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9 March 1916. Imbros.

19/03/2016

7 March

Dickinson: Cleared up during morning but cleared up in afternoon, the evening was glorious just like summer. Played cricket against HMS Russell and won by one wicket. Brisley made a marvellous 45 in about ten minutes. I got four wickets including a very hot return to my right hand which I somehow got out to and held. Only made three! Very good coconut matting, but outfield a bit rough.

Came back to find an order from CO forbidding the consumption of alcohol owing to officers disobeying previous orders re wine bills. General fury, especially from Savory, Harvey, Bettington and Brisley. Of course it’s SP’s doing and seems a bit thick, though some do drink a good deal too much. However it doesn’t affect me. Slingsby moved over to HQ to take Jones’ place as intelligence officer, so I am now alone in my cabin.

8 March. Called at 06.15 for reconnaissance of Straits with orders to bomb ships on Chanak. Very nice up, but cloud between 2,000 and 3,000ft. Took Portal and three 65lb bombs. (Portal became Marshal of the Royal Air Force and Lord Portal of Hungerford). Climbing steadily, reaching 5,000 when over Anzac and south to Chanak where Portal dropped the bombs. One fell just short in the Straits, second about 100 yards from the wharf edge, and third in the main street a little further. Pray to God that they didn’t kill any women and children, or men for that matter. If this is war, I don’t think much of it and I feel something like a murderer or at least an accessory after the fact.

Today obviously unsettled Dickinson considerably – the full entry is a good deal longer than this, and show that he was a sensitive soul.

Chanak harbour (now called Cannakale) with what was presumably Dickinson's flight path.

Chanak harbour (now called Cannakale) with what was presumably Dickinson’s flight path.

9 March

Dickinson. Cloudy and dull. Much colder and glass going down. ‘Battle Practice’ at 10.00 consisting of rushing all machines to edge of Salt Lake, fitting them with guns and Lewis bombs and putting ‘em away again. Jaw from CA. Began to rain at lunchtime and continued to pelt all evening and is still coming down in torrents.

Bunnie. Morning reconnaissance of straits. One good archie from Maidos apparently, above and in front of me. I was over 9000. Dropped four bombs on two ships close together in Ak Bashi Liman. Dropped them at right time but a little to the right. Good slow landing. Very slight N. wind. Climbed 8000 ft in < 17 min. Engine not quite all out.

Presumably he got back before the rain came down! His rate of climb, at an average of 500ft/min, is pretty good, considering he was flying with the Gnome engine. there are no official figures for time to climb beyond 1000ft, but the nearest equivalent, the le Rhone, was supposed to be capable of 6500ft in just under 11 minutes, and 10,000ft in rather over 21 minutes.

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3 Comments
  1. I’d like to read Dickinson’s entry in its full length. Is it possible to post it at some point?
    Thank you!

  2. I’m quoting from the book ‘Voices in Flight – The Royal Naval Air Service during the Great War’ by Malcolm Smith. It’s available from Pen & Sword (http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/Voices-in-Flight-The-Royal-Naval-Air-Service-During-the-Great-War-Hardback/p/7045), and if you’re interested it would be worth investing, because I shan’t be quoting all of his stuff, only the bits that relate to Grandad’s logbook. He comes across as a really nice chap.

  3. Oh, thank you so much!
    I’ll try to buy it because it really looks good. Besides, I’m writing a story and I borrowed some parts from what I had read in this blog. Do you mind?

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