 

At 11:30 a.m. Sippe reached the western end of Lake Constance and descended to within ten feet of the surface of the water in the hope that he could approach Friedrichshafen undetected. Following the north shore of the lake until he was about five miles from the target, Sippe then started to climb to around 1 200 feet which was a safer bombing height. To the north of Friedrichshafen shell bursts indicated that Briggs had already arrived.

 

Briggs seems to have overflown the Friedrichshafen shed and dropped his bombs around the gasometer. It is possible that he became disorientated over the target as he was looking for the tented airship shed which had actually been taken down as long ago as 1912. Despite this the shed was marked on the map which appeared in War in the Air Volume 1 which does suggest that Naval Intelligence was not as good as Sueter believed. Alternatively it may have been the anti-aircraft fire which caused Briggs to jettison his bombs as at about the same time his aeroplane was hit. Wounded in the head and with a damaged fuel tank Briggs had no option but to land. The reception he received was not pleasant and he was attacked and beaten by German civilians before being rescued by soldiers. The soldiers took Briggs to the hospital at Weingarten and then to captivity. He later escaped from a train and returned to command the Experimental Station at Eastchurch. 

 

Babington then arrived and overflew the target to turn and line up for his bombing run with the sun behind him. He hoped that this would blind the German gunners and make his aircraft more difficult to hit. Babington believed that the Friedrichshafen shed was hit and Zeppelin inside was damaged. He also thought that the hydrogen plant and gasometer were destroyed. "It was all very exciting while it lasted, and the Germans were greatly astonished that we could reach such a faraway object - but you can't do much with a 20 lb bomb." (Architect of Wings, H Penrose, Airlife, 1985). The amatol explosive charge in each bomb was actually only 4.5 lbs.

 

A Swiss engineer who witnessed the raid from a nearby hotel recalled that the bombs threw earth and debris up to twenty five feet in the air. However the effect of the raid was probably more psychological than physical and there seems to have been considerable panic on the ground. 

Even so the defences were stiffening. Babington took evasive action by putting his Avro into a near vertical dive by the German gunners soon recalculated the range.

 

Sippe later reported that at 11:55 a.m. he was about half a mile from the target. As he dived to 700 feet Sippe saw a large body of men on parade which supports the idea that the three Avros must have reached the target almost together. Flying into the anti-aircraft fire Sippe dropped his first bomb in the hope of putting the gunners off their aim. His second and third bombs were released as his Avro passed over the Friedrichshafen shed and works. The fourth bomb failed to release and as Sippe headed north out of the range of the anti-aircraft fire he decided to make another run at the floating airship shed at Manzell to the west of Friedrichshafen. Again the bomb failed to release and Sippe was forced down to ground level to avoid anti-aircraft machine gun fire as he headed out over Lake Constance and home. He reached Belfort at 1:50 p.m. indicating that the estimated maximum speed of the Avro 504, 62 mph at 6 000 feet, was about right.

 

Babington did not make it back to Belfort. Although he had made notes of his changes of course on the outward leg so he could return on the reciprocal compass heading, Babington became disorientated as he overflew landmarks that he could not recognise. He decided to land to gain directions and fortunately discovered that not only was he in France but a local farmer was prepared to take him to a telephone. Leaving a gendarme to guard his Avro Babington successfully contacted Belfort and arranged for a car to be sent to pick him up.

 

The RNAS party left for England the next day. The second car which Pemberton-Billing had acquired needed to be left in Paris so the officers decided to take it back with Babington driving. Once more Pemberton-Billing sped ahead in his white racing car but he had only covered 100 kilometres or so before a treacherous path of ice overtaxed his driving skills and brought the car to a halt against a tree. Fortunately Babington arrived some afterwards and picked him up. The officers arrived back in England to great acclaim, awards of both the Distinguished Service Order and the French Legion of Honour. Babington was later involved in the development of the Handley Page 0/100 and 0/400 bombers, and Sippe was to end the war in command of the Aircraft Acceptance Park at Brough. Accounts differ as to the extent of the actual damage caused by the raid. Pemberton-Billing had made arrangements for the raid to be observed from Swiss shore of Lake Constance although the distance from Friedrichshafen could hardly ensure a totally accurate report. Clearly the British emphasised the effectiveness and impact of the raid as part of the new Propaganda War, though the Admiralty appear to have been insufficiently impressed to mount another raid on the same target. In reality it seems that no airships were damaged because the nearest bomb had exploded between two buildings some 60 feet away. This limited damage to a broken window. The Germans greatly increased both security and anti-aircraft defences at Friedrichshafen which, as the base was never bombed again, proved a waste of valuable military resources. The Germans were also concerned about the vulnerability of their airship production facilities. Therefore Potsdam was used as a second production centre by Zeppelin until a new plant was completed at Staaken. The Schutte-Lanz plant at Mannheim was also thought to be too close to the front so a second plant was built at Zeesen.

