HMA Ships SYDNEY and MELBOURNE, were on patrol in the Heligoland Bight with British warships, (as part of the Harwich Force), searching for German minesweepers and destroyers, when they came under attack from two German aircraft who dropped five bombs near the ships.
SYDNEY and MELBOURNE each had a Sopwith Camel fighter onboard, which could be launched from a specially built revolving platform. The aircraft from MELBOURNE, (piloted by Flight Lieutenant Gibson, RAF), lost sight of the German aircraft he attacked when it flew into a large cloud bank. However, Flight Lieutenant A. C. Sharwood, RAF, who was piloting the aircraft from SYDNEY, pursued the other aircraft for over sixty miles. Sharwood managed to hit the enemy aircraft several times, and saw it go into a nose dive before he was forced to break off the attack, when he in turn was attacked by another German fighter. One of Sharwood’s guns jammed, and he was forced to break off the attack on the second aircraft and make his way back to the Allied ships. He eventually put his aircraft down near HMS SHARPSHOOTER, (destroyer). The aircraft started to sink, and he was rescued by a boat from the destroyer. His aircraft was then salvaged by HMS CANTERBURY. Unfortunately for Sharwood he received no formal recognition of his efforts on that day.