23 July 2024 Military Aviation » Accidents - Military » 1910 - 1919  

08.07.17 F.B.A. *   Seaplane departed at 10:17 to search for a submarine in the vicinity of a convoy. Crew signalled convoy around 45 miles SE of Valletta about the submarine in the area. A message was also picked up by W/T:- “Do not know my position, trying to pick a ship”, and later “Forced to land S.O.S.”.

The convoy was the French hospital ship Duguay Trouin escorted by T.B.s Arc and Arquebuse. Whilst zig-zagging, they noticed a seaplane approaching them, bearing Italian colours, overflying them and flying out of sight, but returned a few minutes later, descending to within 30 meters of the Arquebuse, the pilot signalling to the T.B.’s.

Arquebuse then transmits to the Duguay Trouin:- “Incomplete signal from seaplane. ‘Submarine in vicinity change your course’”. After another message from the seaplane about the submarine location, the ship received another message stating the plane crew were lost and trying to pick a ship.

Initial fears that the crew may have sunk with the machine were dismissed after being learnt that the crew had drifted towards the Tunisian coast by a south-easterly wind, and captured by local Arabs.

* Franco-British Aviation.
30.07.17 Short Seaplane R.N.A.S. 9072 The seaplane departed at 06:04 for long distance patrol to the north, with orders to check position by the Sicilian coast before making a course for home.

At 07:22 shortly after reaching the Sicilian coast, technical problems forced the pilot to land (on the water). The reports by the observer’s W/T signals were all received (in Malta), and two Motor Launches were sent out to his assistance.

In the meantime, the pilot was able to get ashore at Cape Scalambri, but owing to the rocks, and the fact he could only get untrained local assistance, the machine suffered some damage.

The motor launch reached the machine at 13:15, but because they carried no W/T, were unable to send any messages to base.

At 16:15, and with no news of what had happened, another Short Seaplane, serial 9035, was sent out to make a search. Eventually, 9035 spotted 9072 being towed to Kalafrana.

It was 19:50 before the motor launches towing the seaplane entered Marsaxlokk Bay. This incident emphasised the necessity for crews to carry both food and water.
06.08.17 Short Seaplane R.N.A.S. 9053 Pilot forced to make a water landing to make some adjustments, but experienced considerable difficulty in getting airborne due to heavy swell. Aircraft received unspecified damage during the take-off.
07.08.17 Curtiss flying boat * R.N.A.S. 3561 Unable to conduct patrol on due to heavy swell. * Probably a Curtiss H-4 "Small America".
11.08.17 Short seaplane R.N.A.S. 9053 Unable to conduct patrol on due to heavy swell.
20.08.17 F.B.A. R.N.A.S. N1077 Aircraft airborne at 08:10 hrs to investigate presence of submarine, reported by a convoy, 30 miles S.E. of Malta.

The pilot proceeded to a point 33 miles to the S.E., spotting the submarine 3 miles ahead of the convoy, which immediately submerged, leaving an oily patch on the surface.

The pilot dropped a 65-lb bomb on the anticipated position of the submarine, then flew on an east-north/easterly direction. The pilot, on catching up with the convoy, landed on the water (despite the swell) to signal position of submarine. The first trawler was unable to read the signal by semaphore *, which read “SUBMARINE 7 MILES AHEAD OF YOU STEERING S.E., ALTER COURSE”, but was picked by another ship.

The pilot managed to get airborne in the rough swell, but the roughness of the swell caused a bad petrol leak. The pilot just managed to make it back to Harbour before being overcome by the fumes.

* A semaphore was a means of transmitting signals by such means as lamps or flags.
24.09.17 Short Seaplane   9072 Crashed. Cause, and location, unknown.
16.02.18 Short Seaplane   N1493 Forced to return from patrol by bad weather.
18.02.18 Short Seaplane   N1493 Forced to return due to engine trouble.
20.03.18 Short Seaplane   N1502 Forced to return early due to engine trouble.
29.03.18 Short Seaplane   N1504 Forced to return early from patrol due to storm.
15.03.18 Short Seaplane   N1502 Forced to return early from convoy escort duties due to engine trouble.
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