The real reason that the Admiralty did not launch another raid may be because the Swiss Government formally complained that their neutrality had been violated. The British Foreign Office replied that the RNAS pilots had been instructed not to fly over Swiss territory. If they had done so this was in error and for that the British Government apologised. This was political manoeuvring as this had not been a major concern. Churchill was unrepentant and reputedly advised the Foreign Office to tell the Swiss to "go and milk their cows." The Foreign Office declined this advice.

 

Despite the political ramifications the raid was a triumph of navigational skills and aircraft reliability. The last word on the raid should go to Babington, "It was a very rough ride, but the Avros were splendid." (Architect of Wings, H Penrose, Airlife, 1985). 

 

MEMORANDUM BY THE DIRECTOR OF THE AIR DEPARTMENT

 Published in the Supplement to the London Gazette, No 29025, of 1st January, 1915

 

Admiralty, 17th December, 1915

ON 21st November, 1914, Squadron Commander EF Briggs, Flight commander JT Babington, and Flight Lieutenant SV Sippe, royal Navy, carried out an aerial attack on the Zeppelin airship sheds and factory at Friedrickshafen on Lake Constance.

Leaving French territory shortly after 10 am, they arrived over their objective at about noon, and, although under a very heavy rifle, machine-gun and shrapnel fire from the moment they were sighted, they all three dived steeply to within a few hundred yards of the sheds, when they released their bombs – in all eleven.

Squadron Commander Briggs was wounded, brought down, and made a prisoner, but the other two officers regained their starting point after a flight of more than four hours across hostile country under very bad weather conditions.

It is believed that the damage caused by this attack includes the destruction of one airship and serious damage to the larger shed, and also demolition of the hydrogen-producing plant, which had only lately been completed. Later reports stated that flames of considerable magnitude were seen issuing from the factory immediately after the raid.

 

22 November 1914 From : Oberleutnant-zur-See Werner Peterson (commander designate Zeppelin L7) To : Konteradmiral Phillip (Wilhelmshafen)

AVRO Advertising displaying the success of the raid can be seen here. Reported story in the New York Times

SECRET Report concerning the English air attack on the Zeppelin works on November 21, 1914, at noon :

The attack was carried out on the 21st undoubtedly due to information from spies or agents that the ship had completed inflation on the 20th.

Towards noon telephone information was received here from Lorrach-Oberheim (Baden) that three enemy aircraft had been sighted, flying in the direction of Konstanz. The same information was received from Konstanz at 12:15 pm. The troops and guns were therefore altered. I received the report by telephone in the Kurgarten Hotel and immediately went to the Zeppelin works. The weather was clear, sunny, wind north-east, moderate to strong.

I found myself close by the gatehouse of the works as the guns and machine guns opened fire. At the same time I observed the first aircraft (biplane) heading for the Zeppelin buildings from the lake at an altitude of several hundred metres. The shell-bursts from the anti-aircraft guns lay very close to him. Meanwhile the plane flew over me and dropped the first bomb, which was easily visible while falling. It hit a house and exploded (about 60 metres from me) and partly destroyed the upper storey (1 dead, 2 injured). Then it flew over the sheds and, descending to 150 metres, very skilfully dropped a bomb which, however, merely landed on the field, then another which was accurately aimed and hit between the two sheds (minor damage to the shed doors of the new hangar).

Meanwhile he had been hit by a shell splinter and the plane glided down in a turn, making an emergency landing in front of the sheds. The plane was almost undamaged. The pilot, an English naval officer, Lieutenant Brigg (sic) of the Royal Naval Flying Corps (sic), in uniform with leather outer clothing, was pulled out of the plane by militia and our petty officers, after trying to fire a few shots from his pistol. He was rather severely wounded, I the head, but not so that his life was endangered, and was taken to the hospital. His undamaged plane, a new, light “Avro” machine, had suffered a decisive hit by a shell splinter and had been hit by about 10 bullets (one of them in the fuel tank).

