H.King Sopwith Aircraft 1912-1920 (Putnam)
The 'Sopwith Mouse'
The above name was conferred by John ('Jack' later Sir John) Alcock himself upon the single-seat 'fighting scout' built at his instigation in mid-1917. Alcock had flown the Triplane and the Camel, and in his own little two-bay machine used major Sopwith components. The front fuselage and bottom wings, for instance, were adapted from the Triplane, while the top wings were in essence those of the Pup (though with longer ailerons, and these on the top wings only the bottom ones, of course, being much smaller). From the Camel came the horizontal tail-surfaces.
Alcock's delightful little creation had a 110 hp Clerget engine. Apparently it performed well, and was flown at Mudros after Alcock himself had been taken prisoner, the recognised designations, apart from 'Sopwith Mouse', being 'Alcock Scout’ or A.I.
Later (June 1919) Capt John Alcock and Lieut Arthur Whitten Brown, in a Vickers Vimy, made the first nonstop air crossing of the Atlantic. Earlier before the 1914 war Alcock had helped in developing the 150 hp Sunbeam engine, using a Farman pusher biplane, and thus presaging the installation in the Robey-built Sopwith Gun Bus. He had, in fact, been engaged by Louis Coatalen, the Sunbeam engine-designer himself.
P.Lewis The British Fighter since 1912 (Putnam)
A rather curious event took place during 1917 at Mudros in the Aegean which, although it contributed nothing to fighter development, deserves to be recorded as an example of initiative and ingenuity. During his service on the station with No. 2 Wing, R.N.A.S., Flt.Lt. J. W. Alcock, well known in flying circles before the 1914-18 War and to become famous after the Armistice for his trans-Atlantic flight with Lt. A. W. Brown, designed a single-seat fighter biplane which was put together from Sopwith Triplane and Pup parts. Two engines were tried in the Alcock A.I Scout, or Sopwith Mouse as Alcock called it; the first was a 100 h.p. Monosoupape Gnome, followed by a 110 h.p. Clerget. Unluckily, Alcock was taken prisoner before his brainchild was ready but the machine was test-flown at Mudros and Stavros after completion by his colleagues. The A.I’s armament consisted of a pair of Vickers guns.
F.Mason The British Fighter since 1912 (Putnam)
Flight-Lieut John W Alcock (later to be knighted for his epic first non-stop flight across the Atlantic) was serving with No 2 Wing, RNAS, at Mudros in the Aegean during the summer of 1917 when he built a small biplane scout, variously referred to as the Alcock A.I and ‘Sopwith Mouse’. Many of the design calculations were performed by Cdr Constantine of the Greek Navy at Mudros.
Alcock’s fighter employed numerous components from crashed aircraft, including the fuselage, undercarriage and most of the lower wing from a Sopwith Triplane, and the upper wing of a Pup, into which was inserted a new centre section with cutout. A 100hp Gnome monosoupape engine drove a two-blade propeller, and the two-bay wings were rigged without effective stagger, the interplane struts converging downwards owing to the considerable difference in the two wing chords. It is not known whether the vertical tail surfaces (dorsal and ventral fins, and unbalanced rudder) were newly constructed or salvaged components, but the tailplane and elevator bear a similarity to those of the Pup.
The fuselage was located roughly in the centre of the wing gap, clear of the lower wing, with the new centre section of the upper wing level with the pilot’s horizontal line of sight. Twin synchronized Vickers guns were mounted forward of the cockpit.
Contrary to the account in the official history (The War in the Air, Vol. 5), Alcock did not fly his aircraft, being shot down in a Handley Page O/400 and captured by the Turks on 30 September 1917, before its completion. Nevertheless it was subsequently flown, probably on 15 October by Wing Capt Francis Rowland Scarlett (later Air Vice-Marshal, cb, dso, raf), and was later destroyed when it was struck on the ground by a D.H.4 at Mudros.
Type: Single-engine, single-seat, two-bay biplane fighting scout.
Manufacturer: Flight-Lieut J W Alcock, RNAS, and personnel of No 2 Wing, RNAS, Mudros.
Powerplant: One 100hp Gnome monosoupape engine driving two-blade propeller; later fitted with 110hp Clerget engine.
Armament: Two synchronized 0.303in Vickers machine guns.
The Author is indebted to Mr J M Bruce for permission to reproduce the above material, which represents the result of research among former members of No 2 Wing, RNAS. The official history also incorrectly states that the Alcock A.I was powered by a captured Benz engine.
