C.Barnes Short Aircraft since 1900 (Putnam)
Short Tractor Seaplanes (1912-14)
In September 1913 the Admiralty ordered two similar prototype Short seaplanes, one with the single-row Salmson of 135 hp and the other, slightly larger, with the double-row version rated at 200 hp. These were built at Eastchurch during March and April 1914 and resembled the 160 hp ‘folder’, but had stronger two-bay wings with strut-braced extensions and inversely tapered ailerons. Entirely by coincidence, the smaller seaplane was allotted the serial 135 and the larger 136; they were delivered to Grain in July and September 1914 respectively. On Christmas Eve they formed part of the complement of nine seaplanes, seven of them Shorts, aboard the three carriers Engadine, Empress and Riviera, which sailed with an escort from Harwich in an attempt to bomb the Zeppelin base at Cuxhaven. Early on Christmas Day all seven Shorts, which included also the 160 hp ‘folders’ 119 and 120 and three of a later class of 100 hp Mono-Gnome ‘folders’ (811, 814 and 815), got off the water with their bombs at a point 12 miles north of Heligoland; they failed to find the airship shed, but attacked other targets along the Kiel canal; three of them, including 136, returned to their flotilla after 3 hours, but 135 had engine failure and the pilot, Flt Lieut F. E. T. Hewlett (flying solo), was rescued by a Dutch fishing vessel, interned in Holland and later repatriated as a ‘shipwrecked mariner’. The other three seaplanes alighted near Norderney and their pilots were picked up by the submarine E11, but the aircraft had to be sunk to avoid capture. 136 was later allotted to the newly commissioned seaplane-carrier Ark Royal, which sailed from Harwich on 1 February, 1915, for the Dardanelles, arriving at Tenedos on 17 February. 136 was reported to be ‘the most valuable and only rough-weather seaplane on board the ship’, but was shot at by Turkish gunfire during a reconnaissance on 27 April, which damaged the floats and chassis and caused it to sink on alighting; it was hoisted aboard and patched up, but the engine never recovered from its immersion, and 136 had to be condemned on this account.
RNAS 135 - Span 52 ft (15-84 m); length 37 ft (11-43 m); area 530 sq ft (48-3 m2); empty weight 2,700 lb (1,225 kg); loaded weight 3,400 lb (1,542 kg); max speed 65 mph (104-6 km/h); duration 4-5 hr.
RNAS 136 - Span 54 ft 6 in (16 6 m); length 40 ft (12-2 m); area 570 sq ft (53 m2); empty weight 3,000 lb (1,361 kg); loaded weight 3,700 lb (1,679 kg); max speed 72 mph (116 km/h); duration 4 hr.
F.Manson British Bomber Since 1914 (Putnam)
Short Admiralty Type 135
The absence of a reliable British aero-engine in the 200hp class before the First World War, and the unreliability of the two-row 160hp Gnome, prompted the Admiralty to purchase examples of the water-cooled Canton-Unne radial engines being built under a Swiss licence at the French Salmson factory at Billancourt. Two versions, a nine-cylinder single-row radial of 135hp and a fourteen-cylinder two-row radial of 200hp, were considered, with the object of obtaining a licence for production by the Dudbridge Ironworks at Stroud, Gloucestershire. Accordingly, two Short seaplanes, Nos 135 and 136, were ordered by the Admiralty in 1913, these being powered by the 135hp and 200hp engines respectively; although almost identical, the latter aircraft was slightly the larger.
Anticipating a regular supply of the British-built engines, the Admiralty purchased relatively few of the Salmson engines from France, and no production of these seaplanes - intended largely as engine test-beds - was ordered. (In the event, the first Dudbridge engines did not materialise until 1916, by which time several excellent British engines were being produced.)
Known as Short Admiralty Type 135s, the two prototypes were built at Eastchurch during the spring of 1914, No 135 being delivered to Grain in July; No 136 followed in September. They were two-bay biplanes with strut-braced, extended upper wings incorporating single-acting, inversely-tapered ailerons.
