Walter "Toby" Yeulett DFC

The Raid on Tondern 1918

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The sinking Felixstowe F.2c Story

When I 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 versions

Felixstowe F2c incident

A further photograph of the same incident taken before salvage commenced:

Felixstowe F2c submerged

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 below:

Logbook 15th February 1918

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:

logbook 1917


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.

1917 bounty cheque

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.