Книги

Putnam
F.Manson
British Bomber since 1914
126

F.Manson - British Bomber since 1914 /Putnam/

Air Department Type 1000

  The brainchild of the eccentric engineer, Harris Booth, the massive A.D. 1000 possessed a wing span only marginally less than that of the Wight Twin, but was certainly much heavier. The Admiralty's Air Department was, in 1914, headed by Capt Murray Fraser Sueter, who had been an influential advocate of the aerial bomb and torpedo, and who gave his authority for the design of a large seaplane capable of carrying a single 810 lb 14in naval torpedo or an equivalent weight of bombs.
  Booth's design, like Howard Wright's Wight Twin, was of the twin-fuselage configuration, but in other respects differed radically. Unlike the Twin the A.D. 1000 was conceived as a seaplane from the outset, and therein lay the likely reason for its manufacture being undertaken by J Samuel White, whose boat-building factory was equipped to handle large craft and possessed slipways to a sheltered anchorage. Moreover, if nothing else, Booth recognised the importance of providing engines of sufficient power for his huge aeroplane (where others had failed), and selected three 310hp Sunbeam twelve-cylinder water-cooled engines - then the most powerful under development. Thus the A.D. 1000 theoretically possessed more than twice the power of the Wight Twin.
  The A.D. 1000 was an all-wooden, four-bay biplane with unequal-span wings, kingposts being used for wire-bracing the upper wing extensions which carried single-acting ailerons; the choice of this layout clearly demanded a very heavy internal wing structure. The big engines were located at the forward ends of the twin fuselages and at the rear of the central nacelle. The latter structure also accommodated the five-man crew, its nose resembling a domestic conservatory with upwards of forty panes of glass, and no concession to drag limitation. The torpedo or bomb load was to be suspended from the lower wing which passed beneath both the fuselages and the central nacelle. The twin main floats were attached by struts to the lower longerons of the fuselages, as were the twin tail floats. There was little to suggest that this float gear would have been adequate to support the enormous machine on any but the calmest water.
  The A.D. 1000 was completed at Cowes in the spring of 1915, but was never flown. The Sunbeam engines (later to become the Cossack) were installed with their four-blade propellers. At that time, however, the engines had never flown, and doubt must have been expressed about the efficiency of the cooling system and its extraordinarily cumbersome radiator installation, to say nothing of the float structure's strength. The aircraft was transported to Felixstowe and was almost certainly broken up there in 1916.

  Type: Four-bay, five-crew bomber/torpedo-bomber biplane seaplane with one pusher and two tractor engines, central crew nacelle, twin main floats and twin tail floats.
  Manufacturer: J. Samuel White & Co. Ltd., Cowes, Isle of Wight, to the design of Harris Booth of the Air Department, Admiralty.
  Powerplant: Three 310hp Sunbeam (later named Cossack) 12-cylinder water-cooled inline engines driving four-blade propellers, two driving tractor propellers at the front of the twin fuselages, and one driving a pusher propeller at the rear of the central crew nacelle.
  Dimensions: Span, 115ft.
  Armament: Designed to carry a bomb load of approximately 800 lb, or one 810 lb 14in Admiralty torpedo.
  Prototype: Seven examples ordered, but only one. No 1358, completed and delivered to Felixstowe, but not flown. No production.
The A.D. Type 1000, No 1358, moored at East Cowes in 1915. Unlike the Wight Twin seaplane, which abandoned the central crew nacelle, the Type 1000 retained this extraordinary structure until the aircraft was broken up.
Air Department A.D.I Navyplane

  It is sometimes said that Harold Bolas, in effect deputy chief designer at the Admiralty's Air Department, saw part of his job as exerting a restraining influence on the wilder excesses of his immediate senior, Harris Booth. Yet it should be remarked that, although most of Booth's own designs bordered on the grotesque, he was able to use his undoubted influence with the Board of Admiralty when it came to gaining official support for the designs of his subordinates (and he it was who strongly advised Murray Sueter to have such outstanding aeroplanes as the Handley Page O/100, and Sopwith 1 1/2-Strutter, Pup and Camel adopted by the Admiralty when they were still on the drawing board).
  It fell to Harold Bolas to initiate the design early in 1916 of a reconnaissance/bombing seaplane, officially designated the A.D.I, but generally referred to as the Navyplane. As the Air Department's Experimental Construction Depot at Port Victoria, Isle of Grain, was not yet fully equipped to undertake the building of complete aeroplanes, the initial A.D.I design was handed over to the Supermarine Aviation Works at Woolston, Southampton, for the detail design to be completed and construction of a prototype. Working in close collaboration with Bolas, Reginald Mitchell finished the necessary manufacturing drawings in an exceptionally short time, and the prototype, No 9095, was ready for testing by Cdr John Seddon in August.
  The A.D.I was a compact two-bay biplane whose two-man crew was accommodated in a finely-contoured lightweight monocoque nacelle located in the wing gap, the experimental air-cooled 150hp Smith Static radial engine driving a four-blade pusher propeller. Twin pontoon-type floats were braced to the nacelle and to the lower wings immediately below the inboard interplane struts. Twin fins and rudders were carried between two pairs of steel tubular tail booms, and the tailplane was mounted above the vertical surfaces. Twin tail floats, each with a water rudder, were attached beneath the lower pair of tail booms. The pilot occupied the rear cockpit, with the observer in the bow position. Two 100 lb bombs were to be carried under the wing centresection.
  The ten-cylinder Smith engine, brainchild of an American John W Smith, had evidently attracted the Admiralty's interest, and had shown promise during bench testing. A production order was placed with Heenan & Froude Ltd, but the engine never gave satisfactory performance in the few prototype aircraft in which it was flown.
  Little more was heard of the A.D.I until May 1917, when it re-appeared with by an A.R.I engine, designed by W O Bentley. However, although this engine displayed much improved reliability, the A.D.I's performance remained below that demanded by the Admiralty, and six further aircraft originally ordered were not built.
  Supermarine had made some efforts to continue development of an enlarged version of the A.D.I, called the Submarine Patrol Seaplane, powered by a 200hp engine, and submitted the design to the Air Board's Seaplane Specification N.3A. Although two prototypes were allotted the serial numbers N24 and N25, work on the project was discontinued when it was decided that the veteran Short Type 184 adequately met the requirements and would continue in service. (In any case the Supermarine aircraft would have been unable to lift the 1,100 lb 18 in torpedo, and did not possess folding wings - both requirements of N.3A.)

  Type: Single pusher engine, two-seat, two-bay reconnaissance-bomber biplane with twin main-float undercarriage.
  Manufacturer: The Supermarine Aviation Works Ltd, Woolston, Southampton, Hampshire, under the design leadership of Harold Bolas of the Air Department, Admiralty.
  Power plant: One 150hp Smith Static ten-cylinder, single-row, air-cooled radial engine driving four-blade pusher propeller; later replaced by a 150hp A.R.I (Admiralty Rotary)
  Dimensions: Span: 36ft 0in; length, 27ft 9in; height, 12ft 9in; wing area, 364 sq ft.
  Weights (Smith Static engine): Tare, 2,100 lb; all-up, 3,102 lb.
  Performance: Max speed, 75 mph at 2,000ft; endurance, 6 hr.
  Armament: Provision for one 0.303in Lewis gun on rotatable mounting in nose of nacelle. Provision for bomb load, probably not exceeding 200 lb.
  Prototype: One, No. 9095, first flown with Smith Static engine by Lt-Cdr John Seddon RN, in August 1916. Second aircraft. No 9096, was cancelled, as was a batch of five aircraft, N1070-N1074.
The A.D.I Navy plane. No 9095, at the Supermarine works in 1916 with Cdr John Seddon and Hubert Scott-Payne.The wings were rigged without stagger, but did not fold.
Air Department A.D.1 Navyplane
Armstrong, Whitworth F.K.2 and F.K.3

  The old-established engineering company of Sir W G Armstrong, Whitworth & Co Ltd had tentatively entered the aircraft industry in 1910 with the rebuilding of a crashed Farman, and two years later began manufacturing ABC engines to the design of Granville Bradshaw. Expansion and diversification in the aircraft business followed in 1913 with airship manufacture at Selby in Yorkshire, and the production of aeroplanes at Gosforth, Newcastle-upon-Tyne. The latter business commenced with the acquisition of the services o f the Dutchman, Frederick Koolhoven, as aeroplane designer.
  Early work included War Office contracts for the manufacture of B.E.2As, 2Bs and 2Cs, delivery of which began in 1914, and it was during the production of these aircraft that Koolhoven in March 1915 devised means by which the B.E.2C's structure might be simplified for ease of manufacture. The new design was tendered to the War Office and met with general approval, this leading to the raising of a small exploratory production contract for seven trials aircraft, designated the F.K.2, in August that year. Koolhoven's proposals were vindicated and rewarded by contracts for fairly large-scale production - by the standards of the time although the War Office maintained a stipulation that the production F.K.3 should not compete seriously with the Government Factory's B.E.2C, a policy that would in due course contribute to a serious breakdown in relations between the commercial aircraft manufacturers and the Service authorities.
  The F.K.2 differed principally in almost completely eliminating welded joints and complex metal components in the airframe, and featured greater dihedral on the upper wing than on the B.E.2C. The prototype, probably first flown in September or October 1915 by Norman Pratt, was powered by the 70hp Renault, but subsequent aircraft were fitted with 90hp R.A.F. 1A engines. A generally popular and ingenious feature was the oleo-sprung undercarriage, the vertical shock absorbers being set into the sides of the fuselage. The cockpit arrangement of the trials F.K.2s followed that of the B.E.2C in that the pilot occupied the rear position, with the gunner in front; however, owing to the difficulty the gunner experienced in aiming and firing his gun, all subsequent production F.K.3s featured these cockpits reversed, enabling the gunner/observer to provide a more effective defence to the rear.
  A single 100 lb or 112 lb bomb could be carried beneath the fuselage, although this precluded the carrying of the gunner owing to the limited engine power available. Alternatively, up to six 16 lb anti-personnel bombs could be attached to underwing racks.
  It is said that a temporary shortage of R.A.F. 1A engines led to the fitting of the larger and heavier 120hp Beardmore engine in a number of F.K.3s early in 1916, but this was not considered satisfactory owing largely to a deterioration in handling qualities, and the aircraft reverted to standard when availability of the R.A.F. engine was restored.
  Despite returning a slightly better performance than the R.A.F. B.E.2C, the F.K.3 did not see any active service on the Western Front, being delivered instead to No 47 Squadron at Beverley in Yorkshire in March 1916, and accompanying it to Salonika in September that year. Local field reconnaissance work gave place to frequent bombing attacks by the F.K.3s (dubbed Little Acks' by the RFC to distinguish them from the later, larger F.K.8s), particularly against Hudova, while based at Janes.
  Nevertheless, the F.K.3 production built up too late for the type's serious consideration for widespread service, and most aircraft were delivered to training units at home, being found to be sufficiently tractable for instruction purposes. By the date of the Armistice none remained with No 47 Squadron, most of its F.K.3s surviving in Palestine and Egypt, while 53 examples were on charge with home training units.

  Type: Single-engine, two-seat, two-bay tractor biplane for ground support.
  Manufacturers: Sir W G Armstrong, Whitworth & Co., Ltd, Gosforth, Newcastle-upon-Tyne; Hewlett & Blondeau, Ltd., Oak Road, Leagrave, Luton, Beds.
  Powerplant: One 90hp R.A.F. 1A or one 105hp R.A.F.IB in-line engine driving four-blade propeller. Some aircraft were fitted temporarily with the 120hp Beardmore engine in 1916.
  Structure: All-wood wire-braced construction with dual flying controls and oleo-sprung wheels-and-skid undercarriage.
  Dimensions: Span, 40ft 0 5/8in; length, 29ft 0in; height, 11ft 10 3/4in; wing area, 442 sq ft.
  Weights (R.A.F.1A engine): Tare, 1,386 lb; all-up, 2,056 lb.
  Performance (R.A.F. 1A engine): Max speed, 97 mph at sea level; climb to 5,000ft, 19 min; service ceiling, 12,000ft; endurance, 3 hr.
  Armament: One Lewis gun on pillar mounting at the rear of the cockpit; however, when carrying bombs, neither observer nor gun could be carried. Bomb load, one 112 lb or one 100 lb bomb, or up to six 16 lb anti-personnel bombs on external racks.
  Prototypes: Seven F.K.2 trials aircraft ordered in April 1915, Nos. 5328-5334, built by Armstrong, Whitworth; first flight by Norman Spratt, late summer 1915.
  Production: Total F.K.3s built, 493, excluding the above trials aircraft: Armstrong, Whitworth, 143 (Nos 5504-5553, 5614, 6186-6227, A8091-8140); Hewlett & Blondeau, 350 (A1461-A1510 and B9501-B9800).
  Summary of RFC Service: F.K.3s served operationally with No. 47 Squadron, RFC, in Macedonia, and with No. 35 (Reserve) Squadron, RFC, Northolt; served also with No. 31 (Training) Squadron, Schools of Aerial Gunnery, etc.
Rare photograph of an AW-built F.K.3, No 6221, serving with No 47 Squadron at Salonika.
A late-production Hewlett & Blondeau-built F.K.3, B9554, probably in service with a home-based training unit. Note the oleo strut for the undercarriage incorporated into the side of the fuselage.
Armstrong Whitworth F.K.3
Armstrong, Whitworth F.K.7 and F.K.8

  The role of corps reconnaissance must have been one o f the least popular of the duties undertaken by RFC flying personnel during the First World War, and on account of the appalling casualties suffered by the B.E. aircraft over a period of two years, Service pilots tended to be extremely critical of the aeroplanes they were obliged to fly. This was particularly true of the B.E.s themselves, as well as the R.E.8 which was intended to replace them. Frederick Koolhoven, aircraft designer with Sir W G Armstrong, Whitworth Aircraft Ltd, having produced what he considered to be 'an improved version of the B.E.2C with his F.K.3, went further with his bigger and more powerful F.K.8 - predictably known as the 'Big Ack'. As such, the latter was seen to be comparable with the Factory's R.E.8. In terms of performance it was found to be inferior, but this was more than balanced by it being fairly free of handling vices. Moreover, in contrast to the apparent unwillingness to effect improvements in the R.E.8 (for a number of possibly valid reasons), the makers of the F.K.8 went to some effort to improve the features that attracted criticism in their aeroplane.
  Design of the F.K.8 was orthodox and incorporated the increased strength factors being recommended by the Factory on behalf of the War Office by 1916. Like its predecessor, it was a two bay staggered biplane with ailerons on upper and lower, equal-span wings. Contrary to suggestions that persisted for years, the F.K.8 was powered from the outset by the 160hp Beardmore engine, a powerplant of approximately the same power/weight ratio as the R.E.8's 140hp R.A.F.4A. However the installation of the straight-six, watercooled Beardmore was untidy, with angular cow ling panels and large vertical radiator blocks attached to each side of the nose and angled inwards to meet at a point on the aircraft's centreline above the engine; the provision of cumbersome exhaust manifolds and the triple V-strut undercarriage with oleo struts on the sides of the fuselage all conspired to limit the F.K.8's speed performance. Indeed, the maximum speed of 95 mph at sea level was 5 mph below that considered essential for corps reconnaissance machines, and 8 mph slower than the R.E.8.
  Despite these shortcomings, Koolhoven's aeroplane probably became more popular among its pilots, being straightforward and relatively simple to fly, as well as possessing a robust airframe capable of withstanding battle damage.
  The prototype, F.K.7 A411, first flew in May 1916, and acceptance tests were flown at Upavon the following month. The first production orders were placed with Armstrong, Whitworth in August, and the first deliveries were made from Gosforth before the year's end, several aircraft joining No 55 Training Squadron at Lilbourne in December. The first examples to fly with a front-line squadron were delivered to No 35 Squadron, which took a full complement to St Omer in France on 25 January 1917. By the end of that fateful April No 35 had been joined by No 2 Squadron, as demands for improvements in the aircraft were already being received by the manufacturers.
  Apart from severely restricting the pilot's forward vision, the long, angled radiator honeycomb blocks were inefficient and were replaced by much smaller blocks attached lower on the sides o f the nose. At about the same time the nose cowling was improved in shape, the angular panels giving place to a more rounded profile in side elevation. The crude engine exhaust manifold, whose efflux was found to distort the crew's field of vision through mirage effect, was eventually changed to a conventional pipe which extended aft of the cockpits.
  The undercarriage was also criticized as unsatisfactory, and the RFC suggested using components of the Bristol Fighter's plain V-strut gear, a proposal adopted by No 1 Aircraft Depot, where several such conversions were undertaken - until stocks of the Bristol components ran out and resort was made to the use of B.E.2C parts! In due course Armstrong, Whitworth came up with its own improved plain-Y design, still retaining the oleos located in the fuselage sides, but significantly improving the aircraft's performance.
  The F.K.8 was ordered in large numbers. Oliver Tapper suggests that the total production amounted to at least 1,652 aircraft, but explains that the exact number may never be known owing to the absence of differentiation between F.K.3s and F.K.8s in some contract documents. Yet, despite this relatively large number of aircraft, the F.K.8 only served on a total of six squadrons in France, and three in the Balkans and Palestine. Three squadrons, based in the United Kingdom, flew the aircraft on home defence and training duties.
  Like the R.E.8, the F.K.8 also undertook bombing raids on the Western Front, commencing in September 1917, and later in Macedonia. The aircraft was capable of carrying up to four 65 lb bombs, but more frequently mounted six 40 lb Bourdillon phosphorus weapons, especially when required to lay smokescreens in support of ground forces.
  It was while the Big Acks were engaged in bombing operations that two pilots won Victoria Crosses. On 27 March 1918, while returning in the F.K.8 B5773 from a raid during the German offensive on the Western Front, 2/Lieut Alan A McLeod was attacked by a Fokker Dr I triplane, which was quickly shot down by his observer, Lt A W Hammond MC. They were then attacked by seven more Fokkers, of which four were shot down two by McLeod with his front gun. Both crew members were badly wounded, the pilot being hit five times and severely burned when his fuel tank was set on fire. Despite great pain, McLeod climbed out on to the port wing but managed to retain his hold on the control column and, by sideslipping, kept the flames away from the cockpit as he crash landed in No Man's Land, where the two airmen were rescued by British troops. Both miraculously survived, although Hammond lost a leg; McLeod, who was only eighteen years of age, was awarded the Victoria Cross, and Hammond a Bar to his Military Cross.
  During a period in the summer of 1918, when F.K.8s were taking part in trials with No 8 Squadron in co-operation with the Army's tanks on the Western Front, the second Victoria Cross was won by a Big Ack pilot. On 10 August, as Capt Ferdinand Maurice Felix West Mc and Lt J A G Haslam (later Gp Capt, MC, DFC) were returning from a bombing raid on German gun batteries, their F.K.8 was attacked at low level by six enemy fighters. Despite Heine hit in both legs, one of which was almost severed, and scarcely conscious owing to excruciating pain and loss of blood, the 22-year-old pilot managed to land in the British lines, yet refused to be taken to hospital until he had passed his vital report to the local tank commander. West's Victoria Cross was gazetted three days before the Armistice, and this officer continued to serve in the RAF until his retirement in March 1946 as an Air Commodore.
  The F.K.8 survived in service for a few months after the War, the last Squadron, No 150, being disbanded at Kirec in Greece on 18 September 1919.

