M.Goodall, A.Tagg British Aircraft before the Great War (Schiffer)
Deleted by request of (c)Schiffer Publishing
G.Duval British Flying-Boats and Amphibians 1909-1952 (Putnam)
White and Thompson No. 3 Boat (1914)
In October 1913, the Curtiss flying-boat made its first appearance in this country, when Glenn Curtiss personally delivered one machine to Captain Ernest Bass. Housed at Volk’s Seaplane Base on Brighton beach, it was initially flown by Mr J. D. Cooper, a pupil of the Curtiss School. Maintenance for the machine was secured by commissioning the small aviation company operated by Norman Thompson and Douglas White at Bognor Regis. The company shortly afterwards acquired the exclusive British rights to build flying-boats to the basic Curtiss design, and obtained the services of E. C. Gordon England as test pilot. As a primary venture, White and Thompson decided to build two flying-boats for the 1914 Daily Mail Round Britain Race, one being powered with the 150 h.p. Beardmore, the other, larger, machine to be fitted with two 90 h.p. Curtiss OX engines. The singleengined machine, a two-seater, resembled the original Curtiss, but was designed throughout by the British company. Its hull was built by Saunders of Cowes, and covered with ‘Consuta’ copper-sewn plywood. Dual controls were fitted, and the rudder horn balanced. Flight testing on 9 August, 1914, was successful, and, the Round Britain Race having been cancelled, the machine went to the R.N.A.S. as No. 233. Six more examples were ordered, the production version becoming known as the White and Thompson No. 3 Boat. Eventually, eight or more were delivered, the 150 h.p. Beardmore being retained as the standard power unit, although one example had a 150 h.p. direct-drive Hispano-Suiza. The first machine was delivered to R.N.A.S. Dover, by Gordon England, accompanied by Douglas White. Used for coastal patrol work from Dover, the type was eventually armed with a Lewis gun, pillar-mounted on the port side of the cockpit.
One 150 h.p. Beardmore
One machine - 150 h.p. Hispano-Suiza
Span: Prototype - 45 feet
Length: 27 feet 6 inches
Weight Loaded: 2,400 pounds
Total Area: 400 square feet
Prototype - 70 m.p.h.
Production - 85 m.p.h.
Endurance: Prototype - 6 hours
Armament: Production - one .303-inch Lewis gun
J.Bruce British Aeroplanes 1914-1918 (Putnam)
White and Thompson No. 3 Flying-boat
NORMAN A. THOMPSON was a young Cambridge graduate who was trained as an electrical engineer, but who decided in 1908 to devote his life to aviation. His enthusiasm was fired by Mr (later Dr) F. W. Lanchester’s book on Aerodynamics, and in 1909 he secured the collaboration of Lanchester in the design of aeroplanes. By this time Norman Thompson had gone into partnership with Douglas White, a man of considerable means, who provided the money needed to finance their aeronautical experiments.
The first aircraft to be produced by the partnership was a remarkable biplane with wings covered with 23-gauge sheet aluminium and powered by two 50 h.p. Gnome engines. This machine was not successful, but the experiments almost exhausted the money that had been set aside for the purpose, and it was decided to undertake aircraft construction on a commercial basis. It was not until June 1912, however, that the White and Thompson Co., Ltd., was registered as a private company.
A pusher biplane with a 120 h.p. A.B.C. motor was designed by Norman Thompson himself and was flown in 1913. Although this machine was damaged early in 1914, no attempt was made to rebuild it, because the firm had secured the exclusive British agency for the Curtiss flying-boat and thereafter devoted most of their attention to that form of aircraft.
The Daily Mail “Round Britain” contest for seaplanes appeared to offer the firm a good opportunity to establish the capabilities of flying-boats. A bold step was taken: two flying boats of different design were entered for the race, one a single-engined machine powered by a 120 h.p. Beardmore engine, the other a larger twin-engined type with two 90 h.p. Curtiss OX engines. The single-engined White and Thompson flying-boat bore a general resemblance to the Curtiss machine, but was in fact designed throughout by the British company. The 24-foot hull was made by S. E. Saunders. Two skins of copper-sewn mahogany were applied to a framework of ash and spruce to form a structure which was light yet strong. The square-cut wings had two bays of bracing with extensions on the upper mainplanes, and a large vertical fin surface was mounted centrally above the centre-section. The long, low aspect-ratio fin was surmounted by the tailplane and elevator assembly, and a horn-balanced rudder was fitted. Dual control was provided.
