Sopwith Aircraft 1912-1920

H.King - Sopwith Aircraft 1912-1920 /Putnam/

1 1/2 Strutter demonstrating the 'skids-in-troughs' launching technique, as tried aboard HMS Vindex.
With the plain circular cowling that characterised the 80 hp Le Rhone and 80 hp Gnome installations (the latter is shown) and without a Vickers gun. the Pup presented an especially trim appearance.
Rope-toggle hand-holds were only one of many forms of arrester gear tested with (or encountered by) the Pup. The picture here shows the effect of a rope crash-barrier (aboard HMS Furious) on N6438, with tripod gun-mounting unoccupied - though useful, perhaps, as a kind of crash-pylon. The Pup is at rest over fore-and-aft guide ropes.
The picture shows a Pup which has had the skids put under it to small avail, being hooked (it was said) by a sparking plug caught in a rivet hole in a torpedo-tube (?) casing.
This early Triplane photograph has special mention in the text, one point of particular interest being the number '490' attached to a landing gear strut in the uppermost view. That this photograph was taken in the Sopwith Experimental Department is evident not only from the unfinished state of the aircraft (unarmed as well as uncowled) but by the lofty presence of the L.R.T.Tr. in the background - and further by 'Ex D' painted on the part of the tail-trestle seen just below the starboard inlerplane strut.
In the 'Brooklands landscape-with-figures' picture transparent centre-section panelling is seen.
Superbly informative are these five self-explanatory figures, originally prepared for the guidance of riggers, and presented now for the enlightenment and joy of every aeroplane-lover. Basic Sopwith drawings of this general nature were sometimes used officially, with acknowledgement. Thus, one particular sheet has in one corner the legend 'Sopwith Org. No. 1720/Copied from Drawings of the Sopwith Aviation Co Ltd. Kingston-on-Thames' and in the opposite corner 'Military Aeronautics Directorate ... Drg. No. AD 61204'.
Camel probably from Boulton & Paul, with local colour and local talent.
73 Squadron Camel after a mid-air collision on 20 May 1918. The squadron was operating from Beauvois, where they had been since March.
Evidently copied by a Sopwith photographer at the same time as a better-known 3/4 front view of a different Camel with a smashed port bottom wing, this is: 'S.481A - Camel F.1 which collided in the air and landed safely. - May 20/18'. Note ring sight on starboard gun and propeller for air-driven petrol pump on rear starboard centre-section strut.
Repose in a shell-hole - and affording an excellent view ofthe long Aldis sight between the guns, the air-driven pump on the front starboard strut, etc.
Camels were often used for bombing, but to force-land, as otherwise depicted here, with a bomb still on the carrier (as it obviously is) could surely be unhealthy. Did the horsemen know?
In a winter wonderland at Brooklands stands the first of all Camels with one-piece top wing and 110 hp Clerget engine (immaculately cowled). There is no separate windscreen, but the marked slope of the 'hump' to the front rim of the cockpit is clearly seen. Though frequently copied, this picture is a true original, uncaptioned by Sopwith.
This altogether superb and unfamiliar view of the 'Taper Wing Camel' is specially referred to in the text. The top wing is possibly in three sections. Over by the Sopwith sheds at Brooklands stands a Camel; between the tapered port wings of the clean experimental machine are glimpsed a D.H.2 single-seat pusher, a windsock and a speed-limit notice. To the left of the picture is a curious automotive vehicle.
In this rear view of the F.1/1 'Taper Wing Camel' cut-outs in the apparently one-piece top wing are seen.
With flattened 'hump', this early Sopwith-built Camel is probably N6332. The ribs along the tops of the gun breech-casings are seen; also a loading handle in the cockpit. Maker's caption:'S.122 - Sopwith Camel. 110 hp Clerget F.1. 2nd. Machine 1917.' There is a separate centre section, with rectangular cut-out, and the ailerons are lengthened.
Two F.1s with a difference:Top, B9268 with a Hythe camera gun to port and a hole in the hump' lor the starboard Vickers (and with pupil-pilots behind waiting to 'have a go'); bottom. B3891 of Sopwith's second production batch, in which the French installed one of their new 170 hp Le Rhone 9R engines. This was the Camel's most powerful engine, and at least two installations were made.
B9287 was made by Boulton & Paul, was unusually marked, had the rearwardly-moved cockpit and two Lewis guns on Foster mountings.
Hooper-built H826 was one of the H734-H833 batch of F.1 Camels specially equipped for night fighting, though having standard twin-Vickers armament and normal cockpit position.
Certainly not emphasising the radiator, but nevertheless bearing witness to the very deep fuselage with the cockpit coaming actually slightly above the front 'centre-section' steel-tube spar, is this unfamiliar Sopwith photograph, captioned: 'S.129 - Sopwith Dolphin - 200 hp Hispano Suizo[sic] - Type 5.F.1 - 1917 - 1st Machine'.
The third form of the Dolphin had flank radiators, a revised fin and rudder and two Lewis guns, as seen in these two views (not to mention a coy little spinner). The front and port-side pictures respectively bear the Sopwith numbers S.136 and S.139, though only the frontal one carries the legend '3rd Machine".
Dolphin C3786. This machine has special mention in the text by reason of its armament. In the views it is without Lewis guns.
Dolphin C3786. The pictures show how the Lewis guns could be trained.
Although this night lighter Dolphin (C3858) has protective half-hoops of steel above the wings and appears to be armed with a single Lewis gun only, provision for the Vickers guns is denoted by the case and link chutes behind the engine. Maker's caption: 'S.189 - Sopwith Dolphin Night Flyer - Type 5.F.1 - Feb, 1918'.
'Long distance' Snipe (Mk.Ia). characterised by increased tankage though this view is especially valuable in showing the installation of B.R.2 engine and the two Vickers guns, with trigger motors on top and ejection chutes below.