  Type: Single-engine, two-seat, two-bay tractor biplane for ground support and short-range bombing.
  Manufacturers: Sir W.G. Armstrong, Whitworth & Co, Ltd., Gosforth, Newcastle-upon-Type; Angus Sanderson & Co, Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
  Powerplant: One 160hp Beardmore six-cylinder water-cooled inline engine driving two-blade propeller. Experimental installations: 150hp R.A.F.4A and 150hp Lorraine Dietrich.
  Structure: All-wood wire-braced construction with partial dual flying controls and oleo-sprung undercarriage.
  Dimensions: Span, 43ft 6in; length, 31ft 0in; height, 10ft 11in; wing area. 540 sq ft.
  Weights: Tare, 1,916 lb; all-up, 2,811 lb.
  Performance: Max speed, 94 mph at sea level; climb to 5,000ft, 11 min.; service ceiling, 13,000ft; endurance, 3 hr.
  Armament: One forward-firing, synchronized 0.303in Vickers machine gun, and one Lewis or Vickers machine gun on Scarff ring on rear cockpit; provision for bomb load, normally comprising up to six 40 lb, four 65 lb or two 112 lb bombs on underwing racks.
  Prototype: One F.K.7 prototype, A411, first flown in May 1916.
  Production: Total of 1,652 F.K.8s stated as being delivered to the RFC and RAF prior to 1st September 1918, including 210 probably in component form only. Armstrong, Whitworth, 650 (A2683-A2372, A9980-A9999, B201-B330, B3301-B34OO, B5751-B5850 and C8401-C8650). Angus Sanderson, 600 (C3507-C3706, F7347-F7546 and H4425-H4624). 330 further aircraft were ordered (D5001-D5200, F616-F645 and H4625-H4724) but not all are known to have been completed, and their manufacturers have not been confirmed. Upwards of 40 aircraft were repaired and rebuilt, being re-allocated various isolated B, F, and H-prefixed numbers.
  Summary of Service: F.K.8s served operationally with Nos 2, 10, 35, 55 and 82 Squadrons, RFC and RAF, and on tank co-operation trials with No 8 Squadron on the Western Front; with Nos 17, 47 and 150 Squadrons in Macedonia; and with No 142 Squadron in Palestine. They also served with Nos 31, 39 and 98 (Training) Squadrons, No 50 (Home Defence) Squadron, Schools of Army Cooperation, School of Photography, Air Observer and Air Gunnery Schools and other training units.
A late production F.K.8, built by Angus Sanderson, F7546. with compact radiators, long exhaust pipe, rounded nose contours and AW-designed plain-V undercarriage.
Armstrong, Whitworth F.K.8
Avro Type 504 Bombers

  Originating in 1913 as a much improved development of the Type 500, the Avro 504 attracted small pre-War orders by both the War Office and Admiralty, the former contracting for twelve aircraft in the summer of that year, and the latter for a total of five aircraft during the months immediately before the outbreak of war. A small number of RFC 504s accompanied No 5 Squadron to France, but these were used primarily for reconnaissance and gun attacks on ground targets.
  The last four of the pre-War 504s ordered by the Admiralty were not completed, and six War Office aircraft were transferred to Admiralty charge. Three of these (Nos 873-875) together with the original naval aircraft (No 179) were formed into a special bombing flight and, flying from Belfort in southeast France on 21 November 1914, Nos 873 (flown by Flt-Lt S V Sippe), 874 (Sqn-Cdr E Featherstone Briggs) and 875 (Flt-Cdr John Tremayne Babington, later Air Marshal Sir John Tremayne KCB, CB, DSO), set out to bomb the airship sheds at Freidrichshafen on the shores of Lake Constance. Each aircraft carried four 20 lb bombs under the fuselage and several bombs scored direct hits on their target, while another hit the hydrogen plant which blew up, causing extensive damage on the airship station. No 874 was shot down, but the other two 504s returned safely. No 873 later served with No 1 Squadron, RNAS, taking part in two bombing attacks on Ostend early in 1915, and hit two U-boats in a raid on a submarine depot near Antwerp on 24 March that year.
  The engine most widely used in the Avro 504 was the 80hp Gnome, and considerable orders were placed for subsequent versions of the aircraft, the 504A being the first major production version for the RFC, though relatively few examples were used as bombers. The much-modified 504B was built in quantity for the RNAS, being most easily identified by its large, unbalanced rudder hinged to a long, fixed dorsal fin. Production of the 504C was undertaken by Avro and the Brush Electrical Engineering company. While the majority of 504 variants were employed as training aircraft, conversions to carry bombs were made on an ad hoc basis, and the single-seat 504C was a dedicated antiairship aircraft, being equipped with a Lewis gun and able to carry 20 lb or 65 lb bombs. In place of the front cockpit, which was faired over, there was an extra fuel tank which enabled the aircraft to remain airborne for up to eight hours. A small number of 504As and Bs served at Aboukir and Imbros, several of these being used occasionally as bombers, but primarily for reconnaissance and coastal patrol.
  The Avro 504E, also a naval variant but powered by a 100hp Gnome monosoupape, featured cockpits moved further apart to counter the movement of cg caused by installing an extra fuel tank between the cockpits. At least one 504E was equipped to carry light bombs beneath the fuselage, possibly for anti-Zeppelin attack.

  Type: Single-engine, two-seat, two-bay tractor biplane modified as light bomber.
  Manufacturer: A. V. Roe & Co. Ltd., Clifton Street, Miles Platting, Manchester.
  Powerplant: One 80hp Gnome seven-cylinder air-cooled rotary engine driving two-blade propeller.
  Structure: All-wood, wire-braced box girder fuselage structure and two-spar wings.
  Dimensions: Span, 36ft 0in; length, 29ft 5in; height, 10ft 5in; wing area, 330 sq ft.
  Weights: Tare, 924 lb; all-up, 1,574 lb.
  Performance: Max speed, 82 mph; climb to 3,500ft, 8 min 30 sec; endurance, 2 hr.
  Armament: No gun armament; bomb load normally comprised up to four 20 lb bombs.
  Prototype: None. First flight by a bomb-carrying Avro 504 was by Sqn Cdr E. Featherstone Briggs, RNAS, in No 874 during the attack on airship sheds at Friedrichshafen on 21 November 1914; the aircraft was shot down during this flight.
  Production: Seven Avro 504s modified for use as bombers by the RNAS, Nos. 179 and 873-878. Served operationally with RNAS. Eastchurch Squadron, Special Bombing Flight, RNAS, and No 1 Squadron, RNAS.
Shown at Belfort, the three Avro 504 single-seat bombers which attacked the Zeppelin works at Friedrichshafen on 21 November 1914, from left to right, Nos 873, 875 and 874. A fourth, No 179 (flown by Flt Sub-Lt R P Cannon) broke its tail skid and was unable to take part in the raid. Just visible under the fuselage of No 873 are its four 20lb bombs, carried for the attack.
No 3315 was an Avro 504C single-seat bomber, built by The Brush Electrical Engineering Co Ltd, Loughborough, and is shown carrying a 65lb bomb under the fuselage. Note the low aspect ratio fin and unbalanced rudder, favoured by the Admiralty on its later 504s.
The first Admiralty single-seat Type 519, No 8440, in Avro's new erecting shops at Hamble in May 1916.
Avro Type 528

  Little is known of the Avro Type 528, a single-engine, three-bay biplane whose construction at Miles Platting is said to have followed immediately after the Type 523A Pike in the late summer of 1916. It was covered by Avro Works No 2350 and only one example was built; however, it has been suggested that two serial numbers, A316 and A317, allocated to A V Roe by the Admiralty, may have been allocated to this type, and that a second aircraft was planned, but cancelled.
  Powered by a 225hp Sunbeam driving a four-blade propeller, the Type 528 was designed as a bomber, its bombs being carried in two nacelles on the lower wing, inboard of the inner pair of interplane struts. Bearing in mind that the aircraft was in fact larger than the twin-engine Pike with 150hp Green engines, the bomb load must have been relatively small, and in no way comparable with that of the successful Short Type 184. The Avro aircraft also featured folding wings.
  The Sunbeam engine installation, though itself neatly cowled, was compromised by the attachment of two large vertical radiators on either side of the front fuselage immediately forward of the pilot's cockpit, a location that must have severely restricted his view, further limited by the bomb containers on the lower wings.
  Few details have survived of the aircraft, and the date of first flight - probably during the autumn of 1916 - is not known.

  Type: Single-engine, two-seat, three-bay biplane experimental light bomber.
  Manufacturer: A V Roe & Co Ltd., Miles Platting, Manchester, and Hamble, Hampshire.
  Powerplant: One 225hp Sunbeam eight-cylinder water-cooled in-line engine driving four-blade propeller.
  Dimensions: Span, approx 65ft.
  Weights and Performance: No details traced.
  Armament: Provision for a single 0.303in Lewis gun on rear cockpit; light bomb load carried in nacelles on lower wings.
  Prototype: One only (serial number and first flight date not known)
The Avro Type 528, probably at Hamble.
Avro Type 523 Pike

  Designed by Roy Chadwick to the Royal Aircraft factory's Specification Type VII of 1915, the Avro Type 523 Pike represented a realistic approach to the War Office's demand for a night bomber, although it must be said that the Army's attitude at that time towards the need for large bombing aircraft was less than enthusiastic, and was probably influenced more by a determination to keep abreast of the Admiralty's partisan assumption of the strategic bombing role.
  The Pike was a fairly large three-bay biplane with equal-span wings, and with a crew of three, comprising pilot, and nose and midships gunners. The handed 160hp Sunbeam Nubian engines were located at mid-gap with frontal car-type radiators and driving pusher propellers through extension shafts so as to clear the wing trailing edges. Ailerons were fitted to upper and lower wings. The bomb load was to be carried internally in the fuselage with horizontal tier stowage.
  The Type 523 was assembled at Avro's newly opened works at Hamble in Hampshire after manufacture at the Manchester factory earlv in 1916. Unfortunately, despite being designed to a Factory specification, neither the Admiralty nor War Office expressed tangible interest in the Pike, with superior bombers already ordered into production.
  On the other hand the Avro company itself undertook further development, producing the Type 523A with 150hp Green engines driving tractor propellers, and later proposing the 523B with 200hp Sunbeams and the 523C with 190hp Rolls-Royce Falcon engines. Neither of the latter came to be built, but their design provided much experience in the evolution of the Type 529 and 533 Manchester bombers. Both the Type 523 and 523A continued to fly at Hamble until 1918.
  The Type 523 Pike gained small notoriety when, on one occasion during an early test flight the pilot, Fred Raynham, discovered that the cg was too far aft to permit throttling back to land. The situation was saved when R H Dobson (later Sir Roy, CBE, and Chairman of the Hawker Siddeley Group), who was occupying the midships gunner's cockpit, climbed out and made his way along the top of the fuselage to transfer his weight to the front gunner's position. With the cg restored to manageable limits, Raynham was able to throttle back without the danger of stalling.

  Type: Twin-engine, three-crew, three-bay biplane day/night bomber.
  Manufacturer: A. V. Roe and Co. Ltd., Miles Platting, Manchester.
  Powerplant: Type 523. Two 160hp Sunbeam Nubian water-cooled, in-line engines driving handed two-blade pusher propellers. Type 523A. Two 150hp Green water-cooled, in-line engines driving unhanded two-blade tractor propellers.
  Dimensions: Span, 60ft 0in; length, 39ft 1in; height, 11ft 8in; wing area, 815 sq ft.
  Weights (Type 523): Tare, 4,000 lb; all-up, 6,064 lb.
  Performance (Type 523): Max speed, 97 mph; climb to 10,000ft, 27 min; endurance, 7 hr.
  Armament: Provision for single Lewis machine guns on nose and midships gunners' cockpits with Scarff rings. Internal, horizontal-tier stowage of two 100 lb or 112 lb bombs.


Avro Type 529

  A natural development of the Avro 523A Pike, the Type 529 retained the same basic configuration, being a slightly larger three-bay, twin-engine biplane with parallel-chord, unstaggered wings. Suitably impressed by the choice of more powerful engines and a potential ability to lift a worthwhile weight of bombs over a range of about 400 miles, the Admiralty ordered two prototypes in 1916, allocating the serials 3694 and 3695.
  Powered by two 190hp Rolls-Royce Falcon engines, the first aircraft was flown at Hamble in April 1917, having been built entirely at Manchester. The engines, mounted at mid-gap, were uncowled and drove four-blade propellers, a single 140-gallon fuel tank being situated in the centre fuselage. The undercarriage was similar to that of the Pike, and ailerons were again fitted to both upper and lower wings.
  The wings of the Type 529 were, on the insistance of the Admiralty, capable of being folded, a feature that dictated a considerable reduction in the tailplane and elevator areas, and this adversely affected the already poor longitudinal control and stability. Directional control, however, was markedly improved by adopting an enlarged rudder (somewhat of the same shape as the Avro 504's famous 'comma' silhouette).
  It is likely that the first aircraft was never intended for more than handling evaluation, and in this respect it was generally regarded as satisfactory in most respects, being capable of being flown straight and level on one engine; the elevator control was however sharply criticised. With the large fuel tank in the fuselage, bombs were probably not capable of being carried.
  The second aircraft, termed the Type 529A, was flown at Hamble in October 1917, and differed from the first in being powered by two 230hp Galloway-built BHP engines, completely cowled in nacelles located directly on the lower wings, driving two-blade handed propellers. Each nacelle accommodated a 60-gallon fuel tank for its engine, a small wind-driven pump supplying fuel to a 10-gallon gravity tank under the top wing above the engine.
  Removal of the fuel to the nacelles allowed the centre fuselage between the wing spars to incorporate a bomb bay in which up to twenty 50 lb HE RL bombs could be stowed, suspended vertically from circumferential rings round their noses. However, owing to the arrangement of the stowage beams, it was not possible to carry fewer, heavier bombs.
  The Type 529A carried a three-man crew comprising pilot, midships gunner and nose gunner, the last also being charged with bomb aiming; communications between him and the pilot was by means of a speaking tube. An unusual feature of the aircraft was the provision of dual controls in the midships gunner's cockpit.
  There seems little doubt but that the Avro 529A was designed to perform a bombing role (that of a medium bomber over moderate ranges) whose requirement steadily disappeared with the approaching deliveries of the Handley Page O/400, an aircraft that promised to be so highly adaptable in terms of fuel and bomb load that the need for a relatively specialised bomber with the limited capabilities of the Avro 529 had become superfluous by the time the second example flew; accordingly it never progressed beyond the experimental stage.

