Aircraft of the Royal Air Force since 1918

O.Thetford - Aircraft of the Royal Air Force since 1918 /Putnam/

Armstrong Whitworth FK 8

   The FK 8 two-seat Corps reconnaissance aircraft was serving with Nos 2, 8, 10, 35 and 82 Squadrons of the RAF in April 1918, with Nos 17, 47 and 142 Squadrons overseas, and with Nos 39, 50 and 143 Home Defence Squadrons in 1918. Last in service with No 47 Squadron, supporting White Russian Forces in June 1919. Powered by one 160hp Beardmore engine; loaded weight, 2,811lb; span, 43ft 4in; length
31 ft 5in; max speed, 95mph at 6,500ft; initial climb, 330ft/min; endurance,
3hr; service ceiling, 13,000ft.
Avro 504K

   One of the most famous aeroplanes of all time, the Avro 504 in its original form appeared in 1913. In the opening phases of the First World War the type was used by first-line squadrons in the RFC and RNAS for bombing and reconnaissance, but from 1915 onwards the 504 entered the training role for which it is celebrated.
   The most widely used training variants were the 504J and 504K. Both types remained in service with the RAF after the War, the 504J being retired in September 1921, and the 504K carrying on until the late ’twenties.
   The 504J first appeared at the end of 1916, and was popularly known as the Mono-Avro because of its 100hp Gnome Monosoupape engine. This was the main type used by the famous School of Special Flying at Gosport, commanded by Maj R R Smith-Barry. The exploits of Gosport’s Avros are legendary, and the School laid the foundations of systematic flying instruction in the RFC, evolving methods which became the basis of the RAF’s Flying Training School syllabus for many years afterwards. Another notable fact about the 504J is that it was the type on which King George VI (then HRH Prince Albert) learned to fly, the actual aircraft being C4451.
   The 504K appeared in 1918 and differed from the 504J in having an open-fronted cowling and modified engine bearers to take a variety of rotaries, including the 110hp Le Rhone, the 130hp Clerget and the 100hp Monosoupape. This interchangeability was necessitated by the shortage of Mono engines from the end of 1917. Some 504Ks were converted from 504Js.
   Over 8,000 Avro 504s were built


   Description: Two-seat ab initio trainer. Wooden structure, fabric-covered.
   Manufacturers: A V Roe & Co Ltd, Manchester and Hamble, Hants. Widely sub-contracted.
   Powerplant: One 110hp Le Rhone, 130hp Clerget, or 100hp Monosoupape.
   Dimensions: Span, 36ft; length, 29ft 5in; height, 10ft 5in; wing area, 330sq ft.
   Weights (Le Rhone engine): Empty, 1,231 lb; loaded, 1,829 lb.
   Performance: Max speed, 95mph at sea level, 85mph at 10,000ft; climb, 5min to 3,500ft, 16min to 10,000ft; range, 250 miles; endurance, 3hr; service ceiling, 16,000ft.

Avro 504K (HD)

   Many Avro 504Ks serving with the RAF after April 1918 were converted to single-seat Home Defence fighters. The front cockpit was removed and faired over, and a Lewis gun mounted above the upper wing centre-section. Some aircraft retained the undercarriage skid, as on the trainer, and others had a V-strut undercarriage substituted. These 504Ks served with Nos 33, 75, 76, 77 and 90 Squadrons.
Avro 504K (J 8376) of No. 4 F.T.S., Abu Sucir.
Avro 504K (H9821) of No 2 FTS at Digby about 1925.
A high altitude Home Defence Avro 504K single seater with Lewis gun on the top centre section.
Avro 504K
Blackburn Kangaroo

   Kangaroos served with the RAF from August 1918 as anti-submarine patrol aircraft with No 246 Squadron at Seaton Carew. Twenty aircraft were built in 1918, B9970-B9989, and in October that year, ten Kangaroos were in service. They were withdrawn the next month and sold to civil operators, some still flying in 1929. Two 250hp Rolls-Royce Falcon engines. Span, 74ft 10in; length, 44ft 2in; loaded weight, 8,017lb; max speed, 98mph; service ceiling, 10,500ft.

Bristol Fighter

   The Bristol Fighter, known affectionately as the ‘Biff‘ or ‘Brisfit’, was one of the mainstays of the RAF in its formative years. The first prototype (A3303), with a 190hp Rolls-Royce Falcon engine, flew late in 1916, and the first Fighters went into action with No 48 Squadron of the RFC over the Western Front in April 1917. With the formation of the Royal Air Force on 1 April 1918, the Fighter was in widespread service, and those of No 22 Squadron made the first sortie of the new Service at dawn on that historic day.
   By the time that wartime contracts had been completed in September 1919, some 4,500 Bristol Fighters had been produced for the RAF', of which at least 350 were subsequently re-conditioned and reissued for post-war service. In addition, there were 380 acquired on contracts placed in the 1920s, of which 295 were newly-built and 85 built from spares. The new post-war Fighters became known as Mk Ils and met requirements for home service army co-operation as well as squadrons in India and Iraq, being fitted with message hooks and tropical equipment. The first Mk II (J6586) flew in December 1920. In 1925 the first Mk III appeared (H1420) with strengthened airframe and undercarriage, and increased all-up weights. The Mk III remained in production from 1926 until June 1927, and the final thirty were delivered as dual-control trainers, with the designation Mk III(DC). One of these (J8430) was assigned to No 24 Squadron as the personal aircraft of HRH the Prince of Wales. Serial numbers of the Mk Ils were J6586 to J6800 and J7616 to J7699, and for the Mk IIIs J8242-J8291 and J8429-J8458.
   Bristol Fighters were to remain with nine squadrons of the occupation forces in Germany until No 22 finally left in July 1922. Meanwhile, in the United Kingdom, No 141 Squadron at Biggin Hill was despatched to Northern Ireland where six Bristol Fighter squadrons eventually served during the troubles preceding independence, the last to leave being No 2 Squadron in December 1922. Back in England, four squadrons served on army co-operation duties until 1931, when No 16 was the last to convert to the Atlas. No 24 Squadron at Kenley used Bristol Fighters for communications duties, including a unique example (H1460), known as the Coupe, with an enclosed rear cockpit.
   On mandated policing duties overseas, Bristol Fighters did not leave first-line service until June 1932, when No 6 Squadron in Palestine reached its full establishment of Fairey Gordons. In India, where Bristol Fighters had first equipped No 31 Squadron from June 1919 and completed their first operation against recalcitrant tribesmen in September, they soldiered on until March 1932 with No 20 Squadron, which then reequipped with Westland Wapitis.
   In the Middle and Near East, Bristol Fighters made their first appearance in Palestine in February 1919 with No 111 (later No 14) Squadron, in Mesopotamia with No 6 at Baghdad West in July 1920, and in Egypt with No 208 Squadron at Ismailia in October 1920. No 208’s Bristol Fighters were the last to leave this theatre in May 1930 when they received Atlases.
   The final variant of the type to enter service was the Mk IV, immediately recognisable by its tall fin and rudder, the first and only change to the classic F2B outline. This was a dual-control trainer with a strengthened airframe, automatic HP slats, a wider tailplane and the greatest all-up weight of any F2B at 3,350lb. All the Mk IVs were conversions, the first example being H1417 in 1927. Deliveries began to Oxford and Cambridge University Air Squadrons in July 1928. The Mk IV was withdrawn in 1931-32, but a solitary survivor (F4587) made an appearance at the RAF’s final Hendon Display in 1937.
   Only two Bristol Fighters survive with original identity today. The fully airworthy D8096 is seen flying regularly at Old Warden (the Shuttleworth Collection) and E2581 resides at the Imperial War Museum at Lambeth.


