Monday, 13 July 2015

Austin Robinson - World War One aviator - Part 2

Austin arrived at RNAS Cranwell in mid June 1917 for advanced flight training. This consisted of one week each on the Avro 504, the BE2c and the Bristol Scout. During this time he would also have received instruction in advanced navigation, aerial photography, use and maintenance of machine guns and basic bomb dropping. He successfully passed out as a flight sub-lieutenant on July 11th and was posted to RNAS Killingholme on the Humber for further training on seaplanes.

A photo of a Bristol Scout taken by Austin at Cranwell (Austin Robinson Papers 12/5/4)

Killingholme was both a seaplane school and an operational station and it might have been because of this that few aircraft were available for training purposes and, as a result, Austin's opportunities to fly were very intermittent. Nevertheless he passed out successfully on August 10th and was then sent to RNAS Calshott on Southampton Water to complete his seaplane training.

An aerial photo taken by Austin of the flying boat slipways at Killingholme (Austin Robinson Papers 12/5/5)

Austin was not impressed with Calshott. It was in his words, a 'complete disaster'. Firstly, there were hardly any aircraft available for flight training and, secondly, there was a massive back log of personnel waiting to be passed out and assigned elsewhere. The situation was so grave that when it became known that a high ranking RNAS officer would be inspecting the station Austin and his fellow officers decided to mount '... the nearest thing one could have to a demonstration'. In order to draw attention to the enormous number of unposted officers in training everybody assembled in one massive long queue for lunch at the mess hall. The visiting officer obviously took note and all personnel were posted the very next day. 

Austin, who had developed considerable affection for twin engined seaplanes, was delighted to find himself posted back to Killingholme for operational training.