Both aircraft were generally liked by their pilots and, adapted to carry two 112 lb bombs each, took part in the Cuxhaven raid on Christmas Day, 1914. No 135 suffered engine failure on its return flight, and was abandoned after ditching; the pilot, Flt-Lt Francis Esme Theodore Hewlett RN (later Gp Capt, DSO, OBE, RAF), flying solo, was rescued. No 136 returned safely, flown by Flt-Cdr C F Kilner with Lieut Erskine Childers as observer, having also carried out a reconnaissance of the German Fleet in the Schillig Roads.
No 136 was shipped to the Dardanelles aboard the new seaplane carrier, HMS Ark Royal, in February 1915 but, after being damaged by enemy gunfire, suffered collapse o f its undercarriage on return from a sortie two months later; immersion in the salt water prevented the engine from running reliably thereafter.
Type: Single-engine, two-seat, two-bay biplane, twin-float patrol bomber seaplane.
Manufacturer: Short Brothers, Eastchurch, Isle of Sheppey, Kent.
Powerplant: No 135. One 135hp Salmson nine-cylinder single-row water-cooled radial engine. No 136. One 200hp Salmson fourteen-cylinder two-row water-cooled radial engine.
Dimensions: Span, 52ft 0in (No 136, 54ft 6in); length, 39ft 0in (No 136, 40ft 0in); height, 12ft 6in; wing area, 530 sq ft (No 136, 570 sq ft).
Weights: No 135. Tare, 2,700 lb; all-up, 3,400 lb. No 136. Tare, 3,000 lb; all-up, 3,700 lb.
Performance: No 135. Max speed, 65 mph at sea level. No 136. Max speed, 72 mph at sea level.
Armament: No gun armament. Normal bomb load either two 112 lb or four 65 lb bombs carried on underwing racks.
Prototypes: Two, RNAS Nos 135 and 136. No 135 first flown in July 1914, 136 probably in September 1914. Both seaplanes took part in the abortive attacks on Cuxhaven on 25 December; No 135 ditched and was lost, but No 136 accompanied HM Seaplane Carrier Ark Royal to the Dardanelles in February 1915. No production.
P.Lewis British Bomber since 1914 (Putnam)
The two other Short seaplanes which, together with the three Type 74s and two Folders, made up the force which attacked Cuxhaven on Christmas Day, 1914, were Admiralty Type 135s, Nos. 135 and 136. Evolved from the 160 h.p. Gnome Folder, design work on 135 started late in 1913 following the order from the Admiralty in September, 1913. The machine’s unequal-span, 54 ft. 6 in. upper and 40 ft. lower, folding wings utilized two-bay bracing with struts supporting the generous upper extensions, and a rounded decking conferred a refinement on the previous stark style of slab-sided fuselage. No. 135 appeared in 1914 for delivery to the R.N.A.S. before the War began, powered by the Swiss-designed single-row, water-cooled 135 h.p. Salmson radial. 136, the second Type 135 constructed, was given the extra power of the two-row, fourteen-cylinder Salmson which developed 200 h.p. 135’s engine was cooled by a massive rectangular radiator mounted vertically on the fore-deck ahead of the front cockpit and was surmounted by a small lip-type portion of curved cowling.
In the attack on Cuxhaven Flt. Cdr. C. F. Kilner piloted No. 136, accompanied by Lt. Erskine Childers as his observer, both officers being particularly successful in the value of their reconnaissance reports made as a result of the raid.
M.Goodall, A.Tagg British Aircraft before the Great War (Schiffer)
Deleted by request of (c)Schiffer Publishing
P.Lewis British Aircraft 1809-1914 (Putnam)
Short Admiralty Type 135
Designed at the end of 1913, the folder seaplane Admiralty Type 135 was a two-seater with two-bay wings fitted with strut-braced upper extensions. The upper planes carried single-acting ailerons, which were made in two parts and had inverse taper. A rounded top decking ran the whole length of the fuselage, and the 135 h.p. Salmson engine was cooled by a large rectangular radiator mounted in front of the cockpits.
