Waterbodies & Maritime => Chatham Dockyard => Topic started by: kyn on April 15, 2010, 16:50:37

Title: Precautions Against Aerial Attack
Post by: kyn on April 15, 2010, 16:50:37
Commander in Chief's Office
The Nore
27th January, 1915.


With reference to my telegrams Nos. 917 and 928 and Admiralty telegrams Nos. 719 and 733, I have the honour to request that you will lay before Their Lordships the enclosed letters which I have received from the General Officer Commanding Thames and Medway Defences.

These letters show the precautions considered necessary by the War Office for the defence of the district during the period 26th to 29th January, and I have assumed that in such matters Their Lordships desire me to act in strict accord with the Military.

Although I have not personally received any similar warning from Their Lordships, the Inspecting Captain of Aircraft informed me today that the Director of the Air Department has issued a caution to him to be specially on the alert for an air attack during this period.

To permit the use of flares and other powerful exposed lights in the dockyards would clearly stultify and render ridiculous these precautions and in fact negative the whole scheme of defence of the district, including, as it does, the aerial route to London over the North Coast of Kent.

If the lights in the dockyard ,ust be kept on, then the whole of the lights of the district should similarly be kept burning, and at their brightest; otherwise the dockyard stands out as a clear target.

To switch out the lights on an attack commencing would be too late as the enemy would by that time have located his objective.  Further, the flares cannot be turned off instantly.

Your telegram No. 733 was received too late to make any change in the arrangements for tonight, as the men who work the night shifts have to stand off at Noon until 7pm.  I trust therefore that Their Lordships will see fit to reconsider their orders and allow the present arrangements to continue for the one remaining night of this precautionary period.
I have the honour to be,

Sir, Your obedient servant,

S. Mallaghew (?)
Title: Re: Precautions Against Aerial Attack
Post by: kyn on April 19, 2010, 11:08:36

General Officer Commanding
Thames and Medway Defences,

The Nore.

I have the honour to forward herewith for your information 2 copies of War Office letter, No. 79/6899 (H.D.), dated the 28th January, 1915.

In accordance with instructions received, I am posting two picquets;-
On Rochester Bridge.
On the Cross roads at Key Street, about two miles West of Sittingbourne.

Garrison Headquarters, Chatham. 26/1/15

(Edit, name entered)
Herbert Mullaly
Major General,
Commanding Thames and Medway Defences.
Title: Re: Precautions Against Aerial Attack
Post by: HERB COLLECTOR on April 19, 2010, 21:27:51
Major General Sir Herbert Mullaly, KCMB, CB.
http://www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=4617.msg37353#msg3753 (http://www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=4617.msg37353#msg3753)
Title: Re: Precautions Against Aerial Attack
Post by: kyn on April 20, 2010, 09:36:18
Of course Herb Collector!  Well spotted and remembered  :)


War Office,
London, S.W.
26th January, 1915.


I am directed to acquaint you that it is possible that an attack by aircraft may be delivered in the immediate future and that it is considered advisable to take special precautions during the period from the afternoon of 26th instant till daylight on the morning if 29th instant.  It is also possible that attempts to assist the hostile craft may be made by enemy agent using motor cars equipped with powerful lights. These lights may be arranged to throw a beam skywards at a high angle and may be fitted with shutters for signalling.

With a view to frustrating any such attempt the following arrangements should be made.

Picquets consisting of an officer and 20 men armed with rifles and ball ammunition are to be posted at or near the places mentioned in the attached schedule from 4.30.p.m. to 8.a.m. of the night of 28th-29th January.

The picquets are not to be placed actually in the towns or villages named, but at least a quarter of a mile from the outskirts.

The officer in charge is to erect a barrier across the road of such nature that it can be easily removed if it is desired to allow a vehicle to pass.

This barrier is to be illuminated by two or more lanterns which should preferably show a red light.

A sentry post should be established actually at the barrier, and two other sentry posts should be placed, the one fifty yards in front of the barrier, the other fifty yards in rear of it.

Every motor car, motor cycle or other vehicle approaching the barrier must be stopped at the sentry post established at the barrier and searched under the Defence of Realm Regulation Number 52.

The following information will be recorded by the O.C. picquet in regard to every vehicle stopped:

The occupants will be questioned under the powers conferred by the Defence of Realm Regulation Number 53.

Should the O.C. picquet consider such a course necessary he will search all male occupants under the powers conferred by the Defence of Realm Regulation Number 55., but such action should only be resorted to when there are good grounds for suspicion which it is necessary to clear up.

Should anything be discovered lead the O.C. picquet to consider that the occupants of the vehicle can be charged under Defence of Realm Regulation 25. Or 26. With an attempt either to signal to aircraft or to guide them by the displaying of lights he will arrest the occupants and at once report the incident to his Army Commander.

Any vehicle refusing to halt when ordered to do so is to be detained by force and the occupants arrested.

Any such arrests will be carried out under the powers conferred by Defence of Realm Regulation 55.

Any persons thus arrested should be detained under military custody until orders as to their disposal can be obtained; they should be accommodated in the most suitable building in the vicinity and should be treated with all the consideration the circumstances permit.

Should any person attempt to resist arrest, such force as the circumstances necessitate may be employed.

It should be noted that action under Defence of the Realm Regulations Number 52. And 53. Can be taken by any officer or soldier detailed for this duty, and also that any officer or soldier detailed for this duty is authorised by Army Order 310 (5) of the 15th August, 1914, to take action under Regulation 55.  It is however desirable that you should duly authorise these picquets to take action under this Regulation.