  Type: Twin-engine, three-crew, three-bay biplane medium bomber.
  Manufacturer: A. V. Roe & Co. Ltd., Clifton Street, Miles Platting, Manchester, and Hamble Aerodrome, Southampton, Hampshire.
  Powerplant: Type 529. Two 190hp Rolls-Royce Falcon I watercooled in-line engines driving handed four-blade tractor propellers. Type 529A. Two 230hp B.H.P. (Galloway-built) water-cooled inline engines driving two-blade tractor propellers.
  Structure: All-wood, wire-braced box-girder fuselage and two-spar, three-bay folding wings; dual controls in midships gunner's cockpit.
  Dimensions: Type 529. Span, 63ft 0in (Type 529A, 64ft 1in); length, 39ft 8in; height, 13ft 0in; wing area, 922.5 sq ft (Type 529A, 910 sq ft).
  Weights: Type 529. Tare, 4,736 lb; all-up, 6,309 lb. Type 529A. Tare, 4,361 lb; all-up, 7,135 lb.
  Performance: Type 529. Max speed, 95 mph at sea level; climb to 10,000ft, 21 min 40 sec; service ceiling, 13,500ft; endurance, 5 hr. Type 529A. Max speed, 116 mph at sea level; climb to 10,000ft, 17 min 20 sec; service ceiling, 17,500ft; endurance, 5 hr.
  Armament: Single 0.303in Lewis machine guns with Scarff rings on nose and midships gunners' cockpits. Type 529A could carry up to twenty 50 lb bombs in mid-fuselage bay, suspended vertically (nose up).
  Prototypes: One Type 529, No 3694, first flown at Hamble in April 1917. One Type 529A, No 3695, first flown in October 1917. No production. (Both prototypes stated to have crashed while on test at Martlesham Heath in 1918.)
The Type 523 Pike with Nubian engines driving pusher propellers.
The Avro Type 529, No 3694. The presence of the control rocker arm low on the side of the rear fuselage discloses the provision of dual controls for the rear gunner, a provision that beggars a logical explanation.
The Avro Type 529A. Just visible in this photograph is the chin fairing on the aircraft's nose enclosing a transparent hatch through which the front gunner, lying prone, aimed the bombs. Note the gravity fuel tanks under the upper wing.
Avro Type 523 Pike
Avro Type 529A
Avro Type 533 Manchester

  The culmination of A V Roe's dogged persistence in the development of a twin-engine medium bomber, and one that maintained the general configuration of the Type 523A and 529, the Type 533 might well have gained substantial production orders had it not been for the unfortunate choice of powerplant, the 320hp ABC Dragonfly I nine-cylinder air-cooled radial engine.
  The Dragonfly had been designed by Granville Bradshaw in 1917, who claimed that it would develop 340hp at a weight of just over 600 lb, and, with simplicity of production said to be an important attribute, was ordered in huge numbers in 1918 (amounting to no fewer then 11,050 engines from 13 manufacturers). Production got underway, and it was planned to have completed over 4,000 engines by mid-1919.
  Production engines were soon giving trouble. Apart from being overweight, they failed to deliver the promised power and vibrated violently in flight, leading to component breakage and total failure after very few running hours. New pistons and cylinder heads were designed but, early in 1919, it was clear that the entire engine required redesign, the troubles being caused by dynamic imbalance and high-frequency torsional vibration, a phenomenon not understood in 1918.
  Three prototypes of the Type 533 Manchester (F3492-F3494) were ordered from A V Roe on 15 May 1918, the Dragonfly I engine being scheduled to be fitted in all three. However, by the time the first airframe was taking shape, the company was warned that, owing to the problems then emerging, deliveries of the engine were being temporarily suspended. In order to proceed with flight trials as quickly as possible, 300hp high-compression Siddeley Puma engines were substituted, this aircraft being termed the Type 533A Manchester II, and first flown early in December 1918.
  The new bomber, capable of carrying a bomb load of 880 lb, incorporated a number of improvements over the Type 529, including a shorter, deeper fuselage, enlarged tail surfaces and bench-type aileron balances; these comprised small aerofoils located above and forward of the ailerons, so that depressing the aileron increased the incidence angle of the small aerofoils, thereby providing a balancing moment. The Puma engines, being slightly lighter than the Dragonfly, bestowed an excellent performance, though slightly inferior to that expected with the latter, and the Manchester was found to be pleasant to handle, and possessed of outstanding manoeuvrability. In due course the aircraft was looped, and proved to be entirely manageable in a spin.
  The Dragonfly engines were delivered during December 1918 and were fitted in the second Manchester, F3493, which now became the Mark I, as being the version intended for production. F3493 was first flown on 27 May 1919, and was delivered to Martlesham Heath in April for performance trials, exactly on schedule. In these trials it confirmed the expectations provided by the Puma-powered prototype, which had undergone evaluation the previous month, returning a speed of 112 mph at 10,000 ft while carrying full fuel and half the maximum bomb load. It was generally considered to handle better than the other twin-engine aircraft then being prepared for competition to decide on a replacement for the D.H. 10 Amiens in service.
  However, continuing trouble with the Dragonfly engine caused Roy Chadwick to consider the Liberty 12 engine as a possible alternative, and there is little doubt but that this powerplant would have resulted in a first-class medium bomber. In the event a pair of modified Dragonfly IA engines became available and these were fitted in the third Manchester, F3494 (the Mark III). This was flown in about September or October 1919, and delivered to Martlesham Heath on 21 October, remaining there until September the following year.
  In the meantime, in the absence of adequate Service funding, the Air Ministry had decided to abandon a replacement for the D.H. 10, preferring to let it remain in service until, by natural wastage, the aircraft became extinct. With the grounding of the Dragonfly in September 1920, all flying of the Manchester also ended.

  Type: Twin-engine, three-crew, three-bay biplane bomber.
  Air Ministry Specifications: RAF Types IV, VI and VIII.
  Manufacturer: A V Roe & Co Ltd, Hamble, Hampshire
  Powerplant: Mark I. Two 320hp ABC Dragonfly I nine-cylinder, air-cooled, radial engines driving two-blade propellers. Mark II. Two 300hp Siddeley Puma high-compression in-line engines. Mark III. Scheduled for two 400hp Liberty 12 in-line engines, but flown with Dragonfly IA radials, and/or Lion in-line engines.
  Dimensions: Span, 60ft 0in; length, 37ft 0in; height, 12ft 6in; wing area, 813 sq ft (Mark I), 817 sq ft (Mark II).
  Weights: Mark I. Tare, 4,887 lb; all-up, 7,390 lb. Mark II. Tare, 4,574 lb; all-up. 7,158 lb.
  Performance: Mark I. Max speed, 130 mph at sea level, 112 mph at 10,000ft; climb to 10,000ft, 14 min 20 sec; service ceiling, 19,000ft; endurance, 5 1/4 hr. Mark II. Max speed, 125 mph at sea level; climb to 10,000ft, 16 min 30 sec; service ceiling, 17,000ft; endurance, 33/4 hr.
  Armament: Two 0.303in Lewis machine guns with Scarff rings on nose and midships gunners' positions. Bomb load of up to 880 lb.
  Prototypes: Three, F3492-F3494. First flight by F3492 in December 1918 at Hamble; F3493 first flown on 27 May 1919, and F3494 in about October 1919. No production.
Beardmore W.B.I

  Among the numerous commercial manufacturers contracted to build the Royal Aircraft Factory's B.E.2C was the Scottish shipbuilder, William Beardmore &c Co Ltd of Dalmuir, its output of these aeroplanes being destined for the Admiralty whose Inspector of Naval Aircraft at the factory was Lieut George Tilghman Richards. This officer had, before the War, been engaged in aircraft design and, in 1916, was permitted to resign his Commission in order to take up the appointment of chief designer in Beardmore's aviation department, so as to enable the company to respond to the Admiralty's encouragement of commercial manufacturers to embark on the design of their own aircraft.
  Richards' first aircraft, the W.B.I, was an imaginative, if not radical attempt to produce a naval bomber whose modus operandi was to attack in a long shallow glide in order to achieve tactical surprise. To this end, careful attention was paid to limiting drag, especially in the engine installation, and it is said that the gliding angle, with engine throttled back and at about half-fuel weight, was of the order of six degrees, made possible by large, high-aspect ratio three-bay wings and a wing loading of 5 lb/sq ft at this weight. Power was initially provided by a 230hp BHP engine built by the Galloway Engineering Company, the radiators being of the vertical type, attached to the sides of the fuselage and extended upwards to converge beneath the upper wing.
  Despite all the care taken to provide clean contours for the engine cowling, the undercarriage was cumbersome, consisting of two pairs of mainwheels, each pair being provided with two small forewheels on struts extending forward, cross-braced and wire-braced to the lower wings.
  It is thought that the heavily staggered wings were not made to fold owing to the interplane strut configuration and, because the mainwheels of the undercarriage were located well forward, the aircraft would have rested on its tailskid if the wings were folded. Ailerons were provided on upper and lower wings, interconnected by external cables.
  The W.B.I was designed to carry six 112 lb bombs, probably suspended from two parallel beams attached beneath the fuselage between the two main wheel mounting structures. The bombs were to be aimed by the observer/gunner who, occupying the rear cockpit situated well aft, was provided with an aperture in the underside of the fuselage for sighting, and two large transparent panels in the sides.
  The sole W.B.I, N525, was delivered to the RNAS at Cranwell on 6 June 1917 (though it was probably first flown rather earlier), but suffered damage in a landing accident while being flown by Wg-Cdr Richard Edmund Charles Peirse RN (later Air Chief Marshal Sir Richard, KCB, DSO, AFC, RAF, C-in-C, Bomber Command, during the Second World War). By the time of this accident the BHP engine had been replaced by a 240hp Sunbeam.
  The aircraft, however, was not accepted by the Admiralty for production, principally because, by the time it was flown, the Handley Page O/100 heavy bomber was already being delivered to the Service; moreover, assuming the wings were not made to fold, the span of the W.B.I would not have conformed to the maximum naval hangar storage dimensions.

  Type: Single-engine, two-seat, three-bay biplane long-range bomber.
  Manufacturer: William Beardmore & Co Ltd, Dalmuir, Dunbartonshire.
  Powerplant: One 230hp Beardmore; later one 240hp Sunbeam.
  Dimensions: Span, 61ft 6in; length, 32ft 10in; height, 14ft 9in; wing area, 796 sq ft.
  Weights (Beardmore): Tare, 3,410 lb; all-up (with 660 lb bomb load), 5,600 lb.
  Performance (Beardmore): Max speed, 91 mph at sea level; climb to 5,000ft, 26 min; endurance, 7 1/4 hr.
  Armament: One 0.303in Lewis machine gun with ring mounting on rear cockpit; bomb load of six 110 lb bombs.
  Prototype: One, N525, probably first flown early in 1917. No production.
Two views of the Beardmore W.B.I, N525, as originally powered by the 230hp BHP engine.
Blackburn T.B.

  Although only tenuously qualifying for inclusion in this work as a bomber, the Blackburn T.B. was the third seaplane with twin fuselages to be built to an Admiralty requirement, in this instance as an anti-Zeppelin interceptor 'bomber', to be armed with canisters of Ranken incendiary darts which, it was proposed, would be dropped on enemy airships from above to ignite their gas envelopes.
  The Blackburn Aeroplane and Motor Company at Leeds, under its founder Robert Blackburn, had been engaged in building aeroplanes since 1909, and had attracted the Admiralty's attention with several of its prewar aircraft, leading to a close association with the Royal Navy that was to survive for over half a century. Expressing a favourable opinion of the high degree of workmanship that enamated from Blackburn's shops, the Admiralty placed an order for R.A.F. B.E.2Cs in May 1914, and in due course 111 examples were completed for both the RNAS and the RFC.
  The first appearance by German bombing airships over England during the winter of 1914-15 prompted the Admiralty to issue a requirement for a dart-armed, two-seat aeroplane capable of long endurance and an ability to reach an altitude of at least 12,000 feet while carrying a minimum of three Ranken dart canisters (each loaded with 24 onepound darts).
  Coinciding with these events was the arrival in Britain of the American John W Smith, bringing with him his design drawings of a ten-cylinder air-cooled radial engine. According to Smith this engine developed 150hp with an installed weight of only 380 lb, and possessed an exceptionally low specific fuel consumption. Such characteristics recommended this engine for use in Blackburn's proposed anti-airship aircraft and, an order for nine T.B.s (Twin Blackburns) was placed in about March 1915, Smith Static engines being specified.
  The T.B. featured twin wire-braced, fabric-covered wooden box-girder fuselages, each with a tractor engine at the front, joined together with a 10ft parallel-chord wing centresection; the outer wings were of three bays rigged without stagger and with ailerons on the upper wings only; construction was of spruce spars and ribs, the considerable upper wing overhang being braced using kingposts. The twin fins and rudders were adapted from Blackburn's production B.E.2C components, and beneath each fuselage was mounted a short main float and a tail float. Each fuselage accommodated a crew member, the pilot on one side (with all flying and engine controls) and the observer on the other.
  Although early bench testing of the Smith engine seemed to confirm its designer's performance figures, resulting in a production order being placed with Heenan and Froude Ltd at Worcester, flight trials proved less than satisfactory, and it was found necessary to turn to an alternative powerplant of equivalent interrelated weight and specific fuel consumption, the choice falling on the 100hp Gnome monosoupape, an excellent engine but clearly unequal to the performance demands.
  The inability of the Gnome-powered T.B.s to come close to the required performance, in particular their inability to climb above 8,000 feet with the three dart canisters, was only one of several reasons that the aircraft did not gain acceptance for operational use; more serious were the shortcomings evident in handling in the air, aileron control being badly affected by wing flexing, to some extent due to inadequate bracing of the centresection. With no more than two-thirds of the intended power available, and then at a markedly higher specific fuel consumption, it was necessary to limit the weapon load to two canisters in order to carry sufficient fuel for four hours' flying, but even this was regarded as academic if the aircraft had little chance of even reaching the altitude of attacking airships, let alone climbing above them to deliver the darts. Nor does it appear to have occurred to the aircraft designer that the necessary hand-signalling between the two crew members, situated ten feet apart, was likely to be unreliable to say the least during the hours of darkness - when the German airships most frequently operated.
  Although the ninth and final T.B. to be completed was powered by 110hp Clerget engines, the performance was only just discernably improved. Several aircraft, including the Clerget-T.B., underwent trials at RNAS Isle of Grain during 1916, but it was clear that the whole idea of attempting to attack approaching airships with bomber-type aeroplanes, with little speed margin and poor manoeuvrability, was badly flawed, especially when it was shown that the German airships could achieve far greater rates of climb at high altitude when danger presented itself, simply by jettisoning ballast. Indeed, the T.B.s proved a blind alley, and little was heard of them after 1916, and only four aircraft served for a short time at RNAS Killingholme before being broken up.