 

While this plane was descending, the second plane appeared at about 200 metres above the gas works, dived low in the heavy fire, and above the shot-down machine released 2 bombs which exploded in the field. Then he flew very fast above the sheds and dropped a bomb which hit the workshops and caused damage and which damaged a window of the shed in which “L.7” lay : 20 metres farther and the inflated ship would have been destroyed. Then he disappeared over the lake in the direction of Manzell, where he dropped a bomb close to the airplane hangar. Today he was reported from Konstanz as having come down. The third plane, which I did not see, turned back prematurely.

 

Following points deserve attention :

 

1. According to the assertion of Briggs, there were only English naval officers in all aircraft. They were equipped with good and accurate maps and sketches, which point to extensive espionage. They had taken off from Belfort.

2. Manner of attack : approach high, dive steeply, drop bombs and disappear climbing.

3. The plane which landed – “Avroe” (sic) biplane, 80 hp Gnome engine - on the bottom of each plane a large red ring, is very clear and visible from a distance.

4. Bombs : Hailes (sic) patent, almost like out Carbonit, with aiming vanes and propeller fuse, weighing about 7.5 – 10 kg. Good explosion, poisonous fumes, each carried four.

5. Defences : The guns (3 Krupp anti-balloon guns) aimed well, bursts generally close to the target; some of the bursts lagged behind because of its high speed. 68 rounds were fired by three guns (two were aimed together). Furthermore, two-three machine guns ad a column of militia fired. The ship remained completely undamaged.

Edward Featherstone Briggs 30 July 1912 Ticket No 265 Short Eastchurch 1 January 1915 DSO. 1918 Officer commanding Isle of Grain. 3 June 1919 OBE. 16 December 1919 Bar to DSO. 1929 Retires.

Philip Shepherd 17 August 1912 Ticket No 288 Short Central Flying School

John Tremayne Babington 21 January 1913 Ticket No 408 Short Eastchurch May 1913 Stationed at RNAS Great Yarmouth, where he undertook wireless trials with Lt Fitzmaurice. 1 January 1915 DSO. 17 December 1915 Piloted Handley Page 0/100 on maiden flight from Hendon. November 1916 Delivered first production 0/100 to 5 Wing RNAS at Dunkirk. Involved in development test piloting for the Handley Page 0/400. Employed by Handley Page postwar.

Sidney Vincent Sippe 1889 Born 1906=1909 British Westinghouse apprentice, Trafford Park, Manchester. 1910 Designed and built world's first welded steel aeroplane at Beckenham in Kent. Worked with his brother Albert and James Jenson. The aeroplane was underpowered and did not fly. 1911 Unoffiicial manager of Roe Flying School, Brooklands. 9 January 1912 Ticket No 172 Avro Brooklands 9 April 1912 Flew Avro D at Barrow following Commander Schwann's crash. August 1912 Flew Hanriot at Larkhill Trials. September 1912 Replaced Gordon England at Bristols. 1913 Went to Turin to deliever Bristol-Coandas and took part in the Italian Military Aeroplane Competition. 6 November 1913 Joined Royal Navy Reserve as Probationary Sub-Lieutenant.. January 1914 Took charge of Bristol School following Merriam's crash. 4 March 1914 Took part in Military Trials at the Breguet works at Velizy near Paris. June 1914 Took part in flying meeting at Vienna. 1914 Replaced Harry Busteed as chief test pilot at Bristols. August 1914 Joined RNAS and left for Ostend with Eastchurch Squadron, RNAS. 4 September 1914 Involved in first engagement between Samson's armoured cars and the Germans. 3 October 1914 Went to Antwerp with Eastchurch Squadron. 16 October 1914 Serving with Arthur Longmore's Squadron bombing Ostend and Zeebrugge. 1 January 1915 DSO 1918 Officer commanding Aircraft Acceptance Park at Brough. 1 January 1919 OBE. Chevalier, Legion d'Honneur (France) Croix de Guerre (France) Chevalier, Order of Leopold (Belgium) Croix de Guerre (Belgium) London Manager, Short Brothers Ltd. Managing Director, British Resin Products Ltd. c1956 Commercial Sales Manager, Crossley Motors Ltd. c1956 Address : Torwood, Dartnell Park, West Byfleet, Surrey.

Roland Portman Cannon 30 May 1914 Ticket No 801 Farman Shoreham