A revealing view of the nose section and twin .303-inch Vickers gun installation of a Sopwith Snipe Ia, or Long Range Snipe, meant to serve as a long range escort with the RAF's Independent Force. The tank immediately below the guns holds lubricating oil, something that rotary engines consumed in fairly liberal quantities. The lower tank carries the aircraft's fuel, the pilot sitting atop this 50 imperial gallon capacity tank, increased from the 32 imperial gallons of the standard Snipe. Apparently, the extra weight associated with the structural changes required, including 'beefing up' the front, inner interplane struts and introducing modest sweepback to the wings, was such as to rob the fighter of much of its agility.
Sopwith Snipe, showing gun installation with chutes and ring sight. The contraction 'Pro.' in the bottom right-hand corner of this superlative Snipe-study presumably connotes 'production'. The picture is numbered S.559. Note the Sopwith trademark on the side of the aircraft.
Bearing the Sopwith numbers S.9 and S.10 respectively, these two views of the single-bay Snipe with flat-sided fuselage and open centre-section are both captioned by the makers 'Sopwith Snipe. Type 7.F.1. 1st. Machine'.
A perfect comparison with Sopwith photograph S.9 this one has the maker's caption 'S.48 - Snipe 200 hp Bentley Rotary Engine - Type 7.F.1. 2nd. Machine.' Note especially the splayed-out centre-section struts.
Faired (rounded) fuselage sides are evident here in Sopwith photograph S.49 otherwise captioned as is number S.48, reproduced above.
Sopwith photograph S.52 bearing the inscription '2nd Machine'.
Sopwith photograph S.51 bearing the inscription '2nd Machine'.
Two-bay wings, with a Lewis gun offset on the centre section of the uppermost of these, characterise the aircraft shown, and captioned by Sopwith 'S.162 - 3rd. Machine - Jan. 21/18'.
Though unidentified by numerals, this is probably B9965 with a less exotic engine installation.
An experiment at the front, instead of at the rear the special engine installation, with huge spinner, fitted to B9965 after its return to Sopwith in May 1918.
The designation Sopwith "Snipe" 7.F.1/5 which figures in the maker's captions to these their photographs numbered S.210, S.211 and S.212 almost certainly connotes B9966, or a version thereof. The pictures are dated 'March 11/18'.
The original Sopwith 7F Snipe single seat fighter bore a close resemblance to its precursor, the Camel, being first flown in this form during the autumn of 1917. It was not until January 1918 that the fourth of the six Snipe prototypes, serial no B 9965 seen here, was to emerge with what was to be the machine's definitive shape, with its 30 feet span double bay wings replacing the early example's single bay, 25 feet 9 inch span wing. B 9965 also employed the 230hp Bentley BR 2 rotary engine that was to become standard to the type. Interestingly, Martlesham Heath, who had responsibility for all service testing of military landplanes were guarded in their findings on the Snipe prototypes and it really took the enthusiasm of a St Omer-based lieutenant-colonel, who conducted the operational evaluation of B 9965 in mid-March 1918, to persuade his superiors to order the Snipe in large quantities. By the time initial production Snipes began to appear during the summer of 1918, the type had lost its overwing Lewis gun - its twin Vickers guns being considered sufficient - the tailplane had become adjustable in flight to relieve trim loads and both fin and rudder area were increased. Top level speed of the Snipe was 121 mph at 10.000 feet, while it took 9 minutes 25 seconds to reach that altitude. The Snipe's ceiling was 19,500 feet. The first operational deployment of the Snipe was by No 43 Squadron, RAF, on 23 September 1918 and only a comparative handful of the 1.700 ordered had been delivered at the time of the Armistice. The lack of combat experience notwithstanding, the Snipe was to remain the RAF's standard single seat fighter through the mid-1920s.
The indubitable B9966 which had an adjustable tailplane. (Note that the left-hand part of the picture, with motor ambulance, is apparently identical with that appearing in Sopwith photograph number S.212).
These three views of the early-production Snipe E7989, built by Sopwith, bear the company's photograph numbers S.553, S.554 and S.555 respectively.
Horn-balanced upper ailerons proclaim this as a Snipe of late production. The photograph is dated 'Nov. 25/1918", but though the print or negative number has been removed by damage, the Snipe depicted is, in fact, E8184.
Salamanders (row in foreground) and Snipes beyond: Sopwith caption, 'S.705 - Sopwith Aviation Co Ltd Kingston. Ham Works. Dec. 1918'.
Rigging notes would, it may be hoped, be available to the gentlemen seen with this Snipe 'in for repair'.
Commander Samson's Eastchurch Squadron of the RNAS at Dunkirk in 1914. The aeroplanes are (left to right): Henry Farman F.20. Samson's B.E.2a (No.50). Sopwith Tractor Biplane and Short No.42.
Betrayed - or proclaimed by its windows, though distant in this Farman/B.E./ Short Astra-Torres gathering, is a Sopwith tractor biplane of the 'Three-seater' family.
Commander Samson's Eastchurch Squadron of the RNAS at Dunkirk in 1914. The aeroplanes are (left to right): Henry Farman F.20. Samson's B.E.2a (No.50). Sopwith Tractor Biplane and Short No.42.
Betrayed - or proclaimed by its windows, though distant in this Farman/B.E./ Short Astra-Torres gathering, is a Sopwith tractor biplane of the 'Three-seater' family.
Far more than mere 'dignity and impudence' poses, these picture shows twin Vickers guns and a jettisonable steel-tube landing gear, with the Felixstowe Fury flying-boat obliging in a like capacity. Note how distinct are the features mentioned, tiny though the Camels are.
Far more than mere 'dignity and impudence' poses, these picture shows N7120 with standard armament, and a Handley Page V/1500 for company and scale.
Another aspect of Sopwith Folder No.807, showing not only the folded wings but the partly metal-sheathed propeller (for protection against water-damage).
Folder No. 920 (nearest camera) shows distinct differences in wing cellule as compared with the preceding side view of No. 807.
