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The East Indies & Egypt seaplane squadron during WWI compiled by H.B. Buck RNR (Australia)

Date: 1916 - 1919
255 x 210 mm
Medium: Paper album, silver gelatin photographs, ink on paper.
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Photograph album
Object No: 00007425

User Terms

    This photograph album and enclosed photos belonged to Sub Lieutenant H.B. Buck. He compiled it during WWI whilst on duty with the East Indies and Egypt Seaplane Squadron. This squadron was primarily based in Egypt during WWI and was comprised of the sea carriers HMS BEN-MY-CHREE, HMS ANNE, HMS RAVEN II and HMS EMPRESS.
    SignificanceThis album is an extraordinary visual record of a WWI naval operation the Middle East. In addition to photographs of early sea plane carriers who were still in their developmental stages, there are images recording the shelling and sinking of HMS BEN-MY-CHREE and its subsequent raising three years later and life at bases during the war.
    HistoryThe East Indies and Egypt Seaplane Squadron was formed in January 1916 and was the Royal Navy's first carrier squadron. The squadron was initially under the command of Squadron Commander Cecil L'Estrange and its primary duty was to watch Turkish positions and movements in southern Palestine and the Sinai. L'Estrange was later replaced in 1916 by Squadron Commander Charles Samson who already had a notable history with the Royal Naval Air service having being the first pilot to take off from a British warship. The flagship of the squadron was HMS BEN-MY-CHREE. She was joined by HMS ANNE, HMS RAVEN II and HMS EMPRESS to form the squadron and all were converted packet ships and freighters. Each ship had aircraft hangers installed and cranes which were used to raise and lower the planes for take off and after landing.
    Under the command of Samson the squadron's "...aircraft from his carriers operated all along the coast of the east Mediterranean from Salonika to the Libyan border, throughout the Red Sea, and even into the Indian Ocean while engaged in the search for the German raider WOLF. They conduced reconnaissance missions throughout the area, often far inland, and bombed port facilities and ships along with depots, troop concentrations, and supply lines. The squadron's aircraft made a concentrated effort to disrupt lines of communication by attacking bridges, railroad lines, and station facilities. They also provided support T.E. Lawrence's Arab irregulars, operating both in the Red Sea and off the Palestine Coast." ("Aircraft Carriers: An illustrated history of their impact. By Paul E Fontenoy. ABC - CLIO 2006).

    Additional Titles

    Collection title: Rice collection

    Assigned title: The East Indies & Egypt seaplane squadron during WWI compiled by H.B. Buck RNR (Australia)

    Related People
    Photographer: H.B. Buck

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