The Forum is administered separately from the rest of the website - please log in below to post
  New Posts New Posts RSS Feed - The Story of a North Sea Air Station
  FAQ FAQ  Forum Search   Events   Register Register  Login Login

The Story of a North Sea Air Station

 Post Reply Post Reply Page  12>
Author
David Seymour View Drop Down
Groupie
Groupie


Joined: 16 Jul 2009
Status: Offline
Points: 57
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote David Seymour Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: The Story of a North Sea Air Station
    Posted: 19 May 2010 at 20:13

Does anyone have a copy of C.F. Snowden Gamble, The Story of a North Sea Air Station?  If you do have a copy please could you let me know if it has anything to say about the relationship between RNAS Gt Yarmouth and HMT Kingfisher? 

Grateful, as always, for any assistance.

With best wishes,
David

Back to Top
NickForder View Drop Down
Senior Member
Senior Member


Joined: 01 Jun 2009
Location: Bolton
Status: Offline
Points: 1369
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NickForder Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 May 2010 at 08:13
David
I do have a copy, but not to hand, so it will be early next week before I can get back to you.
 
I assume that your interest comes from Henry Allingham's involvement with Kingfisher ?
 
Kingfisher was an armed trawler and, as Yarmouth was a noted fishing port awash with drifters and trawlers (it is claimed that you could cross the harbour without getting your feet wet when the fleet was in), I would think that it is likely that it was impressed for the purpose, if the scheme was 'official', and diverted from patrol work if it was not.
 
I assume that the Schneider came from Yarmouth, and so I guess it won't be too difficult to identify a likely serial number.
 
Have you looked at Dick Cronin's Air-Britain book for possible details ?
Nick
Back to Top
NickForder View Drop Down
Senior Member
Senior Member


Joined: 01 Jun 2009
Location: Bolton
Status: Offline
Points: 1369
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NickForder Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 May 2010 at 08:17
Grimsby & Cleethorpes absent voters register for 1918 includes :
 
LANGFORD, Steven Charles
153 King Edward Street
H.M.T. Kingfisher, D.A.281 (2nd Hand)
Back to Top
NickForder View Drop Down
Senior Member
Senior Member


Joined: 01 Jun 2009
Location: Bolton
Status: Offline
Points: 1369
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NickForder Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 May 2010 at 10:10

HMT Kingfisher

As it was known, probably via wireless interceptions, that German airship commanders liked to make landfall before dark, it was thought that is fast seaplanes could be positioned 50-60 miles east of the English coast there was a possibility of intercepting the airships during daylight.

In early May 1915 drifter HMT (His Majesty’s Trawler) Kingfisher was one of four trawlers purchased by the Admiralty and equipped for carrying a seaplane, by fitting a platform aft. The other ships were Cantatrice, Jerico and Sir John French. The Christopher was added slightly later. In 1916 paddle steamer ferry boats Brocklesbury and Killingholme, each carrying two Sopwiths, were added to the ‘fleet’ engaged on these duties. The advantages of the paddle steamers was their lower draught (5-6 feet, as opposed to the 17 feet of Kingfisher) and so it was thought that these would be safer from mines or torpedo attack (however, Killigholme was sunk by a torpedo).

Kingfisher was a 304 ton vessel, armed with one 12 pounder and one 6 pounder gun.

Officers from RNAS Great Yarmouth spent weeks patrolling in the vicinity of the Haaks light vessel (light vessels were a useful navigation point for airship commanders). Lt Curzon RNR commanded Kingfisher in 1915-1916 (probably Ernest Bassett Lowthian Curzon, Temporary Lt 27.10.1914; had moved to ‘Special Service’, i.e. Q-ships, by 1.4.1918) Although seaplanes were launched on many calm nights in 1915 and 1916 (and, possibly, as late as 1917), no German airships were ever spotted. Kingfisher undertook anti-airship patrols at least between June 1916 and May 1916, but the other vessels operated seaplanes for brief periods only between these dates.

