7 Jan 1916.
The following day Bunnie had rather a frustrating day in the air, totalling nearly two hours.
On his first flight, he was in Voisin 8502 again, this time with Sergt Lamrock. His logbook reads: ‘Went up and observer failed to see strips, so thinking wireless was wrong came down after 20 min. Told that W/T was all in order so went up again but observer tangled aerial trying to let it out so came down after 20 min.’
Does one detect a hint of frustration with the Sergeant? Incidentally, the reference to strips is because there was no way to mount a radio receiver in an aircraft, so the ground station communicated by laying fabric strips on the ground.
Bunnie goes on to say: ‘Very strong W. Wind and very bumpy. Got first 1000 ft in under 2 1/2 min each time. Coming down each time had very little control over machine and was blown all over the place. Machine yawed very badly when she rolled, and wind at 500ft quite different direction to that on ground. Flew right down to ground with plenty of engine in each case and made A.1 landings. Further attempts postponed owing to wind.’
If it was bad for Bunnie, strapped into his seat, have some sympathy for the poor sergeant, who probably had no form of restraint and simply had to hang onto whatever he could to stop being thrown over the side of the nacelle!
The wind must presumably have dropped, because in the afternoon they went off again, and completed a successful reconnaissance over Krythia. It’s interesting to wonder what they were looking for on this mission, since the evacuation of ground troops was more or less complete. Were they looking for signs that the Turks had become aware of what was going on, and would Bunnie and the observer have known? The success of the evacuation was due almost entirely to the secrecy with which it was shrouded, so probably not officially, though many of the troops being evacuated were presumably landing on Imbros, so it seems likely they had some idea what was going on.
I don’t know exactly which flight generated this photograph, but it would likely have been one of the flights in this period.
It’s not very clear at this resolution, but a high quality scan shows lines of trenches wriggling from the bottom left corner to the middle of the top. Given the vibration of the airframe and the great height – they were over a mile high when it was taken – the clarity is amazing.
From → Granddad's Flying Career