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BE2a aircraft
Wg Cdr Samson

On this day 27 August 1914

Published: 27 Aug 2013

First RNAS squadron deploys to Ostend

Eastchurch (Mobile) Squadron formed 8 August 1914 with 6 pilots. Bell-Davies, Dalrymple-Clark, Briggs, Sippe, Samson (Commanding Officer) and Beever. The squadron was equipped with Short S38, BE2a, TB8, Sopwith Tractor and DFW aircraft. It deployed to Ostend Racecourse on 27 August 1914 becoming the first squadron to deploy in WW1. It became No3 Squadron when it moved to St Pol 1 September 1914.

The object of the deployment was reconnaissance of ‘an area of about 30 miles around Ostend and to attack any enemy aircraft found, in support of the Marine brigade which had been landed there. On the1st September, an Admiralty telegram told Samson to remain at Dunkirk to operate against Zeppelins and enemy aeroplanes. Churchill wanted Zeppelins destroyed in their bases to pre-empt an attack on London or the south coast of England. This led directly to the raid in which Zeppelin LZ25 (Z.IX) was destroyed in its shed at Dusseldorf by RNAS Sopwith Tabloid flown by Flight Lieutenant Reginald Leonard George Marix on 9 October 1914.


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