Web www.theaerodrome.com

View Full Version : C.H.K. Osborn, DSO

21 March 2002, 12:33 PM
EDMONDS, Charles Humphrey Kingsman, Lieutenant, Royal Naval Air Service - unit ? - Distinguished Service Order - awarded as per London Gazette dated 18 February 1915. No citation published for this award although most sources say it was for Cuxhaven Raid of 25 December 1914. However, AEROPLANE of 11 April 1917 (reporting his marriage) stated: "He won his DSO by sinking a Turkish transport in the Marmora with a "projectile" from a seaplane, flying over the Gallipoli Peninsula from the Aegean to reach his objective. The feat was the first of its kind in the history of war."

Whether the DSO was for Cuxhaven or this latter (obviously an early use of torpedoes), I would appreciate guidance and inforrmation on this award and the torpedo attack.

21 March 2002, 12:53 PM

If there's one person I can think of who might have an answer on the ship, than it is Michael Lowrey. Put your question on the following forum :


Michael has about all the shiplosses you can imagine on WW I. I wasn't able to find anything in what I have on the Osmanian navy losses. Hope you get succesfull.

VBR from Regulus ;)

21 March 2002, 02:25 PM
Hugh, from The Naval Who's Who 1917 *(1981 reprint by JB Hayward & Son) page 237:
"EDMONDS, Flight-Lieut. C.H.K., took part as a seaplane pilot in the air reconnaissance of the Heligoland Bight, 25th December 1914 (London Gazette 19th February 1915) D.S.O. for this service, 19th February 1915. *Promoted Flight-Com. 15th February 1915; commended for services for actions in Gallipoli, April 1915-January 1916 (London Gazette 14th March 1916); Promoted Squadron-Commander 30th June 1916."

From Creagh & Humphris 'The D.S.O. 1886-1923' Part one, pp 349-350 (Hayward reprint 1978 ):
"London Gazette 19th Feb. 1915.--'Admiralty, 19 Feb. 1915.
The King has been graciously pleased to give orders for the following appointments to the Distinguished Service Order. To be Companions of the Distinguished Service Order...Capt. Cecil Francis Kilner, R.M.L.I. (Flight Commander) and Lieut. Charles Humphrey Kingsman Edmonds, R.N. (Flight Lieutenant).
Admiralty Memorandum on the combined operations by H.M. Ships and Naval Seaplanes on the 25th Dec. 1914. On the 25th Dec. 1914, an air reconnaissance of the Heligoland Bight, including Cuxhaven, *Heligoland and Wilhelmshaven, was made by naval seaplanes, and the opportunity was taken at the same time of attacking with bombs points of military importance....The following Air Service officers took part...Several machines were hit but all remained in the air for over three hours and succeeded in obtaining valuable information regarding the disposition of the enemy's ships and defences. *Bombs were also dropped...Flight Commanders Kilner and Ross and Flight Lieutenant Edmonds regained their ships..."
p 350, entry dedicated to Edmonds:
"He ...took part in the Cuxhaven Raid in Dec. 1914; was mentioned in Despatches and created a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order, as above mentioned. He served in Gallipoli in 1915, and was mentioned in Despatches...."

These would appear to confirm that the DSO was for Cuxhaven. *

Somewhere I have a couple of books that might make mention of the torpedo exploit in the Sea of Marmora. When I lay hands on them will relay anything that I find.


21 March 2002, 02:51 PM

Don't bother with R. Layman' book on Naval Aviation. Already checked, no mention. R.

21 March 2002, 11:27 PM
Thanks for help to date - I particularly look forward to pointers on the torpedo attack.

22 March 2002, 08:53 PM
Dear Hugh,
*This is from Profile 74, THE SHORT 184, page 5:
"On 12th August 1915 Flight Commander C.H.K. Edmonds scored a hit at 350 yards range on a 5,000-ton Turkish supply ship off Injeh Burnu. At the time Edmonds did not know that his victim had been immobilised four days earlier by the submarine E.14. This did not diminish the significance of his achievement, which he repeated on 17th August when he torpedoed a Turkish supply ship bringing stores and reinforcements to Ak Bashi Liman. Both Shorts were out that day; the other, piloted by Flight Lt. G. B. Dacre, torpedoed a large steam tug in False Bay."
* The above, of course, refers to the Gallipoli Campaign; hope it was of some help...