   Description: Two-seat army co-operation or dual-control trainer. Wooden structure, fabric-covered. Maker's designation: Type 96.
   Manufacturers: Bristol Aeroplane Co Ltd, Filton, Bristol. Widely sub-contracted.
   Powerplant: One 275hp Rolls-Royce Falcon III
   Dimensions: Span: 39ft 3in; length, 25ft 10in; height, 9ft 9in; wing area, 406sq ft.
   Weights: Empty, 2,150lb; loaded, 3,250lb.
   Performance: Max speed, 110mph at sea level, 108mph at 13,000ft; initial climb, 838ft/min; 11min 15sec to 10,000ft; endurance, 3hr; service ceiling, 20,000ft.
   Squadron Allocations: Western Front, 1918: Nos 9, 11, 12, 22, 35, 39, 48, 59, 62 and 88. Italy 1918: No 139. Egypt and Palestine, 1918: No 111. Home Defence, 1918: Nos 33 (Filton and Tadcaster), 39 (North Weald, Biggin Hill, Hainault Farm and Sutton’s Farm), 76 (Catterick, Copmanthorpe and Helperby), 138 (Chingford) and 141 (Rochford and Biggin Hill).
   Post-war Service: United Kingdom: Nos 2 (Andover, Digby and Mansion), 4 (Farnborough), 13 (Kenley and Andover), 16 (Old Sarum), 24 (Kenley) and 141 (Biggin Hill). Southern Ireland (1919-22): Nos 2 (Fermoy and Oranmore), 4 (Baldonnel), 100 (Baldonnel), 105 (Fermoy, Oranmore and Omagh), 106 (Fermoy) and 141 (Baldonnel and Tallaght). Belgium: No 88. Egypt: Nos 111 and 208. France: No 35. Germany, Army of Occupation: Nos 8, 9, 11, 12, 22, 39, 48, 59 and 62. India: Nos 5, 20, 28, 31, 48 and 114. No 6. Palestine: Nos 14
and 111. Shanghai: No 2. Syria: No 14. Turkey: Nos 4 and 208.
The primary role of the RAF in the formative years of the 1920s was the air policing of mandated territories overseas. This lineup of Vimy (HR660 of No 216 Squadron), Bristol Fighter (H1583 of No 208 Squadron) and DH 9A (E959 of No 47 Squadron ) typifies the equipment of the period when this picture was taken in 1926
Bristol Fighter III (dual) (J 8257) Oxford U.A.S.
Bristol Fighter Mk III (JR6789) of No 208 Squadron in 1927.
Bristol Fighter Mk.III
Bristol M1C Monoplane

   Although never used in quantity on the Western Front, the Bristol Monoplane gave limited service with the RFC in Macedonia, Mesopotamia and Palestine. The RAF inherited some which served with Nos 72 and 150 Squadrons until 1919 in Mesopotamia and Greece respectively. One 110hp Le Rhone rotary engine. Span, 30ft 9in; length, 20ft 5in. Loaded weight, 1,348lb. Max speed, 111mph at 10,000ft; service ceiling, 20,000ft. Armament: One synchronised Vickers machine gun.
Bristol M1C monoplanes were based with 72 Squadron in Mesopotamia during the early part of 1918. The Squadron flew reconnaissance and fighter mission from a number of LGs over a wide operational area.
de Havilland DH 4 (Airco)

   This two-seat day bomber was introduced on the Western Front in March 1917. By April 1918 it was still serving with Nos 18, 25, 55, 57, 125, 202, 211, 212, 217, 226, 227 and 273 Squadrons of the RAF. It was last in service with No 55 Squadron in France in January 1919. One 375hp Rolls-Royce Eagle. Loaded weight, 3,472lb. Max speed, 136mph at 6,500ft; initial climb, 1,040ft/min; endurance, 3hr; service ceiling, 20,000ft.
de Havilland DH 6 (Airco)

   In April 1918 the RAF inherited from the RNAS the DH 6 anti-submarine role, which had been established the previous month. At the end of 1918, the RAF still had 1,060 DH 6s on charge, serving for the most part with thirty-four Flights, deployed around Britain’s coastline and which eventually became Nos 236, 244, 250, 251, 252, 253, 254, 255, 256, 258 and 272 Squadrons of the RAF. Basically trainers, they had been adapted as light bomb-carrying anti-submarine patrol aircraft. Their introduction to this role had been one of several expedients forced on the Admiralty by the growing menace of German submarines around Britain’s coasts. Powerplant: One 90hp RAF la, Curtiss OX-5 or 80hp Renault engine. Span, 35ft 11in; length, 27ft 3in. Loaded weight, 2,027lb. Max speed, 75mph at 2,000ft; service ceiling, 6,000ft.
B2612, a production D.H.6 with large rudder and elevator.
de Havilland DH 9 (Airco)

   The immediate predecessor of the long-serving DH 9A, was the DH 9, a two-seat day bomber of which more than 3,000 were built for the RFC and RAF. In November 1918, DH 9s were still serving on Nos 17, 27, 47, 49, 98, 99, 103, 104, 107, 108, 119, 120, 144, 206, 211, 212, 218, 222, 223, 224, 226, 227, 250, 269 and 273 Squadrons of the RAF, with Nos 55, 221 and 270 in the process of re-equipping after the Armistice. The last DH 9s in service were those of No 55 Squadron in Egypt and Palestine, which were not withdrawn until September 1920. Powerplant: One 240hp BHP engine. Loaded weight, 3,669lb. Max speed, 111mph at 10,000ft; climb, 500ft/min; endurance, 4hr; service ceiling, 17,500ft.
de Havilland D.H. 10 Amiens

   Although the name ‘Amiens’ appeared in official documents of the period relating to the DH 10, it was for some years not generally realised that the type was ever named, and it is usually referred to by its maker’s designation.
   The DH 10 ranks with the Vimy and V/1500 as one of the promising new bombers of the RAF that just missed seeing action in the First World War. In October 1918 the RAF had only eight, but had the war continued it would have become a most effective weapon with the Independent Force in its raids on Germany.
   The original DH 10 (C8658) flew on 4 March 1918 and resembled the DH 3 in that the 240hp BHP engines were mounted as pushers. In the second prototype, C8659, which flew on 20 April 1918, the 360hp Rolls-Royce Eagles appeared in the more familiar tractor layout.
   Trials showed that the DH 10 was faster than the DH 9A and could carry twice the bomb load. The Air Ministry ordered 1,300 but, with the ending of the war, only some 260 were completed.
   In its production form, the DH 10 was powered by Liberty engines and was designated the Amiens III; serial numbers allocated were E5437-E5558, E6037-E6056, E7837-E7865, E9057- E9097 and F351-F358. A later version, with engines mounted directly on the lower wings, was designated the DH 10A, or Amiens IIIA, with serial numbers F1869 and F8421- F8453.
   In November 1918 the Amiens was delivered to No 104 Squadron of the Independent Force, and, on 10 November 1918 Capt Ewart Garland in F1867 bombed Sarrebourg aerodrome in the only DH 10 operation of the First World War. The unit disbanded in February 1919.
   Post-war service of the DH 10 was relatively brief, the last examples with No 216 Squadron in Egypt being superseded by the Vimy in June 1922. One DH 10 (F1869) attached to No 120 Squadron, which in 1919 flew an air mail service between Hawkinge and Cologne for the British Army on the Rhine, became the first Service aircraft to carry mail at night on 14/15 May 1919. Another pioneer air mail route flown by DH 10s was the Cairo-Baghdad service across the desert, which started on 23 June 1921. The pilots followed tracks in the sand as a navigational guide. In India No 60 Squadron used DH 10s in bombing raids on rebel tribesmen in November 1920, and again early in 1922; it reequipped with DH 9As in April 1923.