  Type: Twin-engine, two-seat, two-bay biplane anti-airship bomber with twin fuselages and central wing-bay.
  Manufacturer: The Blackburn Aeroplane and Motor Co Ltd, Leeds, Yorkshire.
  Powerplant: Two 100hp Gnome monosoupape; two 110hp Clerget 9b.
  Dimensions: Span, 60ft 6in; length, 36ft 6in; height, 13ft 6in; wing area, 585 sq ft.
  Weights: Tare, 2,310 lb; all-up, 3,500 lb.
  Performance (Gnome): Max speed, 86 mph; climb to 5,000ft, 12 min; endurance, 4 hr.
  Armament: Intended to be three canisters each with 24 one-pound Ranken darts.
  Production: Nine aircraft, Nos 1509-1517. No 1509 first flown in August 1915 by J W Seddon. No 1517 powered by Clerget engines.
  Service: Four aircraft saw limited service at RNAS Killingholme in 1917.
Blackburn T.B.
Blackburn GP

  Designed by Bob Copley, who had been largely responsible for the earlier TB floatplane, the Blackburn GP was a more orthodox attempt to interest the Admiralty in a large torpedo- and bomb-carrying seaplane to complement the Handley Page O/100 land-based heavy bomber, also destined for the RNAS. Design had started in the late autumn of 1915, and the first prototype, No 1415, was completed and first flown at RNAS Isle o f Grain in July 1916 powered, like the Avro Type 523, by a pair of handed 150hp Sunbeam Nubian engines, but driving four-blade tractor propellers.
  The GP featured a long, slim fuselage accommodating pilot and two gunners, one of the latter being charged with bomb aiming and provided with a bomb sight attached externally to the starboard side of the nose. Construction was largely of wood with metal joint fittings, the box girder structure carrying formers to provide rounded top decking. The wings, with considerable overhang, employed kingpost bracing and were of parallel chord, being rigged without stagger so as to simplify folding a feature demanded in all large naval aeroplanes.
  To facilitate the carriage of torpedo and bombs, the twin floats were independently mounted beneath the engine bearer struts without cross-members, and the weapon racks were attached to the fuselage and lower wing roots with provision to carry either a 1,100 lb 18in torpedo or four 230 lb bombs, the latter in tandem on parallel beams.
  Fuel sufficient for eight hours' patrol was carried in tanks located aft of the engines in the long nacelles which were positioned on the upper surface of the lower wings.
  A second prototype*, No 1416, was also completed in 1916, and this differed from the first machine in numerous respects. Not least of these was the considerable airframe strengthening throughout in order to conform to Admiralty requirements which stipulated strength factors of 5 and 4 on front and rear trusses respectively, necessitating the use of heavier-gauge metal joint fittings. Power for 1416 was provided by a pair of 190hp Rolls-Royce Falcon engines whose nacelles were now located in mid-gap.
  Both GPs underwent testing at the Isle of Grain, and the second aircraft participated in Service trials at RNAS Great Yarmouth early in 1917. However the GP failed to secure a production contract, presumably because the Short 184 had demonstrated continued reliability in the bomb-carrying patrol role at much less cost.
* For many years the second aircraft was referred to as the Blackburn SP. It seems likely however, as pointed out by J M Bruce, that no such designation existed, and possibly resulted from an error in, or misreading of, company documents.

  Type: Twin-engine, three-crew, three-bay biplane long-range patrol bomber seaplane.
  Manufacturer: The Blackburn Aeroplane and Motor Co Ltd, Leeds and Brough, Yorkshire.
  Powerplant: Two 150hp Sunbeam Nubian or 190hp Rolls-Royce (Falcon) water-cooled in-line engines driving four-blade handed propellers.
  Dimensions: Span, 74ft 10 1/2in; length, 46ft 0in; height, 16ft 10in; wing area, 880 sq ft.
  Weights (Rolls-Royce engines): Tare, 5,840 lb; all-up, 8,600 lb.
  Performance (Rolls-Royce engines): Max speed, 97 mph at sea level; climb to 5,000ft, 10 min; ceiling, 11,000ft; endurance, 8 hr.
  Armament: Two Lewis machine guns with Scarff rings on bow and midships gunners' positions. War load comprised either four 230 lb bombs or one 18in Whitehead torpedo.
  Prototypes: Two, Nos 1415 and 1416. No 1415 (GP) first flown at RNAS Isle of Grain in July 1916; No 1416 first flown at Brough late in 1916. No production.
The first Blackburn GP seaplane, No 1415 powered by Sunbeam engines, at RNAS Isle of Grain in 1916. Note the use of a tailfloat, made necessary by the relatively short mam floats. It is not thought likely that a GP ever carried a torpedo into the air.
Only two examples of the three-seat Blackburn GP long range patrol and torpedo bomber were built, the first being completed in July 1916. These two contemporaries and rivals to the Short Type 310 differed in both structural detail and the type of engine employed. The first example, serial no 1415 seen here, used twin 150hp Sunbeam Nubians, while serial no 1416, which did not emerge until near the close of 1916, was powered by twin 190hp Rolls-Royce Falcons. The top level speed of the latter floatplane was 97mph at sea level, its ceiling 11.000 feet and climb to 5,000 feet took 10 minutes. Armament comprised two flexibly-mounted .303-inch Lewis guns, plus a 14-inch torpedo, or four 230lb bombs. The Admiralty elected not to proceed with further development, but a landplane version, powered by twin 270hp Rolls-Royce Falcon IIIs and known as the Blackburn Kangaroo was subsequently produced for the RFC, who took 20 examples.
Blackburn R.T.1 Kangaroo

  The Blackburn Kangaroo twin-engine maritime patrol bomber was a fairly urge, but attractively proportioned biplane, developed directly from the G P. seaplane (which had flown in 1916). Indeed, the Kangaroo's design had begun as a twin-float seaplane powered by a pair of Rolls-Royce Falcons, and around an ability to carry a 1.100 lb torpedo, but this came to be changed when the Admiralty switched is preference to land-based patrol aircraft with long endurance when the German submarine activity intensified during 1917; there was probably more than a suggestion of influence in this preference as the Admiralty came to appreciate the value of the Handley Page O/100s in this role, prior to their transfer to the night bombing duties.
  As a result of this changed requirement (though the Blackburn aircraft was not conceived with any formal requirement in mind), the large pontoon floats were replaced by two pairs of mainwheels mounted beneath the engine nacelles. The latter, accommodating 250hp Rolls-Royce Falcon II twelve-cylinder, water-cooled engines with frontal radiators, were now raised above the lower wings. Rigged without stagger, the wings folded immediately outboard of the engines to give the aircraft a folded span of only 46 feet. Much of the G.P.'s primary structure was retained, although the curved fuselage decking aft of the wings was omitted, so that the fuselage possessed a rectangular and extremely slim cross-section.
  Unusually for an aircraft with such large upper wing overhang, ailerons were fitted to upper and lower wings, and interconnected by a single vertical faired rod. Another innovation, which was not tested, was the use of double-action ailerons which, by operating a handwheel on the pilot's control column, could be lowered to act as landing flaps, while retaining their differential roll control.
  The Kangaroo carried a crew of three, with pilot, nose and midships gunners - the nose gunner doubling as bomb aimer and being provided with an RNAS Mk IIA low-level bomb sight. As in the Avro Type 529, the midships gunner was inexplicably provided with limited dual controls, although in this instance these were confined to engine throttles and rudder bar, but with no engine switches nor control column!
  Twenty Kangaroos were ordered by the Admiralty as N1720-N1739, but before the first was flown by the American Clifford E Prodger, probably late in December 1917, these were changed to B9970-B9989. The prototype, B9970, was delivered to the AES, Martlesham Heath, on 3 January 1918, where it was flow n in competitive evaluation with the Avro Type 529A.
  The Kangaroo prototype was criticized as being very nose-heavy in the glide, while the rear fuselage lacked torsional rigidity tending to twist when recovering from a steep turn. The fuselage was now so slender that it was only with considerable discomfort that the nose gunner could operate his Lewis gun, and the midship gunner's field of fire was severely restricted by the large tail surfaces.
  It had been understood from the outset that about 50 Kangaroos would be required but, owing to an apparent misunderstanding, the number eventually authorized was no more than 20. This came about as the result of a belief in the War Office Technical Department that all the production aircraft then being worked on by Blackburn were identical to the prototype, and instructions were passed to the company to halt production when these aircraft had been completed. In fact almost all the criticisms were satisfactorily remedied on the first two or three aircraft following the prototype as was the prototype itself. The rear fuselage structure was considerably strengthened, and the front fuselage decking was built up to afford the front gunner better protection from the slipstream while manning his gun. The undercarriage of the prototype, comprising four pairs of plain V-struts without any shock-absorption, had collapsed during the AES trials; it was hurriedly re-designed to incorporate four faired oleo struts.
  Nevertheless the order for 20 Kangaroos remained unchanged, and these aircraft completed delivery to the RAF between April and September 1918, first joining No 246 Squadron at Seaton Carew, Durham, in May that year. Although the aircraft could have been flown as a night bomber without difficulty, being able to carry up to 1,000 lb of bombs, it was deemed more important to assume coastal anti-submarine duties. Carrying two RNAS 230 lb LC anti-submarine bombs externally with hydrostatic fuzes, the Kangaroo possessed an endurance of eight hours, or a total patrol range of about 560 miles.
  Alternatively, a standard 520 lb LC bomb, hydrostatically fuzed, could be carried vertically in an internal bay, and it was one of these bombs, dropped by Kangaroo B9983, flown by Lieut Edmund Francis Waring (later Air Cdre, CBE, DFC, AFC, RAF) that crippled a German submarine, UC.70, on 28 August 1918 near Whitby, enabling it to be sunk by depth charges.
  The Kangaroos continued to serve with No 246 Squadron until May 1919, by which time some were being transferred to No 1 Marine Observers' School at Aldbrough.
  Eight aircraft were subsequently sold to commercial buyers and given civil registrations; one (G-EAMJ, ex-B9977) was even entered by Winston Churchill in the first King's Cup Race of 1922. Several Kangaroos were converted as cabin aircraft for passenger flying, and others were provided with full dual controls for flying training. Three of these are believed to have been part-completed aircraft, B8837-B8839, whose production by Blackburn had been halted by the War Office during the winter of 1917-18, but were later completed as G-EBMD, G-EBOM and G-EBPK; known as Wilfred, Pip and Squeak respectively, they were flown as trainers during the 1920s. All were eventually broken up in 1929.

  Type: Twin-engine, three-crew, four-bay biplane anti-submarine patrol bomber.
  Manufacturer: The Blackburn Aeroplane and Motor Co Ltd, Olympia Works, Leeds, and Brough Aerodrome, East Yorks.
  Powerplant: Two 250hp Rolls-Royce Falcon II (later 270hp Falcon III) twelve-cylinder water-cooled in-line engines driving four-blade tractor propellers.
  Structure: Fabric- and ply-covered wire-braced wooden construction with forged metal joints and fittings.
  Dimensions: Span, 74ft 10 1/4in (wings folded, 46ft 1in); length, 44ft 2in; height, 16ft 10in; wing area, 868 sq ft.
  Weights: Tare, 5,284 lb; all-up (with 920 lb bomb load), 8,017 lb.
  Performance (with 460 lb bomb load): Max speed, 100 mph at sea level, 86 mph at 10,000ft; climb to 10,000ft, 38 min 10 sec; service ceiling, 10,500ft; endurance, 8 hr.
  Armament: Provision for single 0.303in Lewis machine guns with Scarff rings on nose and midships gunners' cockpits. Bomb load of up to four 230 lb bombs carried internally, suspended vertically, nose-up; alternative lighter load carried externally. A single 520 lb LC AS bomb could be carried nose-up internally, although it was usual for anti-submarine bombs to be carried externally for release from low altitude.
  Prototype: One, B9970, first flown c.30 December 1917 by Clifford B Prodger at Brough, Yorks.
  Production: Nineteen aircraft, B9971-B9989. (Four others, B8837-B8840, commenced construction during 1917-18, but onlv much later the first three were completed as trainers and civil registered G-EBMD, G-EBOM and G-EBPK)
  Summary of RAF Service: Approximately ten aircraft flown by No 246 Squadron at Seaton Carew in 1918-19; subsequently served with No 1 Marine Observers' School and RAF Reserve School, Brough. (Suggestions that Kangaroos joined an operational RAF bomber squadron in Belgium have not been substantiated.)
Blackburn R.T.1 Kangaroo
Blackburn Blackburd

  The incorrigible Harris Booth was nothing if not unorthodox in his approach to aircraft design, and in long retrospect it must be wondered at Robert Blackburn's wisdom in entrusting the design of his N.1B tender to someone whose previous essays could only be described as quaint, bordering on the grotesque. (The Blackburn G.P. seaplane had been designed by Bob Copley) After all, Blackburn had for several years been anxious to perpetuate a favoured working relationship with the Admiralty and, with orders for the Sopwith Cuckoo already in hand, it must have seemed encouraging that Blackburn should be asked to tender the design of a possible Cuckoo replacement.
  If the Short Shirl appeared as a straightforward, conventional approach to the N.1B requirement, Booth's creation was little more than a vehicle in which he let his fertile imagination run riot. The Blackburd was a three-bay biplane whose wings, of almost equal span and of parallel chord without sweepback, were rigged without stagger. The fuselage consisted of a rectangular-section box of uniform depth from nose to tail, but built-up on four tapering spruce box longerons. Four long-span ailerons could be partially lowered to reduce take-off run and landing speed; however, not being double-acting when lowered, they thus deprived the pilot of all lateral control. The pilot's cockpit was situated only seven feet forward of the fin, with seventeen feet of fuselage forward of the windscreen; vision from the cockpit must have been minimal.
  Perhaps the most extraordinary feature of the Blackburd was the manner in which the interplane, centresection and undercarriage steel tubular struts were faired to aerofoil section, using doped fabric on ply formers, linked together by wire and secured by metal clips to the steel tubes.
  The hefty undercarriage comprised twin parallelogram structures of steel struts, pin-jointed together, each structure carrying a single wheel and a short steel skid built as a Warren truss. The wheels, with their cross-axle, had to be jettisoned prior to dropping the Mark VIII torpedo, so the pilot was obliged to make a deck landing on the skids when operating from a carrier.
  The first Blackburd, N113, was flown by R W Kenworthy in May 1918, and was delivered to Martlesham on 4 June for preliminary performance and handling trials. Here it was unfavourably received on account of longitudinal and directional instability, with excessive nose-heaviness in almost every flight regime, whether carrying the torpedo or not. Indeed, the rudder was virtually useless during landing - a fatal flaw in a deck-landing aeroplane. The aircraft crashed before the trials were completed.
  N114, with an enlarged rudder and a deepened frontal radiator, was not flown until mid-August, and went immediately to East Fortune for torpedo trials. These were completed in November, but the subsequent handling trials were curtailed when the aeroplane was grounded pending an examination of the fuselage structure. It was never flown again, and was disposed of for spares.
  The third Blackburd, N115, was probably flown in November but, as with the Shirl, interest in the aircraft had waned. It was, however, delivered to the Gosport Development Squadron, and later flew trials aboard HMS Argus in the Mediterranean.
  By inference, the Blackburd was rated as inferior to the Shirl, but there was irony in the fact that Blackburn was awarded a production contract to build 100 Shirls, only for this to be cancelled almost immediately - and replaced by an order for a further 100 Sopwith Cuckoos!

  Type: Single-engine, single-seat, three-bay biplane shipborne torpedo-bomber.
  Air Ministry Specification: N.1B (later Type XXII)
  Manufacturer: The Blackburn Aeroplane and Motor Co Ltd, Olympia Works, Leeds.
  Powerplant: One 350hp Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII 12-cylinder water-cooled in-line engine.
  Structure: Composite wood and steel construction, comprising spruce-ply box longerons and wing spars, distanced and braced with steel tie rods.
  Dimensions: Span, 52ft 5in (wings folded, 17ft 1in); length, 34ft 10in; height, 12ft 4 1/2in; wing area, 684 sq ft.
  Weights: Tare, 3,228 lb; all-up (with torpedo), 5,700 lb.
  Performance (with torpedo): Max speed, 90.5 mph at 6,500ft; climb to 6,500ft, 16 min 15 sec; service ceiling, 11,000ft; endurance, 3 hr.
  Armament: No gun armament. Provision for one 1,423 lb Admiralty Type VIII torpedo, capable of being dropped only after jettisoning landing wheels and cross-axle.
  Prototypes: Three, N113-N115. N113 first flown by R W Kenworthy at Brough at the end of May 1918. No production.
Blackburn Blackburd
Boulton & Paul P.7 Bourges

  No company toiled more persistently to secure the winner's production contracts for a D.H.10 replacement than the Norwich-based manufacturer, Boulton & Paul Ltd; nor indeed came closer to success. And once all ties with the Dragonfly engine had been broken, leaving the designer free to exploit his own choice of powerplant, the resulting aeroplane, possessing undreamed-of qualities of handling, performance and manoeuvrability, set the company on the path to building medium bombers that served the Royal Air Force until 1937. Despite the cancellation of the D.H.10 replacement requirement (after ultimate failure of the Dragonfly), Boulton Paul's experience with the Bourges and its derivatives was rewarded by contracts for the Sidestrand, and later the Overstrand medium day bombers.
  Following the design of several fighters which did not achieve production status, John North undertook the design of a twin-engine day bomber to the same Air Ministry requirement as the Manchester, Oxford and Cobham, attracted as usual by the promise held out by the ABC Dragonfly engine. Smaller and lighter than the Manchester and Oxford, but on a par with the Cobham, North's P.7 Bourges was delayed by late delivery of the ABC engines, and the company opted to commence flight trials in June 1919 with F2903 powered by 230hp Bentley B.R.2 rotary engines mounted in mid-gap, this aircraft being designated the P.7/1 Bourges Mark IIA with these engines. As originally flown, this Bourges featured plain ailerons on upper and lower wings.
  Almost immediately, unmodified Dragonfly I engines became available and with these F2903, now termed the P.7/1 Bourges Mk IA, was delivered to Martlesham Heath for preliminary trials in July, returning a maximum speed of 123 mph at 6,500 feet while carrying full fuel and half bomb load, and now fitted with horn-balanced ailerons.
  While F2903 was away at Martlesham, the second Bourges, F2904, made its maiden flight with Dragonfly engines mounted on the lower wings, but with gulled upper wings attached to the upper fuselage longerons and marked dihedral on the tailplane, resulting in a change to a new designation, the P.7/2 Bourges Mk IB (the B suffix referring to the gull wing). This aircraft, however, crashed in October and was written off. The gull wing was adopted as a means of improving the field of fire for the midships gunner (and also slightly reduced wing drag), and the dihedral tailplane was thought probably with justification to improve lateral stability while landing.
  The third Bourges, P.7/3 F2905, was also originally a Mark IB with Dragonfly engines, and was probably first flown during the winter of 1919-20, but abject frustration with these engines prompted Boulton & Paul to revert to the much less powerful but infinitely more reliable B.R.2 rotaries, the aircraft becoming the Bourges Mk IIB with gull wing. It then underwent further transformation (on the manufacturers' own initiative) with a change to 450hp Napier Lion IIB engines, becoming the Bourges Mk IIIA with straight upper wing and making its first flight early in 1921. Soon after, it was given the gull wings as the Mk IIIB, and with these it demonstrated an excellent top speed of 130 mph at 10,000 feet with full fuel and bomb load at Martlesham Heath in March that year. In this form the Bourges could be regarded as having reached a stage beyond any achieved by the other contenders for the Air Ministry's requirement for a D.H. 10 replacement. By then the requirement had lapsed, and F2905 was delivered to the RAE, Farnborough, on 9 February 1922 for prolonged flight trials and development work on the Napier Lion's radiator, and these lasted until June 1924. There is little doubt that the results of work done during this period which would have reached Boulton & Paul - were employed in formulating the Air Ministry's Specification 6/24, to which the Sidestrand was successfully tendered.
  The outstanding manoeuvrability of the Bourges, of which mention was made above, was never more dramatically demonstrated than by Frank Courtney, who publicly rolled, looped and spun F2903 at the first Hendon Air Pageant in June 1920, a feat of handling wholly unimagined in a twin-engine bomber!