In this view of Folder No.920 the uncowled engine (increasing cooling airflow and decreasing weight) is even more in evidence than the vertical tail surfaces, which differ from those seen in the side view of No.807.
Excellent though it is in quality, this Sopwith photograph of the Bee may have been lightly retouched, especially (though by no means drastically) in respect of the landing gear, and in having the Sopwith number 46 inscribed upon it. Quite unretouched is the proud smile on the face of the gentleman probably Harry Hawker.
In this view of the Bee the very narrow gap and broad chord are accentuated. As in the preceding picture, the characteristic Sopwith 'engine turning' on the cowling for the 50 hp Gnome rotary is in evidence.
The installation of the Lewis gun on this Sopwith-built Gun Bus - and features of the gun itself are specially mentioned in the text. Though the installation of the Gnome engine in this aircraft is obscured, the landing gear is sufficiently prominent for 'Jack' to climb the rigging!
Robey-built Gun Bus No. 3833, showing the angular fin.
Second from left in this group with a Robey-built Sopwith Gun Bus is Harry Hawker. The picture shows not only his 'flat hat' but the flat radiator for the 150 hp Sunbeam engine, of the type seen in the subsequent view.
This 150 hp Sunbeam engine displays characteristics discernible in the preceding picture.
That these particular specimens of the Sopwith Gun Bus were built by Robey & Co, of Lincoln, is surely not in doubt. Numbered 3845 (foremost) and 3846, they are on their way for testing at Bracebridge.
Possibly taken on the same occasion as the preceding front view (though the propeller is differently angled) this picture of the original B.1 gives the false impression - due to an optical illusion - that the upper-starboard aileron has a balancing surface.
The second Sopwith B.1 bomber, B1496, in 1918, almost certainly at Marllesham Heath. The full Service camouflage makes it almost impossible to distinguish the external elevator control cables and rocking arms on the sides of the fuselage. It is thought likely that this B.1 only had provision to carry the twenty British 28 lb HE RL bombs as the Martlesham trials report on B1496 referred to a war load of 560 lb.
Two superb studies of B1496 in the snow at Brooklands, the views being numbered by Sopwith S.151 (3/4 front) and S.153 (starboard side). The original captions read additionally: "Sopwith Bomber 200 hp Hispano Suiza- Type B.1 - Jan, 1918.'
Sopwith Bomber, showing access panel to bomb compartment in side of fuselage aft of cockpit.
Superb study of B1496 in the snow at Brooklands, the view numbered by Sopwith S.154. The original captions read additionally: "Sopwith Bomber 200 hp Hispano Suiza - Type B.1 - Jan. 1918.'
Certainly one of the earliest and rarest views of the B.1 Bomber is the frontal aspect here shown, bearing the Sopwith caption: "S.140 - Sopwith Bomber", 200 hp Hispano
Suiza 1917".
A superb study of Buffalo H5892. (Sopwith caption reads: 'S.599 - Sopwith Buffalo - Trench Fighter Two Seater 1st. Experimental - Sept. 19/18"). Note especially the pilot's top-wing cut-out.
The first Buffalo H5892 (top) - is seen here in an almost direct comparison with the second (H5893 lower). The Sopwith caption to the upper picture reads: 'S.596 - Sopwith Buffalo Trench Fighter Two Seater 1st. Experimental - Sept. 19/18'. Note the different gun-mountings and extent of armour.
H 5892 seen here, along with H 5893 were the only two Sopwith Buffalo two seat, close air support and reconnaissance machines built. As with the single seat Sopwith Salamander dealt with earlier, the Buffalo carried armour cladding to protect its crew from ground fire. In the case of the Buffalo, this armour plating covered the entire forward fuselage to a point just aft of the rear cockpit. Powered by a 230hp Bentley BR 2, the Buffalo had a top level speed of 114mph at 1.000 feet, while the machine took a laboured 4 minutes 55 seconds to reach 3,000 feet. First appearing in September 1918, the Buffalo appears to have been meagrely armed for a ground attack aircraft, carrying as it did a single, fixed, synchronised Vickers for the pilot, plus the observer's flexibly-mounted Lewis gun. Despite these apparent shortfalls, the Buffalo, according to the noted World War I aviation historian, Jack Bruce, was about to be ordered into production at the time of the Armistice.
The distinctive form of engine-fairing on Buffalo H5893 - the second example is seen here to advantage. (Sopwith caption reads: 'S.674 - Sopwith Buffalo No. 2 Armoured Trench Fighter 2 Seater - 200 hp Bentley Rotary Engine - Nov/8/18.).
Almost directly comparable with the preceding study of the same aircraft is this revealing close-up-restful, too, though the Anzani engine is running. Note especially the centre section, braced top-wing extensions and underhung portion of rudder. (Original Sopwith print uncaptioned. but numbered 32).
Sopwith Type HT (Hydro Tractor) biplane was known as the Cromarty. Three of these 100hp Anzani powered, two-seater Sopwith seaplanes, serial nos 58 to 60, were built for the Admiralty in 1913, the first being delivered in July of that year. Photographic evidence exists to show that No 58 was flown as a landplane by the RNAS Eastchurch contingent sent to France in the early weeks of the war. No information appears to have survived about the machines' performance.
A salty study of an Anzani Tractor Seaplane in motion. Even so distantly viewed, the ten-cylinder radial engine - with a frontal exhaust-collector ring that would not have disgraced a radial installation of twenty years later (this picture was made in 1913) - is prominent. (Original Sopwith print uncaptioned, but numbered 36).
The curious landplane (No. 58?) referred to at the end of the present chapter with the Anzani engine recognisable, though covered. The Naval gentlemen add tone to the scene, but fail to obscure a main wheel and an unwheeled skid-tip.
If this evocative picture shows - as it appears to do - Pixton's Monaco Tabloid being tested on the Thames, then it also depicts that historic Schneider Trophy winner with a strut-mounted tail float.