   Description: Three- or four-seat day bomber. Wooden structure, fabric covered.
   Manufacturers: The Aircraft Manufacturing Co Ltd, Hendon, Middlesex. Also built by Alliance Aero Co; Birmingham Carriage Co; Daimler Ltd; Mann, Egerton & Co; National Aircraft Factory (Stockport); and the Siddeley-Deasy Car Co.
   Powerplant: Two 400hp Liberty 12.
   Dimensions: Span, 65ft 6in; length, 39ft 7 1/2in; height, 14ft 6in; wing area, 837sq ft.
   Weights: Empty, 5,585lb; loaded, 9,000lb.
   Performance: Max speed, 112.5mph at 10,000ft, 106mph at 15,000ft; climb: 34.5 min to 15,000ft; endurance, 6hr; service ceiling, 16,500ft.
   Armament: Single or twin Lewis guns in nose and amidships. Bomb load, 900lb.
   Squadron Allocations: France (1918): No 104. Egypt: No 216 (Abu Sueir and Heliopolis). India: Nos 60 (Risalpur) and 97 (Allahabad, Lahore and Risalpur).
DH 10 Amiens Mk III of No 216 Squadron in Egypt in about 1921.
De Havilland DH 10 Amiens Mk IIIA
de Havilland D.H.9A

   One of the most famous of RAF aircraft, the DH 9A rivalled the Bristol Fighter and Avro 504 for longevity. Known familiarly as the ‘Ninak’, the DH 9A was introduced during the last six months of the First World War and remained in service until as late as 1931. In 1921 an inventory of RAF aircraft showed that 271 DH 9As were in squadron service, 124 at training schools and a further 268 in storage.
   Developed as a replacement for the DH 9 with the Independent Force, the DH 9A had increased wing area and was powered by the 360hp Rolls-Royce Eagle or 400hp Liberty engine, the prototypes being B7664 and C6122 respectively.
   The DH 9A first entered service with No 110 Squadron in June 1918, but did not reach France until 31 August. Operating in close formation at 17,000ft, the DH 9As were extremely effective in daylight raids on German towns, and by the Armistice No 110 Squadron had dropped ten and a half tons of bombs with relatively light losses. Other DH 9A squadrons on the Western Front were Nos 18, 99 and 205. Nos 47 and 221 Squadrons were also equipped in Russia during 1919-20 while fighting the Bolsheviks.
   The DH 9A’s parent company for production was Westland at Yeovil, the company that later produced the Wapiti as the Ninak’s replacement. By 1919 1,780 DH 9As had been built on wartime contracts, and during the 1920s further contracts called for 435, embracing both refurbished aircraft taken out of storage and some newly built.
   Rebuilt DH 9As, delivered to the post-war RAF between 1923 and 1925 were given serial numbers between J6957 and J7356; they had been renumbered from their wartime identities, but others continued with their original numbers in the ‘E’ and ‘F’ series. Between 1925 and 1927, sixteen additional contracts were raised with Blackburn, de Havilland, Gloster, Handley Page, Hawker, Parnall, Saunders, Short Bros and Westland for DH 9As between J7787 and J8494, the last DH 9A to be manufactured. It was first flown on 17 May 1927 and was delivered to No 1 FTS at Netheravon.
   The DH 9A was standard equipment with home-based day bomber squadrons until the arrival of the Fairey Fawn, and was one of the mainstays of squadrons overseas until replaced by the Wapiti and Fairey IIIF. It also served with the Auxiliary Air Force from its inception in 1925, and with Flying Training Schools. Wing Drill by Nos 39 and 100 Squadrons was a feature of the 1924 Hendon Display, and in 1927 Nos 600 and 601 Squadrons represented the Auxiliaries for the first time.


   Description: Two-seat day bomber. Wooden structure, fabric covered.
   Manufacturers: Westland Aircraft Works, Yeovil, Somerset. Widely sub-contracted.
   Powerplant: One 400hp Liberty 12A.
   Dimensions: Span, 46ft; length, 30ft; height, 10ft 9in; wing area, 488sq ft.
   Weights: Empty, 2,695lb; loaded, 4,645lb.
   Performance: Max speed, 114mph at 10,000ft; initial climb, 890ft/min; endurance, 5 3/4hr; service ceiling, 16,750ft.
   Armament: One Vickers gun forward, and one Lewis gun aft; bomb load, 450lb.
   Squadron Allocations (post-war). Home: Nos 11 (Andover), 12 (Northolt), 15 (Martlesham Heath), 35 (Bircham Newton), 39 (Spittlegate and Bircham Newton), 100 (Spittlegate), 101 (Bircham Newton)), 207 (Bircham Newton and Eastchurch), 501 (Filton), 600 and 601 (Northolt and Hendon), 602 (Renfrew), 603 (Turnhouse), 604 (Hendon) and 605 (Castle Bromwich). Overseas: No 8 (Iraq and Aden), 14 (Palestine), 27 (India), 30 (Iraq), 45 and 47 (Egypt), 55 (Iraq), 60 (India) and 84 (Iraq). Russia (1919-20): No 47 (one Flight) and 221. Mail: Nos 57 and 120. Coastal: Nos 3, 212 and 273.
The primary role of the RAF in the formative years of the 1920s was the air policing of mandated territories overseas. This lineup of Vimy (HR660 of No 216 Squadron), Bristol Fighter (H1583 of No 208 Squadron) and DH 9A (E959 of No 47 Squadron ) typifies the equipment of the period when this picture was taken in 1926
D.H.9A (J 7013) of No. 55 Squadron.
DH 9As of No 600 (City of London) Squadron flying from Northolt in 1926.
De Havilland DH 9A
de Havilland DH 4A (Airco)

   This special version of the DH 4 light bomber accommodated two passengers in a cabin behind the pilot, and was operated by No 2 Communications Squadron, 86th Wing, RAF, on communications flights between Kenley and Buc, near Paris, during the Peace Conference of 1919. Sixteen DH 4s were converted: F2663-F2665, F2681, F2694, F2699, F2702, F2704, F5764, H5894, H5905, H5928, H5929, H5934, H5939 and H8263. Powerplant: One 360hp Rolls-Royce Eagle VI. Loaded weight, 3,720lb. Max speed, 121mph.
F2664, "H.M.A.P. Lady Iris", one of the D.H.4As used on the cross-Channel services of No.2 (Communications) Squadron, R.A.F., in 1919.
Fairey Campania Seaplane
   The Royal Air Force inherited over forty Campania seaplanes from the RNAS in April 1918. These aircraft were operated both from seaplane carriers at sea and from coastal stations. The carrier-borne Campanias were powered by Rolls-Royce Eagle engines, and those at coastal stations by 250hp Sunbeam Maori engines. Squadrons equipped with Campanias were Nos 240 (Calshot), 241 (Portland) and 242 (Newhaven), but the aircraft were withdrawn from service in about mid-1919. Span, 61ft 7in; length, 43ft 4in; loaded weight, 5,530lb; max speed, 85mph at sea level; service ceiling, 6,000ft. Armament comprised a single Lewis gun in the rear cockpit and a light bomb load on external racks.
Fairey IIIC
   A development of the earlier IIIA and IIIB, the Fairey IIIC served with the RAF in North Russian in 1919. A total of thirty-five was built, N2255-N2259 and N9230-N9259. IIICs also served with No 229 Squadron at Great Yarmouth until December 1919. Powerplant: One 375hp Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII. Span, 46ft 2in; loaded weight, 4,800lb; max speed, 110mph.

Felixstowe F 2A

   The F 2A was the most famous in the series of Felixstowe flying boats that were used on the North Sea patrols, and some of them remained in service with the RAF for a few years after the war. Fifty-three were still on RAF charge on 31 October 1918, and equipped Nos 228, 230, 231, 232, 238, 240, 247, 257 and 267 Squadrons. The last examples in service were those of No 267 Squadron at Kalafrana, Malta, in August 1923, one of whose aircraft, N4490, is illustrated. Powerplant: Two 345hp Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII engines. Span, 95ft 7in; length, 46ft 3in; loaded weight, 10,978lb; max speed, 95mph at 2,000ft; endurance, 6hr; service ceiling, 9,600ft.

Felixstowe F 3

   The F 3 provided the link between the F 2A and F 2C flying boats of the First World War and the post-war F 5, possessing a greater wing span than the earlier boats. A total of ninety-six F 3s was on RAF charge in October 1918, equipping Nos 231, 232, 234, 247, 263, 267 and 271 Squadrons. Unlike the F 2As, which survived in service until August 1923, the last F 3s w'ere disposed of by No 267 at Kalafrana, Malta, in May 1921. Powerplant: Two 345hp Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII engines. Span, 102ft; length, 49ft 2in; loaded weight, 12,335lb; max speed, 93mph at 2,000ft; endurance, 6hr; service ceiling, 8,000ft.