23 March 2002, 02:33 AM
Many thanks for information on this subject (incidentally, I apologize for the whole thread being named "Osborn" when it should have read "Edmonds" - finger trouble on my part).

As many know, I have been patching together an aerial DSO data base, and the entry for Edmonds read:

EDMONDS, Charles Humphrey Kingsman, Lieutenant, Royal Naval Air Service - unit ? - Distinguished Service Order - awarded as per London Gazette dated 18 February 1915. For services in Cuxhaven Raid of 25 December 1914 (see Flight, 26 February 1915 for despatch on this operation). Biographical details courtesy of Graham Neale and Who's Who in Aviation, 1928 (London, Airways Publications, 1928, copy consulted in Canada Air Museum, Ottawa) which identifies him as Wing Commander Charles Humphrey Kingsman Edmonds, OBE, DSO. Born at Lincoln, 20 April 1891, son of Mr.and Mrs. Charles Edmonds, Lymington, Hampshire; held Royal Aero Club Certificate No.206; learned to fly at Bristol School, Larkhill, April 1912 (instructed by Geoffrey Paine); reported to have "served in the Balkan War, 1911-1913" (in what capacity is not known); appointed to Central Flying School, Upavon, May 1914; participated in Cuxhaven Raid (1914) and at Gallipoli (1915); Wing Commander, 31 December 1917. Also awarded French Croix de Guerre with Palm (1918). Passed Army Staff College, Camberley, 1919-1920; instructor at RAF Staff College, 1922-1925. Also decorated by Italian government. On 7 August 1931, G/C E.H.K. Edmonds posted to command No.21 Group, West Drayton. As of 1 January 1945 he was A/V/M C.H.K. Edmonds, CBE, DSO (Mentioned in Despatches for services with Allied Expeditionary Air Force). Aeroplane of 11 April 1917, reporting his marriage, stated:

"He won his DSO by sinking a Turkish transport in the Marmora with a 'projectile' from a seaplane, flying over the Gallipoli Peninsula from the Aegean to reach his objective. The feat was the first of its kind in the history of war."

The magazine was clearly wrong in linking his DSO to the Marmora incident, and the entry will be corrected shortly. Along the way I have been directed to a couple of very interesting websites. By way an aside, in another data base, I find the following (there seems to be some disagreement as to his name - Kingsman or Kingsmill):

EDMONDS, Charles Humphrey Kingsmill, A/V/M, CBE, DSO (Royal Air Force) - Allied Expeditionary Air Force - Mention in Despatches - awarded as per London Gazette dated 1 January 1945. Public Record Office Air 2/9017 has recommendation for a CB.

"This officer has been Air Officer Administration of the Allied Expeditionary Air Force since its inception. The fact that the organization proved adequate for the task, and that the whole of the build-up on the continent was carried out without a hitch, reflects great credit on his work in this capacity."

23 March 2002, 07:56 AM
If this is of any further help, while at Gallipoli, Edmonds served "aboard" the converted seaplane carrier 'Ben-my-Chree', commanded by Squadron Commander C.J. L'Estrange Malone (sailed from England on 21st May 1915, arrived Iero Bay, Mitylene, 12th June).
Captain "Killerfish" Lewis

24 March 2002, 08:12 AM
Hi Hugh,

* *How's life with you?
There is an excellent article in OTF Vol9 No2 1994 on the operations of HMS Ben-my-Chree.

* *Last I heard the author Ian Burns resides in Toronto.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * Marlon

25 March 2002, 02:03 AM

Could be I found your ship of 12th August. Michael did set me on the right track. Did post it on the U-boat Net. Will continue to see if I can find something on the 17th August. Problem is Osmanian losses list is difficult to read and sometimes very incomplete, but seems the best existing for the moment.

