Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Captain Hutchinson I. Cone, Commander, Naval Aviation Forces, Foreign Service, to Commanding Officers, United States Naval Air Stations in France and Ireland

U. S. Naval Aviation Forces, Foreign Service



     AMNAVPAR-PARIS                             PASSY 13-80

                                                  ʺ   13-81

                                                  ʺ   13-82

In Reply Refer To                     April 5th, 1918.


From: Commander, U.S. Naval Aviation Forces, Foreign Service.

To:  Commanding Officers, U.S. Naval Air Stations, France and


SUBJECT: Duties of Intelligence Officers at U.S. Naval Air


Reference:     “General Outline of the Duties of Air Intelligence Officers at Naval Air

Stations” prepared by Liet. Yeomans, R.N.V.R.,1 now attached to Force Commanders office, London, for Intelligence liaison duty.

     1.   Reference reads as follows:-

                                      March, 1918.

Some suggestions for accurate and speedy transmission of information. The latter may have to be modified to meet local conditions.

The principal duties of Air Intelligence Officers are:-

1. Plotting position of enemy submarines; keeping records of same and also positions of torpedoed ships, mines and wrecked vessels; passing all information received to the Senior Air Officer and to all Air Stations.

2. The co-operation between Air Intelligence Officers at both U.S.N. and British Air Stations; object; interchange of all information relating to enemy submarines, and the deductions made by each A.I.O from such information. By this interchange the habits, courses, etc, of submarines may be learned and some Intelligence Officers should constantly correspond with each other, and exchange copies of their plottings. The passing of information should be carried out immediately both by day and night. It may appear useless to pass to Air Stations at night when aircraft cannot operate, but experience proves that the information should be passed immediately, thus giving Air Stations every opportunity to forecast possible movements, and possibly to operate at dawn. Information of submarines and mines observed should contain the following:-


(a)    Date, time, latitude and longitude. Course when first sighted and last seen and estimated range.

(b)    Whether on surface or submerged.

(c)    Estimated length.

(e)    Was upper deck rounded off to meet ships side.

(f)    If not, was there a raised central portion with lower strip on either side.

(g)    Was forecastle raised with a gun in a well just before the conning tower.

(h)    Did forecastle side of conning tower rise straight from upper deck, or was there step extending forward.

(i)    Number, position and nature of guns.

(j)    Number of masts.

(k)    Did paint look old or new.

(l)    Any unusual details.


(a)    Date, time, longitude and latitude.

(b)    Shape.

(c)    Color.

(d)    Floating or moored.

(e)    Whether fitted with horns and if so, how many, and whether there was one in a central position.

(f)    Any action taken to render harmless.

(g)    Whether recently laid or not.

3. Pilots sometimes bomb oil patches rising from wrecks. Air Intelligence Officers may be able to make a calculation from their records of the possibility of oil rising from a cause other than enemy submarines, and inform pilots accordingly.

4. To obtain on the previous evenings if possible from the Naval Authorities, times and areas of patrols of friendly submarines and other craft.

5. To be thoroughly acquainted with the means used by which friendly submarines may be identified.

6. To report after sun-set each day to his Senior Air Officer, Headquarters and Naval Authorities as may be necessary, machines available for patrol on the following day. The C.O. is responsible to keep the A.I.O attached to his Station, informed of all movements of his aircraft, the A.I.O. passing to other A.I.O’s  as may be necessary, and to Senior A.I.O., who, in his turn, is responsible for information Naval Authorities all of interest to them, including movements of aircraft.

7. To make arrangements for the collection and distribution of meteorological reports.

8. Actual combats with the enemy, bombing, mines observed, etc. To be immediately reported to the Senior Naval Officer, Senior A.I.O. and to Headquarters, U.S.N. Aviation.

The names of pilots and crews to be given in reports of action by aircraft against enemy.

Crashes with full names of pilots and crews, nature of injuries, if any, numbers and types of machines, to be immediately reported to Senior Air Officer and Headquarters, U.S.N. Aviation.

9. When reporting, the work “suspicious” should be used if doubtful; the word hostile” to be used only if known to be such.

The types and numbers of machines which fail to rise or come down through engine trouble, should be given in order that the appropriate authority at Headquarters may know of machines which fail, and take steps to alter or delete, as may be necessary. It is not necessary to give types or numbers of the machines which return from patrol with nothing to report.

A flight log is to be kept, and it is recommended that from all Stations, a message-“All flying finished for the day”--be signaled to the Senior A.I.O. and to Headquarters --Aviation.

     The A.I.O. is responsible to see that Stations to which machines may be flying are warned. Local arrangements should be made as to length of notice required. The arrival of machines should be reported to Station of departure.

     The A.I.O are recommended to arrange a message system by telephone. By this means a written message can be taken by the operator when the officer for whom it is intended is not present. The time of origin should end all messages, thus:-“2640”.

     It is also recommended that a system of test messages for exercise be adopted. Great care should be taken that the messages be preceded by the words”Test message”, and the body of the message should consist of something which cannot be mistaken for a real message. The words “mine”or “enemy submarine” must never be used on a test message, but such words as “wild goose”, “sea-gull” etc. should be substituted. By this means the passing of all information can be speeded up, and any point during its passage where delay occurs may be dealt with. Time of origin is the essence of this test.

Whether operation or administration, all messages must end with the time of origin in four figures, that is “1640”. It is desired to point out that secret messages may be passed over the ’phone in code, and exercises in slack times may usefully be passed in code.

The names of telephone operators, both transmitting and receiving should be written on the message form, and the actual time of receipt, so that responsibility for errors or delay may be fixed.

All telephone operators should be entitled to ask the name of the operator on the other end, and should in[s]ert it at the end of the message ona separate line, this:-

              Btown 1650”.

     A disposition list of aircraft showing machines ready at Station and machines allocated. Suggest that this information be collected, say, weekly from A.I.O. of Station and from Headquarters, U.S.N. Aviation. Specimen form in use at Admiralty is attached.2

     A record of mileage flown and total hours of flying. It is necessary for A.I.O.’s to make themselves thoroughly conversant with all codes in use. They should have readily accessible a list of the call signs of all Air Directional Findings (D/F) and other W/T Stations and also rules governing W/T organization. They should provide themselves with a plentiful supply of charts, maps and outline maps.

Charts showing outline of coast and their own and other Air Stations as may be necessary may be made by superimposing tracing paper upon a chart and hecktographing any number required, care being taken to get the latitude and longitude correctly marked. These will be found most useful for daily plottings, one copy for each day for filing and one or more to exchange with other A.I.Os.

/s/ E.H.CAROLAW3                

By direction.               

Source Note: DTS, DLC-MSS, Albert M. Cohen Papers, Box 2.

Footnote 1: George B. Yoemans. Although an original version of the referenced document has not been located, it is quoted in full below.

Footnote 2: This attachment is no longer with the document.

Footnote 3: Lt. E. H. Carolaw, R. F. was a member of the staff at Cone's headquarters in France.

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