Surely one of the most enticing 'Wish you were here' postcards ever printed (for, like the preceding Tabloid floatplane picture, it was indeed produced in postcard form) this view calls for little remark beyond affirming that the Sopwith caption reads: '43-100 hp Seaplane. Winner of Schneider Cup at Monaco. April/1914.'
Whatever doubts may be entertained concerning the photographic authenticity of this picture of Sopwith's 1914 Schneider Trophy winner - or for that matter the elegance and strict authenticity of the lettering - there can be no doubt regarding the tail-float attachment. (The smaller lettering in the Sopwith inscription reads: '49-100 hp Sea Scout Winner of Schneider Cup.').
With Pixton perched on the port float, and propped against the wing, this view of the Tabloid on floats at Monaco is more familiar than those earlier reproduced, but is nevertheless valuable for comparison with the Naval Schneider seaplane later illustrated and described.
Early Schneiders had a triangular fin, as witness this revealing view. No. 3717 takes a solid-tyred delivery ride, with its own pneumatic beaching or launching chassis (note also the underfuselage bomb-carrier.
Early Schneiders had a triangular fin, as witness this revealing view. Both types of fin exhibited aboard submarine E.22.
One of the last Schneiders. No. 3804, showing all the main identifying features of the type - especially the engine cowling
Early Schneiders had a triangular fin, as witness this revealing view. No. 3726 with warping wings.
А typical Blackburn-built Baby, with characteristically cowled Clerget engine and upward-firing Lewis gun.
Самолет Сопвич "Бэби", вооруженный двумя пулеметами "Льюис" и авиабомбой
Blackburn-built Babies: Top, N2071, with two Lewis guns (one synchronised; one - upward-firing) and a 65 lb bomb; bottom, N2112. with unoccupied bomb-carrier.
During its life of nearly ten years the Scooter was variously marked. This view was taken by Sopwith on the same occasion (July 1918) as the 3/4-rear aspect already shown. The reflection of the roundel seen on the wing is itself a reflection on the quality of finish.
Hardly surpassable are these comparative views of the Scooter (top) and Swallow. The Sopwith captions read respectively 'S.534 - Scooter - 130 hp Clerget Engine Monoplane - July/1918' and 'S.635 - Sopwith Swallow Monoplane No. 2 - 110 hp Clerget Experimental - Oct/1918'. The fin and rudder of the Swallow both bear the marking 'AMA & E'.
Another cause for reflection - this time on the Swallow, with the fuselage roundel, as it were, 'superimposed' on the huge wing-roundel, exactly as in the directly comparable view of the Scooter. The Sopwith caption reads: 'S.636 - Sopwith Swallow Monoplane No.2. - 110 hp Clerget Experimental - Oct/1918'.
Two aspects of the Swallow, showing its widely spaced Vickers guns. In the 3/4-front view the loading handle for the starboard gun is prominent, and a ring sight is just visible between the front struts. In the dead-front view (Sopwith No. 633 - their caption as for their S.636) the line between the guns marks the meeting of the wings. There was no centre section.
Snail C4284, immaculate without the test instrumentation shown in the foregoing view, though the Sopwith caption is dated 'April 13/18'.
One of the neatest gun installations of the 1914-18 war was that of the two Vickers guns in the first Sopwith Snail, as shown. A fitting for a Lewis gun is seen on the centre-section.
Here, in detail, is seen the installation of the A.B.C. Wasp engine and other salient features of Snail C4284. (Sopwith caption reads, after vacant space for number. 'Sopwith Snail 8.F.1 160 hp A.B.C. - 1st.M/c.').
Just how deceptive first appearances can be is illustrated by these comparative views of the "conventional' Snail C4284 (top) and the monocoque Snail C4288. Apart from fuselage differences, C4284 has backward stagger and forwardly-placed pilot, with a centre-section cut-out for his head. Positive stagger is only one identifying feature of C4288. (Sopwilh captions read, respectively:'S.301 - Sopwith Snail 8.F.1 160 hp A B C. - 1st. M/c. - April 13/18' and "S.375 - Sopwith Snail 8.F.1 Monocoque. - 1st. M/c - May 9/18').
Complete with direct-reading pitot-head installation on the port interplane struts, Snail C4284 taxis at Brooklands. The maker's caption reads: 'S.297 - Snail. 160 hp A.B.C. - April 1918'. Clearly, there is no risk of confusion between the pitot head and the pilot's
The number on the tail proclaims this Snail's identity (C4288). The Sopwith photograph is numbered S.379, the aircraft is described as 'Monococque 1st.M/c', and the date is 'May 9/18'. Beyond are a D.H.9 (with curious cowling) and an S.E.5.
Called in this book the Churchill, though otherwise known as the 'Sociable' or 'Tweenie', this Sopwith aeroplane, with its two-bay wings, long slender fuselage, and scuttle-fronted side-by-side seats, was not only distinctive in appearance, but distinguished 'in the field' likewise (one particular field being shown in the next picture).
The Churchill No.149 (the '4' whereof is clearly visible on the rudder) with Sqn-Cdr Spenser Grey. Lieut Newton Clare, and personages who may not be unconnected with the affair of the 'lost bomb' as recounted in the text.
Evidently descended from the SL.T.B.P., the diminutive Sopwith Sparrow of late 1917 used a 35hp ABC Gnat flat-twin (or horizontally opposed) and was built for work into radio-controlled aircraft being done by Capt A.M. Low, RFC. Although a number of parallel studies were being carried out at this time into the use of radio-controlled, explosive-filled aircraft as guided missiles, the minimally sized and powered Sparrow was more probably aimed at providing one of the world's first evasive aerial targets.
Engine cowlings on Tabloids were modified according to period and operating conditions. On this, the first of the type, the engine was almost totally enclosed, though with an exhaust outlet at the bottom of ihe cowling. Note the metal windshield - a feature later developed as the Camel's 'hump'.
A simple V-type landing gear and stripped rear fuselage gave a distinctive appearance to the modified version of the first Tabloid that Harry Hawker demonstrated in Australia, and seen here after its return.