The White and Thompson boat was to have been flown in the race by Captain E. C. Bass, but the outbreak of war led to the cancellation of the contest. The single-engined machine was tested on August 9th, 1914, and was said to be satisfactory. It was bought by the Admiralty, and six further examples of the type were ordered.
These six were built and delivered, and were followed by at least two more. The “production” version was known as the White and Thompson No. 3 Flying-boat, and differed from the original in several respects. The hull shape remained similar, but there was a fairing behind the rear spar of the lower centresection, which was covered, whereas that of the original had been open. The wing-tips were slightly rounded, and the extensions of the upper wings were wire-braced from king-posts above the outer interplane struts. The single central fin surface which had been mounted above the centre-section of the Round Britain machine was replaced by two low aspect-ratio surfaces, one above each pair of inboard interplane struts.
In the tail-unit the fin area was slightly increased, and a secondary fin above the tailplane occupied the place of the balance area of the rudder of the original flying boat. A plain rudder was fitted, and a small beaching skid was placed under the extreme tail of the hull.
The standard engine was the 120 h.p. Beardmore, but one machine had a 150 h.p. Hispano-Suiza. Additional struts were fitted between the hull and the forward end of the engine bearers; for a time at least No. 1195, the first “production” machine did not have these struts, but most of the others did.
Test flying was done by E. C. Gordon England, and he delivered the first machine to the R.N.A.S. at Dover. Douglas White flew with him on the delivery flight.
The Service history of the type is obscure, but its makers claimed that the machines were “the first flying-boats to give a satisfactory account of themselves in service, and proved a very effective weapon directed against German submarines.”
Manufacturers: White & Thompson, Ltd., Bognor Regis, Sussex.
Power: 120 h.p. Beardmore; 150 h.p. Hispano-Suiza.
Dimensions (original “Round Britain” machine): Span: upper 45ft, lower 34ft. Length: 27 ft 6 in. Chord: 5 ft 6 in. Gap: 5 ft 9 in. Stagger: nil. Dihedral: nil. Span of tail: 12 ft.
Areas (original): Wings: 400 sq ft. Tailplane: 30 sq ft. Elevators: 27 sq ft. Rudder: 16 sq ft.
Weights (original): Empty: 1,600 lb. Loaded: 2,400 lb.
Performance (original): Maximum speed: 70 m.p.h. Endurance: 6 hours. Production: maximum speed: 85 m.p.h. Climb to 9,000 ft: 20 min.
Tankage (original): Petrol: 60 gallons.
Armament: One Lewis machine-gun on pillar-type mounting on port side of cockpit.
Service Use: R.N.A.S. Station, Dover.
Production: At least eight White & Thompson No. 3 Flying-boats were built.
Serial Numbers: 1195-1200, 3807-3808.
H.King Armament of British Aircraft (Putnam)
White & Thompson
No.3. This little flying-boat was acquired by the Admiralty in 1914 and was probably the first of its class in British service to carry armament. A Lewis gun was fitted lo a pillar mounting on the port side of the cockpit.
O.Thetford British Naval Aircraft since 1912 (Putnam)
WHITE AND THOMPSON FLYING-BOAT
Designed originally at the same time as a twin-engined flying-boat for the 'Round Britain' contest for seaplanes, cancelled on the outbreak of war, the type was adopted by the RNAS for anti-submarine patrol duties, and eight production aircraft (designated White and Thompson No.3) were delivered with the serial numbers 1195 to 1200, 3807 and 3808. One 120 hp Beardmore engine. Loaded weight, 2,400 lb. Maximum speed, 85 mph. Crew of two, side-by-side. Span, 45 ft. Length, 27 ft 6 in.