Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Cornwall in the First World War

During this month, each weekday I'm posting a different image showing aspects of Cornwall's First World War.

Here's another photo from Royal Naval Air Station Mullion. This aeroplane is a Sopwith 1½ Strutter, its naval serial number N5624. Pilot and observer are aboard; ground crew prepare to start the 110 hp Clerget engine and release the wheel chocks. Behind is a windbreak protecting the mouth of Mullion's larger airship shed. 

In mid-April 1917 four 1½ Strutters arrived at Mullion, accompanied by Squadron Commander John T Cull DSO and three Flight Sub-Lieutenants. The aircraft was built in two versions: a two-seat fighter, and a single-seat bomber. Use of landplanes in the Duchy had been a second choice; the Royal Naval Air Service would have preferred water-based aircraft for its patrols off Cornwall, but at the time none were available.

A single Bessoneau canvas hangar was erected for the Sopwiths, near the main airship shed.  As well as anti-submarine flights, sometimes the aircraft were used for aerial photography. Over the summer of 1917 several more 1½ Strutters arrived at the station; by November though only two remained, the rest transferred to other duties.

My book, 'Cornwall In The First World War', is published by Truran. With 112 pages and 100 images, you'll find it in bookshops across the Duchy. It's also available through Amazon:

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