Though as yet un-numbered, this Service Tabloid - with Brooklands track behind, proclaims its maker's name below the blank oblong on the rudder. (Sopwith caption reads: '62-"Tabloid"-80 hp Gnome.'
Fine man, fine aeroplane: Victor Mahl with a Tabloid having the 'racing', or V-type landing gear, fabric-faired wheels and one of several forms of engine cowling tried on the Tabloid. A spinner adds an extra sporting touch.
At first glance, Tabloids Nos. 326 and 394 were seemingly identical; but scrutiny of the wheel/skid landing gear proves otherwise the latter having extra struts (or a V-type gear plus skids).
A particularly pleasing aspect of the original Three-seater - bespeaking its excellent performance and carrying capacity using relatively low power.
Three seats and twin skids (the latter in respect of main landing gear and tail-protection likewise) characterised the finest of the new line of Sopwith tractor biplanes, represented here tail-up and tail-down in the latter instance with modified rudder and other alterations (especially affecting the windows).
Viewed close at hand, this particular Three-seater displays the nose-bearing mounting for the Gnome engine, and was used by the Navy, generally, one may suppose, as a two-seater, though Sir Thomas Sopwith once said that the first '3-seater tractor' he supplied to the Navy (possibly meaning the 'hybrid') was used to collect oysters for the officers' mess at Eastchurch.
Commander Samson's Eastchurch Squadron of the RNAS at Dunkirk in 1914. The aeroplanes are (left to right): Henry Farman F.20. Samson's B.E.2a (No.50). Sopwith Tractor Biplane and Short No.42.
Betrayed - or proclaimed by its windows, though distant in this Farman/B.E./ Short Astra-Torres gathering, is a Sopwith tractor biplane of the 'Three-seater' family.
Bearing as it does its original caption, this page of views from a 1918 handbook, depicting the first (Sopwith-built) aeroplane of its class, calls for no other - except to remark that the torpedo is a dummy and that the front view emphasises the high thrust line given by the geared Hispano-Suiza engine.
Viper-powered Cuckoo II with extensive postwar modifications, notably long exhaust tail-pipes to warm the torpedo.
Cuckoo N6954 drops a Mk.IX torpedo, the contra-rotating propellers of which are clearly seen. Two torpedo-crutches are fitted, but the massive pistol-stop structure for the torpedo's nose, as seen in the later close-up study, is absent.
Seen with folded wings, the first Sopwith T.1 shows the 'split' front inner interplane struts; the slack fabric at the wing-fold joints; and a torpedo crutch and sling. Although all ailerons are lowered, this was not always the case with folded production-type Cuckoos.
Early Blackburn installation of a Mk.IX torpedo on a Cuckoo Arab-powered, as proclaimed by an engine-maker's plate reading in part 'Sunbeam Coatalen Aero Engine Arab I', with spaces for rpm and consumption figures. The torpedo sling is glimpsed between the landing gear struts. The little handle near the wicker seat controlled the torpedo depth-setting gear
After the 200 hp Hispano-Suiza in the original Sopwith T.1, engines for the Cuckoo were the Sunbeam Arab (3/4 front) and the Wolseley Viper (3/4 rear).
The method of sighting the Cuckoo's torpedo (allowing for a ship's speed) is apparent here and is further referred to in the text. The basic method was retained in the RAF for many years.
Compared with dead-rear views of Snipes in the preceding chapter, this aspect of Salamander E5429 shows similarities and dissimilarities - the latter chiefly respecting fuselage and head-fairing. The Sopwith caption is essentially as on page 252, but the photograph number is S.361 and "200 hp Bentley Rotary Engine' has been added.
Salamanders (row in foreground) and Snipes beyond: Sopwith caption, 'S.705 - Sopwith Aviation Co Ltd Kingston. Ham Works. Dec. 1918'.
The first aeroplane to be owned-and-flown-by T.O.M. Sopwith was this 1910 Howard Wright Monoplane. (Sopwith caption: 'S.355 - Howard Wright Monoplane 40 hp E.N.V. Mr. Sopwith pilot.'). This monoplane was still flying in 1912, with a special A.B.C. engine.
T. O. M. Sopwith seated in the 60 hp Howard Wright biplane which was just beaten by the Cody biplane in the 1910 Michelin Cup No.1 event, wherein he began to feel that he was 'a really experienced pilot.'
For the Military Trials of 1912 Tom Sopwith acted as test pilot for the Coventry Ordnance Works respecting No.10 (the Wombus) shown in these two views, and No.11, later depicted. Note the names on the hangars in the lower of this pair of pictures, showing No.10 in rebuilt form.
The second of the two C.O.W. Military Trials biplanes which had Sopwith associations No.11, with Chenu engine and distinctive tail.
A particularly fine view of the rebuilt Burgess-Wright (sometimes called Sopwith-Wright) on which Harry Hawker stayed airborne for 8 hr 23 min.
While in the USA during 1911 Sopwith bought a Burgess-Wright biplane which he rebuilt extensively in 1912, and which did service both as a 'school machine' and record-breaker. The close-up picture here shows the offset installation of the A.B.C. engine, while the flying study was said to show the machine at 'extreme angle".
Though its outrigger tail is somewhat obscured by the co-starring Three-seater (at Olympia in 1913) the original Bat Boat I nevertheless displays its bow-mounted elevator later removed.
As a lover of the sea. T. O. M. Sopwith must have had a special fondness for this stately seascape featuring the Bat Boat I and a battleship bedecked. (Original Sopwith print uncaptioned. but numbered 38).
With (temporary) human figurehead taking the place of the bow elevator. Bat Boat I in 'Mortimer Singer' trim (with twin fins and rudders, 100 hp Green, undercarriage and revised wing floats). (Sopwith caption: '7-100 hp Green Bat Boat (Mortimer Singer) - Jan. 1913'.
