A trial torpedo attack against a British destroyer by Sopwith Cuckoo aircraft of the Royal Air Force at East Fortune Torpedo Dropping School, Scotland, 5th September 1918.
The Torpedo Dropping School was used to train pilots before they were attached to their squadrons. A stretch of hard sand on the beach at Belhaven Sands is used as a runway. An 18-inch torpedo is fitted to one of the Cuckoos and it takes off, followed by the rest of a flight of eight. For the attacks the camera is on the target ship, which is making 20 knots, and tries to pick out the Cuckoos as they make their torpedo runs. Frequently it catches only the moment of the drop at its extreme range - much the same view as an anti-aircraft gunner. The pilots are named in the captions, along with the height of the aircraft when the torpedo was dropped (between 10 and 20 feet) and the airspeed (between 80 and 90 knots). Of the first wave the first attack is not shown. The second attack is from very close, only 800 yards, and hits the ship. Of the remaining ten attacks for which data are shown four were launched from too long a range and the torpedo came up short (although it would have hit if set for 2,000 yards); three passed astern of the ship; one was a near miss passing 20 yards ahead of the ship and two hit the bottom. One of the torpedoes which hit the bottom is shown being recovered, its nose has been badly crushed. A number of other attacks are shown without data on the result. The aircraft come back to land at Belhaven Sands. At the end of the film is an added scene of a Cuckoo with a box-type engine, possibly a prototype.