No. 135 entered service just before the outbreak of the 1914-18 War and was followed in September, 1914, by a second example, which was powered by the 200 h.p. Salmson. It was numbered 136 (illustrated) and was based on the Isle of Grain. Span, 54 ft. 6 ins. Length, 39 ft. Height, 12 ft. 6 ins. Weight loaded, 3,700 lb. Maximum speed, 65 m.p.h. Endurance, 4 hrs.
J.Bruce British Aeroplanes 1914-1918 (Putnam)
Short Seaplane, Admiralty Type 135
THE Short seaplane which was known as Admiralty Type 135 was ordered in September, 1913; design work began at the end of that year, and the first machine emerged in 1914.
The aircraft was a development of the Short Folder seaplane which had the 160 h.p. Gnome rotary engine; like its predecessor, the Type 135 also had folding wings. Its construction was entirely conventional. There were two bays of interplane bracing and, as on the original Folder, the long extensions of the upper wings were braced by struts. Single-acting ailerons were fitted to the upper wings only; each aileron was made in two sections, and the inboard portions had inverse taper. Two machines, numbered 135 and 136, were built: the first had the 135 h.p. Salmson engine, a single-row water-cooled radial, and the second had the 200 h.p. two-row Salmson. Only the first machine had been delivered by the time the war began.
The 200 h.p. Salmson engine was a fourteen-cylinder two-row radial of Swiss origin. In common with the other Salmson engines of the period it was frequently referred to as a Canton-Unne, a name which was derived from the surnames of its joint designers.
The two-row radial engine gave the nose of No. 136 a distinctive appearance: by way of cowling only a rudimentary hood was fitted, and there was a large block-like radiator on top of the fuselage. The rudder was balanced and a low aspect-ratio fin with curved leading edge was fitted. The two main floats were simple wooden pontoon structures, and there was a tail-float.
The famous sortie of Christmas Day, 1914, against Cuxhaven has already been mentioned in the history of the Short 74. Both Short 135s were among the seven machines which carried out the raid. No. 136 had been delivered to the Isle of Grain in September, 1914, and on the Cuxhaven raid it was flown by Flight-Commander C. F. Kilner with Lieutenant Erskine Childers as his observer. On their way back to the waiting seaplane carriers in the Heligoland Bight these officers made a detailed reconnaissance of German fleet units in the Schillig Roads.
No. 136 went to the Dardanelles as one of the eight assorted seaplanes in the new carrier vessel Ark Royal, which left Sheerness on February 1st, 1915. This Short seaplane was quite the best machine the Ark Royal then had, and proved to be the only one capable of operating in bad weather. On April 27th, 1915, however, one of the undercarriage struts was shot through by ground fire and broke when the machine alighted. The strut was replaced, but when No. 136 next tried to take off, the struts on both sides buckled; the engine was submerged and thereafter could never be persuaded to run well again.
Manufacturers: Short Brothers, Eastchurch, Isle of Sheppey, and at Rochester.
Power: 135 h.p. Salmson (Canton-Unne); 200 h.p. Salmson (Canton-Unne).
Dimensions: Span: upper 54 ft 6 in., lower 40 ft. Length: 39 ft. Height: 12 ft 6 in. Chord: 6 ft. Gap: 6 ft. Stagger: nil. Dihedral: nil. Distance between float centres: 8 ft.
Weights: Loaded: 3,700 lb.
Performance: Maximum speed: 60-65 m.p.h. Endurance: 4 hours.
Armament: Bombs could be carried on external racks.
Service Use: R.N.A.S. Station, Isle of Grain; seaplane carrier Ark Royal.
Serial Numbers: 135, 136.
O.Thetford British Naval Aircraft since 1912 (Putnam)
SHORT S.87 ADMIRALTY TYPE 135 SEAPLANE
The Type 135 was a development of the Short Folder, and it also had folding wings. Only two were built: No.135, with a 135 hp Salmson. and No.136 (illustrated), with a 200 hp Salmson engine. The Short 135 seaplanes were both used in the celebrated RNAS raid on Cuxhaven on Christmas Day, 1914, and No.136 later served in the Dardanelles with the seaplane-carrier Ark Royal. Maximum speed, 65 mph. Span, 54 ft 6 in. Length, 39 ft.