The Sopwith Bat-Boat I was really the world's first successful amphibian, and won the L500 Mortimer Singer prize on 8 July 1913.
Comparative studies of the Bat Boat I with twin rudders and movable wheels - or retractable landing gear.
The Bat Boat II had a Sopwith hull (as well as superstructure), and this hull is well shown - with sheet-brass channels screwed on to the sides, to deliver air to the 'vented step' - in the close-up here.
Viewed in flight, the Anzani-engined 'Greek Seaplane' (as the type is identified in the text) assumed a certain gracefulness that was less in evidence on the water.
In the Sopwith 'zoo' - for many later members had menagerial names - the tractor biplane shown in these two views, with fuselage both naked and draped, was strictly a mongrel, and has, in fact, come to be known as the 'hybrid'. The rudder was distinctive, but its form was not perpetuated in later Sopwith tractors.
Commander Samson's Eastchurch Squadron of the RNAS at Dunkirk in 1914. The aeroplanes are (left to right): Henry Farman F.20. Samson's B.E.2a (No.50). Sopwith Tractor Biplane and Short No.42.
Betrayed - or proclaimed by its windows, though distant in this Farman/B.E./ Short Astra-Torres gathering, is a Sopwith tractor biplane of the 'Three-seater' family.
While not corresponding precisely with the characteristics of the Type C as shown in the photograph, these drawings clearly depict a machine of the same general type, though their primary purpose was to show how the torpedo was slung. Note especially how the typically Sopwith method of attaching the floats to the wings gave a (literally) clear advantage for torpedo-dropping.
Historic, rather than technically informative, is this picture of 'a former Naval person' (Winston Churchill) inspecting Sopwith Two-seater Scout No.1062 at Hendon in 1915. The camouflaging of the wings is the more curious because the fuselage and tail have not been similarly treated.
Sopwith Admiralty Type 860 seaplane No.851, showing wings of unequal span, with top-wing kingposts, and strut-braced top-wing extensions.
The prototype with strut braced wing extensions which crashed at Woolston 1 November 1914 killing Reg Alston, senior Sopwith designer.
Sopwith Admiralty Type 860 No.938 of the second batch at Woolston, with three bay wings of equal span and square tips and vertical tail-surfaces increased in area, was the final version of the Admiralty Type 860.
The Sopwith caption to this undated view of Rhino X7 (presumed), with horn-balanced ailerons, and pillar mounting for the Lewis gun hard astarboard, reads: 'S.64 - Rhino Triplane 220 hp B.H.P. - 1st. Machine - Type 2.B.2'.
Rhino X7 (presumed) without horn-balanced ailerons, the photograph bearing the maker's caption: 'S.146 - Sopwith Rhino Triplane. 220 hp B.H.P. - Type 2.B.2 - 1st. Machine - Dec. 1917'.
Most conspicuous of the features which differentiate these two versions of the Rhino - the (presumed) X7, top, and the positively identifiable X8, in lower view are the suppression of the aileron horn-balances in X8 and the fitting in this airframe of a Scarff ring-mounting, the base-ring whereof is very clearly seen, at the revised station for the gunner.
An especially fine study of the engine and Vickers gun installations on Rhino X8. The photograph bears the Sopwith number S.182 and is captioned '2nd. Machine', and dated 'Feb. 15/1918'.
The second Sopwith Rhino differed from the first in the installation of the Vickers gun, seen above, and in having a Scarff ring-mounting, the base of which is just visible on the extreme left.
Vickers gun and uncowled B.H.P. of Rhino X8.
The Siddeley Puma-powered Cobham Mk.II. Apart from the engines, the rudders are distinctive.
Fairey Hamble Baby, with its distinctive tin and rudder and camber-changing flaps clearly in evidence
The Parnall-built Hamble Baby retained Sopwith-designed fin and rudder and floats, but had Fairey-designed wings with camber-changing flaps.
The four-wheeled main landing gear of the L.R.T.Tr. affords, in this instance, a platform of convenience (not to mention apparent pride) for bodies who aid in giving scale. One of these may be Ernest Newman, who occupied the nacelle when it became misaligned after an early test by Harry Hawker.
All salient features of L.R.T.Tr., in the form in which it was completed, are shown in this view notably, nacelle, wing and tail shape; landing gear; and mounting for Lewis gun behind rear cockpit. Apart from the facts that the 's' in 'Rolls' is reversed and that Rolls-Royce' is not hyphenated (for this was, perhaps, the first occasion on which the penman was called upon to write the company's name) the Sopwith caption reads: 'S.87 Sopwith Triplane. 250 hp Rolls-Royce 1916.'
A companion picture to the one preceding, showing, in particular, the under-wing skids.
This early Triplane photograph has special mention in the text, one point of particular interest being the number '490' attached to a landing gear strut in the uppermost view. That this photograph was taken in the Sopwith Experimental Department is evident not only from the unfinished state of the aircraft (unarmed as well as uncowled) but by the lofty presence of the L.R.T.Tr. in the background - and further by 'Ex D' painted on the part of the tail-trestle seen just below the starboard inlerplane strut.
These three pictures have a special interest, not only in showing how remarkably clean and compact the first Bulldog appeared in its single-bay form and without its Lewis guns fitted, but in marking the apparent inauguration of the maker's system of numbering photographs, or negatives. The Sopwith caption to all three views reads: 'Sopwith Bulldog - 1 Bay - 1st. Machine - Type 2.F.R.2', and the prefixed numbers are S.6 (3/4 rear), S.7 (front) and S.8 (3/4 front).
These three views of the first Bulldog in its single-bay form but with Lewis guns fitted have the same maker's caption as those preceding. Their Sopwith numbers are S.12 (3/4 front), S.14 (3/4 rear). S.16 (front).
Rear and frontal aspects of the first Bulldog in two-bay form with horn-balanced ailerons. Sopwith caption to rear view reads: 'S.3 - Sopwith Bulldog - 2 Bay - 1st. Machine - Type 2.F.R.2". Front view caption is similar, but number is S.4.
