To interfere with these submarines when they were moving to and from their Austrian Adriatic bases, drifters commandeered from British fishing ports were, from September 1915, used to lay a net barrage across the Otranto Straits at the south end of the Adriatic. Each drifter was commanded by a Chief Skipper or Skipper, usually Royal Naval Reserve. Ratings were Royal Naval Reserve or Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve and included both British and Maltese men. Seven of a crew of nine in HM drifter Frigate Bird were drowned when their vessel was sunk in a collision with the troop transport Theseus off Marsaxlokk when both were sailing without lights in the dark night of March 11, 1918. Five of the seven dead were Maltese.
In May 1916 Rear Admiral Mark C.F. Kerr was appointed to command the British Adriatic Squadron. He was a strong believer in the efficacy of aircraft in the war against submarines. In mid 1916 he asked that Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) aircraft be supplied to his command to patrol over the drifters line. He knew that the submarines were being assembled at Pola from parts sent by rail from their makers' yards in Germany that torpedoes were being produced at Fiume and that Cattaro was the main operational base for the submarines. Kerr wanted, also, to bomb these targets as the most direct way to reduce the submarine menace in the Mediterranean.
But because the French and Italian navies were numerically superior to the British in the Adriatic, he was referred to them. They were unresponsive. High-ranking commanders' private wars often inhibit effective allied organisation and in this case benefited the enemy in the Adriatic and throughout the Mediterranean.
Having failed to obtain aircraft, Kerr asked for a kite balloon ship to enable him to provide the drifters line and anti-submarine patrol ships with observation balloons. By this time there was a change of thinking on the part of the British Admiralty and the small RNAS detachment at Gibraltar was transferred to Malta at the end of 1916. Meanwhile command of the drifters and ship barrage was assumed by Commodore (later Admiral) A.W. Heneage who was the Senior British Naval Officer in Italy.
A site for a seaplane base was found at Otranto and four Short 827 (150hp) and six Short 184 (225hp) seaplanes were sent. Commodore Murry Sueter was given command of this new RNAS station.
The later Short 320 seaplanes were also sent. The Admiralty ordered 25 of these floatplanes in January 1917 of which twelve were allocated to Otranto and two to Malta, where together with four Short 184s, they equipped a torpedo school for air crew training. In April
Allied Admirals decided to appoint one officer to direct all ship
His mission as a diplomat of Württemberg in Berlin ended in 1890. He returned to military service as commander of a cavalry brigade in Saarburg. Disagreement in the evaluation of his command during autumn manoeuvres in 1890 led to his final resignation from military service after his promotion to a lieutenant-general
Kober also planned and realized the construction of the first airship LZ 1. A joint-stock company, the Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Luftschiffahrt was founded in order to ensure the financing of this airship. LZ 1 took off for the first time on July 2, 1900.
Despite this quick success, it took 8 years until the future of the Zeppelin airships stood on a sound financial basis. After the complete destruction of airship LZ 4 in a storm in 1908 collections and donations as a reaction to this disaster amounted to 6 million Mark. This capital was used to found the company Luftschiffbau Zeppelin GmbH. Incoming orders from the army as well as from the Deutschen Luftschiffahrts Aktiengesellschaft (Delag) ensured the company's future existence.
Count Zeppelin as an airship manAfter the foundation of the company Count Zeppelin retired steadily from business. While he saw the mass production of 'his' airships during World War I, he did not live to see their temporary end as a result of the regulations in the Treaty of Versailles. He died on March 8, 1917 in Berlin and was buried on the cemetery Pragfriedhof in Stuttgart.
The war to end all wars
During World War 1, over 10,000 men were employed in dockyard establishments. Eight hundred allied vessels passed through Malta each month and the dockyard worked a high pressure. After the war a floating dock, capable of taking the largest war vessel then afloat, was installed in the Grand Harbour. It was sunk by enemy aircraft in 1942