  Type: Twin-engine, three-crew, three-bay biplane close-support light bomber.
  Air Ministry' Specifications: RAF Types IV, VI and VIII (later D of R Type 3).
  Manufacturer: Boulton and Paul Ltd, Riverside, Norwich, Norfolk.
  Powerplant: Mark I. Two 320hp ABC Dragonfly 1 nine-cylinder, air-cooled radial engines driving two-blade propellers. Mark II. Two 230hp Bentley BR.2 rotary engines driving two-blade propellers. Mark III. Two 450hp Napier Lion IIB twelve-cylinder, water-cooled 'broad-arrow' in-line engines driving four-blade propellers.
  Dimensions: Span (with horn-balanced ailerons), 57ft 4in; length, 37ft 0in; height, 12ft 0in; wing area, 738 sq ft.
  Weights (Mark II): Tare, 3,820 lb; all-up, 6,326 lb.
  Performance (Mark IIIB): Max speed, 130 mph at 10,000ft; climb to 10,000ft, 13 min 35 sec; service ceiling, 20,000ft; endurance, 9 1/4hr.
  Armament: Single 0.303in Lewis machine guns with Scarff ring mountings on nose and midships gunners' cockpits; provision for bomb load of up to four 230 lb bombs.
  Prototypes: Three, F2903-F2905. First recorded flight by F2903 at Norwich in June 1919; pilot believed to be Frank Courtney. No production.
The third and final Bourges, F2905, in its Mark IIIA configuration with Napier Lion engines. The aircraft at the RAE, Farnborough, during radiator development trials. The Bourges was unusual in having the upper wing extensively cut away to improve the midships gunner's field of fire.
Bristol T.B.8

  It is generally accepted that the first British aeroplane to carry bombs aloft did so in 1914. Only vestiges of circumstantial evidence remain to support claims that the event occurred in the previous year. (A photo survives showing a Coanda BR.7 biplane at Larkhill, dated July 1913, with a mechanic nearby holding a light bomb; this has been suggested as indicating that the aircraft carried the weapon on that date, but no substantiating record has come to light to indicate that the B.R.7 ever carried a bomb) Weighted objects had been dropped from a Short aeroplane in 1913 to examine the effects on handling and performance of the aircraft on being suddenly relieved of its warload.
  At the British and Colonial Aeroplane Company the Franco-Romanian designer, Henri Coanda, had since 1912 been developing military monoplanes and biplanes for the British and foreign governments, and early in 1913 produced a central-float seaplane, which attracted the British Admiralty's attention. It was, however, to be a land biplane that came to be ordered as the T.B.8, this being converted from a Coanda monoplane and first flown with the naval serial number 43 on 12 August 1913. At the same time a Romanian Coanda monoplane was returned to Filton tor conversion to T.B.8 biplane configuration, and returned to Romania in October, equipped with a simple bomb rack. It is not known for certain, however, whether this aeroplane carried a bomb into the air before the end of 1913, although suggestions have been made that it did so.
  The success with which the first T.B.8 conversion progressed through its initial trials encouraged British & Colonial to build further examples from scratch, and the first of these was completed with flying controls in the rear cockpit only, the front cockpit being equipped with a prismatic bomb sight and a bomb release trigger. Twelve small bombs of 10 lb weight were attached to a cylindrical carrier, located in the lower fuselage immediately forward of the cockpit. Actuation of the trigger released the lowest bomb and automatically rotated the carrier so as to bring the next bomb into the release position. A trip ratchet in the trigger gear enabled the observer to release all twelve bombs as a salvo if desired.
  Although this T.B.8 is generally accepted as having flown before the end of 1913 there is no evidence that it had carried bombs, yet it was displayed with full bomb gear at the Paris Salon de l'Aeronautique during December. Another example was demonstrated to the French army in March 1914, flying with a 'useful' load of 715 lb, suggesting that at least on that occasion the bombs were being carried.
  The Admiralty, in the meantime, had purchased the 'Paris' aeroplane which now carried the naval number 153. Shortly afterwards the War Office ordered twelve improved examples, with ailerons in place of wing warping, but these aircraft were transferred to Admiralty charge in October 1914 as Nos 1216-1227.
  On the outbreak of war the Eastchurch Squadron, under Squadron Commander Charles Samson, left for France, among its complement of aircraft being a single T.B.8 the 'Paris' aeroplane. No 153. This was, however, to be damaged in a gale at Ostend in September, and was returned to Eastchurch the following month. Two other T.B.8s were sent to the Squadron in October, one of them making a bombing attack on German gun batteries at Middelkerke on 25 November 1914.
  Although two further orders, each for a dozen aeroplanes, were placed later, the aircraft was deemed to be too slow for further operational use, and it is believed that the above attack was the only offensive sortie flown by the T.B.8. Instead, it was considered to be an ideal 'school' aircraft, and by early 1915 the remaining aircraft were being delivered to RNAS training units at Newcastle-on-Tyne, Gosport and Hendon.

  Type: Single tractor engine, two-seat, two-bay biplane
  Manufacturer: The British & Colonial Co Ltd, Filton and Brislington, Bristol.
  Powerplant: One 50 or 80hp Gnome, 60 or 80hp Le Rhone, or 100hp Gnome monosoupape engine.
  Dimensions: Span, 37ft 8in; length, 29ft 3in; wing area, 450 sq ft.
  Weights: Tare, 970 lb; all-up, 1,665 lb.
  Performance: Max speed, 75 mph at sea level; endurance, 2 hr.
  Production: Total Service aircraft built: 41: Admiraltv Nos 43, 153, 916 (previously War Office No 620), 948 (previously War Office No 614), 1216-1227, 8442-8453 and 8562-8573.
  Summary of Service: T.B.8s served with the Eastchurch Squadron during 1914; as trainers they later served with No 1 (Naval) Squadron at Newcastle-on-Tyne, No 2 (Naval) Squadron at Gosport and the RNAS Training School, Hendon.
One of the relatively small number of genuine TB8 bombers was No 153 which had, prior to its purchase by the Admiralty, displayed a rotating bomb rack and prismatic bomb sight at Paris before the end of 1913.
Originally ordered as a bomber for the RFC, this T.B.8 was one of those transferred to the RNAS as a trainer.
Bristol T.B.8
Bristol Types 24/25 Braemar

  Capt Frank Barnwell, chief designer of the British & Colonial Aeroplane Company, submitted proposals for his B.1 heavy bomber to the War Office late in 1917, in which the performance estimates, based on the use of four 365hp Rolls-Royce Eagles, suggested that it would be capable of reaching Berlin with a small load of bombs. Because the project was not formally prepared to conform to a specific Air Board requirement, Barnwell was informed that Eagle engines would not be made available for the bomber; however, the War Office expressed sufficient interest in the aircraft to issue a contract, signed on 11 December 1917, for three prototypes (C4296-C4298).
  The draft layout was delegated to Wilfrid T Reid for detail design. Nevertheless, despite its imposing bulk, the Bristol bomber was to be much smaller than the Handley Page V/1500. Obliged to use four 230hp Siddeley Puma engines the aircraft, which became the Type 24 Braemar, was probably doomed to obscurity from the outset as it scarcely represented any advance beyond the Handley Page O/400. Moreover, owing to the company's lack of suitable manufacturing space, only one Braemar could be assembled at a time.
  The aircraft was a three-bay, folding biplane with the engines in tandem in fully-cowled nacelles on the centre wing, each engine driving a right-handed two-blade propeller; unlike those of the V/1500, the tractor and pusher propellers were of the same diameter. The two upper wings were of equal span, and the lower slightly shorter, with horn-balanced ailerons fitted to the two upper wings. The fuselage, constructed almost entirely of spruce with wire bracing, was ply-covered except for the nose section. The crew comprised two pilots, a wireless operator, a flight engineer and two gunners (in the nose and amidships). The bomb load, intended to amount to six 250 lb bombs, was carried in an internal fuselage bay. The four-wheel undercarriage featured pairs of tandem wheels, with a braking system, attached to mounting struts anchored to the lower fuselage longerons and the wing spars below the engines, this structure resulting in a very narrow track.
  The first Braemar, C4296, was completed in August 1918 and flown by Fred Raynham on the 13th. The same pilot delivered the aircraft to Martlesham Heath exactly one month later. It was evaluated against the RAF Specification Type VIII which had been issued during its period of design and, with certain reservations, was considered to come close to the requirements, though it did not meet the load and endurance figures by fairly large margins. Some criticism was levelled at the flying controls, the ailerons being particularly heavy, and at the very poor field of vision from the pilots' cockpit. Doubt has been cast on a figure often quoted for this Braemar's maximum speed of 106 mph at a gross weight of 16,200 lb, for the highest corrected speed achieved by the aircraft at Martlesham was 102 mph at a weight of about 13,000 lb. C4296 was taken on RAF charge in May 1919, but was written off in a crash two months later.
  From the outset it was obvious that the first prototype was underpowered and, once C4296 had left the factors, a second aircraft, the Type 25 Braemar II, C4297, powered by four 410hp Liberty 12A engines, was built, making its maiden flight on 18 February 1919. This aeroplane incorporated a number of improvements, including slight alterations to the nose profile to increase the pilots' field of view, and strengthening of wing tie rods; the undercarriage was also improved, though its narrow track remained unchanged. As far as is known the Braemar never carried its full intended bomb load, although in trials at Martlesham in 1919 C4297 recorded a speed of 122 mph at 5,600 feet while loaded with six 112 lb bombs. This aircraft was to be destroved in an accident when, taking off out of wind on 16 August 1921, it swung out of control and struck a building.
  A third Braemar, C4298 (the Mark III), was flown in June 1919 but was almost immediately converted to a passenger-carrying aircraft and renamed the Type 26 Pullman. As such it was evaluated at Martlesham during September and October 1920, but its ultimate fate is not known.

  Type; Four-engine, six-crew, three-bay triplane long-range heavy bomber.
  Air Ministry Specification: RAF Type VIII.
  Manufacturer: The British and Colonial Aeroplane Co Ltd., Filton, Bristol.
  Powerplant: Mark I. Four 230hp Siddeley Puma six-cylinder water-cooled in-line engines, two driving two-blade tractor and two driving pusher propellers, and mounted in tandem in two nacelles mounted on the centre wing. Mark II. Four 410hp Lincoln-built Liberty 12A water-cooled in-line engines.
  Structure: Wire-braced, all-wood structure, the fuselage ply-covered, and the two-spar, folding wings, fabric-covered.
  Dimensions: Span, 81ft 8in; length, 51ft 6in; height, 20ft 8in; wing area, 1,905 sq ft.
  Weights (Mark II): Tare, 10,650 lb; all-up (max bomb load), 18,500 lb.
  Performance (Mark II): Max speed, 125 mph at sea level, 110 mph at 10,000ft; climb to 10,000ft, 17 min 40 sec; absolute ceiling, 17,000ft.
  Armament: Five 0.303in Lewis machine guns: two on nose gunner's cockpit with Scarff ring; two guns with pillar mountings on midships gunner's cockpit; and single gun on Scarff ring in floor of fuselage amidships. Max bomb load, six 230 lb bombs.
  Prototypes: Three: C4296 (Mark I) and C4297 (Mark II); C4296 first flown by F P Raynham at Filton on 13 August 1918. No production. (Third aircraft, C4298, was converted to Bristol Type 26 Pullman commercial passenger aircraft, but not operated as such.)
A view of the Braemar Mk I, C4296, powered by 230hp Siddeley Puma engines, which emphasises its great height and tiny undercarriage.
The Braemar Mk II, C4297, in flight near Bristol. Criticism levelled at the pilots' poor field of view was occasioned more by the side-by-side seating and the width of fuselage than by obstruction caused by the wings and engines.
Airco D.H.3 and 3A

  The famous pioneer designer/pilot, Geoffrey de Havilland, who had for three and a half years designed and flown aircraft at Farnborough before the War, had left to join The Aircraft Manufacturing Company in June 1914, his first two designs in his new appointment being the Airco D.H.1 and 2 fighters.
  His next design, undertaken with at least some recollection of the early project studies that had resulted in the Factory's F.E.4, was the D.H.3. Although somewhat smaller than the F.E.4, de Havilland's design was prompted by a firm belief that the Army would express a determination to acquire a bomber capable of delivering a worthwhile bomb load against German centres of war production remote from the Western Front.
  Being aware of the restrictions on the size of aeroplanes favoured by the War Office, de Havilland decided on relatively short-span, folding wings of moderate chord, but employed two 120hp Beardmore engines, driving two-blade pusher propellers through short extension shafts in order to keep the engine mass close the aircraft's centre of gravity without having recourse to large cutouts in the wing trailing edges for propeller clearance.
  The structure throughout was of wood, the slender fuselage being a Warren girder built of spruce, wire-braced internally, and ply-covered over the forward half. The wings, rigged without stagger, carried generous, unbalanced ailerons on upper and lower surfaces and, like the rear fuselage and tail unit, were fabric-covered.
  A wide-track undercarriage, with single mainwheels each side, was attached to the fuselage and the wings directly beneath the engine support struts, and was complemented by a bumper wheel on each side o f the nose. The three-man crew comprised pilot, and nose and midships gunners.
  The first prototype D.H.3, not being built to a formal War Office contract, was not allocated a serial number, but was first flown by de Havilland, probably in late January or early February 1916. It demonstrated good handling qualities and a useful performance, and a production contract for 50 aircraft had already been placed by the War Office for an improved version, the D.H.3A, powered by 160hp Beardmore engines, driving four-blade pusher propellers without recourse to extension shafts.
  By the time the second aircraft, No 7744, was flown, the acrimony, which had upset relations between the commercial aircraft manufacturers and the War Office over the alleged preferential regard held for the Factory's products, was beginning to influence decisions with regard to the issue of production contracts for 'privately' designed military aircraft. Consequently the contract for D.H.3As was cancelled; the quoted pretext was a shift in opinion at the War Office, that strategic bombing by aeroplanes was unlikely to influence the course of the War. In any case, opinions being expressed at the War Office were that large twin-engine bombers were impractical this despite the fact that the Admiralty's much larger and heavier Handley Page O/100 prototype had recently flown successfully.
  The decision to cancel the second D.H.3A prototype and the production order may now be seen to have been one of the most ill-advised ever taken by the War Office with regard to military aeroplanes. Before a further six months had elapsed, the Army in France was locked in a calamitous battle on the Somme, with no effective bombers with which to support the soldiers on the ground, and with rapidly mounting losses. Appealing to the Admiralty, the War Office obtained some Short Bombers from the RNAS production - but never used them.
  In all likelihood, the first production D.H.3As could have being entering operational service by the end of the summer of 1916 and, carrying six 112 lb bombs each, would have provided stimulating support for the Army at that critical time. Their presence in the front line would have demonstrated the feasibility of large bombers, and action to create an autonomous bombing force could have been initiated early in 1917; as it was, another year was to elapse before such action was taken.
  Although the D.H.3 and 3A were both scrapped without full flight trials being completed*, they did provide de Havilland with the design basis o f a later twin-engine bomber, the D.H.10 which, flown in March 1918, was still awaited by the Service when the Armistice was signed.
* It has been suggested that the D.H.3A prototype was simply the D.H.3 prototype rebuilt. However, it is known that at least one photograph exists showing both aircraft, apparently complete, standing together.

