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6 Jan 1916


After another three days off, Bunnie was kept busy on 6 & 7 Jan with varying success. On 6 Jan Bunnie’s observer was called Durston, and after a false start when the radio packed up and they had to return, they completed a one hour reconnaissance around Krythia. Presumably this was more interesting than gunnery spotting, which involved flying round in circles once one was on station. Here one could cruise around taking photographs, some of which we still have. It amazes me that even at this relatively stage in the development of aerial warfare, it was possible to conduct meaningful reconnaissance at 8000ft. Bunnie’s comments on the performance of the Voisin are interesting; ‘Machine climbing better than previous flights and did not reach limit at 8400. Went from 500 to 8000 in under 50 min. Engine revs 1300, speed 45 knots.

Voisin III

Voisin III

Getting to 8000ft took nearly an hour, and his airspeed was 45 knots – or about 50mph. That’s seriously slow – the 10 nautical mile water crossing from Imbros to Gallipoli would have taken about 15 minutes, and the same on the way back. In fact, in a letter home he says ‘Well, it was blowing so hard that I was off the ground before I had gone a dozen yards, and it was horribly gusty up/ and then I was blown all over the place, at times I failed to make nay headway at all and was even blown back, but on the whole I could progress quite slowly against the wind.

His final entry is also interesting; ‘Toward the end archie (anti-aircraft guns) made some very good shooting. For the first time I did not mind a bit, even when the bursts were very close.’

Quoting from the same letter, written a couple of days later, he says: ‘It really is great fun flying these great heavy slow machines in bad weather, they wallow in the bumps, and roll and yaw all over the place, and have really mighty little control over them.

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