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Farman Shorthorn

On this day 7 June 1915

Published: 07 Jun 2013

On the same reconnaissance flight as Rex Warneford, who destroyed LZ37 on 7 June 1915, were Flight Lieutenants  J P Wilson and J S Mills in Farman Shorthorns. They completed the original mission, bombing the airship shed at Evere. 

In February 1915 the Berlin-based company Arthur Müller Ballonhallenbau finished the construction of a zeppelin hangar at Evere. Flight Sub-Lieutenants J.S. Mills amd J P Wilson bombed the hangar and destroyed the LZ 38 airship that had been forced to return to the airfield with technical problems. The zeppelin hangar that was partly consumed by fire was repaired within two months, but it would never again be used to shelter airships. Mills and Wilson were awarded DSCs.

 The following report appeared in Flight 18 June 1915

The Success of Flight-Lieutenants Wilson and Mills

From information which has now come to hand, it appears that there was in fact a Zeppelin inside the shed at Evere, near Brussels, which was bombed by Flight Lieutenants Wilson and Mills on the 7th. Information received by the Telegraaf from Brussels stated that it was a Parseval, but a later message said that the destroyed airship was the LZ 38, one of the latest Zeppelins. The Handehblad stated that seven big railway trucks conveyed the debris of the burnt Zeppelin back to Germany. Le Temps, on Saturday, printed the following account of the successful attack from an eyewitness who had just arrived in Paris from Brussels :—

"Favoured by a mist, the Allied aviator arrived over the town, but as soon as he was perceived he was violently but unsuccessfully shelled by German guns.

"The aeroplane was manoeuvring very high and slowly in wide circles, as if striving to locate exactly the position of the hangar. Meanwhile, the Germans tried to get out the dirigible, which was not a Parseval, but a Zeppelin airship. Hardly had it emerged more than a few yards when the aviator was suddenly seen to dive straight down within a few hundred yards of the shed and drop three bombs, which exploded with a terrific noise. A few seconds later the airship blew up with a still louder report, while huge tongues of flame shot into the air from the blazing hangar. "Besides the Zeppelin, five Taubes [aircraft] in the shed were burnt, and nineteen German soldiers were killed."

LZ38 had had  its first flight on 3 April 1915. Its first bombing raid on London was on 31 May 1915; it had other successful raids on Ipswich, Ramsgate and Southend (twice).

Copyright image of Wilson, Mills and Warneford at St Pol can be viewed (but not downloaded) here

Flight Lieutenant J. P. Wilson was a pupil at the Vickers School at Brooklands, and obtained his certificate on June 8th, 1914. He was mentioned in Admiralty despatches early in April 1914 for dropping bombs on submarines at Zeebrugge.
Flight Lieutenant J. S. Mills entered the RNAS 27 November 1914. He was instructed at the Grahame-White School, Hendon, obtaining his pilot certificate on January 26th 1915.


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