  Type: Twin pusher-engine, three-seat, three-bay biplane light bomber.
  Manufacturer: The Aircraft Manufacturing Co Ltd., Hendon, London NW9.
  Powerplant: D.H.3. Two 120hp Beardmore six-cylinder, water-cooled, in-line engines driving two-blade pusher propellers. D.H.3 A. Two 160hp Beardmore engines driving four-blade pusher propellers.
  Structure: Wire-braced wooden structure, the forward section of the fuselage ply-covered, the remainder fabric-covered.
  Dimensions: Span, 60ft 10in; length, 36ft 10in; height, 14ft 6in; wing area, 793 sq ft (D.H. 3A, 770 sq ft.)
  Weights (D.H.3): Tare, 3,980 lb; all-up, 5,810 lb.
  Performance (D.H.3): Max speed, 95 mph at sea level, 87 mph at 10,000ft; climb to 5,000ft, 16 min 12 sec; endurance, 8 hr.
  Armament: Two 0.303in Lewis machine guns with pillar mountings on nose and midships gunners' cockpits; design provision for up to 680 lb of bombs, probably planned as six 112 lb bombs carried as three under each wing.
  Prototypes: Two. The D.H.3 was first flown early in 1916 and apparently did not carry any serial number; the D.H. 3A carried No 7744. No production (50 aircraft, A5088-A5137, were ordered, but cancelled).
No 7744, the Airco D.H.3A, showing the cut back mainplane trailing edge, with 160hp Beardmore engines, whose increased weight more than cancelled the benefit of extra power and bestowed a slightly reduced performance compared with that of the D.H.3.
The three seat Airco DH 3 was to be the victim of an Air Board policy shift away from twin- to single-engined bombers. As a result, only one of the two prototypes ordered, serial no 7744, was completed and flown. Initially using two 120hp Beardmores, the machine proved somewhat underpowered and was re-engined to take the 160hp Beardmore as the DH 3a, the form in which it is seen here. First flown in April 1916, a contract for 50 production aircraft was cancelled in favour of the single-engined DH 4. Performance of the DH 3a included a top level speed of 95mph, a full military load of 680lb that included ammunition for the two .303-inch Lewis guns, along with a full load range of 700 miles. As it was, the experience gained with this machine was not totally wasted, the project being resurrected later in the form of the DH 10.
Airco D.H.3
Airco D.H.4

  Captain Geoffrey de Havilland's superb D.H.4 has been called 'the Mosquito of the First World War', a by no means superficial observation for, implicit in the comparison was recognition of classic attributes, and all that is suggested by that much-bandied adjective - superiority of performance, efficient structure, good cost-efficiency and, probably most important of all, popularity among its aircrews. The comparison survives further examination; both were produced under the aegis of de Havilland, both were of predominantly wooden construction, both were designed as light bombers yet both were as fast as or faster than the best fighters of their respective periods of service. Equally significant was the fact that both aeroplanes were powered by Rolls-Royce engines (though not exclusively in the instance of the D.H.4), in each case the engines selected being themselves arguably the best powerplants extant in their respective ages.
  When first conceived in 1915 by Geoffrey de Havilland at the Aircraft Manufacturing Company, the Airco D.H.4 was envisaged as being powered by the 160hp Beardmore, an engine which Maj Frank Bernard Halford had evolved from the 120hp version, without the penalty of a proportionate increase in power/weight ratio. However, having been favourably impressed by examination of the Hispano-Suiza engine's use of cast aluminium monobloc cylinders with screwed-in steel liners, Halford obtained the co-operation of Sir William Beardmore and Thomas Charles Willis Pullinger to design a new version of the Beardmore along similar lines and, in so doing, produced the 230hp BHP engine, achieving a 40 per cent increase in power at a power/weight increase of only 12 per cent. This achievement must be seen in retrospect as being one of the important landmarks in the development of British aero engines during the First World War.
  This engine was therefore selected for the prototype D.H.4, No 3696, the prototype bench example of the new BHP being installed for flight trials which began in August 1916 at Hendon. The airframe was of all-wood construction, the fuselage being a wire-braced box-girder built in two sections; the forward, ply-covered portion was joined to the rear, fabric-covered component by steel fishplates immediately aft of the observer's rear cockpit.
  The moderately staggered, parallel-chord, two-bay, fabric-covered wings featured upper and lower pairs of ailerons, and were built up on two spruce main spars, spindled out between the compression struts to economise in weight. The wooden, fabric-covered tail unit included a variable-incidence tailplane, and the horn-balance rudder was of the shape by then becoming characteristic of de Havilland's designs.
  The undercarriage was of plain wooden V-strut configuration with the wheel axle attached to the strut apices by stout rubber cord binding. Early aircraft featured fairly short undercarriage struts, and there was some risk of damaging the big propeller if the tail was raised too high during take-off. Later, as engine power increased sharply and propellers were accordingly enlarged, the undercarriage V-struts were lengthened, and this design came to be adopted in production, no matter what engine was fitted.
  The D.H.4's bomb load varied between four 100 or 112 lb bombs and a pair of 230 lb weapons, normally carried on racks under the lower wings but occasionally under the fuselage; there were occasions when eight 65 lb bombs were carried, although these were considered to be a waste of limited resources when they could be carried by corps reconnaissance aircraft. In truth, the D.H.4 was the RFC's first truly effective, purpose-designed bomber and its operations tended to be confined to set-piece raids against targets behind the German lines.
  For all the promise shown by the prototype BHP engine, its introduction into production was far from straightforward, and demanded extensive simplification and redesign. Indeed, these changes delayed the first production deliveries for almost a year. However, de Havilland was already aware that Rolls-Royce had successfully bench-run a promising vee-twelve, water-cooled engine as long ago as May 1915, but production examples of this had been earmarked for naval aircraft, not least the Handley Page O/100.
  By the end of 1916, when the extent of modifications required by the BHP became known, the production rate of 250hp Rolls-Royce Mk III engines (now named the Eagle III) had reached the stage at which adequate quantities could be allocated to production D.H.4s. An initial order for fifty aircraft was therefore placed with Airco for urgent delivery to the RFC, and the first reached No 55 Squadron at Lilbourne, replacing F.K.8s, in January 1917, and was taken to its base at Fienvillers in France on 6 March. (No 55 Squadron continued to fly D.H.4s until January 1920.)
  As further production contracts were raised with Airco, and sub-contracts placed with Westland, F W Berwick and Vulcan, No 55 Squadron remained the only operational RFC D.H.4-equipped unit during 'Bloody April' and in the Battle of Arras. The Squadron's first operational sortie was a bombing attack against Valenciennes railway station by six aircraft on 6 April. Possessing excellent performance and tractable handling qualities the D.H.4, unlike the R.E.8 and F.K.8, was usually able to make good its escape when confronted by enemy fighters, simply by using its superior climb and speed margin; it was, after all, primarily a bomber and was armed with no more than a single for ward-firing Vickers gun and a Scarff-mounted Lewis in the rear.
  If there was one criticism of the D.H.4, it was that the two cockpits were placed too far apart, the pilot being located well forward so as to possess a good field of view downwards over the lower wing leading edge, and the observer well aft to combine a wide field of view with an effective field of fire if attacked. It was therefore almost impossible for the two crew members to communicate, as the speaking tube between them was of little value in a dogfight.
  The heavy losses suffered by so many other RFC squadrons during April 1917 lent further urgency to continue reequipping and, during the following month, Nos 18 and 57 Squadrons received Airco-built D.H.4s, followed by No 25 Squadron in June. By the end of the year six squadrons were fully equipped with the aircraft.
  Meanwhile, as development of the Rolls-Royce Eagle was continuing apace, much work was being done to examine alternative powerplants. The BHP eventually appeared in production form and joined the aircraft assembly lines, as did the Factory's 200hp R.A.F.3A - this version serving with No 18 Squadron in France and No 49 at home - and the 200hp Fiat. The last-named engine had been selected for a consignment of D.H.4s intended for supply to Russia in the late summer of 1917, but the Revolution intervened, taking that nation out of the War. As a result the Fiat D.H.4s were diverted to the Western Front. The other engine that came to be fitted in production D.H.4s was the 230hp Siddeley Puma, but none of these alternative engines could match the excellent 375hp Eagle VIII which, by the end of 1917, powered the majority of frontline D.H.4s.

****

  From the outset the Admiralty expressed an interest in acquiring D.H.4s, with which to equip RNAS light bomber squadrons in France and elsewhere, and a total of about 90 is thought to have been built to naval requirements by Westland, the majority of them powered by Eagle and BHP engines; about 16 others, with Eagles and R.A.F 3As, were also transferred from War Office production.
  The naval D.H.4s differed from the RFC version in being armed with a pair of front Vickers guns, and the observer's gun ring, instead of being recessed into the rear fuselage decking, was raised so as to be level with the top decking profile.
  RNAS D.H.4s began equipping No 2 (Naval) Squadron at about the same time as the RFC squadrons began bombing raids in April 1917, and No 5 (Naval) Squadron also re-equipped during the summer of that year. In all, eight operational RNAS squadrons flew D.H.4s, of which four were based in Italy and the Aegean during 1918, their role being to mount long-range bombing attacks over the Balkans.
  It may be a matter of interest to note that, although fewer D.H.4s were produced than the much inferior F.K.8 tactical reconnaissance bomber, the D.H. enjoyed far greater operational utilisation, yet actually began to decline in numbers with the RFC from the spring of 1918. This was principally on account of the hopes pinned on the D.H.9, a direct development of, and similar in most respects to the D.H.4.
  At the time when an independent bombing force was being assembled, during the winter of 1917-18 when it was designated the 41st Wing of the RFC and commanded by Lt-Col Cyril Louis Norton Newall (later Marshal of the RAF Lord Newall GCB, OM, GCMG, CBE, AM), Maj-Gen Hugh Trenchard scornfully deprecated the use of such aircraft as the F.E.2B and D.H.4 as already being obsolescent. The widespread belief that the D.H.9 would constitute a significant advance over the D.H.4 prompted the War Office prematurely to initiate contracts for the D.H.9 before it became apparent that much work needed to be done before that aircraft was fully ready for service.
  Thus it was that by mid-1918 there were still only nine RAF D.H.4 bomber squadrons in France (including four recently transferred from the former RNAS). Eight further squadrons, employed on home defence and training duties, were based in Britain.
  Many D.H.4s came to be employed for experimental purposes, including use as test beds for other engines such as the Eagle VI (in A7401), the 300hp Renault 12Fe (in A2148), the R.A.F.4D (A7864), and the 400hp Sunbeam Matabele (A8083); another D.H.4 was flown in 1919 with an experimental Rolls-Royce Type G engine.
  And while the War Office (and later the new Air Ministry) decided to replace the D.H.4 with the D.H.9, the United States, having laid plans in May 1917 to adopt the former in large quantities, persisted with this intention, and eventually produced a total of 3,227 aircraft. The original contracts, placed with three large American manufacturers, were ultimately increased to cover no fewer than 9,500 aircraft - even before the American engine, the 400hp Liberty 12, had been built and bench run.
  The first flight by a D.H.4 with the Liberty was made on 29 October 1917, yet during the next twelve months 1,885 US-built examples had been shipped to France for use by the American Expeditionary Force. The D.H.4A, as it was designated, became the only British type built in the USA to give operational service during the War. There was to be an ironic twist of fortune when, after the Armistice, the widely criticised D.H.9 gave way to much-improved D.H.9As, many of which were to be fitted with the American Liberty 12 engine!

  Type: Single-engine, two-seat, two-bay biplane light bomber.
  Manufacturers: The Aircraft Manufacturing Co Ltd, Hendon, London NW9; F W Berwick & Co Ltd, Park Royal, London NW10; Palladium Autocars Ltd, Putney, London SW15; Waring and Gillow Ltd, Hammersmith, London W6; Westland Aircraft Works, Yeovil, Somerset; Vulcan Motor and Engineering Co (1906) Ltd, Crossens, Southport, Lancashire. (Production of D.H.4B undertaken by five manufacturers in America.)
  Powerplant: Prototype. One 230hp B.H.P. water-cooled in-line engine driving four-blade propeller. Production aircraft. 230hp B.H.P., 230hp Puma, 250-375hp Rolls-Royce Eagle (various versions), 200hp R.A.F. 3A and 260hp Fiat. Experimental installations included 300hp Renault 12Fe, 400hp Sunbeam Matabele and 353hp Rolls-Royce 'G', American-built version with Liberty 12A engines.
  Structure: Wire-braced wooden structure, fabric- and ply-covered; two spruce wing spars; wooden V-strut undercarriage with rubber cord-sprung wheel axle.
  Dimensions: Span, 42ft 4 5/8in; length (B.H.P. and Eagle engines), 30ft 8in; height, (Puma) 10ft 1in, (Eagle VIII) 11ft 0in; wing area, 434 sq ft.
  Weights: Puma. Tare, 2,230 lb; all-up, 3,344 lb. Eagle VIII. Tare, 2,387 lb; all-up, 3,472 lb.
  Performance: Puma. Max speed, 108 mph at sea level, 104 mph at 10,000ft; climb to 10,000ft, 14 min; service ceiling, 17,400ft; endurance, 4 1/2: hr. Eagle VIII. Max speed, 143 mph at sea level, 133 mph at 10,000ft; climb to 10,000ft, 9 min; service ceiling, 22,000ft; endurance, 3 3/4 hr.
  Armament: Max bomb load, 460 lb, comprising combinations of 230 lb or 112 lb bombs on external racks. Gun armament comprised one synchronized forward-firing 0.303in Vickers machine gun on nose decking (two guns on some Westland-built aircraft); observer's cockpit fitted with either Scarff ring or pillar mounting(s) for either one or two Lewis machine guns.
  Prototype: One, No 3696, first flown by Capt Geoffrey de Havilland at Hendon in August 1916.
  Production: A total of 1,449 aircraft built in Britain for the RFC and RNAS: Airco, 960 (A2125-A2174, A7401-A8089, B1482, C4501-C4540, D8351-D8430, D9231-D9280 and F2633-F2732); Berwick, 100 (B2051-B2150); Vulcan, 100 (B5451-B5550); Westland, 167 (B3954-B3970, B9476-B9500, D1751-D1775, N5960-N6009 and N6380-N6429); Palladium, 100 (F5699-F5798); Waring and Gillow, 46 (H5894-H5939). Of the above total production, twelve were delivered into store and eventually reached the civil register, and twelve N-registered Westland-built aircraft were re-numbered in the B3954-B3970 batch. Some aircraft were also rebuilt during repair and rc-allocatcd different numbers.)
  Summary of RFC and RNAS Service: D.H.4s served with Nos 18, 25, 27, 49, 55 and 57 Squadrons, RFC and RAF on the Western Front; Nos 30 and 63 Squadrons, RFC and RAF, in Mesopotamia; Nos 223, 224, 226 and 227 Squadrons, RAF in the Aegean; and with the Russian contingent at Archangel. D.H.4s served with Nos 5, 6 and 11 Squadrons, RNAS (later Nos 205, 206 and 211 Squadrons, RAF) on the Western Front; Nos 2, 5 and 17 Squadrons, RNAS (later Nos 202, 205 and 217 Squadrons, RAF) on Coastal Patrol, based in Britain; and at RNAS Stations, Great Yarmouth, Port Victoria and Redcar (becoming Nos 212 and 273 Squadrons, RAF). D.H.4s also served on Nos 31 and 51 Training Squadrons, RFC, Air Observers' Schools, the Reconnaissance School at Farnborough and various armament schools.
Art early Airco-built D.H.4, A2152, with 250hp Rolls-Royce Eagle III engine, during assessment trials at the Royal Aircraft Factory, Farnborough. Note the considerable distance between the cockpits, one of the few features which drew criticism from the RFC.
A D.H.4 with 230hp BHP, the engine intended for the first production aircraft but which did not materialise until mid-1917; note the engine's characteristic oval-shaped radiator and the lengthened undercarriage, introduced since the early production aircraft.
A Fiat-powered D.H.4 with bomb rack under the fuselage possibly intended for a single 230 lb bomb. Although the engine cowling contours appeared better than other D.H.4 installations, the overall effect was considerably greater drag owing to the exposed cylinders and the mounting of the radiator under the nose.
Full production-standard naval Eagle-powered D.H.4, N6000, with flat rear fuselage decking and flush-mounted rear Scarff gun ring. The aircraft is armed with twin front Vickers guns and is shown carrying a fuselage-mounted 112 lb RL bomb and eight wing-mounted light bombs. The repetition of the rudder flash on the elevators was unusual.
A 230hp Siddeley Puma-powered D.H.4, probably with No 27 Squadron at its base at Ruisseauville in France during 1918, seen here carrying a pair of 112 lb RL bombs under the wings.
Airco D.H.9