The first Bulldog as tested at Martlesham Heath numbered X3 and with plain ailerons.
Comparative views of the first Bulldog (Bulldog I) with horn-balanced ailerons on its two-bay wings, and lower the Bulldog II numbered X4 and with Dragonfly engine.
Clerget and Dragonfly engine installations compared. Sopwith caption (top) reads: "S.5 - Sopwith Bulldog - 2 Bay - 1st. Machine - Type 2.F.R.2'. Bottom. "S.505" (engine given as '360 hp A.B.C.' and dated 'June 24/18.')
Lacking armament, and with Dragonfly engine, the Bulldog II in this picture was captioned by Sopwith:'S.503 - Sopwith Bulldog 2.F.R.2 - 360 hp A B C. - June 24/18".
This particularly line study shows Hippo XII in its later form (with new tail and landing gear and Scarff ring-mounting) and is one of a set of maker's photographs, some of which are later reproduced bearing, except for their different numbers, the same Sopwith caption as that here applicable, viz: "S.277 - Sopwith Hippo 3.F.2. 260 hp Clerget Blin Engine. 2nd. M/c - April 6/18."
Sopwith photograph S.278. showing apart from more obvious features a small part of the Lewis gun (without magazine) on the Scarff ring-mounting.
Whether or not the very first (or 'first-form') Hippo was numbered X10, the two forms of X11 are shown here for comparison the distinctive features of the later form being clearly shown also in other photographs. Here the Scarff ring-mounting of the later-form aircraft (lower view) is the most prominent feature, partly by reason of the Lewis gun. Nevertheless, in the upper view of the earlier form the balanced ailerons and small, angular fin are clearly seen.
Sopwith photograph S.276, showing - even better than the close-up study - the installation of the Vickers guns, with their chutes.
In the chapter on the Snipe a view was included of the Dragonfly Snipe' B9967. That it was indeed 'completed as early as April 1918' as then stated is borne out by these Sopwith pictures ofthe same machine. All three views bear the date 'April 30/18' and the aircraft is credited with having a '360 hp A.B.C. Engine". (Front view, S.348; rear view, S.349; 3/4-front view, S.351. In S.351 only is the aircraft called Snipe; in the others the name "Dragon - 1st. Exp.' is used.
Although its number is obscured, this aeroplane is E7990, with its new production-type tail. The Sopwith picture is captioned: 'S.731 - Sopwith Dragon. - 360 hp A.B.C. Engine Experimental No.2 - Jan. 1919'.
Two Sopwith photographs - S. 1029, 3/4 rear; S.1030, starboard side. The original captions otherwise read 'Sopwith Dragon. 360 h.p. A.B.C. Production - July 1919.
The first Snark, F4068, complete - except perhaps for the Lewis guns, attachments for which are nevertheless visible. The maker's photograph number is S.1079, the machine is identified as "No.1 Snark Triplane - 360 hp A.B.C. Engine' and the date is September 1919.
A particularly informative aspect of Snapper F7031. The padded rear-ends of the two Vickers guns are in evidence, and this study shows in addition the large ejection chute for the cartridge cases and belt links from the port gun.
So revealing is this view of the Sopwith Atlantic that, studied with other pictures reproduced - especially those taken at Brooklands on the same occasion and bearing maker's reference numbers accordingly - it obviates a lengthier textual description. The Sopwith caption reads: "S.804 - Sopwith Transport 375 hp Rolls Royce. Trans-Atlantic M/c - Feb. 21/19'.
THE TRANSATLANTIC ATTEMPT. - Three-quarter front view of the Rolls-Royce engined Sopwith transport type of machine which has been specially designed for this flight.
In this study (Sopwith S.801 - and otherwise captioned as the side and dead-rear views) the original four-blade propeller and the radiator shutters are prominent.
The curious staggered cockpit arrangement is particularly evident in this dead-rear aspect (Sopwith number S.803 - otherwise captioned as side and 3/4-front views).
Perhaps the finest and most detailed study of a Gnu extant, this starboard aspect of the first machine was clearly recorded by the company camera on the same occasion as the rear view also reproduced. The Sopwith caption to this picture reads: 'S.868 - Sopwith Gnu 3 Seater. - 200 hp B.R.2 - March 31/1919".
The Sopwith number on this rear view of the first Gnu is S.869. and the date (31 March, 1919) suggests that the machine had just arrived at Brooklands.
The Sopwith Schneider G-EAKI, which retired during the 1919 Schneider Trophy contest owing to fog over the course.
A singularly fine study of the Jupiter-engined Schneider - especially valuable because the engine installation may be directly compared with that of the A.B.C. Dragonfly in the Rainbow, shown in close-up on a later page. The Sopwith caption to this picture reads: 'S.1055 - 1919 Schneider Cup Seaplane. - 450 hp Cosmos Jupiter engine - Aug, 29/1919'.
Taken on the same occasion as the preceding view, this dead-rear study of the 1919 Schneider shows in particular the thick hollow bottom portion of the rudder, which displaced the tail float. Except that the Sopwith number is S.1060, the maker's caption is identical with that for the 3/4-front view.
Far from appearing displeased with the A.B.C. Dragonfly in the Rainbow as prepared for the 1920 Aerial Derby, Harry Hawker looks positively proud. Certainly, the cowling was a splendid piece of work.
Variously publicised, for instance as 'a special version of the Sopwith Transport, built for the Australia Flight', the Wallaby is studied here with a particular degree of intimacy (notably respecting the curious crew-accommodation and the installation of the Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII engine. The Sopwith caption reads: 'S.1168 Wallaby. - 375 hp Rolls-Royce - Oct. 3/1919'.
That the Wallaby differed from the Atlantic notably in having three-bay wings is emphasised here.