Officers and all ranks are to be warned that while it is necessary that the duty entrusted to them should be carried out with thoroughness, the utmost courtesy should be shown and every effort made to avoid inconvenience, damage or hardship to innocent persons.

I am to request that you will report to me when all arrangements to carry out these instructions have been completed.

Reports of any action taken should be rendered to me not later than noon of each day.  Nil reports should be rendered.

I am,
Your obedient servant,

(sd) L.E. Kiggell,
Director of Home Defence.
Title: Re: Precautions Against Aerial Attack
Post by: kyn on April 20, 2010, 09:39:37
Just realised I am adding the letters in the wrong order lol  :)
Title: Re: Precautions Against Aerial Attack
Post by: kyn on April 21, 2010, 16:38:43
Copy of telegram received from Eastern Command dated 26/1/15

"Defensible Chatham"
"J.F.47 26 January AAA  Take steps to ensure that all lights other than those not visible from the outside of any house comma of navigation lights comma are extinguished in the whole area of which you are competent military authority between hours of 5 p.m. and 7.30.a.m. from today until further orders AAA  Most important this order shall be thoroughly carried out AAA  Suggest emergency committees being instructed to take necessary action AAA  Acknowledge".

"Commandeth London".
Title: Re: Precautions Against Aerial Attack
Post by: kyn on April 27, 2010, 09:42:58
Date: 27/1/15
To: C-in-C. Nore.
Sent at: 2.20a.m.

Cypher "D".

719.  Your 917.  Urgent work should not be delayed.  All prominent lights should be extinguished, but others needed in workshops should remain alight till firing begins and then be put out quickly.


Circulated to:-

1st. Lord.
1st. S.L.
Sir A.K.Wilson
3rd. S.L.
D. of S.
Title: Re: Precautions Against Aerial Attack
Post by: kyn on April 28, 2010, 09:33:42
Couldn't read enough of this one so I thought I would post it instead  :)

Title: Re: Precautions Against Aerial Attack
Post by: kyn on May 01, 2010, 10:42:51
11th February



With reference to your letter of the 27th ultimo, No. 243/c.312 E, respecting precautions to be taken against expected aerial attack on Chatham Dockyard, I am commanded by my Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty to acquaint you that it is considered necessary that the directions contained in Admiralty telegram, No. 733, should be adhered to notwithstanding any instructions which may be given by the Military Authorities.

All possible preperations should be made for extinguishing lights should an attack be delivered anywhere in the vicinity.
Any risk which will be involved in the procedure must be accepted, as it is impracticable to suspend the work of the Dockyard on every occasion on which aerial attack may be supposed to be contemplated by the enemy.

The War Office have been informed accordingly.

I am
Your obedient Servant,

(SD) O. Murray.

H.M. Ships and Vessels,
The Nore.
Title: Re: Precautions Against Aerial Attack
Post by: kyn on May 04, 2010, 16:27:04
Reduction of lights in Dockyard in the event of Aerial attack.

Date: 16th April 1915.

Copy of

From: Admiral Superintendant, Chatham.

To: Commander-in-Chief, The Nore.

Submit.  I propose informing Admiralty that in consequence of Dockyard lights being extinguished at 12.10 all work in ropery and on ships completing and making good defects ceased for the night, and that at 2a.m. as ropery had done no work for two hours I sent them all home and that dates of completion of vessels and issue of urgent rope requirements may be affected.

9.58 a.m.
Title: Re: Precautions Against Aerial Attack
Post by: kyn on May 05, 2010, 14:22:34
Rough Synopsis of Night Signals re Aircraft. 15th-16th Apl. ?15.

15th April.

ClactonAircraft heard going towards Sheerness
SouthendAircraft heard over Bradwell going South
Walton on NazeAircraft heard approaching Harwich
-From War Office, through G.O.C., that attack may be expected during next 2- or 4 hours
Covehithe nr YarmouthAircraft heard over station going North


-Out lights in Chatham Dockyard
-Out lights in Sheerness Dockyard
BurnhamAircraft heard in Northerly direction
SloughTwo explosions heard to Northward
BurnhamFive       -do-     -do-
DunwhichAircraft heard in N.E. direction
-All ships and establishments ordered to be darkened and ready for aerial attack
ChillingholmeAircraft heard going towards London
-Nore Lightship ordered to stop using fog horn
LowestoftZeppelin headed East
SouthendAircraft heard approaching from North, proceeding South
ShipwashZeppelin passed over, steering S.W.
HarwichZeppelin returning
SouthminsterAirship proceeded South
-"Venerable" ordered to cease signalling with flashing lamp
HuntstantonAirship came in from North Brancaster, passed over Wells and proceeding East
Noreton (Norfolk)Airship sighted proceeding inland
GorlestonZeppelin seen going South
EastchurchPatrol returned.  Nothing in sight in Estuary

Title: Re: Precautions Against Aerial Attack
Post by: kyn on May 24, 2010, 16:16:30
18 Sep 1915

Zeppelin Raid 8-9th September 1915 - Lowering of Dockyard Lights.

Submission and Minutes.

Propose to inform C-in-C Nore that the Sheerness Dockyard lights were lowered for over five hours and as such action is likely to interfere with the progress of work in the Dockyard, that in future the Rear Admiral and Superintendant of the Dockyard should make arrangements for raising the lights at a reasonable period after the probability of an attack has passed.