  The unexpected appearance by German bombers over London on 13 June 1917 sparked an immediate reaction by the Chief of the General Staff, Sir William Robertson, who forthrightly demanded a considerable and immediate increase in aircraft production - assumed to be fighters with which to bolster the air defences of the British Isles. Eight days later, however, this expansion of the air services was qualified when it was decided to increase the number of RFC squadrons from 108 to 200, the majority of the new units to be equipped with bombers. The initial understanding of this was that Britain was planning retaliation by establishing a new bombing force with which to strike at German cities.
  This was not to be - at least in the short term - and the only direct action taken at the time of the German daylight raids was to withdraw a single fighter squadron from France to an aerodrome in Kent.
  The real significance of the decision announced on 21 June was the implicit recognition, by the relative success of the first German raid, of the bomber as a potentially decisive weapon of war, whether it was to be used against the enemy in the field or in his home. An immediate and significant increase in the production of long-range heavy bombers would have been beyond the conceivable capacity o f British manufacturers. Instead, production orders were immediately issued for 700 extra Airco D.H.4s, an aircraft that was beginning to appear in service and, with some reservations, was spoken of highly by the RFC.
  On 23 July the Air Board was given preliminary details of an improved development of the D.H.4, to be termed the D.H.9, in which the shortcomings of that aeroplane would be overcome while retaining 90 per cent of the original airframe. The principal alteration was to relocate the pilot further aft, so as to be closer to his observer/gunner, by moving the fuel tank forward from its former position between the two crew members to a position between the engine and the pilot. This change would at least be applauded by many D.H.4 crews and remove one weakness of the aircraft in combat.
  The other major change was in the choice of the BHP engine, said at that time to be developing 300hp. Based on this power the D.H.9 was calculated to be capable of a speed of 112 mph at 10,000 feet, a performance considered adequate to match enemy fighters. With such a degree of commonality with the D.H.4, it was pointed out that factories already producing that aeroplane would lose only a few weeks' production when changing over to the D.H.9. As if to prove the point, Airco had converted a D.H.4, A7559, to become the prototype D.H.9, and this was living by the end of July.
  Unfortunately, yet again a new British engine, which had attracted considerable Government support and public funding, encountered serious difficulties when efforts were made to introduce it into production. The BHP engine had been selected for the D.H.9 as it was already scheduled for mass production, for which responsibility had been vested in the Siddeley-Deasy Motor Car Company, with 2,000 engines already ordered. By July sufficient quantities of the engines' cast aluminium cylinder blocks were being delivered to enable Siddeley-Deasy to produce 100 complete engines each month - until it was discovered that 90 per cent of the blocks were defective. A quick assessment of the cause and rectification of the fault proved impossible, and the decision to de-rate production BHP engines to 230hp was taken on the assumption that lower engine stresses would prevent the fault from causing engine failure, and so as not to delay deliveries to the Service. The assumption was badly flawed.
  The first deliveries were made in November 1917 to No 108 Squadron, the first of the squadrons newly formed to fly the D.H.9 and then stationed at Stonehenge. Owing to the inevitable trouble with its engines, this Squadron did not move to France until July the following year. No 103 Squadron took delivery of its D.H.9s at nearby Old Sarum in December, and moved to France five months later.
  D.H.9s were delivered to Nos 98 and 99 Squadrons, RFC, and Nos 2, 6 and 11 (Naval) Squadrons, RNAS, all in France during the first four months of 1918, followed by No 27 Squadron, RFC, shortly afterwards. By June nine squadrons were flying D.H.9s over the Western Front, and thirteen others were working up on them in the United Kingdom. All this, despite the fact that Maj-Gen Hugh Trenchard had learned in November 1917 that the performance of the D.H.9 was inferior to that of the D.H.4, which it was intended to replace. And on 14 November Sir Douglas Haig, influenced by Trenchard's dissatisfaction, expressed the view that the D.H.9 would be wholly outclassed as a day bomber by June 1918.
  In action the D.H.9 fared disastrously, combat loss figures being doubled by losses due to engine failures. For instance, between May and November 1918, Nos 99 and 104 Squadrons (flying with the VIII Brigade) between them flew 848 aircraft sorties in the course of 83 bombing raids; 123 aircraft were forced to return with engine trouble, 54 aircraft were lost to enemy action, and 94 were destroyed in accidents. In a raid by twelve D.H.9s of No 99 Squadron against Mainz on 31 July, three aircraft turned back with engine trouble and seven others were shot down by German fighters; only the leader, Capt A H Taylor and one other pilot brought their machines back to their aerodrome at Azelot. During another raid by 21 D.H.9s of Nos 27 and 98 Squadrons against Aulnoye on 1st October, no fewer than fifteen turned back with engine trouble; the remainder turned back as they were unable to defend themselves with such depleted numbers.
  The increasing scale of D.H.9 service in the face of heavy losses on the Western Front was the outcome of political intransigence by politicians, and Staffs' determination to pursue a policy that was demonstrably wrong, being afraid of the consequences if they changed course.
  No one denied that the D.H.9 could have been an excellent bombing aircraft had the right engine been decided upon in the first place. Various alternatives were tried, including the six-cylinder, in-line Fiat A-12, of which Sir William Weir, Controller of Aeronautical Supplies on the Air Board, had ordered 2,000 examples for delivery between January and June 1918, but only 100 Fiat D.H.9s were produced (by Short Bros). Other engines flown experimental in the aircraft included a 290hp high compression version of the Siddeley Puma, and the 430hp Napier Lion (an aircraft which possessed a maximum speed of 144 mph at sea level without bombs). Another engine flown experimentally in the USA was the new Liberty 12, an engine that opened a new and more auspicious chapter in the history of the D.H.9, that of the D.H.9A.
  It transpired that most of the D.H.9 squadrons which were formed in Britain during the spring and summer of 1918 were not destined to go to France; instead the aircraft began assuming the duty of coastal patrol off the British coasts. In doing so, they took over from another Airco aircraft, the D.H.6. This biplane was designed at the outset as a trainer but, with the increasing toll of shipping being taken by German submarines in 1917, they were adapted to carry a single 100 lb anti-submarine bomb, and equipped about 30 Flights distributed among a dozen coastal aerodromes. (In the Second World War, during the months when a German invasion threatened, a few de Havilland Tiger Moths were adapted to carry light bombs for 'anti-invasion' patrols off the coasts of Britain.)
  D.H.9s gave valuable service in Palestine with sustained attacks on the retreating Turks during Allenby's offensive in the closing months of the War. Other D.H.9s, based in the Aegean, made attempts to bomb Constantinople, flights which took the aircraft to the limit of their endurance - even when carrying locally-made extra fuel tanks. Limited bombing raids were flown by No 47 Squadron, based in Macedonia, including attacks on retreating Bulgarian troops during September 1918.
  A total of 3,204 D.H.9s had been built by the end of 1918, of which 2,166 had been delivered to the RFC, RNAS and RAF. Production even continued into 1919, with most of the postwar examples being delivered into storage, and most of them scrapped without ever being flown. A few remained in service until 1920, but by then the D.H.9A was equipping the peacetime Service.

  Type: Single-engine, two-seat, two-bay biplane light bomber.
  Manufacturers: The Aircraft Manufacturing Co Ltd, Hendon, London NW9; The Alliance Aeroplane Co Ltd, Hammersmith, London W6; F W Berwick & Co Ltd, Park Royal, London NW10; Cubitt Ltd, Croydon, Surrey; Mann, Egerton & Co Ltd, Aircraft Works, Norwich, Norfolk; National Aircraft Factory No 1, Waddon, Surrey; National Aircraft Factory No 2, Heaton Chapel, Lancashire; Short Bros (Rochester and Bedford) Ltd, Rochester, Kent; The Vulcan Motor and Engineering Co (1906) Ltd, Crossens, Lancashire; Waring and Gillow Ltd, Hammersmith, London W6; G & J Weir Ltd, Cathcart, Glasgow; Westland Aircraft Works, Yeovil, Somerset; Whitehead Aircraft Co Ltd, Richmond, Surrey.
  Powerplant: One 230hp Galloway Adriatic (BHP) six-cylinder inline water-cooled engine driving two-blade wooden propeller; also 230hp Siddeley Puma (and 290hp high compression version), 230hp Fiat A-12; 430hp Napier Lion.
  Structure: Wire-braced wooden structure, fabric- and ply-covered; two spruce wing spars, wooden V-strut undercarriage with rubber cord-sprung wheel axle.
  Dimensions (Puma engine): Span, 42ft 4 3/8in; length, 30ft 5in; height, 11ft 3 1/2in; wing area, 434 sq ft.
  Weights (Puma engine): Tare, 2,230 lb; all-up (460 lb bomb load), 3,790 lb.
  Performance (Puma engine): Max speed, 113 mph at sea level, 109.5 mph at 10,000ft; climb to 10,000ft, 18 min 30 sec; service ceiling, 15,500ft; endurance, 4 1/2 hr.
  Armament: Bomb load of up to 460 lb, comprising combinations of 230 lb and 112 lb bombs on external racks. Gun armament comprised one synchronized 0.303in Vickers machine gun on nose decking, offset to port, and either one or two Lewis guns with Scarff ring on observer's cockpit.
  Prototype: One, A7559 (a converted D.H.4), first flown by Capt Geoffrey de Havilland at Hendon in July 1917.
  Production: Total number of D.H.9s ordered, 4,630; total number built, 4,091. Westland, 300 (B7581-B7680, D7201-D7300 and F1767-F1866); Vulcan, 100 (B9331-B9430); Weir, 400 (C1151-C1450 and D9800-D9899); Berwick, 180 (C2151-C2230 and D7301-D7400); Airco, 1,200 (C6051-C6121, C6123-C6349, D2876-D3275, E5435, E5436, E8857-E9056 and H9113-119412); Cubitt, 500 (D451-D950); National Aircraft Factorv No 2, 500 (D1001-D1500); Mann, Egerton, 100 (D1651-D1750); Short Bros, 100 (D2776-D2875); Waring and Gillow, 500 (D5551-D5850 [50 sub-contracted] and F1101-F1300); Whitehead, 100 (E601-E700); National Aircraft Factory No 1, 300 (F1-F300); Alliance, 350 (H5541-H5890). Of these 539 were cancelled, and approximately 800 were only partly completed or were delivered into storage from late-1918 onwards.
  Summary of Service with RFC, RNAS and RAF: D.H.9s served with Nos 27,49,98, 99, 103, 104, 107, 108 and 110 Squadrons, RFC, on the Western Front; with Nos 17 and 47 Squadrons, RFC, in Macedonia; with No 105 Squadron, RAF, in Ireland; with Nos 117, 119, 120, 121, 122, 123, 124, 125, 126, 127, 128, 129, 130, 132 and 137 Squadrons, RFC and/or RAF, based in the United Kingdom; with Nos 55, 142 and 144 Squadron in the Middle East; with Nos 202, 206, 211 and 218 Squadron, RAF, ex-RNAS, on the Western Front; with Nos 212, 219, 233, 250, 254 and 273 Squadrons, RAF, home based on coastal patrol; with Nos 55 and 142 Squadrons, RAF, in the Middle East (postwar); No 221 Squadron in the Aegean, on anti-submarine patrol and bombing; No 223 Squadron in the Aegean as light bomber unit; Nos 224, 226 and 227 Squadrons, RAF, in the Mediterranean as light bomber units; with No 269 Squadron, RAF, based in Egypt for coastal patrol; and with No 186 (Training) Squadron.
C6051 was the first production D. H. 9, and this view clearly shows the improved arrangement of the cockpits. The aircraft was powered by a Siddeley-built BHP engine with a short exhaust manifold; the engine radiator is shown in the retracted position.
Airco D.H. 10 Amiens

  It has been said, possibly apocryphally, that while the German bombers were attacking London in daylight on 7 July 1917, the sole D.H.3 twin-engine bomber prototype was being burnt in a scrapyard at Hendon. True or false, it is ironic that it required the daylight raids on the British capital to persuade the Air Board to reconsider its ill-judged opinion that twin-engine bombers were impractical, a view that had brought development of the D.H.3 to a premature end eighteen months earlier.
  By the end of July 1917 Air Board Specification A.2.b had been drafted, calling for a single- or twin-engine day bomber with a two-man crew, capable of carrying bombs and racks weighing 500 lb at a height of at least 19,000 feet, with a maximum speed with this load at 15,000 feet of not less than 110 mph. Moreover, the Air Board's Technical Committee went a step further by expressing the view that the D.H.3, if fitted with two 200hp BHP engines, could meet this requirement, and straightway ordered a single prototype, C4283.
  As work got underway on this aircraft, Geoffrey de Havilland started a radical redesign of the D.H.3, using 230hp Siddeley Puma engines in a slightly enlarged airframe, and on 18 October Airco was instructed to concentrate on this version, ordering three new prototypes, C8658-C8660, ten days later.
  The first of the new prototypes, C8658, was flown at Hendon on 4 March 1918, cut-outs in the trailing edge of the upper wing being necessitated by the use of pusher propellers. This machine was delivered to Martlesham Heath on 7 April for evaluation, but failed by a substantial margin to meet the performance demands, being scarcely able to manage 90 mph at 15,000 feet with the stipulated bomb load.
  This lack of performance had, however, been anticipated, and the second prototype, C8659, was flown on 20 April with 360hp Rolls-Royce Eagle VIIIs in tractor installations, becoming known as the Amiens Mark II - even though the Air Ministry explained that this version was unlikely to achieve production owing to heavy demand for this engine elsewhere. As with the D.H.9A, the Eagle installation was only undertaken to test the various airframe modifications introduced, not least those associated with the tractor engines. Indeed the Eagle installation was similar to that of the American 395hp Liberty 12 engine, selected for the finite production Amiens.
  The prototype of this, the Amiens Mark III, C8660, was delivered to Martlesham Heath on 28 July, demonstrating a maximum sea level speed of about 120 mph while carrying four 230 lb bombs - well in excess of the speed and load demanded. It failed, however, to meet the load-at-altitude requirements by a slender margin. This aircraft also had the twin nosewheels removed - relics of the old D.H.3 design.
  Meanwhile work had resumed on the original prototype, C4283, now referred to as the fourth prototype as it was intended to represent the Amiens Mark III in its production guise. With raked wing tips and horn-balanced ailerons, and 405hp Liberty 12 high-compression engines, it exceeded all the speed, altitude and load requirements.
  The first major alteration to production D.H. 10s involved mounting the engine nacelles on the lower wings instead of at mid-gap and, following a favourable report from Martlesham, this modification was introduced into Mann, Egerton's production line at Norwich as the Amiens IIIa, of which 32 were produced. All production D.H. 10s were covered by the Air Ministry's Specification Type VII, issued in April 1918.
  The only other significant variant was the D.H. 10C Amiens IIIc, powered by 375hp Eagle VIIIs, but this was no more than a shortlived insurance against discontinuation of Liberty production in America. As far as can be discovered only five examples were produced, all random installations in Airco's final production batch. Two of these, E5458 and E5550, were experimentally armed with the 11/2-pounder COW gun for trials at Ordfordness in 1920.
  The general uncertainty of and delays in the delivery of Liberty engines during 1918 was the cause o f the production of Amiens aircraft falling further and further behind schedule during the last six months of the War, and it had been planned to have the aircraft in service with eight squadrons of the Independent Force by the spring o f 1919. A total of 1,291 D.H. 10s was on order with seven companies by November 1918, but only eight had been delivered by that month. Post-Armistice cancellations then reduced to actual number built to just 258. More than 100 of these remained in store until the aircraft was declared obsolete in April 1923.