Seaplanes were launched an hour before dusk, and patrolled an area of 10-15 miles radius of the ship. The seaplanes would then land before dark. Further take-offs at dawn would search for returning airships.

Type

Serial

Embarked

Notes

Sopwith Schneider

1446

June 1915

Embarked/ To Great Yarmouth

5.6.1915/7.6.1915

22.6.1915/22.6.1915

26.6.1915/28.6.1915

9.7.1915/9.7.1915

10.7.1915/10.7.1915

11.7.1915/12.7.1915

Sopwith Schneider

1558

May 1915

Embarked 21.5.1915. To Felixstowe 21.5.1915

Sopwith Schneider

3710

August 1915

Embarked/ To Great Yarmouth

13.8.1915/ 15.8.1915

17.8.1915/ 19.8.1915

Sopwith Schneider (Modified)

3715

August 1915

Embarked/ to Great Yarmouth

20.8.1915/ 21.8.1915

Sopwith Schneider

3720

September 1915

Embarked/ Great Yarmouth

16.9.1915/ 18.9.1915

Sopwith Schneider

3723

September 1915

Embarked/ Great Yarmouth

12.9.1915/ 15.9.1915

Sopwith Baby

8120

November 1915

Embarked/ Great Yarmouth

28.11.1915/ 29.11.1915

28.1.1916/ 30.1.1916

Sopwith Baby

8139

March 1916, April 1916

Embarked/ Great Yarmouth

31.3.1916/ 1.4.1916

Sopwith Baby

8150

May 1916

Embarked/ Great Yarmouth

31.5.1916/ 31.5.1916

Sopwith Baby

8157

March 1916

Embarked/ Great Yarmouth

5.3.1916/ 7.3.1916

Sopwith Baby

8173

April 1916

Embarked 26.4.1916 & 29.4.1916

Sopwith Baby

8156

Unconfirmed

Accepted 27.1.1916. Wrecked while being hoisted aboard HMT Cantarice 23.3.1916. No record of C1.4.1918service from Kingfisher.

Sopwith Baby

8164

April 1916

Embarked 28.4.1916. To HMPS Brocklesby 29.4.1916

 

Name

Rank

Seniority

Date Embarked

Curzon (Ernest Bassett Lowthian ?)

Temporary Lieutenant

27.10.1914

1915-1916

Wood, Henry Ernest

Temporary Chief Warrant Engineer, RNR

1.1.1918

C1.4.1918

Walthew, Fred

Temporary Assistant Paymaster, RNR

3.7.1918

C1.4.1918

Cadby, Alfred Fred

Temporary Assistant Paymaster, RNR

1.3.1915

C1.4.1918

Peach, Reginald Henry

Temporary Assistant Paymaster, RNR (Acting Paymaster)

29.1.1915

C1.4.1918

McNab, Arnold Ernest

Temporary Lieutenant, RNR

27.9.1915

C1.4.1918

Hill, Walter

Temporary Lieutenant, RNR

6.11.1916

C1.4.1918

Young, Richard Brightman

Temporary Lieutenant, RNR

21.1.1917

C1.4.1918

Muir, Allan Thompson

Temporary Lieutenant, RNR

8.2.1917

C1.4.1918

Waller, William Alfred

Temporary Lieutenant, RNR

28.1.1918

C1.4.1918

May, James Winbury

Temporary Engineering Sub Lieutenant, RNR

28.3.1917

C1.4.1918

Buchan, Andrew

Temporary Skipper, RNR

27.5.1915

C1.4.1918

Prynne, Douglas Gordon

Temporary Lieutenant, RNVR

15.10.1915

C1.4.1918

Ridley, Walter

Temporary Lieutenant, RNVR

6.12.1916

C1.4.1918

Ham, Henry George

Temporary Sub Lieutenant, RNVR

30.7.1917

C1.4.1918

Nicholl, V

Flight Sub Lieutenant

 