Felixstowe F 5

   The F 5 was the standard flying-boat in service with the RAF in the years immediately following the Armistice in 1918. It was the last of the line of Felixstowe boats designed by Lt Cdr John Porte which served with such distinction in the First World War, but was itself too late to serve during the war.
   The F 5’s design followed fairly closely that of its predecessors, the F 2A, F 2C and F 3. The prototype, N90, passed through its acceptance tests in May 1918 and proved to be over 10mph faster than the F 3, from which it differed in having a new wing structure of greater span (103ft 8in, as against 102ft on the F 3 and 95ft 7 1/2in on the F 2A), a new type of wing section and numerous detail improvements, including rectangular, horn-balanced ailerons on the upper wings. To facilitate manufacture, however, the production version of the F 5 was extensively modified to incorporate F 3 components, with the result that its loaded weight was increased and the final performance figures were somewhat inferior to those of the F 3.
   The prototype F 5 was built at the Seaplane Experimental Station at Felixstowe, but production aircraft were contracted out to Short Bros at Rochester, the Phoenix Dynamo Co of Bradford, S E Saunders in the Isle of Wight, Boulton and Paul of Norwich (hulls only) and the Aircraft Manufacturing Co of Hendon.
   F 5 flying-boats equipped No 230 Squadron at Felixstowe, moving to Calshot in 1922. Their task was naval co-operation with the Portsmouth submarine flotilla at Portland, and exercises with the Atlantic Fleet. No 230 Squadron was renumbered No 480 Flight at the end of 1922, but it retained its F 5 boats until disbanded in April 1923. In 1921, the RAF had 109 Felixstowe flying-boats on its strength. In July 1919 an F 5 flying-boat, N4044, made a tour of Scandinavia, a flight of 2,450 miles in 27 days. In December 1924 Short Bros produced an F 5, N177, with an all-metal hull, this being the first military flying-boat in the world to depart from the traditional wooden construction.
   Since production records invariably group F 3 and F 5 statistics, it is difficult to be sure of the exact number of F 5 boats delivered to the RAF. It seems unlikely to have exceeded by very much the twenty-three examples (N4037-N4049 and N4830-N4839) completed by Short Bros, although some aircraft from the Phoenix and Boulton and Paul contracts (N4184-N4198), Saunders (N4430-N4479) and Airco (N4480-N4579) may have been delivered, if only to go into storage.


   Description: General reconnaissance flying-boat with a crew of four. Wooden structure with ply and fabric covering.
   Manufacturers: See list in accompanying text.
   Powerplant: Two 375hp Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII.
   Dimensions: Span, 103ft 8in; length, 49ft 3in; height, 18ft 9in; wing area, 1,409sq ft.
   Weights: Empty, 9,100lb; loaded, 12,682lb.
   Performance: Max speed, 88mph at 2,000ft; climb, 30 min to 6,500ft; endurance, 7hr; service ceiling, 6,800ft.
   Armament: One Lewis gun in bows and three amidships. Bomb load of 920lb carried below the wings.
   Squadron Allocations: Nos 230 (Felixstowe and Calshot) and 231 (Felixstowe). No 480 Flight (Calshot).
F.2A N 4490 of No. 267 Squadron at Malta in 1922.
Felixstowe F 5
Handley Page O/400

   The O/400 was the standard British heavy bomber of the First World War, originally designed to an Admiralty requirement on the assumption that strategic bombing was the responsibility of the Royal Navy. By the end of 1917 this premise had been modified with the creation of the RFC’s 41st Wing, which became the Independent Force in 1918, tasked with the strategic bombing of Germany. By October 1918, Handley Page O/400s equipped Nos 58, 97, 115, 207, 214, 215 and 216 Squadrons of the RAF. The big bomber remained in service for a short period after the war before being replaced by the Vickers Vimy and de Havilland Amiens, but continued to serve with No 216 Squadron in Egypt until October 1921. Its final public appearance with the RAF was made by J2260 from Biggin Hill at the Hendon Display in June 1923. Total production was 549 aircraft in the serial ranges B8802-B8813, C3487-C9785, D4561-D9750, F301-F320, F3748-F5448 and J2242-J2264. Powerplant: Two 322hp Rolls-Royce Eagle engines. Span, 100ft; length, 62ft. Loaded weight, 14,022lb. Max speed, 97mph; endurance, 8hr; service ceiling, 8,000ft.
Handley Page V/1500

   The Handley Page V/1500, the largest British bomber of the First World War and the first with four engines, was designed to bring Berlin within range of RAF bases in East Anglia, but hostilities ended before the first squadron became operational. Although it saw no action against Germany and remained in service only a short time after the war, the V/1500 has an important place in RAF history, as it was the first practical example of a bomber designed to strike strategic targets from home bases. The three V/1500s (E8287, F7134 and F7135) which were standing by at Bircham Newton to raid Berlin when the Armistice was signed belonged to No 166 Squadron, commanded by Lt-Col R H Mulock.
   The V/1500 was designed in 1917 and the prototype, B9463, made its first flight in May 1918. A total of 210 was ordered for the RAF, to be built by Harland & Wolff of Belfast and Beardmore of Dalmuir, but most of these were cancelled with the ending of the war.
   On 31 December 1919 there were fifty-five V/1500s officially ‘on charge’ with the RAF, but most of these were in storage, or even unassembled. Forty-one had certainly been completed and flown, including the second and third prototypes (B9464 and B9465), later to become J1935 and J1936, and there were nine from Harland & Wolff at Belfast, nineteen from Beardmore at Dalmuir (E8287-E8295 and F8281-F8290), ten from Handley Page at Cricklewood, and a final J6573 from Belfast which had flown on 3 September 1919 with Lion engines, being the only survivor of a cancelled plan to equip the RAF with fifty Lion-powered V/1500s.
   No 274 Squadron was the only post-war unit to take V/1500s into service, in June 1919, with E8293 and F8281-F8290 but, with the Versailles Peace Treaty concluded, economy was the watchword and no place was contemplated for such a large and expensive bomber as the V/1500. As a result, attention was focussed on the more economical (and much less capable) twin-engine Vimy, and No 274 Squadron was disbanded in January 1920.
   To the V/1500 goes the credit of making the first through flight from England to India. On 13 December 1918 the V/1500 HMA Old Carthusian, J1936, took off from Martlesham and arrived at Karachi early in January 1919, having flown via Rome, Malta, Cairo and Baghdad. Maj A S MacLaren mc, and Capt Robert Halley were the pilots, and they were accompanied by Brig-Gen N D K MacEwen CB, and three mechanics. The flight was not without its hazards, the final landing at Karachi being made on only two engines. On 24 May 1919 the V/1500 was used in a bombing attack on Kabul during the troubles in Afghanistan.
   In 1919 the V/1500 F7140, named Atlantic, was shipped to Newfoundland to attempt the Atlantic crossing, but the project was abandoned when Alcock and Brown made their successful flight in a Vickers Vimy. Instead, F7140 made a series of demonstration flights in the USA and Canada.
   The V/1500’s last appearance in public was at the RAF Tournament at Hendon on 3 July 1920, when three demonstrated a formation take-off with such brio over the Royal Enclosure that it caused the displeasure of King George V. Leading the formation was Sholto Douglas (later Marshal of the Royal Air Force Lord Douglas of Kirtleside), who earned a severe rebuke from ‘Boom’ Trenchard personally.


