Remembered Today:

Gardenerbill

100 Years ago this week in the Balkans

259 posts in this topic

ID: 251   Posted (edited)

In July 1917 the completion of Salonika to Athens railway and improvements to Bralo Itea road provided a new safer supply route and the first convoys started to use the new route, through France, Italy and mainland Greece.

 

Also in July 1917 the 18,000 Russian forces in the Balkans were reorganised into a Division.

 

the Bolsheviks overthrew the Kerensky government just as the (this happened in Novemebr 1917)

 

3rd August the 43rd, 134th,205th Siege batteries, 181st Heavy battery and a quantity of ammunition left for Egypt.

Edited by Gardenerbill
Factual error

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Sorry guys. The Bolos didn't overthrow Kerensky until November 1917 (NS). The July revolution was a failure and Lenin had to run for it.

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ID: 253   Posted (edited)

Interesting I'll check my source 

Source checked error was in my notes, thanks James.

Edited by Gardenerbill

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ID: 254   Posted (edited)

3rd DETACHED SQUADRON (SALONIKA AREA)

 

The military situation on the MACEDONIAN front remains unchanged.  The Royal Naval Air Service special bombing squadron proceeded to THERMI on the 30th July for operations in the vicinity of SMYRNA.

 

On the 1st August, 1,770 Ibs weight of bombs were dropped on the important railway workshops at HALKA BOUNAN, 2 miles east of SMYRNA; considerable damage was done, and a large fire started, which was seen to be still burning when the squadron was landing at THERMI, 60 miles distant.  I regret to report that one of the escorting machines (Pilot - Flight Lieutenant William H. Richardson - Observer - Midshipman John R. Barry, R.N.R.) failed to return.   

 

The aircraft was possibly Sopwith Strutter 9440S Type, Two seat fighter, N5615.  According to an eyewitness, Clifford Heathcote-Smith, (Head of British Intelligence, and apparently the most easily identified Englishman on Mitylene) one of the men jumped clear of the machine shortly before it crashed.  Both the deceased's watches were stopped at 8.20am

 

 

Edited by pete-c
Additional information.

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6th DETACHED SQUADRON (BULGARIAN COAST)

 

The enemy's aircraft were very active in this area and carried out numerous reconnaissance's and bomb attacks, the damage caused was, in the majority, slight. 

 

During the night of the 2nd/3rd August, and the morning of 3rd August, 5 attacks were made on the THASOS aerodrome.  The second of these attacks, when 4 incendiary and 15 high explosive bombs were dropped, did considerable damage, igniting a bomb dump, one Bessonneau and the petrol store.  Valuable and dangerous salvage work was done by the Greek aviators, R.M.L.I guard and Air Service, in spite of the continuous explosions of bombs.  Fortunately there were no casualties.

 

Lieutenant-Commander L.G. Moraitinis, in command of the Greek aviators, specially distinguished himself.  He also, on this night, engaged enemy machines on two occasions, driving one seaplane down on to the water near CAVALLA.

 

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Eastern Mediterranean Station

MUDROS

3rd August, 1917.

 

In view of the present shortage of modern reconnaissance and spotting machines and of personnel to meet the conditions now existing on the STRUMA front, a temporary re-organisation of the Air Service Units at THASOS and STAVROS has been made.  Spotting and reconnaissance machines with their escorts are concentrated at STAVROS using THASOS as an advanced Base when necessary, while THASOS is left with a Seaplane Station, for the purpose of Submarine patrols and intercepting Hostile aircraft, and with the Greek Bombing Flight of aeroplanes, all Units being under one Commanding Officer in close touch with S.O. 6th Detached Squadron and 80th Brigade.

 

 

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OPERATIONS IN TURKEY.

 

THERMI AIR STATION.  'B' and 'F' Squadron.

 

On 5th August the Squadron ['F'] was again sent out with orders to bomb a submarine reported in SMYRNA GULF, and if this could not be seen, to attack the Seaplane base at SANJAK KALE.  No S/M could be located and accordingly SANJAK Fort was well  bespattered with bombs.  Owing to high temperature and thin oil all machines experienced engine trouble and several made the return journey with difficulty.  This necessitated overhaul of engines which has thrown 'F' Squadron out of action for the time. [being.]

 

The usual patrol and reconnaissance work had meanwhile been carried on by 'B' Squadron.

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AEGEAN INTELLIGENCE SERVICE.

MITYLENE

8th August, 1917.

 

Loss of British machine over SMYRNA on August 1st.  Account of an eyewitness.   [See post #254]

 

7 aeroplanes were flying towards HALKA BUNAR when to my surprise I saw the highest one make a downward movement and when about 2,000 metres up turn towards MOUNT PAGUS (the hill crowned by the ruined Castle backing the town to the south)

Four shells were fired at her, but none hit her and the aeroplane was descending all the time.

Then suddenly when over a spot behind Mount Pagus called PALAIA KAMARA on the Boudja road the machine smashed down on to some rocks.  I saw one of the two aviators jump clear when only just above the ground.

As I was less than a mile away and the place was deserted I got a Turkish uniform and fez hoping to be able to spirit the aviator away.  On reaching the spot however I found the machine broken into a thousand pieces and one aviator dead by the side of it.  40 yards away lay the other, still warm but also dead; he was middle height and wearing black boots (demi-bottes); there was some Greek money in his pockets: his cap, a British Naval officers, was found nearby.

I made off a short distance and returned a little later as people were coming up - including Budeke and a German aide-de-camp in a car.

Among the wreckage they discovered a small blue leaved note book with many numbers entered in it, a revolver, a bronze coloured pistol with some red cartridges, 2 watches both stopped at 8.20 a.m., also the machine gun, its cartridges and some India rubber.

The aeroplane was marked No. 5615/W98 (A valve and a piece of wood from it taken by the eyewitness were sent out as proof).

The aviators, on Budeke's orders, were taken to Karantina Hospital the buried at the point cemetery on August 2nd after a big ceremony attended by German and Turkish officers.

 

Signed,  C. Heathcote-Smith.

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7th August 1917 a composite division of French 156th/57th regiments took the village of Pogradec in Eastern Albania.

17th August 1917 the Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders raid Bulgarian trenches on a hill 3m E of the Vardar and the 10th Irish Division withdraw from the Struma Sector in preparation for leaving Balkans.

18th August 1917 the ‘Great Fire’ that raged through half the city of Salonika began in the old quarter.

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