6.1915, 7.1915, 8.1915, 9.1915, 11.1915, 3.1916

Smith, HB

Flight Sub Lieutenant

 

8.1916, 9.1916

Bittles, GH

Flight Sub Lieutenant

 

4.1916, 5.1916

Cadbury, E

Flight Sub Lieutenant

 

12.1915, 1.1916, 2.1916, 3.1916, 4.1916

Ireland, WP de Courcy

Flight Commander

 

6.1915

Hards, FDG

Flight Lieutenant

 

Service on Kingfisher not confirmed

Halstead, FN

Flight Sub Lieutenant

 

Service on Kingfisher not confirmed

Wood, TGC

Flight Sub Lieutenant

 

Service on Kingfisher not confirmed

Beare, SC

Flight Sub Lieutenant

 

Service on Kingfisher not confirmed

 

Date

Pilot

Aircraft

Notes

17-18 August 1915

FSL CH Chichester-Smith

Schneider 3710

Hostile aircraft patrol. No sighting

8-9 September 1915

Flt Lt V Nicholl

Schneider 3723

Brief patrol at last light. No sighting.

9 December 1915

FSL E Cadbury

Schneider 3723

Crashed on take-off and completely wrecked. Recovered by Kingfisher. Pilot unhurt.

31 March to 1 April 1916

FSL E Cadbury

Baby 8139

 

26 April 1918

FSL GH Bittles

Baby 8173

Hostile aircraft patrol

6 July 1916

FSL CJ Galpin

Baby 8173

Capsized on take off. Pilot unhurt. Engine salved. Deleted 15.7.1916

31 July 1916

 

 

Brocklesbury, with two seaplanes embarked, and Kingfisher left Great Yarmouth at 6:20 pm, and by 7:35 pm were by Cross Sand buoy, and by Cross Sand light vessel by 8:20 pm. Brocklesbury launched a seaplane, but failed to make a contact. The seaplane crashed on landing but was recovered by Kingfisher.

 

On 31 May 1916 there were no airship raids, but there was airship activity in support of German High Seas Fleet operations. These, however, were severely curtailed due to poor weather.

Kingfisher was renamed Adele in 1918, and sold in 1919 to become LT19 Adele of the Lowestoft fishing fleet.

Kingfisher's role at Jutland is somewhat questionable, and thus the accuracy of Henry Allingham's published account is doubtful also. Certainly, the aircraft embarked at the time was a Sopwith Baby (8150), and not a Schneider as he recalled specifically. Also, a preliminary search of Jutland records reveals no mention of Kingfisher at all. My suspicion is that Kingfisher put to sea on 31 May 1916 in expectation of making an airship interception as it was known that Zeppelins were active at the time. What was not known is that airship activity was related to High Seas Fleet operations and not bombing. Thus it may be true that Kingfisher was involved in Jutland-related operations, but was not involved in Jutland itself. Being based at Yarmouth, Kingfisher was simply inthe wrong place (and too slow) to be involved with the main formations. There is a possible link with the Harwich Force, though its involvement was quite late in the battle and I believe that Kingfisher was already at sea by then (and it was too slow to operate with a destroyer force). I rather think that Allingham's published testimony has been influenced by the interpretation placed on it by conversation/ correspondence with later historians. However, I'm still looking at Jutland records in greater depth before making any assertions.    

Unfortunately, Cronin implies that he found no information on anti-airship patrols in Kingfisher’s PRO files after mid-May 1916.
 