W.Green, G.Swanborough The Complete Book of Fighters
ALCOCK A.1 UK
Evolved at the RNAS base at Mudros, in the Aegean, by Lt John Alcock during the summer of 1917, the A.l employed modified components of the Sopwith Triplane (forward fuselage and lower wings), Sopwith Pup (upper wings), and Sopwith Camel (tailplane and elevators) which were married to a rear fuselage and vertical tail surfaces of original design. Powered by a 110 hp Clerget 9Z nine-cylinder rotary engine and carrying a 0.303-in (7,7-mm) Vickers machine gun, the A.l (which was also referred to by its designers as the "Sopwith Mouse” in recognition of its part parentage) flew at Mudros in October 1917, but was written off after crashing early in 1918.
Approx span, 24 ft 3 in (7,39 m).
Approx length, 19 ft lin (5,82 m).
Approx height, 7 ft 9 in (2,36 m).
J.Bruce British Aeroplanes 1914-1918 (Putnam)
IN 1917, Flight-Lieutenant J. W. Alcock, who was later to achieve fame for his trans-Atlantic flight with Arthur Whitten Brown in 1919, was serving with No. 2 Wing, R.N.A.S., at Mudros, in the Aegean Sea. While there he made a single-seat fighter biplane, which he called the “Sopwith Mouse”, and which was also known as the Alcock A.1.
This aircraft consisted almost wholly of Sopwith Triplane and Pup components. The fuselage, undercarriage, and most of the lower wing belonged to a Sopwith Triplane, whilst much of the upper wing had originally belonged to a Pup. It appears that a new centre-section was made for the upper wing, and that a centre-section was also fitted to the lower wing. The fuselage appeared to rest on top of the lower main-plane. Two-bay interplane bracing was used, and the interplane struts converged downwards to meet the more closely-spaced spars of the lower wing. The gap was such that the upper wing was brought low above the fuselage, and interfered very little with the pilot’s view.
It is hard to determine how much of the tail unit came from other aircraft, but the rudder might have belonged to a Sopwith type. Triangular fins were fitted, one above and one below the fuselage; and the tail-skid was apparently attached to the rudder-post. The tailplane was mounted centrally on the fuselage.
The Alcock machine was at first fitted with a 100 h.p. Gnome Monosoupape rotary engine, but a 110 h.p. Clerget was later fitted. It is believed that some of the components were taken from the Sopwith Triplane which crashed at Mudros on September 3rd, 1917. Much of the mathematical work involved in the building of the aircraft was done by Commander Constantine of the Greek Navy, who was then in command of the Greek Air Force at Mudros.
Contrary to the official history, Alcock never flew his “Sopwith Mouse”, for it had not been completed when he was taken prisoner by the Turks on the night of September 30th, 1917: he and his crew (Lieutenant S. J. Wise and Lieutenant H. Aird) were captured when No. 2 Wing’s solitary Handley Page O/100 was forced down in the Gulf of Xeros.
But the Alcock Scout was completed and flown. While Alcock was in the civil jail at Seraskerat, Constantinople, he received this message from Wing-Captain F. R. Scarlett, C.B., D.S.O., on October 18th, 1917: “Your baby was taken for an airing, but is still having trouble with teeth. She has now been fitted with new clothing. Now a great improvement in health.” It is believed that the Alcock A.I was first flown on October 15th, 1917.
Early in 1918 the machine was flown over to Stavros by Flight-Lieutenant Starbuck, and it is believed that it was crashed there by that officer.
The foregoing history is based on notes provided by former members of No. 2 Wing, R.N.A.S., who were at Mudros when the Alcock A.I was built; it is very different from the account which appears in Volume V of The War in the Air, the official history. The latter account tells of an aircraft of Alcock’s design fitted with a Benz engine which had been taken from a Friedrichshafen bomber shot down in April, 1917, and goes on to relate how Alcock flew it to attack three enemy seaplanes on September 30th, 1917.
That story is inaccurate, however, for the Alcock A.1 could not have been fitted with a Benz engine, and Alcock was flying a Camel on the occasion in question. It may indicate that he designed an aeroplane round the Benz engine, for it was stated that drawings were sent home from Mudros.
Power: 100 h.p. Gnome Monosoupape; 110 h.p. Clerget.
Armament: Two fixed, forward-firing Vickers machine-guns, synchronised to fire through the airscrew. Service Use: No. 2 Wing, R.N.A.S., Mudros; also flown at Stavros.
O.Thetford British Naval Aircraft since 1912 (Putnam)
Devised but not flown by F/Lt J W Alcock (later to achieve fame in the Vimy Atlantic crossing of 1919), this single-seat scout was operated by No.2 Wing of the RNAS at Mudros in 1917-18. It was comprised of components from the Sopwith Triplane and Pup and had a 100hp Monosoupape or 110 hp Clerget engine. Armament was twin Vickers machine-guns. No other details available.
H.King Armament of British Aircraft (Putnam)
Alcock A-1. Named by 'Jack' Alcock the Sopwith Mouse (being built largely of Sopwith components), this most private of private-venture aircraft (1917) had a single fixed Vickers gun on the centre line of the fuselage, a la Pup and Triplane.