   Description: Long-range heavy bomber with a crew of five to seven. Wooden structure, plywood and fabric covered.
   Manufacturers: Handley Page Ltd, Cricklewood, London. Sub-contracted by William Beardmore & Co Ltd, Dalmuir, and Harland & Wolff Ltd, Belfast.
   Powerplant: Four 375hp Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII. (In development stages, four 500hp Galloway Atlantic or four 450hp Napier Lion)
   Dimensions: Span, 126ft; length 64ft; height, 23ft. Wing area, 2,800sq ft.
   Weights: Empty, 17,602lb; loaded (max), 30,000ft.
   Performance: Max speed, 99mph at 6,500ft; cruising speed, 80mph; climb, 41 min to 10,000ft; endurance, 17hr; range, 1,300 miles; service ceiling, 11,000ft.
   Armament: Single or twin-yoked Lewis guns in nose, midships and tail positions. Bomb load (normal), 7,500lb (thirty 250lb bombs). Under development in 1919 was a bomb, the 3,360lb SN Major, intended for delivery by the V/1500, but it is believed that this was never carried.
   Squadron Allocations: Home Bomber: Nos 166 and 167 of the 86th Wing (Bircham Newton) and 274 (Bircham Newton). Overseas: Planned to equip 87th Wing, based on Prague, but this was forestalled by the Armistice.
V/1500 H.M.A. Carthusian.
V/1500s on display at Hendon in 1920.
Handley Page V/1500
Martinsyde Elephant

   The Martinsyde G 100 Elephant, which had joined No 27 Squadron in February 1916, survived on No 72 Squadron with the RAF in Mesopotamia until November 1918. The Martinsyde G 102 version was powered by a 160hp Beardmore engine. Span, 38ft; length, 26ft 6in. Loaded weight, 2,458lb. Max speed, 102mph at 6,500ft. Armament of two Lewis guns.
Martinsyde Buzzard

   The Martinsyde F 4 Buzzard singleseat fighter was too late to see action in the First World War, but about eighteen examples served with the RAF after the Armistice, mainly on Station Flights and with the Central Flying School. In November 1918, Buzzards had been on the point of equipping No 95 Squadron at Kenley when the Armistice was signed. Two were used by the RAF Communications Wing in 1919 for flights between London and Paris during the Peace Conference. CFS Buzzards also participated in the RAF Pageant at Hendon in 1920, and again in 1922. Total production of Buzzards reached about 222 (with serial numbers D4211-D4256, H6540-H6542 and H7613-H7786), although most of these were delivered straight into storage and ultimately scrapped. Powered by a 300hp Hispano-Suiza engine, the Buzzard was one of the fastest fighters of its day, with a maximum speed of 132mph at 15,000ft, and 145mph at sea level. Armament of twin synchronised Vickers guns. Span, 32ft 9in; length, 25ft 5in; loaded weight, 2,398lb.
Nieuport Nighthawk

   Although the RAF acquired only a small batch of Nighthawks for trials, the type is of unusual significance in that it was to establish the pattern of Service fighter aircraft throughout the ’twenties and much of the ’thirties. The radial engine biplane remained the standard type of single-seat fighter in the RAF (with the exception of the Hawker Fury) until the Gladiator of 1937. The Nighthawk was the RAF’s first fighter powered by a stationary radial engine instead of the 1914-1918 type of rotary, and features of its design could be traced in a number of early Gloster fighters, notably the well-known Grebe.
   The Nighthawk was originally produced to a 1918 specification for the RAF, Type I SS Fighter, a requirement which also brought forth such aircraft as the Sopwith Snark, Snapper and Snail, the AW Ara, the BAT Basilisk and Bantam, and the Westland Wagtail. The original Nighthawk, produced by the Nieuport and General Aircraft Co of Cricklewood, was powered by the 320hp ABC Dragonfly engine, one of the early radials. H P Folland, creator of the famous SE 5 fighter, was largely responsible for its design, and his interest continued when the type was taken over by the Gloucestershire Company (later Gloster Aircraft Co Ltd) in 1920. The original Dragonfly version appeared at the RAF Pageant in 1920 but, by 1923, when the celebrated dogfight occurred between a Boulton Paul Bourges and two fighters, the attacking Nighthawks, J2405 and J2416, had been been fitted with Jupiter radial engines.
   After the failure of the Dragonfly engine (owing to apparently incurable unreliability), the first Nighthawk to be re-engined appears to have been H8534, which received a 325hp Jaguar II radial in November 1920. Four more Nighthawks were modified to Spec 35/22, two with Jaguar (H8544 and J6925) and two with Jupiter radials (J6926 and J6927). These Nighthawks were sent to Mesopotamia in 1923 for Service trials under tropical conditions. They were attached to No 1 Squadron (Snipes) and No 8 Squadron (DH 9A).
   Production serial numbers allocated for the airframes included H8513-H8553, J2403-J2417, J6925-J6941, J6970 and J6971, many of which simply went into storage, and about eighteen became Nightjars.


   Description: Single-seat fighter. Wooden structure, fabric covered. Maker's Designation: Mars VI.
   Manufacturer: Gloucestershire Aircraft Co Ltd, Gloucester.
   Powerplant: One 325hp Armstrong Siddeley Jaguar II, or 385hp Bristol Jupiter III.
   Dimensions: Span, 28ft; length, 18ft; height, 9ft; wing area, 270sq ft.
   Weights: Loaded (Jaguar), 2,550lb, (Jupiter), 2,270lb.
   Performance: (Jaguar) Max speed, 150mph at sea level; climb, 21 min to 20,000ft; service ceiling, 27,000ft; endurance, 2hr. (Jupiter) Max speed, 148mph; climb, 16.5 min to 20,000ft.
   Armament: Twin synchronised Vickers guns.
Nighthawk (JR6925) of No 8 Squadron in 1925.
Nighthawk (JR 6925) with Jaguar engine of No. I Squadron.
Nieuport Nighthawk (Jupiter)
Parnall Panther

   Designed by Parnall and first flown in 1918, but built in quantity by the Bristol Aeroplane Company, the two- seat Panther served with No 205 Squadron. This unit re-formed at Leuchars in April 1920 for fighter-reconnaissance duties in co-operation with the Royal Navy; it became No 441 Flight in April 1923. Production of the Panther totalled 150 aircraft (N7400-N7549), of which fewer than a dozen were completed at Parnall’s Coliseum works in Bristol. Powerplant: One 230hp Bentley BR 2 rotary engine. Span, 29ft 6in; length, 24ft 11in. Loaded weight, 2,595lb. Max speed, 108mph at 6,500ft; service ceiling, 14,500ft. Armament, one Lewis gun in rear cockpit.
FE 2b and FE 2d (Royal Aircraft Factory)

   First introduced as a two-seat fighter on the Western Front in January 1916, the FE 2b and its successor the FE 2d were later employed extensively in the night bombing role, and on 1 April 1918 remained in service performing this duty with Nos 38, 83, 100, 101, 102, 148 and 149 Squadrons, as well as on Nos 191, 192, 199 and 200 Squadrons for night training. The last aircraft remained with No 149 Squadron at Bickendorf in Germany until March 1919. Powerplant: One 120hp or 160hp Beardmore engine. Span, 47ft 9in; length, 32ft 3in; loaded weight, 3,037lb; max speed, 81mph at 6,500ft; initial climb, 210ft/min; ceiling, 11,000ft.
BE 12 and BE 12b (HD) (Royal Aircraft Factory)

   The BE 12 was basically a single-seat BE 2c with a 140hp RAF 4a engine, and the BE 12a a similar variation of the BE 2e. The BE 12b introduced the 200hp Hispano-Suiza engine with a flat frontal radiator. The Royal Air Force used BE 12 variants in 1918 with Nos 37, 75, 76 and 77 Home Defence Squadrons.
   The BE 12b illustrated here is a close-support variant, shown carrying a pair of bombs under the wings.
BE 2e (Royal Aircraft Factory)

   The BE 2e was a two-seat Corps Reconnaissance aircraft developed from the famous BE 2c, some of which also remained in service in 1918. The BE 2e equipped Nos 30, 31, 114 and 142 Squadrons in October 1918, as well as Nos 33, 37, 38, 39, 50, 75, 76, 77 and 78 Home Defence Squadrons. The last examples in service were those of No 114 Squadron in India in October 1919. Powerplant, one 90hp RAF la engine. Loaded weight, 2,100lb; max speed, 82mph at 6,500 ft; initial climb, 182ft/min; endurance, 3 1/2hr; ceiling, 9,000ft. Span, 40ft 9in; length, 27ft 3in.
RE8 (Royal Aircraft Factory)

   Designed at the Royal Aircraft Factory, Farnborough, the RE 8 (colloquially known as the ‘Harry Tate’) became from 1916 the most widely used type of Corps reconnaissance aircraft with the RFC and RAF. In April 1918 it continued to serve on Nos 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 13, 14, 15, 16, 21, 30, 34, 42, 52, 53, 59, 63, 105, 106 and 208 Squadrons of the RAF. After the war it served with Nos 6, 30 and 208 Squadrons, all overseas. The last in service were those on No 208 Squadron at Ismailia in Egypt in November 1920. Powerplant: One 150hp RAF 4A engine. Span, 42ft 7in; length, 27ft 10in. Loaded weight, 2,678 lb. Max speed, 102mph; climb, 340ft/min; endurance, 4hr; service ceiling, 13,000ft.
SE 5A (Royal Aircraft Factory)

