15.10.1916: RFC Artillery Observation, Part 4 | RFC Artilleriebeobachtung, Teil 4 | RFC repérage d’artillerie, Partie 4

 Co-operation of Aircraft and Artillery (R001299)

This manual instructed Royal Flying Corps and Royal Artillery personnel in how to direct artillery fire from the air. It highlights the importance of cooperation and communication between aeroplanes in the air and the artillery gun crews on the ground.

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15.09.1916: RFC Artillery Observation, Part 3 | RFC Artilleriebeobachtung, Teil 3 | RFC repérage d’artillerie, Partie 3

 Noon (X002-9669)

This painting, by Emile Antoine Verpilleux (1888-1964), shows the interior of a hut near an artillery position. Messages from Observers in the air were transmitted to the gun positions by means of wireless and then megaphone.

In this painting a Royal Flying Corps wireless operator listens to messages sent from an aircraft observing the accuracy of a gun battery. On the right an officer with a megaphone is passing the corrections to the gun’s crew. (To the left an officer is marking targets on a map.)
The photographs on the desk are aerial reconnaissance photographs (taken by Observers) which were also studied for potential targets.

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15.08.1916: RFC Artillery Observation, Part 2 | RFC Artilleriebeobachtung, Teil 2 | RFC repérage d’artillerie, Partie 2

 Aerial Winch (72/R/705)

In order to send Morse Code to the ground an observer in the air had to first unwind a 150 foot long trailing aerial of thin copper wire.


Mk. III Short Wave Tuner (73/R/434)

This portable wireless receiver was used by wireless operators on the ground. Attached to an external aerial mast, it received Morse Code messages sent from aeroplanes on artillery observation sorties.

 Winde für Antennendraht (72/R/705)

Für die Übermittlung von per Morsecode abgefassten Meldungen zum Boden musste ein Luftbeobachter zuerst eine 45 Meter lange Schleppantenne aus dünnem Kupferdraht abspulen.


Kurzwellentuner, Mk. III (73/R/434)

Dieser tragbare Funkempfänger wurde von Funkern am Boden verwendet. Dieses an einen Außenantennenmast angeschlossene Gerät empfing per Morsecode übermittelte Meldungen von Flugzeugen in Artilleriebeobachtungseinsätzen.

Treuil aérien (72/R/705)

Pour envoyer le code Morse au sol un observateur aérien devait d’abord dérouler un mince fil de 150 pieds de long en cuivre qui servait d’antenne.


Mk. III Amplificateur à ondes courtes (73/R/434)

Ce récepteur portable sans fil était utilisé par les opérateurs au sol. Relié à une antenne aérienne fixée sur un mât, il recevait des messages en Morse envoyés depuis les avions effectuant des missions d’observation et de réglage d’artillerie.

Bernard Rice

Bernard Rice

When war began Bernard Curtis Rice was an apprentice with the Daimler Car Company. On 7 August 1914 he and his brother drove from the factory in Coventry to Avonmouth, where they joined the Army Service Corps (ASC), Britain’s army transport unit.

Bernard served in France and Flanders as a motor cyclist from 15 August 1914.
On 27 August 1915 Bernard joined the RFC as a Second Lieutenant. He became an Observer and later a Pilot, flying on artillery observation or spotting missions with Nos. 2 and 8 Squadron.

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Bernard Rice

15.07.1916: RFC Artillery Observation, Part 1 | RFC Artilleriebeobachtung, Teil 1 | RFC repérage d’artillerie, Partie 1

 Morse Key (X007-0062)

Before effective voice transmission, Morse Code was used to send wireless messages. Tapping down on the key is a certain pattern represented a number or a letter. Royal Flying Corps wireless operators aimed for a messaging speed of 20 words per minute.


Type 52a Transmitter (1996/0200/R)

This compact and light 9lb ‘Spark-Gap’ transmitter was used to send Morse Code messages from aircraft to a receiver on the ground. It was powered by a 150 Watt air-driven alternator.

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15.06.1916: Fokker Fodder | Fokker-Futter | Chair à Fokker

 B.E.2b Cockpit (1992/0382/A)

The Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2 is a British single-engined two-seat biplane which was in service with the Royal Flying Corps from 1912 until the end of the War. The B.E.2 was a very stable aircraft that was ideally suited to artillery observation and aerial photography.

Throughout the War it proved vulnerable to German fighter attack and it was hopelessly outclassed by the Fokker Eindecker fighter. The defenceless crews of the B.E.2 quickly became known as ‘Fokker Fodder’.

The Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2 is a typical example of an aircraft in service with the Royal Flying Corps that will have been flown by Bernard Curtis Rice.

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05.11.1915: Bernard’s Artillery Show | Bernards Artillerie-Spektakel | La démonstration d’artillerie de Bernard



Dear Father,
Very many thanks for your letter of 29th. The
“Engineering W. of the W.” arrived yesterday, and an excellent
supply of apples today. I am glad you find my letters
interesting, and that you are able to form some idea
of what it is like flying over the lines. It is very
difficult to write what seems even a moderately
interesting letter, since one must not mention the
really interesting things atall {sic}. However if you like
to squash yourself very small, and hop in alongside
‘o’ me when nobody’s looking, and leave a decent box
of gaspers behind you when you get out, you can come
out with us and do an artillery show. The machine
you are getting into is exactly the same as those they
are building at the old works. You get into the…

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