Storm at Dunkerque ?

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    Does anyone know any details – particularly the date(s) – of any storms which caused damage to aircraft (French & British) in the Dunkerque/ St Pol area cApril-May, 1915 ?


    The Met Office in the field
    The Meteorological Field Service was formed in the summer of 1915 and was known as the Meteorological
    Section Royal Engineers, universally shortened to Meteor R.E., for the rest of the war. Its duty was to
    support the British Expeditionary Force in France by carrying out local meteorological observations and
    providing regular reports in addition to daily reports to the Meteorological Office in London.
    The service in France was run from the British Expeditionary Force General Headquarters at Montreuil,
    France and consisted of Major HG Lyons, Royal Engineers, who would act as Napier Shaw’s representative
    and run the organisation and two Meteorological Office staff. Ernest Gold and AEM Geddes were released
    from their duties at the Meteorological Office and granted temporary commissions in the General List of
    Captain and Lieutenant respectively. Lyons arrived at St. Omer on the 8 June 1915 with Gold and Geddes
    following on the 11th.

    Before long a reserve of officers had been commissioned at home to replace or supplement those on field
    service if and when required. General Headquarters also requested an additional meteorologist to advise
    on probable changes in the force and direction of the surface wind in order to assist with preparation for gas attacks but it was agreed that the Field Service could satisfy both departments.
    Meteor staff provided a range of services:

    • To act as Meteorological Advisors to the General Staff both at General Headquarters (GHQ) and at
    Army Headquarters (AHQ).

    • To supply all meteorological information required by the Royal Flying Corps (RAF from 1 April 1918).
    The RFC needed cloud and fog information and rapidly learned the value of accurate weather
    forecasts, particularly thunderstorms. These brought dangers while flying such as lightning, hail
    and strong up and down draughts and further dangers while landing from gusts and downbursts
    near the ground.

    • To furnish the regular reports required for the correction of range in artillery operations. Successful
    deployment of balloons for artillery spotting relied on having a strong understanding of upper winds.
    The artillery also developed an increasing reliance on accurate meteorology. The accuracy of gunfire
    depended on the winds and air density in the layer of the atmosphere through which shells travelled.
    With the high-angle fire that developed during the Great War, knowledge of temperature, humidity,
    wind speed and wind direction at ever greater heights became essential.

    • To provide meteorological reports and forecasts for offensive and defensive gas operations.
    With growing understanding of how meteorological advice could assist military operations the section
    grew rapidly. By October 1915 it consisted of one Commandant, Gold (who was promoted to Major
    soon afterwards), one Captain, six Subalterns, two Sergeants, sixteen Corporals, one Clerk, six Batmen
    and one Driver. The Captain and one Subaltern were normally stationed in England. Their transport
    comprised one motor car, three motor cycles and two bicycles.

    Demand for meteorological services continued to increase and in addition to the unit on the Western
    Front Meteorological Sections were also subsequently formed to assist on other fronts. These included
    the Gallipoli Front, Macedonia Front, Italian Front, North Russian Front, Independent Force RAF and a
    Home Unit with its headquarters on Salisbury Plain to meet the requirements of the Army. In 1918 all of
    these sections were brought under the title of the Army Meteorological Service. At the end of the war the
    establishment of Meteor consisted of 32 officers and 200 other ranks.

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