   One of the outstanding fighters of the First World War, the SE 5A was developed from the SE 5 which first entered service with No 56 Squadron in March 1917. In April 1918 the SE 5A. equipped Nos 1, 24, 29, 32, 37, 40, 41, 50, 56, 60, 61, 64, 72, 74, 84, 85, 92, 94, 111, 143, 145 and 150 Squadrons of the RAF. After the war, SE 5As remained on about eighteen squadrons until 1919. The last to remain in service were those of Nos 84 and 92 Squadrons, which survived until August 1919. Powerplant: One 200hp, 220hp or 240hp Hispano-Suiza or Wolseley Viper engine. Span, 26ft 7in; length, 20ft 11in. Loaded weight, 2,048lb. Max speed, 132mph at 6,500ft; climb, 765ft/min; service ceiling, 20,000ft.
111 Squadron also used the SE5a, as with C1764 here. The Squadron had formed at Deir-el-Belah in August 1917 as a fighter unit to support the planned autumn offensive. The SE5a was first used from October.
Short 184

   Many of these classic seaplanes were taken over from the RNAS by the RAF in April 1918, and continued in service well into 1919 with many units. Squadrons so equipped were: Nos 219 (Westgate), 229 (Yarmouth), 230 and 231 (Felixstowe), 233 (Dover), 234 (Tresco), 235 (Newlyn), 237 and 238 (Cattewater), 239 (Torquay), 240 (Calshot), 241 (Portland), 242 (Newhaven), 243 (Cherbourg), 245 (Fishguard), 253 (Isle of Wight), 263 (Taranto), 264 (Crete), 266 (Russia), 268 (Malta) and 269 (Port Said). Powerplant: One 260hp Sunbeam engine. Span, 63ft 6in; length, 40ft 7in. Loaded weight, 5,363lb. Max speed, 88mph at 2,000ft; service ceiling, 9,000ft. Carried one 14in torpedo or 520lb of bombs.
A particularly good flying picture of a Short Type 184.
Short 320

   The Short 320 was the last of a series of seaplanes widely used in the First World War for anti-submarine and naval reconnaissance. Powered by a 310hp or 320hp Sunbeam engine, over fifty Short 320s were in service with the RAF in October 1918. Nos 253, 263, 266 and 268 were still thus equipped until 1919. Last in service were the Short 320s of No 268 Squadron based at Kalafrana, Malta, until October that year. Span, 74ft 6in; length, 45ft 9in. Loaded weight, 7,014lb. Max speed, 80mph; climb, 140ft/min; service ceiling, 5,500ft.
Short Type 310-A4, N1393, taxying with an 18in torpedo. The pilot's forward field of view must have been minimal.
The Short Brothers Company, established in November 1908, had enjoyed a long standing good relationship with the Admiralty's Air Department and especially with its visionary head. Murray F Sueter. Between 1912 and 1914, Shorts had developed a series of tractor-engined seaplanes, culminating in the first of the so-called Short 'Folders', of which the Admiralty had bought 25. Thus, at the outbreak of war in early August 1914, Shorts were already established as the leading supplier of naval seaplanes in Britain. These early seaplanes, one of which had been the first British aircraft to loft and drop a torpedo on 27 July 1914, were followed by the Short Admiralty Type 166 and other small run series precursors to the seemingly ubiquitously built and deployed, torpedo-carrying Short Admiralty Type 184 that emerged in the spring of 1915. More than 650 of these two seaters were to be produced by Shorts and 10 sub-contractors. Incidentally, the first Type 184s to be deployed served aboard HMS Ben-My-Cree from June 1915. Indeed, the Type 184 was the first ever aircraft to sink a ship by torpedo, on 17 August 1915, albeit that the ship in question was a tug boat attacked while the aircraft was taxiing in the Aegean Sea, where the high temperatures reduced performance considerably. Aware of this grave limitation, Sueter sought solutions via two routes, the first being to contract for the design of twin-engined types such as the Blackburn GP, while beseeching sympathetic engine suppliers to produce a power unit with sufficient output to make a single-engined torpedo-carrier a real possibility. In the case of Shorts, it was the emergence of an engine adequate to the task that did the trick, leading to their two-seat Short Admiralty Type 310, a more powerful development of the Type 184. First flown in July 1916 and powered by the 320hp Sunbeam Cossack, the Type 310 could carry a 1,000lb, 18 inch torpedo when cruising at around 68mph, while the top level speed at sea level, without torpedo was 79mph. Ironically, by the time the Type 310 was ready for service use its primary role had been given over to carrier-based landplane types, such as the Sopwith Cuckoo, with the result that the Short seaplane's mission was switched to over-water patrolling. Seen here is serial no N1303, the 14th Type 310 to be built by Shorts, who, incidentally, were to supply six of these machines to the Japanese Navy at the end of 1917.
Sopwith Baby Seaplane

   Widely used before April 1918 by the RNAS, the Sopwith Baby served as an anti-submarine aircraft in home waters and as fighter reconnaissance aircraft in the Mediterranean theatre. With the RAF it served with the following Squadrons: Nos 219 (Westgate), 229 (Great Yarmouth), 246 (Seaton Carew), 248 (Hornsea Merc), 249 (Dundee), and 270 (Alexandria) where the last examples in service remained until April 1919. Powerplant: One 130hp Clerget rotary engine. Span, 25ft 8in; length, 23ft. Loaded weight, 1,715lb. Max speed, 98 mph at sea level; service ceiling, 7,600ft.
   The Hamble Baby (built by Fairey and Parnall) was a variant of the Sopwith Baby.
Sopwith 1 1/2-Strutter

   Although obsolescent by April 1918, a few 1 1/2-Strutters remained in the RAF on Home Defence duties with No 78 Squadron at Sutton’s Farm until July 1918, being replaced by Sopwith Camels, and with No 78 Squadron at Goldhanger and Stow Maries. On Home Defence duties, it was usually flown as a single-seater with two synchronised machine guns firing forward. One 110hp Clerget rotary. Span, 33ft 6in; length, 25ft 3in. Loaded weight, 2,363lb. Max speed, 100mph at 6,500ft; service ceiling, 15,000ft.
Английский двухместный "Сопвич" с турелью "Скэрф" и синхронным "Виккерсом".
Clear-view top-wing panels are seen here, with the gun-carrying bow of the Scarff No.2 ring-mounting elevated on A1924.
Sopwith Camel

   The Sopwith Camel first went into action with No 70 Squadron, RFC, in July 1917. In October 1918 Camels equipped Nos 3, 28, 43, 44, 45, 46, 50, 51, 54, 61, 65, 66, 70, 73, 78, 80, 112, 143, 150, 151, 152, 201, 203, 204, 208, 209, 210, 213, 220, 222, 225, 226 and 233 Squadrons of the RAF. By early 1919, twenty-eight Camel squadrons had been disbanded, leaving only a few Home Defence units, Nos 44, 50, 51, 61 and 112 Squadrons, which were withdrawn in June 1919, and No 143 Squadron at Detling, which retained a few Camels alongside its Snipes until it too disbanded in October 1919. One 110hp Le Rhone or 130hp Clerget rotary engine. Span, 28ft; length, 18ft 8in. Loaded weight, 1,422lb. Max speed, 118mph; climb, 1,000ft/min; service ceiling, 24,000ft.