References (other than those relating to Jutland) :

The Story of a North Sea Air Station, CF Snowdon Gamble

Royal Navy Shipboard Aircraft Developments 1912-1921, Dick Cronin

Royal Navy Aircraft Serials 1911-1919, R Sturtivant & G Page

Before the Aircraft Carrier, RD Layman

Sopwith Aircraft, Mick Davis

Back to Top
NickForder View Drop Down
Senior Member
Senior Member


Joined: 01 Jun 2009
Location: Bolton
Status: Offline
Points: 1369
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NickForder Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 May 2010 at 14:10
From a report from Galatea at 2.25 p.m. it was evident that the enemy force was considerable, and not merely an isolated unit of light cruisers, so at 2.45 p.m. I ordered Engadine (Lieutenant-Commander C. G. Robinson) to send up a seaplane and scout to N.N.E. This order was carried out very quickly, and by 3.8 p.m. a seaplane, with Flight-Lieutenant F. J. Rutland, R.N., as pilot, and Assistant Paymaster G. S. Trewin, R.N., as observer, was well under way; her first reports of the enemy were received in Engadine about 3.30 p.m. Owing to clouds it was necessary to fly very low, and in order to identify four enemy light cruisers the seaplane had to fly at a height of 900 ft. within 3,000 yards of them, the light cruisers opening fire on her with eve gun that would bear. This in no way interfered with the clarity of their reports, and both Flight-Lieutenant Rutland and Assistant Paymaster Trewin are to be congratulated on their achievement, which indicates that seaplanes under such circumstances are of distinct value.
Admiral Beatty’s Despatch on the Battle of Jutland, HMS Lion
19th June, 1916

Seaplane carrier (Rosyth):
HMS Engadine, Lt.Commander C.G. Robinson (4 Short Type 184 seaplanes)
Planned to be ready to attack Zeppelins off the Horns Reef on 1st June 1916, where the ships would be escorted by light cruisers and destroyers.

 


 
Back to Top
NickForder View Drop Down
Senior Member
Senior Member


Joined: 01 Jun 2009
Location: Bolton
Status: Offline
Points: 1369
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NickForder Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 May 2010 at 09:32
Grand Fleet operations were planned for 1/2 June 1916, but these were forestalled by High Seas Fleet activity. The Royal Navy had intended to place the seaplane carrier Engadine, escorted by light cruisers and destroyers, in a position ready to launch seaplanes against Zeppelins operating in the Horn Reef area. 
 
Jutland : An Analysis of the Fighting, John Campbell
Back to Top
NickForder View Drop Down
Senior Member
Senior Member


Joined: 01 Jun 2009
Location: Bolton
Status: Offline
Points: 1369
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NickForder Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 May 2010 at 09:40
Lieutenant Charles Ermest Bassett Lowthian Curzon, RNR, did assume command of Kingfisher from 11 May 15.

In the November 1917 list, Skipper Andrew Buchan, RNR, is noted as commanding Kingfisher from 14 April 1917, though the April 1918 list (see my posting of yesterday) does list a number of officers on Kingfisher's establishment who were ranked higher than Buchan. Also, this does seem like a lot of officers for one small drifter...
Back to Top
NickForder View Drop Down
Senior Member
Senior Member


Joined: 01 Jun 2009
Location: Bolton
Status: Offline
Points: 1369
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NickForder Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 May 2010 at 13:07
Lowestoft, Ships Drifter / Trawler LT 19 Adele (formerly HMT Kingfisher)  1300/72/42/31  1934-1957

Former reference: SHI/72SHI/73 SHI/74 SHI/75

Mounted on cardboard

Contents:
4 photographs. Coming into the harbour
 
Suffolk Records Office, Lowestoft
 
Back to Top
David Seymour View Drop Down
Groupie
Groupie


Joined: 16 Jul 2009
Status: Offline
Points: 57
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote David Seymour Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 May 2010 at 20:48

Nick,

Thank you very much for taking so much trouble and finding all of this material.  I have read it all with interest and been reassured in my conclusions.  There are certainly some intriguing puzzles contained in Henry Allingham’s account.  I have based my conclusions on similar material (D. Cronin, Royal Navy Shipboard Aircraft Developments 1912-1921, and R Sturtivant & G Page, Royal Navy Aircraft Serials 1911-1919 in addition to various Jutland books [Corbett Official History, Jones Official History, Gordon Rules of the Game, Macintyre Jutland, Yates Flawed Victory, Campbell Jutland – An analysis of the fighting, Steel and Hart, Jutland, Marder From Dreadnought to Scapa Flow] all of which mention Engadine but none of which mention Kingfisher).

