Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Lieutenant Commander Walter A. Edwards, Aviation Section, Staff of Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, to Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels

[Extract]

CONFIDENTIAL.

8 November 1918.

A-7.  47161.

From:  Force Commander.

To  :  Secretary of the Navy (Operations – Aviation)

SUBJECT:  WEEKLY OPERATIONS REPORT – WEEK ENDING NOVEMBER 8,1918.

          1. The absence of any confirmation of submarine sightings along the French Coast of the Atlantic Ocean and in the Irish Channel serves further to indicate that all enemy submarines now on the high seas are making their way rapidly to their home ports. During this week there have been no sightings made by U.S.Naval Air Stations in Foreign Waters.

          2. In connection with the day raid over Pola On October 22, 1918, in which thirteen seaplanes from the U.S.Naval Air Station, Porto Corsini,Italy took part, Admiral P.Orsini, Inspector of Aviation, Royal <Italian> Navy has wired the Commanding Officer of the Porto Corsini Station congratulating him and all the pilots on the station on their audacious daylight operation. Commander Valli, Director Servizi Aeronautica Venezia has also telegraphed the Commanding Officer, Porto Corsini, communicating to him and all the pilots who took part in the action the congratulations of his Excellency the Commander-in-Chief.1

          3. The American flag was hoisted over the U.S. Naval Air Station, Treguier, France on November 1, 1918. The Station is now ready for operation with an equipment of eight HS-1 seaplanes. . . .

5.   It has been definitely decided to move the station equipment and personnel of the U.S.Naval Air Station at Dunkirk to Zeebrügge. The station equipment is being shipped on trucks and planes will be flown to the new station. Operations at Dunkirk will be entirely discontinued.

6.   Fifteen pilots are being trained at Malpensa, Italy in Caproni flying. Up to October 28,1918, training has progressed as far as flying 300 H.P.type. flying the 450 and 600 H.P. machines constitutes the remainder of the course.

7.   FRENCH UNIT. Since the last report there have been nothing but routine activities on the French Stations. . . .

PAIMBOEUF. During September 22 flights were made in dirigibles Nos.P2, P3 and P4 in a total of 145 hours 59 minutes flying. French reports for this period show the total of 258 hours 03 minutes flying done by dirigibles in this area. The total dirigible patrol flights for all French stations, including the Mediterranean, the Ocean and Channel Groups amount in all to 1429 hours 40 minutes.

          On November 5, 1918 a Zodiac Vedette, B-5, was injured in a bad landing, The damage has not yet been determined. . . .

LOUGH FOYLE. In the week ending October 26,1918, on patrol and six convoy flights were made in a total flying time of 36 hours 02 minutes, an average per aircraft on the station of 8 hours 2 minutes. On October 24, 1918, a 6 hour and 2 minute patrol flight was made by Ensign Montgomery,USNRF.2 first pilot in an H-16. It is believed that this is a record for Irish Stations. Weather conditions vary rapidly at this time of the year, and several storms are often encountered on one patrol.

          On November 3,1918, direct hits were made on oil patches, no results being observed. The presence of submarines in the vicinity was not reported.

WEXFORD. In the week ending October 26, 1918, sixteen patrols and two convoy flights were made in a total of 44 hours 06 minutes, an average of 11 hours per aircraft on the station. In the week ending November2,1918, seven flights were made in a total of 27 hours 40 minutes, averaging 6 hours 55 minutes. In the month of October, in 23 days suitable for flying, 48 flights were made totaling 166 hours 41 minutes, an average of 3 hours 28 minutes. Ensign Lehan,3 USNRF, had the most time in the air, 63 hours 43 minutes. Forty-four patrols averaging 3 hours 36 minutes were made in this period. Two H-16’s are reported in commission.

QUEENSTOWN. In the week ending October 26,1918, fourteen patrols were made in 47 hours 39 minutes, an average per aircraft on the station of 19 hours 45 minutes. In the week ending October 2,1918, nine flights were made in 12 hours 08 minutes, an average per aircraft on the station of 6 hours 02 minutes. One H-16 is reported in commission.

WHIDDY ISLAND. In the week ending October 26,1918, four patrols were made in a total of 4 hours 40 minutes, an average of 2 hours 16 minutes per aircraft on the station.

  9. ENGLISH UNIT. Killingholme. In the month of October,1918, 125 flights were made in a total of 268 hours 33 minutes. The flights averaged 2 hours 15 minutes in duration and Lieutenant (jg) Paul Ives, USNRF, had the most time in the air of 39 hours. Sixty -nine patrols were made averaging 3 89/100 hours. As the result of the concentrationof German submarines in the North Sea the commissioning of all available planes at Dundee about 20 H-16’s are available for reconnaissance or patrol in an emergency. Sufficient pilots are being transferred to the station to keep all available seaplanes in operation. Two H-S1 <HS-1> seaplanes are being flown from Brest to Killingholme.

          It is reported that one machine while moored but for the night at Newhaven was damaged in a storm. The degree of injury is not yet determined.

10.  ITALIAN UNIT. Details of the raid over Pola by 13 seaplanes from the U.S.Naval Air Station, Porto Corsini, Italy in conjunction with 30 Italian planes, have come to hand. The first planes left Porto Corsini at 1 p.m. Five M-5’s reserved for a special patrol and two FBA’s maintained a patrol over the area over which destroyers cruised, the remaining machines taking active part in the raid. A line of destroyers across the Adriatic marked the course to the rendezvous of the Italian Machines, about 15 miles west of Pola, where the battle formation was made up. A slight haze gave only fair visibility and prevented the taking of very clear photographs .Reconnaissance and bomb dropping were carried on from an altitude of about 2,800 meters. Fires were started among buildings 200 meters from the hangars, and the woods to the east of the Aviation Station were observed to be in flames. Fourteen bombs of 24 kilograms each were dropped, and little inconvenience was caused by the haphazard barrage put up by the Austrians. There appeared to be no anti-aircraft fire directed against individual machines.

LAKE BOLSENA, In the week ending October 26, 1918 fourteen Machines were used by American pupils in 350 flights, amounting to 155 hours, 2 minutes. Two Naval Aviators and 55 Student Naval Aviators were on the station. . . .

/s/ W.A.Edwards.

By direction.

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B.

Footnote 1: Adm. Paolo Thaon di Revel, Italian Chief of Naval Staff and Commander-in-Chief, Italian Fleet.

Footnote 2: Ens. George Montgomery.

Footnote 3: Ens. Ralph A. Lehan.

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