Sopwith Camel (HD)

   Standard Camels (mostly powered by Le Rhones) were used for night fighting on Home Defence duties from late 1917, but by April 1918 had been joined by a variant with the cockpit moved a few inches aft and with twin Lewis guns above the upper wing (in place of the Vickers), thus shielding muzzle flash which destroyed the pilot’s night vision. HD Camels were issued to the Squadrons: No 37 (Goldhanger and Stow Maries), No 44 (Hainault Farm), No 50 (Bekesbourne), No 51 (Marham, Mattishall and Tydd St Mary), No 61 (Rochford), No 78 (Sutton’s Farm), No 112 (Throwley) and No 143 (Detling).
Night-fighter version of the Camel with pilot’s cockpit moved aft and armed with twin Lewis guns.
A characteristically drab, full-standard F.1 Camel night fighter of No 51 Squadron, almost certainly at Marham, Norfolk, in 1918. The Squadron was then ostensibly a Home Defence night fighter unit, but was also engaged in crew training.
Sopwith Cuckoo Mks I and II

   One of the earliest landplane torpedo-bombers, the Sopwith Cuckoo first joined the RAF in June 1918, but saw no first-line war service. Cuckoos joined No 185 Squadron in October 1918, No 186 Squadron in July 1919 and finally No 210 Squadron, serving until April 1923. Beginning in May 1918, production totalled 232 aircraft, with serial numbers between N6900 and N8011. Powerplant: Mk I, one 200hp Sunbeam Arab, or a Wolseley Viper in the Mark II as a retrofit. Span, 45ft 9in; length, 28ft 6in. Loaded weight, 3,833lb. Max speed, 100mph at 10,000ft; endurance, 4hr; service ceiling, 12,000ft. Production was undertaken by Blackburn.
Viper-powered Cuckoo II with extensive postwar modifications, notably long exhaust tail-pipes to warm the torpedo.
Sopwith Dolphin

   The Dolphin followed the Pup, Triplane and Camel in the Sopwith family, but preceded the Snipe. It was notable for its back-staggered wings and joined No 19 Squadron in January 1918. By October 1918 it equipped Nos 19, 23, 79, 87 and 90 Squadrons of the RAF. Last in service were the Dolphins of No 79 Squadron at Bickendorf in July 1919. One 200hp Hispano-Suiza engine. Span, 32ft 6in; length, 22ft 3in. Loaded weight, 2,000lb. Max speed, 131mph; climb, 855ft/min; service ceiling, 21,000ft.
Sopwith Dragon

   The Dragon was also developed from the Snipe, but was one of many attempts to exploit the promised benefits of the new 360hp ABC Dragonfly radial engine in place of the traditional Bentley BR 2 rotary. The prototype Dragon, E7990, was a converted Snipe, and was followed by a batch of production aircraft in 1919, but the type never entered squadron service with the RAF, and Dragons languished in storage until finally declared obsolete in April 1923 - long after the Dragonfly engine had been abandoned as a failure, even in its Mk IA version. Span, 31ft 1in; length, 21ft 9in. Loaded weight, 2,132lb. Max speed, 150mph; service ceiling, 25,000ft.
Sopwith Salamander

   A derivative of the Snipe, the Salamander was intended for ground attack duties, or ‘trench fighting’, and, for protection in this hazardous role, carried 650lb of armour plate. The first prototype, E5429, underwent Service trials on the Western Front in May 1918. It was due to equip thirteen squadrons if war had continued into 1919, including Nos 86, 96, 157 and 158. About 210 Salamanders were completed, in the serial ranges F6501-F6660 and J5892-J5941. Powerplant: One 230hp Bentley BR 2 rotary engine. Span, 31ft 2in; length, 19ft 6in. Loaded weight, 2,512lb. Max speed, 125mph at 500ft; service ceiling, 13,000ft.
Sopwith Snipe

   Introduced as a successor to the famous Sopwith Camel, the Sopwith Snipe first reached the RAF on the Western Front in September 1918. In the three months before the war’s end it proved itself to be the best of the Allied fighters, though less than a hundred were in action. It was whilst flying a Snipe that Maj W G Barker dso and bar mc and 2 bars, fought his celebrated single-handed engagement with fifteen Fokker D VIIs on 27 October 1918, for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross.
   Owing to the financial limitations forced on the RAF in the early postwar years, the Snipe remained with RAF fighter squadrons until as late as 1926. By then, as a typical rotary-engine scout of the First World War period, it was an undoubted anachronism among the Siskins, Woodcocks and Grebes which had begun to replace it in 1924-25. From April 1920 to November 1922, the Snipes of No 25 Squadron, stationed at Hawkinge, Kent, represented the sole fighter defence of the United Kingdom. The last Snipes on Home Defence duties were those of No 43 Squadron at Henlow, replaced by Gamecocks in May 1926.
   Overseas, Snipes remained in Iraq until No 1 Squadron disbanded in November 1926. At Flying Training Schools Snipes remained in service after this date, and about forty were used as two-seat dual-control trainers.
   Snipes were regular performers at the RAF Display at Hendon from its inception in 1920, and they made their last appearance with No 17 Squadron in 1926. One of the highlights of the 1921 Display was a polished demonstration of formation aerobatics by Snipes of the Central Flying School led by Sqn Ldr C Draper, DSC.
   Wartime production orders for 4,500 Snipes suffered heavy cancellations (or were changed to Dragon and Nighthawk orders) with the end of hostilities, by which time only 288 Snipes had left the factories. However, production continued into 1919, ending by September when over 2,000 had been completed, many to go into storage and never to enter service.
   Snipes which gave wartime service were predominantly from the original Sopwith-built batch, E7987-E8266. Those completed post-war (many by the wide range of sub-contractors) were in the ranges E6137-E6656, E6787-E6921, E6937-E7036, E7337- E7836, E7987-E8286, E8307-E8406, F2333-F2532, H351-H650, H4865- H4916, H8663-H8707, J451-J475 and J6493-J6522. In 1921, the RAF had 532 Snipes on strength, including nearly 400 in storage. Over the period 1919 to 1926, the Snipe served on twenty RAF squadrons and was not finally declared obsolete until 1928.


   Description: Single-seat fighter. Wooden structure, fabric covered. Maker's Designation: 7F. 1.
   Manufacturers: Sopwith Aviation Co Ltd, Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey. Subcontracted by Boulton & Paul, Coventry Ordnance Works, Kingsbury Aviation, Napier, Nieuport & General, Portholme, and Ruston & Proctor.
   Powerplant: One 230hp Bentley BR2 rotary.
   Dimensions: Span, 30ft 1in; length, 19ft 9in; wing area, 270sq ft.
   Weights: Empty, 1,312lb; loaded, 2,020lb
   Performance: Max speed, 121mph at 10,000ft; initial climb, 970ft/min; service ceiling, 19,500ft.
   Armament: Twin synchronised Vickers guns, and one 112lb or four 25lb bombs for ground attack.
   Squadron Allocations: Home: Nos 3 (Manston and Upavon), 17 and 25 (Hawkinge), 19, 29 and 111 (Duxford), 23 (Henlow), 32 (Kenley), 37 (Biggin Hill), 41 (Northolt), 43 (Spittlegate and Henlow), 56 (Hawkinge and Biggin Hill), 70 (Spittlegate), 78 (Sutton’s Farm), 112 (Throwley), 143 (Detling), 201 (Lake Down), and 208 (Netheravon). Overseas: No 1 (India and Iraq), 3 (India), 25 (Constantinople), 56 and 80 (Egypt). France (1918-19): Nos 43, 80, 201 and 208. Germany (1918-19): Nos 70 and 208.
Snipes of No 06 Squadron based at Biggin Hill in 1924.
Sopwith Snipes of No. 56 Squadron at Abu Sueir, Egypt, in 1920.
Sopwith Snipe
Vickers Vimy

