The sinking Felixstowe F.2c
published the photograph below it prompted an e-mail from Sebastian Cooper whose grandfather, Flight Commander
Arthur Q. Cooper, flew that particular aircraft, N65, during the time my great uncle was stationed at the
Isle of Grain and putting his photograph album together.
All images & documents below can be clicked for larger
A further photograph of the
same incident taken before salvage commenced:
Sebastian has a copy of his
grandfather's logbook which shows a flight he made on the 15th February 1918 in this Felixstowe, N65, while Yeulett
was at Grain. The logbook entry shows that Arthur Cooper suffered engine trouble during that flight. See entry
Three days later (18th
February) this aircraft was actually retired as damaged beyond repair after engine trouble. I strongly suspect
that Arthur Cooper's flight was the one which resulted in the sinking incident above since the sequence of a flight
with engine trouble, a photo of the same aircraft being salvaged which was taken around that time and then it being
retired three days later does seem a most plausible sequence of events.
Arthur Cooper was a seaplane
test pilot hence why the majority of his logbook entries simply refer to "test". He was quite accustomed to
having difficulties with aircraft and so this particular incident was to him perhaps a relatively normal occurrence
despite the rather dramatic consequences
As I also mentioned with the
original publication of that picture, N65 had been involved in sinking a U-Boat in June 1917. Arthur Cooper was
also the pilot on that mission and the relevant extract from his logbook is shown below:
Not only that but I have
also been sent a copy of the cheque he received as 'bounty' for the sinking from the "Naval Prize Account". Note
that it wasn't paid until 1922, 5 years after the action. £4 16s 0d, which by my estimate would be
equivalent to about £230 in today's money. So, there must have been quite a large pot of money put aside to reward
pilots for such actions.
I was previously unaware that there was such an incentive scheme for WW1 navy pilots. It
does make an interesting footnote to just one of the many photographs in my great-uncle's photograph album and many
thanks are due to Sebastian for getting in touch and letting me use the documents above.