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Seaton Carew II Aerodrome in the Great War - The Wartime Memories Project -

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Seaton Carew II Aerodrome

1st May 1916 A Flight, 36(HD) Squadron move  Edinburgh was attacked by Zeppelins on 2nd/3rd April 1916 and 13 people had been killed. In May 1916 a detachment from 36 Squadron was dispatched from Cramlington to Turnhouse, Edinburgh to provide an independent Home Defence flight covering the Forth. A second detachment was sent to cover the Tees area and 'A' Flight from Cramlington went to the newly built RFC Seaton Carew I airfield, near Hartlepool. The airfield occupied 72 acres and provided two HD pattern airplane sheds in coupled formation and two Bessonneau hangers.

Due to the comparative lack of enemy activity, No 36 Sqn was given the task of training night flying aircrew for other squadrons as well as its patrol work.

8th June 1916   The training role of 36 Squadron ended in June 1916, when the training aircraft and some personnel were transferred to become No 58 (Training) Squadron, also based at Cramlington aerodrome.

No.36 Squadron then concentrated on its Home Defence role. At this time A flight was at Seaton Carew and B flight at Hylton. C flight remained at Cramlington to undertake wireless trials, testing direct communication between the aircraft and ground units.

27th Nov 1916 Zeppelin Raids on Britain  A Zeppelin raid on the night of the 27th–28th of November 1916 targeted the Midlands and North East England. Nine Navy airships took part. The bombing was largely ineffective, killing 4, injuring 37 and causing £12,482 damage and two airships were shot down by the defending aircraft.

L34 crossed the North East coast at 23.30, and dropped thirteen high explosive bombs at the Elwick searchlight battery, which missed, destroying a cow shed and injuring two cows. More seriously the L34 then raided West Hartlepool, sixteen high explosive bombs killing four and injuring eleven more, as well as wrecking houses and demolishing a grandstand at West Hartlepool football stadium. 2nd Lt Ian Pyott of 36 Squadron, took off from Seaton Carew aerodrome in BE2c 2738 and chased Zeppelin L34, which was coned by searchlights, across the skies over Hartlepool and succeeded in shooting it down using incendiary bullets. The airship crashed in flames and fell into the sea about 1,800 yards offshore from the Heugh Lighthouse on the Hartlepool headland, the wreckage burning on the water for some time. 2Lt. Pyott was awarded a Distinguished Service Order for his actions and a plaque on the entrance gates to Seaton Park, commemorates the event. All the Zeppelin crew were killed, two bodies were later washed up, but identification proved impossible, they were buried with military honours in Seaton Carew Cemetery. L34 which had set off from Nordholz in Germany, was captained by Max Dietrich, the uncle of the singer and actress Marlene Dietrich. An another member of the crew was Hermann Pufahl, the father of two small children.

L21 was attacked by three aircraft near Yarmouth. Flt Sub-Lt. Edward Pulling was credited with the victory and awarded a DSO, the other pilots receiving the DFC

The following day a single LVG CIV made the first German aeroplane raid on London, hoping to hit the Admiralty, six 10 kg (22 lb) fell between Victoria station and the Brompton Road. There were no further raids in 1916.

10th Aug 1917 A Flight 36(HD) Squadron RFC redesignated  At RFC Seaton Carew II, A Flight 36(HD) Squadron RFC was redesignated as C Flight.

1st Sep 1917 War Flight RNAS/RFC take over new seaplane base.  The first aircraft of the War Flight arrived at RFC Seaton Carew II in County Durham from South Shields. The seaplane base was located on 7 acres of land on the northern bank of the mouth of the River Tees and was equiped with a one Seaplane shed and two Bessonneau hangers, a ramp was constructed to allow easy access to the water.

9th May 1918 252 Special Duties Flight RFC formed  252 Special Duties Flight RFC was formed at RFC Seaton Carew II, equipped with the Blackburn Kangaroo.

25th May 1918 252 Squadron formed  252 Squadron RFC was formed from the War Flight based at RFC Seaton Carew II, consisting of 451 and 452 Flights.

30th May 1918 252 Special Duties Flight RFC re-designated  252 Special Duties Flight RFC was re-designated 495 Flight 252 Squadron at RFC Seaton Carew II, flying the Blackburn Kangaroo.

1st June 1918 509 Flight 252 Squadron RFC move aerodrome  509 Flight, 252 Squadron departed from RFC Cramlington, flying the Blackburn Kangaroo and DH6 aircraft, moving to RFC Seaton Carew II in County Durham. The base was expanded and a huge airship shed constructed to accommodate and airship squadron. The Armistice was delared before the hanger was completed.

30th Jun 1918 402 Flight 252 Squadron formed.  402 Flight 252 Squadron RFC was formed at RFC Seaton Carew II.

15th Aug 1918 246 Squadron formed.  246 Squadron was formed from 252 Squadron RFC at RFC Seaton Carew II.

15th Aug 1918 403 Flight 246 Squadron move base.  403 Flight of the newly formed 246 Squadron departed from RFC Seaton Carew II for RFC Killingholme

10th Oct 1918 509 Flight 252 Squadron RFC disbanded.  509 Flight, 252 Squadron was disbanded at RFC Seaton Carew II in County Durham.

14th November 1918 495 Flight 252 Squadron RFC move aerodrome  495 Flight, 252 Squadron departed from RFC Seaton Carew II, flying the Blackburn Kangaroo, moving to RFC Seahouses in Northumberland.

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