Fishguard's Great War Seaplanes, by Martin Hale

£11.99
Fishguard's Great War Seaplanes, by Martin Hale
Fishguard's Great War Seaplanes, by Martin Hale

Booklet published by Paterchurch in 2007, 48 pages. A5 size booklet (N5687)

From the rear side cover: The First World War seaplane station at Fishguard Harbour, Pembrokeshire, was in existence for barely two years and the exploits of the men and machines who flew from here are little known. Their biplane aircraft were little more than timber, fabric and wire, powered by engines that were at best of questionable reliability. Now, for the first time, the fascinating and at times tragic story of this short lived seaplane station has been told. Operations by Fishguard seaplanes over the Irish Sea and the South Western Approaches, and social activities involving the air-men, are detailed in an account that will appeal to the aviation enthusiast, historian and those with local interest alike.

From the introduction: The story of the Royal Naval Air Service Gater RAF) seaplane station at Fishguard really begins with the introduction of another weapon of war, namely the submarine and its increasingly indiscriminate use as the First World War progressed. Throughout the war the German submarine arm had been taking an ever more heavy toll of shipping around the shores of Britain and this was matched by even more strenuous efforts by the Admiralty to counter the threat. As a result a network of air stations, seaplane stations and airship stations sprang up around the shores of the British Isles in order to provide anti-submarine cover for shipping and convoys approaching and using the waters around the United Kingdom. RNAS Fishguard was one such station.

Although the aircraft of this period were slow, of doubtful reliability and able to carry pitifully small payloads - by modern standards - of offensive ordnance, the submarines of the day also suffered from weaknesses that aircraft were able to exploit. The submarines of this period were only able to run for relatively short lengths of time while submerged and at slow speeds at that. In order to recharge the batteries for their electric motors, used while submerged, and to achieve sufficient speed to catch surface shipping, submarines of the day were obliged to run on the surface, submerging only to attack or hide from danger.
This of course left them vulnerable to attack from the air, leaving the submarine in the position that it was unwise to remain surfaced when an aircraft was in the vicinity

From a defensive point of view it mattered little whether a submarine was attacked or not; if it could be forced to submerge its ability to threaten shipping was severely reduced. A submarine attacked and either damaged or sunk by an aircraft or airship was, at the time, very much seen as a bonus. Aircraft and airships could also be used to direct surface forces to the spot of any sighting, once again making it difficult for the submarine to carry out its mission effectively.

It is against this background that RNAS Fishguard came into being. It is hoped that this booklet will act as both an overdue historical record of the station's activities and as a tribute to the men and women who served there and who, on at least two occasions, gave their lives in the service of their country....


Condition of the booklet is generally excellent. The covers are clean and bright, the staple spine is intact and all pages are clean, intact, unblemished and tightly bound. There is an old price printed and a small price sticker on the rear side cover, and an inscription on the inside front cover in pen.
Condition New