17 May 1915

GALLIPOLI - Flight Commander Reginald Marix and his observer Charles Samson were involved in an interesting mission on 17 May 1915. That morning Marix had noticed an unusual degree of activity at the port sighting four transports and several smaller craft visibly unloading stores and troops at the small port of Ak Bashi Liman.

Photograph: Taken by Squadron Commander Charles Samson on 17 May.

He also saw a large camp filled with soldiers further inland. He returned in the afternoon with Samson as his observer. They took the opportunity to try out a new aircraft as Samson would later recall.

"On May 17th Marix had his big Breguet ready for action. As our principle objective with this aeroplane was an attack on Constantinople, we had to test it out well before allowing the attempt to be made, so in order to see what it could do I made one of my infrequent trips as passenger. We carried no less than one 100-lb and fourteen 20-lb bombs, and also a Lewis gun, a pretty formidable amount for those days. Off we set with the idea of giving Ak Bashi Liman a look-over. Arriving there, we found the place a scene of great activity. We let go all our bombs and created complete panic, and also did a lot of damage. I have since talked with Turks who were actually on the spot at the time, and they all said that we put a complete stop to work for two days, as the labourers fled to the hills. The loss of life was severe, thirteen killed and forty-four wounded. Marix and I came back delighted with the Breguet; but rather doubtful if the engine was reliable enough as it was missing fire most of the time." (Squadron Commander Charles Samson, No. 3 Squadron, Royal Naval Air Service)

 The two then carried out a more detailed reconnaissance and when their reports reached the GHQ it was concluded that a new Turkish division (it was the 2nd Division) was in transit and would be launching an attack on Anzac in the near future. Warnings reached the trenches on 18 May and as a ressult the Turks would be slaughtered when they launched mass attacks on the early morning of 19 May.


C. R. Samson, Fights and Flights: A memoir of the Royal Naval Air Service in World War I, (Nashvill: The Battery Press, 1990), pp. 241-242