VBR from Regulus

25 March 2002, 09:59 AM

I have an article from *C & C Spring 1977. It claims that the vessel attacked by Edmonds was grounded and abandoned and that it had been the victim of a British submarine a few days earlier. R.D. Layman the author of the article states that at best guess the ship was the Scham (3662 GRT, 1884). Layman says however this cannot be confirmed.

Hugh a copy of the article is on its way to you.

Take care mate,


25 March 2002, 10:57 AM

The Sam or Scham does not figure on the losslist of the Osmanian Navy.
The best possibility seems to be the Mahmut Sevket Pasa. But even this remains partly a question mark. The ship was offcially out of service in November 1918... ???

VBR from Regulus

25 March 2002, 04:54 PM
G'day Regulus,

According to Jones 'War in the Air Vol II' the ship attacked by Edmonds was never claimed as sunk. Layman in his article states;

"Neither was it offically claimed that the ship hit by Edmonds on 17 August 1915 was sunk -- only that it was set on fire, gutted and eventually taken to Constantinople."


25 March 2002, 08:46 PM
Ah ! Andrew,

You're talking about the 17th August ! I was about the 12th !
Could be a point to look further at. Will see if I can find anything more !

VBR from Regulus ;)

26 March 2002, 05:49 AM
Three questions:

What does A/V/M stand for?

I thought that the OBE came after the DSO, so wouldn't it be Wing Commander Charles Humphrey Kingsman Edmonds, DSO, OBE?

Is there another level besides Companion for the DSO?

Thanks in advance for comments on a subject that's a bit off-topic.


26 March 2002, 11:39 AM
In the article I mentioned previously authored by Ian Burns on the operations of HMS Ben-my-Chree this is what he said about this action:
the ship Edmonds torpedoed had indeed been beached and abandoned some days previously. It was a victim of British Submarine E-14.

Marlon Schultz

27 March 2002, 05:57 AM
In answer to Droops' questions:

1. A/V/M stands for Air Vice Marshal the RAF rank equivalent to a US 2-star General

2. If the award were an OBE then yes, it would be listed after the DSO. It is however a 'CBE' and as such precedes the DSO. To clarify, the Order of the British Empire is awarded in several classes. Classes I (GBE-Knight Grand Cross), II (KBE-Knight Commander), and III (CBE-Commander) of these come before the DSO in the order of precedence/wearing, whilst classes IV (OBE-Officer) and V (MBE-Member) come after the DSO.
3. There is only one class of DSO, companion, bars being awarded for subsequent acts deserving of the award.

28 March 2002, 07:55 AM
Thank you Liz. I'm smacking my head because I couldn't figure out A/V/M.

I was aware of the various levels of the Order of the British Empire, and you confirmed what I suspected. An OBE or MBE comes after the DSO, but a CBE, KBE, or GBE comes before. When I saw typed 'OBE, DSO,' for a minute I thought I was losing my mind.

Again, many thanks.


3 April 2002, 08:19 PM
From the Guinness Book of Air Facts and Feats (3rd edition, 1977):

"The first air attack using a torpedo dropped by an aeroplane was carried out by Flight Commander C H Edmonds, flying a Short 184 seaplane from HMS Ben-My-Chree on 12 August 1915, against a 5,000 ton (5,080 tonne) Turkish supply ship in the Sea of Marmara. Although the enemy ship was hit and sunk, the captain of a British submarine claimed to have fired a torpedo simultaneously and sunk the ship. It was further stated that the British submarine E14 had attacked and immobilised the ship four days earlier.

However, on 17 August 1915 another Turkish ship was sunk by a torpedo of whose origin there can be no doubt. On this occasion Flight Commander C H Edmonds, flying a Short 184, torpedoed a Turkish steamer a few miles north of the Dardanelles. His formation colleague, Flight Lieutenant G B Dacre, was forced to land on the water owing to engine trouble but, seeing an enemy tug close by, taxied up to it and released his torpedo. The tug blew up and sank. Thereafter Dacre was able to take off and return to the Ben-My-Chree."

Edmonds' DSO was awarded in February 1915 so was definitely not the result of the above actions. George Bentley Dacre got the DSO for his exploits, Gazetted 19 November 1915.