A simple comparison of times of events is instructive, if Allingham’s memory of this sequence beginning on Sunday is correct.  According to Allingham’s account he was summoned to the Kingfisher at lunchtime on Sunday [which was 28 May] and set sail in her during the evening of that day.  Scheer did not order the High Seas Fleet to assume a state of special readiness until 2302 hrs that same day.  On the next day [29 May] Allingham tells us that he discovered that Kingfisher was to rendezvous with the Grand Fleet and he reports that on the same evening, as “the entire might of the British Navy steamed past”, Kingfisher made that rendezvous [Jellicoe was still anchored in Scapa on 29 May - Jellicoe and Beatty were warned by the Admiralty at noon on 30 May that Scheer would probably put to sea early on 31 May and by 2230 on 30 May Jellicoe and Jerram were clear of Scapa and Cromarty and by 2300 Beatty had left Rosyth.].  According to Allingham, the next day was 31 May [rather than 30 May] and the German fleet was spotted just before dawn, whereas Galatea’s “enemy in sight” was not sent until 1420.

The question arises about which force Allingham saw, for he seems quite clear that he saw warships.  The two forces available for him to see relatively close to Gt. Yarmouth and possible Kingfisher patrol areas, on 31 May and 1 June, were Bradford’s Third Battle Squadron which left the Swin for the Black Deep Light Vessel at 1700 on 31 May and the Harwich Force which, much to Tyrwhitt’s disappointment, was not released by the Admiralty until 0252 on 1 June and was away by 0350.  Could Kingfisher have come across either of these as she patrolled for a Zeppelin?  If she met Tyrwhitt how is the presence of the Baby at Gt. Yarmouth on 31 May explained?  Only the logs of the ships concerned can answer this.  I will have to visit Kew. 

It seems clear that Allingham had some Jutland connected experience but what that was is still unclear.  The other mystery is who fired on the Kingfisher and when. 

David

 

Back to Top
NickForder View Drop Down
Senior Member
Senior Member


Joined: 01 Jun 2009
Location: Bolton
Status: Offline
Points: 1369
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NickForder Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 May 2010 at 09:04
David
The Harwich Force did set sail twice inthis period. It had been held back due to concerns about a possible attack onhte Thames or in the Channel, but an impatiant Tyrwhitt (OC Harwich Force) sailed on his own initiative at 5:12 pm, having requested Admiralty permission and received no reply. 30 minutes later the Admiralty ordered him to return. As you note, the Harwich Force was released later, but it was 3:50 am on 1 June before they left Harwich, and this was too late to take an active role in the battle. The Force's contribution seems to be confined to screening the damaged HMS Marlborough.
 
Derek White & John Goble's 'Jutland - The Air Factor' (The '14-'18 Journal) is downloadable as a pdf but, again, fails to mention Kingfisher.
 
I think that there is a great danger of placing too much reliance on the exactness of memory after a very long period, and I do wonder how much of what is presented as Henry Allingham's coherent recollections are really the product of conversations with, and suggestions from, the people who discussed his life experiences with him.  Such are the problems of using oral history testimony without backing it up with other research. This is why no trained historian will use oral history in isolation.      
 
I have no doubt that Allingham served on Kingfisher, but I remain unsure about any of the details.
 
I would hope that the various PRO files quoted by Dick Cronin as references will provide the information we seek, but he does imply that the information contained within the files he consulted does not cover the operations of Kingfisher after mid-May 1916.
 
I don't know if Bittles' logbook still exists ? I know that Galpin's was auctioned off afew years back.
Nick
Back to Top
 Post Reply Post Reply Page  12>
  Share Topic   

Forum Jump Forum Permissions View Drop Down

Forum Software by Web Wiz Forums® version 10.03
Copyright ©2001-2011 Web Wiz Ltd.
find us on Facebook Follow us on TwitterGrab our news feed