History - World War I (1)

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WWI (2) 26 October 1916 The Squadron forms  Sqn Cdr Bromet assumes command    The squadron  comes together at Le Verte Galant           The aircraft arrive: Sopwith Pups Nieuport Scouts Sopwith 1½ Strutters                  Maj Gen Trenchard visits

On October 25th, 1916, Squadron Commander Geoffrey Bromet left the Guston Road Aerodrome at Dover to board HMS Nubian. The ship took him across the English Channel to Dunkirk where he received orders at Headquarters RNAS, and was given command of No. 8 Naval Squadron, RNAS later No. 208 Squadron, Royal Air Force. The following day, October 26th, 1916, this Squadron was formed at Le Verte Galant Airfield. During the latter months of 1915 the then Wing Captain C. L. Lambe, Royal Navy Commander of the Naval Air Forces at Dover and Dunkirk, had been reorganising and building up the RNAS in the Dover Patrol. By April the following year three wings were operating between Dunkirk and Bergues, and in the summer a loan by the Admiralty of a Squadron to reinforce the RFC on the Somme was approved. Each of the three wings provided one flight towards this squadron, thus Squadron Commander

Bromet received a rather mixed bag of aircraft consisting of six Sopwith Pups, six Nieuport Scouts and six Sopwith l½  Strutters. The Squadron Commander’s own description of his unit’s accommodation paints a uniquely Gallic scene: “Our huts and billets were clustered round the four cross roads to the north of the sheds, and occupied the farmhouse and buildings belonging to one Monsieur Georges Bossu”. Anyone who thinks only of modern peacetime Squadron operations should read about the events of the 26th. The aircraft left Dunkirk to fly to Le Vert Galant, but since take off had been delayed by bad weather, darkness overtook them and some were forced to land elsewhere. Meanwhile the earthbound side of the Squadron: eight lorries, five tenders, a large trailer and a workshop lorry, had made its way to Le Vert Galant. Arriving after dark in a quagmire and soaked by persistent rain, they left the trucks and collapsed into hammocks slung in Monsieur Bossu’s barn. The following day the Squadron Commander kept his men very busy organising rations, quarters and equipment, which helped to distract them from the miserable conditions of their new environment. During the day the then Major General Trenchard visited the Squadron with a group of officers including Mr Maurice Baring. The Squadron Commander pays tribute to the General’s personal interest and


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