   The Vimy, together with the D.H. 10 Amiens and the Handley Page V/1500, was one of the new generation of bombers which, if the First World War had continued, would have been used by the R.A.F. for the bombing of Germany. However, the Vimy, unlike its contemporaries, enjoyed long service with the R.A.F. in the post-war years and until the introduction of the Virginia was the standard heavy bomber. Afterwards it served in various training roles until 1931.
   The prototype Vimy (B 9952) made its initial flight in November 1917 with two 207-h.p. Hispano-Suizas and was followed by the Mk. II with 280-h.p. Sunbeam Maori engines, the Mk. III with 310-h.p. Fiat engines and the Mk. IV with 360-h.p. Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII engines. The Vimy IV became the standard production version and 240 were built, though many contracts were cancelled at the end of the First World War. The last of about 30 post-war Vimy IVs was the batch J 7701 7705 ordered by the Air Ministry in March 1925. On 31 October 1918 only three Vimy bombers had reached the R.A.K, and the type did not enter full service until July 1919, when it superseded O/400 bombers with No 58 Squadron in Egypt. It subsequently equipped other squadrons in Egypt and remained with No. 216 Squadron, operating some of the mail services between Cairo and Baghdad, until August 1926.
   At home, Vimys of 'D' Flight of No. 100 Squadron at Spittlegate were the only twin-engined bombers in service until the formation of No. 7 Squadron at Bircham Newton in June 1923. No. 7's Vimys represented the R.A.F.'s entire home-based heavy bomber force until joined by Nos. 9 and 58 Squadrons in April 1924. In 1924 and 1925 the Vimy was replaced by the Virginia in first-line squadrons, but it remained on bomber duties with No. 502 Squadron in Northern Ireland until January 1929. From 1925 about 80 Vimys were re-engined with Jupiter or Jaguar radials (see three-view) and served at F.T.S.s and as parachute trainers at Henlow.
   No account of the Vimy would be complete without reference to Alcock and Brown's epic Atlantic flight in 1919. This, however, was by a nonstandard Vimy owned by Vickers and cannot be credited to the R.A.F.


   Description: Heavy bomber with a crew of 3. Wooden structure, fabric covered. Maker's designation, F.B. 27A. Manufacturers: Vickers Ltd. at Crayford, Kent and Weybridge, Surrey.
   Sub-contracted by R.A.F. (Farnborough), Morgan and Westland.
   Power Plant: Two 360-h.p. Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII.
   Dimensions: Span, 68 ft. 1 in. length, 43 ft. 6 1/2 in. Height, 15 ft. 7 1/2 in.
   Wing area, 1,318 sq. ft. Weights: Empty, 7,104 lb. Loaded, 10,884 lb.
   Performance: Maximum speed, 100 m.p.h. at 6,500 ft.; 96 m.p.h. at 10,000 ft. Initial climb, 360 ft./min.; 25.9 mins. to 10,000 ft. Range, about 900 miles.
   Armament: Twin Lewis guns in nose and amidships. Bomb-load, 2,476 lb.

Vickers Vimy Mk IV

   The Vimy, together with the DH 10 Amiens and the Handley Page V/1500, was one of the new generation of bombers which, had the First World War continued, would have been used by the RAF to bomb Germany. The Vimy, however, unlike its contemporaries, enjoyed long service with the RAF in the post-war years and, until the introduction of the Virginia, was the RAF’s standard bomber. Afterwards it went on to serve in various training roles until 1933.
   The prototype Vimy, B9952, was first flown on 30 November 1917 powered by two 207hp Hispano-Suiza engines, and was followed by the Mk II version with 280hp Sunbeam Maori engines, the Mk III with 310hp Fiat engines, and the Mk IV with 360hp Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII engines.
   Wartime plans for some 1,500 Vimy bombers were drastically reduced at the time of the Armistice, so that only about two hundred aircraft were completed on wartime contracts. These were within the serial ranges F701-F714, F2915-F2920, F2996-F3011, F3146-F3186, F8596-F8645, F9146- F9295, F9569, F9570, H651-H670 and H5065-H5089. Initially delivered straight into storage, many of them subsequently reappeared in the 1920s in the new all-silver livery. Post-war contracts between 1923 and 1925 produced an additional thirty Vimys, J7238-J7247, J7440-J7454 and J7701-J7705, in addition to two Vimy Ambulances, J7143 and J7144.
   The Eagle-powered Vimy became the standard version with the RAF. The type did not enter full service until July 1919, when it superseded O/400 bombers with No 58 Squadron in Egypt. It subsequently equipped other squadrons in Egypt and remained with No 216 Squadron, operating some of the mail services between Cairo and Baghdad, until August 1926. In 1921 the RAF had eighty-eight Vimy bombers on its strength.
   At home, Vimys of ‘D’ Flight of No 100 Squadron at Spittlegate were the only twin-engine bombers in service until the formation of No 7 Squadron at Bircham Newton in June 1923. No 7’s Vimys constituted the RAF’s entire home-based heavy bomber force until joined by Nos 9, 58 and 99 Squadrons in April 1924. In 1924 and 1925 the Vimy was replaced by the Virginia on first-line squadrons, but it remained on bombing duties with No 502 Squadron of the Special Reserve in Northern Ireland until July 1928.
   From 1928 most Vimys underwent modification to be fitted with Jupiter or Jaguar radial engines (see accompanying drawing), and served at Flying Training Schools and as parachute trainers at Henlow.
   No 2 FTS flew Vimys at Duxford between 1920 and 1924 and again at Digby from 1926 until 1932. No 6 FTS at Mansion had Vimys on strength in 1921-22, and No 4 FTS in Egypt operated them from 1921 until as late as 1933.
   In 1928 some reconditioned Vimys were equipped with dual controls, and featured an extended nose section.
   No account of the Vimy would be complete without reference to Alcock and Brown’s epic Atlantic crossing in 1919. These airmen were naval officers, and the Vimy was a non-standard aircraft, owned by Vickers, and the achievement cannot, therefore, be credited to the RAF.


   Description: Heavy bomber with a crew of three. Wooden structure, fabric covered. Maker’s Designation: FB 27A.
   Manufacturer: Vickers Ltd, Crayford, Kent, and Weybridge, Surrey. Sub-contracted by RAE Farnborough, Morgan and Westland.
   Powerplant: Two 360hp Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII.
   Dimensions: Span, 68ft lin; length, 43ft 6 1/2in; height, 15ft 7 1/2in; wing area, 1,330sq ft.
   Weights: Empty, 7,104lb; loaded, 12,500lb.
   Performance: Max speed, 100mph at 6,500ft; 96mph at 10,000ft; initial climb, 360ft/min; 25.9 min to 10,000ft; range, approx 900 miles; service ceiling (normal load), 14,000ft, (max load), 7,000ft.
   Armament: One Lewis gun in the nose and two amidships. Bomb load, 2,476lb.
   Squadron Allocations: Nos 7 (Bircham Newton), 9 (Upavon and Manston), 45, 70 and 216 (Egypt), 58 (Egypt and Worthy Down), 99 (Netheravon and Bircham Newton), 100 (‘D’ Flight at Spittlegate) and 502 (Aldergrove).
Vimy Mk IV (H5089) of No 216 Squadron in Egypt in 1925.
Vimy IV (F 8631) of No. 7 Squadron.
The primary role of the RAF in the formative years of the 1920s was the air policing of mandated territories overseas. This lineup of Vimy (HR660 of No 216 Squadron), Bristol Fighter (H1583 of No 208 Squadron) and DH 9A (E959 of No 47 Squadron ) typifies the equipment of the period when this picture was taken in 1926
Vickers Vimy (Jupiter engines)
Nieuport Scout

   In their heyday with RFC scout squadrons during 1916-17, a few Nieuport 17s (as illustrated), 23s and 24s remained with No 111 Squadron in Palestine until July 1918. The Nieuport 17 had a 110hp Le Rhone rotary engine, but the later versions featured the 130hp Le Rhone. Armament was one Vickers and one Lewis gun. Span, 26ft 11in; length, 18ft 10in. Loaded weight, 1,246lb. Max speed, 110mph at 6,500ft; service ceiling, 17,400ft.
Spad Scout

   Spad Scouts (both VII and XIII versions) had largely disappeared from RFC squadrons on the West ern Front when the RAF came into being, but the type continued to serve in Mesopotamia with Nos 30, 63 and 72 Squadrons, all of which had mixed equipment; such survivors were Spad VIIs for the most part. The aircraft illustrated (A8798) is a Spad VII built by the Air Navigation Co of Addlestone, Surrey. Powerplant: One 175hp Hispano-Suiza engine. Span, 25ft 8in; length, 20ft 3in. Loaded weight, 1,550lb. Max speed, 119 mph at 6,500ft; service ceiling, 18,000ft. Armament, one synchronised Vickers machine gun.
Английский "Спад" S VII.
The aircraft illustrated (A8798) is a Spad VII built by the Air Navigation Co of Addlestone, Surrey.