Air Enthusiast 1998-07
D.Nicolle - Young Turks (3)
The most remarkable example of the Ottomans’ re-use of captured enemy aircraft was a pair of Russian Nieuport 17 fighters. One of them is shown here at Yesilkoy in September or October 1918. Pilot Bascavus (Sergeant) Vecihi Hurkus of 9nci Boluk is sitting on the aircraft’s wheel.
Nieuport 17 K1 of 9nci Boluk based at Yesilkoy in September and October 1918. The vertical bar, or numeral, on the fuselage side was probably black or red and was not aligned with the Ottoman Air Force markings on the fuselage and tail. The machine’s serial number, K1, seems to have been written in the upper rear corner of the fuselage national markings, as was normal on Ottoman aircraft. Note that the trailing edge of the upper wing markings were curved in a non-standard manner to completely cover the imperial Russian markings beneath. Otherwise the Nieuport 17 had a plain doped fabric finish.
Virtually all the aircraft flown by the German ‘Pasa’ squadrons in Palestine, Lebanon and Syria carried German national markings. But this Albatros D.Va, which fell into British hands in April 1918, has Ottoman markings though no sign of an Ottoman Air Force serial number. It was probably one of the D.Vas with doubled upper wing radiators initially sold to the Ottoman government then, at least in this case, hurriedly transferred to one of the ‘Pasa’ units during the crisis of 1918.
An Albatros D.Va in Ottoman Air Force markings. Turkish records indicate that two D.Vas were purchased by the Ottoman Government but did not enter squadron service. Nor were they allocated Ottoman serial numbers. Instead one or both of these machines were transferred to the German ‘Pasa’ squadrons in Palestine and Syria. One, however, survived to become the first fighter aircraft of the postwar Turkish Air Force. This is probably that aircraft.
The surviving Albatros D.Va which became the first fighter of the postwar Turkish Air Force, having been flown secretly to Eskisehir in 1920. It still has the black square national markings of the Ottoman Air Force rather than the red square which became the new Turkish Republican markings, just as some of the men crowded in front still wear their old Ottoman Air Force uniforms. In the middle of this group of Kemal Ataturk’s ‘revolutionaries’ but wearing civilian clothes is Ahmet Arap, or Ahmet ‘The Arab’. He was of African ancestry, became one of the Ottoman Naval Air Force’s first pilots - and thus one of the first black pilots in aviation history, before becoming the chief engineering instructor at the Yesilkoy Naval Flying School. In 1920 Ahmet Arap was chosen as commanding officer of this first Turkish fighter unit. The Turks, like the Arabs and most other Muslims, were free of the racial prejudice which cursed most European air forces.
A young Turkish Bascavus (Sergeant) pilot, believed to be from 6nci or 9nci Boluk, with a late version Albatros D.III in 1918.
Schuz, a highly successful fighter pilot seconded to the Ottoman Air Force, in front of his Albatros D.III. For a short time Schuz was also the 6th Army’s Air Commander in charge of all squadrons on the Iraqi front
The Martinsyde G100 Elephant captured by the Turks in Iraq and then recaptured by the British at Tikrit. It has been given Ottoman Air Force markings but retained its RFC serial number. Though listed at the Mosul Aircraft Park it probably served as a decoy at Tikrit aerodrome. Apparently the British tried to drag the Martinsyde G100 away using an armoured car.
Not surprisingly, given the fact that the Martinsyde G100 no longer had any wheels, the British efforts to drag it away resulted in the machine finally collapsing with a broken back!