Perhaps the most famous event in the Dove's career was the trip made in the example shown by HRH the Prince of Wales with Maj Barker, vc, of Snipe associations, as his still-convalescent pilot. On that occasion T. O. M. Sopwith was present, though as he wore a bowler hat he is not identifiable here.
Though a direct development, or adaptation, of the Pup, the Dove had swept-back wings, as this rare picture illustrates.
Self-explanatory is the uncommonly brief Sopwith caption to this rare and lively study of a Dove: 'S.944 - "Dove" 1 Seater'. Its Pup ancestry notwithstanding, the specimen shown could almost be mistaken - from this particular aspect - for a Sopwith Camel.
A magnificent-looking aircraft, the 1913 Circuit Seaplane owed much of its appearance and performance to its 100 hp Green engine.
Accentuated here once again are the splendid lines of the 1913 Circuit Seaplane, seen rebuilt as No. 151, and in the form wherein it was inspected by King George V in the great Naval Review at Spithead in July 1914.
Of undeniably sporting, if somewhat perilous, mien (by reason of its almost negligible tail): the Sopwith Gordon Bennett Racer of 1914, which was taken over by the Admiralty as No. 1215 at the start of the 1914-18 War, was used in the RNAS at Hendon with a 80hp instead of a 200hp Gnome.
Sqn-Cdr Spenser Grey with the Gordon Bennett the aircraft displaying its converging central struts, and even the mottled 'engine turning' round the shapely cowling of the 80 hp Gnome.
That the SL.T.B.P. was a larger aeroplane than the Pup - which it otherwise generally resembled except in respect of the centre section and associated struts, and in having warping wings instead of ailerons is apparent by courtesy of these attendant gentlemen.
By any reckoning, at any period, the SL.T.B.P. would be considered a dainty creation - even though the pilot's upward view was deficient, as is plain from this photograph.
Directly comparable views of N509 (top) and N510, showing apart from differences in engine-cowling - the higher thrust-line of N510, resulting from the geared Hispano-Suiza engine. (The propeller of N509 was directly driven).
Two more comparative views of N509 (top) and N510. The maker's caption to the top picture reads: 'S.110 - Sopwith Triplane. 150 hp Hispano Suiza 1916'.
A superbly detailed aspect of N510, captioned by the makers: 'S.113 Sopwith Triplane. 200 hp Hispano Suiza - 1916'. A gravity tank is fitted in the top centre section, with a pipe leading out along the starboard mainplane.
Camel T.F.1 'trench fighter' with two downward-firing Lewis guns and one Lewis gun on Admiralty Top Plane mounting.
Although the Admiralty Top Plane mounting for a Lewis gun gave the T.F.1 armoured version of the Camel some semblance of the 2F.1, it was, in fact, a direct F.1 development, as reaffirmed by the Sopwith caption to this picture: "S.185 Sopwith Camel F.1 Armoured Trench Fighter Feb. 19/18'.
Installation of Lewis gins in cockpit of Camel T.F.1. A sheet of armour plate forms the fuselage bottom.
With its wicker seat, and nearby items associated with the engine and flying controls (the joystick is seen tilted slightly forward, close to the point w here the two Lewis guns protrude through the floor) the T.F.1 cockpit was neither spacious nor luxurious.
Familiar though generally in retouched form, with even the Brooklands huts removed this view of N6635 remains as the classic study of a 2F.1 Camel. So excellent is the Sopwith original ('S.58 - Camel - 150 A.R.I Engine Type 2.F.1') that even the tiny pillar-mounted bead for the ring-sight on the Vickers gun is distinctly seen above the cowling. Equally so, the aircraft number - on the fuselage side behind the cockpit.
Far more than mere 'dignity and impudence' poses, these picture shows N7120 with standard armament, and a Handley Page V/1500 for company and scale.
Far more than mere 'dignity and impudence' poses, these picture shows twin Vickers guns and a jettisonable steel-tube landing gear, with the Felixstowe Fury flying-boat obliging in a like capacity. Note how distinct are the features mentioned, tiny though the Camels are.
On battleships - especially those with 15 in guns - the 2F.1 was sometimes blasted by the firing of the great guns themselves. Less so in a cruiser - illustrated here by N6779 aboard Calliope, with the Camel sitting proud on its platform above the forward 6 in gun. Note that the aeroplane has fully as much extra hamper - in the form of battens and strops, to keep things Sopwith-shape - as the cruiser has herself; and the man in the foreground suggests that the whole affair should be told to the Marines.
A final reminder of the truth of the foregoing caption - and illustrating also salient recognition characteristics of the standard 2F.1 version of the Camel (high-set Lewis gun, and centre section less splayed than on the F.1).
The Royal Marines having now entered the picture, their motto 'Per mare, per terrain" may be borrowed for the 2F.1 Camel - especially as shown in these two views: Top, with skid landing gear for Samson's lighter trial, which ended (see text) very much per mare: lower, a 'split' specimen, distinctly per terrain.
An element extra to those named in an earlier caption is implicit here, with N6814 snugly stowed beneath the airship R23 for tests connected with air-launching.
The Admiralty Top Plane mounting, with its Lewis gun, is featured in this photograph. The magazine is of the 'single' (47-round) pattern.
The Antelope with its original ailerons, but with its four-wheeled landing gear. The cabin door was a notable feature, and its handle shows clearly.
Although in this view the Antelope has the revised (inwardly tapering) ailerons, the struts betokening a four-wheeled landing gear are absent. Clearly seen is the sliding roof-hatch for the second passenger.
Probably the finest picture of the Grasshopper ever taken - an uncaptioned Sopwith study evidently made on the same occasion as the dead-rear view that follows, with provision on the aircraft for civil markings not as yet applied. Note the staggered cylinders of the Anzani engine.
The Sopwith caption to this flattering study of the Grasshopper reads: 'S.1043 - Grasshopper No.1. - 100 hp Anzani - July 31/1919'. The 'No.1' appears to have been superfluous, as only one example is known.
The 'Kitten' mentioned under the heading 'The 'Sopwith Kitten'.