Postwar Service

  In the event the D.H. 10 only fully equipped Nos 97 (becoming No 60), 104 and 216 Squadrons, and none gave service as a bomber in the United Kingdom. Moreover, its Service life only spanned the period between November 1918 and April 1923.
  First deliveries were made to No 104 Squadron in the first half of November 1918, then based at Maisoncelle in France, and it was with this unit that the Amiens flew its one and only wartime operation when on the day before the Armistice, F1867, flown by Capt Ewart Garland, joined a raid on Sarrebourg in Lorraine. No 104 gave up its aircraft in February 1919, returned to the United Kingdom and disbanded six months later.
  In the meantime No 97 Squadron, hitherto equipped with Handley Page O/400s, had returned to England and began taking on a full complement of D.H. 10s at Ford in January, the first two Airco-built examples, E5450 and E5456, arriving that month. In July the Squadron sailed for India, and between August and November took delivery of tropicalised D.H. 10s, identified by taller radiators to provide extra cooling of the Libertys.
  On 1 April 1920 No 97 Squadron was renumbered No 60 while at Lahore, and the new Squadron took charge of the D.H. 10s, moving to Risalpur to provide support for the ground forces on the North-West Frontier.
  That same month the Squadron's Amiens helped the army to suppress the Pathan revolt that marked the climax of the Third Afghan War, but another Pathan rising in November brought further air action when D.H. 10s, in company with other RAF bombers, attacked bands o f rebel tribesmen in the Tilli area. No 60 Squadron continued to fly its Amiens until April 1923 when they were replaced by D.H.9As.
  The only other Squadron to be fully equipped with D.H.10s was No 216 at Abu Sueir in Egypt, which received its first Amiens in December 1919, with eight further machines arriving during the next six months. To begin with, the D.H. 10s were flown by one Flight, charged with pioneering an air mail service between Cairo and Baghdad, while, until October 1921, the other Flight continued to fly O/400 heavy bombers. Owing to the low weight of mail payloads, No 216 Squadron simultaneously flew a 'taxi' service in the mail aircraft, adding a second cockpit behind that of the pilot. In June 1922, with the arrival of Vimys, the D.H. 10s became redundant as the Vickers aircraft could more efficiently perform passenger, mail and bombing duties on its own.
  Amiens aircraft also served in small numbers with other Squadrons, including one (E5459) with No 24 at Kenley in the communications role, two with No 27 Squadron for bombing duties on the North-West Frontier late in 1922, one (the first prototype, C8658) with No 51 Squadron in Norfolk during 1918 for evaluation as a heavy fighter, and one with No 120 Squadron for an experimental night mail service between Hawkinge in Kent and Cologne during May 1919.
  Another experimental Amiens was the Birmingham Carriage Company-built E6042, which underwent prolonged trials with various tail configurations, including twin fins and rudders; first delivered to the RAE at Farnborough on 25 October 1919, it was last flown on 8 July 1926.
  A few Amiens trainers with dual controls were produced for No 6 Flying Training School at Manston, and at least one of these was flying in 1922.

  Type: Twin-engine, three-crew, three-bay biplane medium bomber.
  Specification: Air Board (1917) Specification A.2.B
  Manufacturers: The Aircraft Manufacturing Co Ltd, Hendon, London NW9; Birmingham Carriage Co, Birmingham; The Daimler Co Ltd, Coventry; Mann, Egerton & Co Ltd, Aylsham Road, Norwich, Norfolk; The Siddeley-Deasey Motor Car Co Ltd, Parkside, Coventry; National Aircraft Factory No 2, Stockport.
  Powerplant: Mark I. Two 230hp BHP six-cylinder liquid-cooled in-line engines driving two-blade pusher propellers. Mark II. Two 360hp Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII twelve-cylinder liquid-cooled in-line engines driving two-blade tractor propellers. Mark III and IIIA. Two 400hp Liberty 12 engines. Mark IIIC. Two 375hp Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII engines.
  Structure: All-wood, wire-braced box structure; forward fuselage ply-covered, rear fabric-covered. Twin laminated spruce wing spars with ash ribs and silver spruce interplane struts.
  Dimensions (Mark IIIA): Span, 65ft 6in; length, 39ft 7 1/16in; height, 14ft 6in; wing area, 837.4 sq ft.
  Weights (Mark IIIA): Tare, 5,750 lb; all-up (with bomb load), 9,060 lb
  Performance (Mark IIIA): Max speed, 131 mph at sea level, 124 mph at 10,000ft; climb to 10,000ft, 11 min; service ceiling, 19,000ft; endurance, 6 hr.
  Armament: Bomb load of up to 920 lb (112 lb and 230 lb bombs or combinations) carried internally. Single- or double-yoked 0.303in Lewis machine guns with Scarff rings mounted on nose and midships gunners' cockpits.
  Prototypes: Three, C8658-C8660. First aircraft, Mark I C8658, first flown by Capt Geoffrey de Havilland at Hendon on 4 March 1918. One other prototype, C4283, was converted to full Amiens III production standard.
  Production: A total of 1,291 D.H.10s was ordered, but only 258 were built, as follows: Airco, 138 (E5437-E5558 and F1867-F1882, all D.H.10 Mark Ills); Birmingham Carriage, 20 (E6037-E6056, all Mark Ills); Siddeley-Deasey, 28 (E7837-E7864, all Mark Ills); Daimler, 40 (E9057-E9096, all Mark Ills); Mann, Egerton, 32 (F8421-F8452, all Mark IIIAs).
  Summary of Service: D.H. 10 Mark Ills and IIIAs served with No 104 Squadron, RAF, in France between November 1918 and February 1919; with No 97 Squadron (renumbered No 60 Squadron on 1 April 1920) at Risalpur, India, between April 1919 and April 1923); and with No 216 Squadron at Abu Sueir and Heliopolis, Egypt, between December 1919 and June 1922. E5459 served with No 24 (Communications) Squadron at Kenley and London Colney in 1919; two D.H. 10s flew bombing operations with No 27 Squadron in India in 1922; one (C8658) was evaulated as a heavy fighter with No 51 Squadron, and one operated a night mail service with No 120 Squadron between Hawkinge and Cologne in May 1919.
Originally commenced as the first D.H. 10 prototype, C4283 was completed after the three true prototypes had flown, and became representative of the initial production version with Liberty 12 engines, and without the twin nosewheels.
Delivered to the RAF on 1 March 1919, F9421 was the first Mann, Egerton-built Amiens IIIa; most of these aircraft were issued to No 60 Squadron on the North-West Frontier.
A standard Amiens Mk III, E6042, built by the Birmingham Carriage Company, was modified to have twin fins and rudders, and was delivered to the RAE at Farnborough in October 1919, continuing to fly until 1926 in what was probably a basic research programme into directional control and stability of twin-engine biplanes.
Airco D.H.10A Amiens
Airco D.H.9A

  The original plans for the creation of a strategic bombing force in 1917 assumed the use of light day bombers capable, if not necessarily of being fully able to defend themselves, at least of being escorted by fighters, and a force of heavy night bombers. The appearance of the D.H.9, steadfastly favoured by ministers and boards remote from the fighting fronts, attracted bitter criticism from commanders in the field, who pointed to its lack of speed, agility and muscle, as well as its inevitable obsolescence by mid-1918.
  Plans to introduce a new version, the D.H.9A, powered by the 375hp Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII, suffered a major setback when the Air Board allocated elsewhere the great majority of these, the best British engines being produced in quantity during the winter of 1917-18. As a result, attention was quickly focused on the new American Liberty 12 for which extravagant steps had been announced towards mass production, and had first flown in a D.H.4 during October 1917 - and by the end of January 1918 the Air Board had requested the supply of 3,000 examples.
  Because the Aircraft Manufacturing Company was by then fully occupied with developing the D.H. 10, responsibility for redesigning the D.H.9 to incorporate the American engine was vested in the Westland Aircraft Works, a manufacturer that had already built numerous D.H.4s and D.H.9s, and whose high quality of workmanship was something of a byword in aviation circles. New wings of almost 46 feet span, and with an area increased by 12 per cent, were designed, and the fuselage box-girder was strengthened by employing wire cross-bracing in place of the former ply partitions. Because no Liberty engine was yet available, a Westland-built D.H.9 underwent these airframe modifications and was fitted with an Eagle VIII together with a frontal radiator similar to that of the Liberty engine. The structure of the latter engine's installation was similar to that of the Rolls-Royce, and in due course, when production of the Eagle increased, the new D.H.9A with the British engine was also built in small numbers (though the Liberty version came to be regarded as the standard machine). B7664 was first flown at Yeovil in March 1918 and underwent Service evaluation at the EAS the same month; the first Eagle-powered prototype had arrived at Martlesham towards the end of February.
  The first Liberty 12 was received by Westland in March; indeed, production of the American engine began to lag behind schedule from the outset, and delivery of the 3,000 engines for Britain, intended to be completed by the end of July 1918, was suspended in August after no more than 1,050 had been shipped. The first Liberty-powered, British-built D.H.9A, C6122, was flown by Harry Hawker at Yeovil in April, and by the end of June 18 examples had been delivered to the RAF.
  One of the early Liberty-D.H.9As was flown at Martlesham in July, enabling comparisons to be made with the Eagle aircraft. When carrying a pair of 230 lb bombs the normal load - there was little to choose between the two versions, although with the extra power of the Liberty the aircraft with this engine returned a service ceiling of 16,750 feet, compared with 14,000 feet with the Eagle. Endurance was also significantly better. However, the Eagle D.H.9A demonstrated its ability to carry a maximum bomb load of 740 pounds.
  Eight squadrons of the RAF received D.H.9As before the Armistice, of which four were light bomber units that took part in bombing operations, two did not become operational during the War, and two were engaged in anti-submarine patrols flying from Great Yarmouth in Norfolk.
  The First Squadron to take deliveries was No 110 in July 1918, then stationed at Kenley with D.H.9s. The Squadron moved to France where it became part of the Independent Force at Bettoncourt on 1 September. All this unit's initial complement of D.H.9As ('Nine-Acks' in the current RAF parlance) were subscribed by HH the Nizam of Hvderabad, a gesture that gained lasting recognition when the Squadron was officially named No 110 (Hyderabad) Squadron. Unfortunately No 110 fared badly in the small number of operations flown before the Armistice and, in a daylight raid on Frankfurt on 21 October, 7 out of 13 aircraft despatched failed to return, and another returned early with engine trouble. During its two months in action the Squadron lost 17 D.H.9As to enemy action, and 28 others in accidents.
  In August No 205 Squadron began re-equipping on its French aerodrome at Bovelles, followed by Nos 99 in September and 18 in October. Nos 25 and 120 Squadrons, though in the process of re-equipping with D.H.9As at the time of the Armistice, had no opportunity to fly them in action. Two Squadrons at Great Yarmouth, Nos 212 and 273, received their new machines in August and September and flew them on a number of anti-submarine patrols before the end of hostilities.
  By the end of the War a total of 2,250 D H.9As had been ordered from six manufacturers, the vast majority of them scheduled to be powered by Liberty 12s; by 31 December, 885 of these aircraft had been built. However, that month had brought about the cancellation of 520 aircraft, despite the decision taken to retain the D.H.9A in the peacetime RAF; it is likely that the cancellation was brought about owing to the uncertainties surrounding the continued production of the Liberty 12 in America. Any fears of that production being terminated however, proved groundless, and the Americans were quick to recognize the excellence of their engine. On the other hand, with the Geddes Axe beginning to be imposed in Britain, there were other uncertainties concerning the likely size o f the peacetime RAF, and the scale of appropriations likely to be voted in Parliament. (Bearing in mind this uncertainty, it is perhaps worth mentioning that the 375hp Eagle VIII was almost exactly one-third more expensive than the 400hp Liberty engine.)

Postwar Service

  Paradoxically all the above squadrons disposed of their D.H.9As within eighteen months of the Armistice, all but one of them being disbanded; only No 25 Squadron survived, to become a fighter squadron on 1 February 1920, flying Sopwith Snipes.
  Two other squadrons were equipped with D.H.9As for a short time immediately after the War. No 57 Squadron was given a few of the new aircraft with which to operate a temporary mail service between France and the United Kingdom before being disbanded in December 1919.
  No 221 Squadron (formerly 'D' Squadron of the RNAS prior to the creation of the Royal Air Force) had been engaged in bombing duties in the Aegean with D.H.4 sand 9s during 1918. On moving to Mudros in December that year, it was equipped with D.H.9As before embarking in HMS Riviera for southern Russia, setting up a temporary base at Baku on the shores of the Caspian. It then flew north to Petrovsk whence it carried out bombing raids and armed reconnaissance over Astrakhan in support of 'White Russian' forces fighting the Bolsheviks. In September the RAF personnel were ordered home and the D.H.9As were handed over to the Russians. (The D.H.9A was also built in Russia as the R-1, being powered by M-5 engines assumed to be copied from the Liberty.)
  In due course the D.H.9A was confirmed as the RAF's principal light day bomber in the peacetime Service; between 1920 and 1931 it served on no fewer than 24 squadrons, nine of them in the Middle East and India. The early 1920s were the period o f the RAF's fight for survival in the face of wrangling by the War Office and Admiralty, each determined to create its own air arm in place of the fledgling Service. Trenchard, as the first Chief of the Air Staff, saw in the light bomber (and implicitly the D.H.9A) the ideal instrument with which to exercise Britain's Mandate to supervise the restructuring of the Middle East, following the destruction of the Ottoman Empire.
  Handicapped by a lack of established aerodromes throughout the theatre, which covered the vast area later defined as Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq, the RAF was initially obliged to depend on stations in north-east Egypt and those at Baghdad and Basra, later establishing bases at Ramleh, Amman, Hinaidi, Kirkuk and Shaibah. To these were added countless desert landing grounds throughout the area at which aircraft could put down to refuel. During 1920 and 1921 five Squadrons, Nos 8, 30, 47, 55 and 84, all flying D.H.9As, were formed or re-formed at Suez, Helwan and Baghdad, retaining these aircraft almost throughout the 1920s.
  Their duties were officially described as local security' but, as the months passed, it became all too clear that self-preservation in an environment of harsh desert conditions was the concern uppermost in the minds of air- and groundcrews alike. The Liberty engine, not conceived to operate in ambient temperatures often well above 35°C, was provided with a larger tropical radiator in the nose plus an additional radiator under the nose, as well as additional water containers carried beneath the wings, lest the machine was forced down in the desert with an overheating engine. Landings in the desert or at one of the makeshift strips were also hard on the aircraft's wheels and tyres, so it became common practice for the 'Nine-Acts' to carry a spare wheel attached to the fuselage for such emergencies.
  Not surprisingly, occasional bombing attacks were carried out against marauding or dissident tribesmen, and their rifles, though often fired at random, presented a threat to the slow and low-flying D.H.9As, whose Vickers and Lewis machine guns were used as a necessary deterrent. The bombs most frequently dispensed were 112-pounders of which, in a temperature of 38°C, the D.H. could scarcely carry more than one - when added to the impedimenta for survival.
  Yet the D.H.9A performed its duties with admirable reliability, the Liberty engine being considered to be 'as good as any Rolls-Royce', while a single well-placed light bomb invariably served to satisfy the purpose of the Mandate.
  In February 1927 No 8 Squadron moved with its D.H.9As to Aden, where an airstrip was established at Khormaksar, later to become an important RAF Station. A year afterwards the D.H.s were replaced by Fairey IIIFs, but No 8 was to remain at Aden until 1945.
  The other overseas deployment of D.H.9As was in India, the first such aircraft arriving at Ambala with No 99 Squadron from France in June 1919. This squadron was disbanded on 1 April 1920 to become No 27 and, as such, moved to Risalpur near Peshawar in the North-West Frontier Province where it was to be joined by No 60 Squadron in April 1923, also with D.H.9As. This theatre and the Khyber Pass in particular, constantly wracked by the depredations of marauding Afghan tribesmen, was even more demanding than the deserts of the Middle East, and the Liberty's reliability was vital, simply because the mountainous terrain rendered any forced landing out of the question.
  At home, the D.H.9A served on Nos 11, 12, 35, 39, 100, 101 and 207 Squadrons, their principal stations being Bircham Newton in Norfolk, and Spittlegate, Grantham. The last front-line aircraft to serve with the regular Service in the United Kingdom were those of No 35 Squadron, replaced by Fairey IIIFs in January 1930.
  The D.H.9A was notable in one other respect in being selected as the initial equipment of the Auxiliary Air Force, which came into being in September 1925. The first three Squadrons, Nos 600 (City of London), 602 (City of Glasgow) and 603 (City of Edinburgh), received their first aircraft in October that year at Northolt, Renfrew and Turnhouse respectively, all being declared light bomber units. In the years that followed they were to be joined by Nos 601, 604 and 605 Squadrons, and No 501 Squadron of the Special Reserve at Filton.
  Although production of the D.H.9A, ordered under wartime contracts, had been allowed to run out in 1919, with many of the early production aeroplanes undergoing progressive modification and rebuilding in the course of the next seven years, new production contracts were found necessary in 1925 and 1926. To cater for slightly modified requirements, new contracts were issued to de Havilland, Westland, Short, Hawker, Parnall, Saunders and Blackburn - in some instances for work that was to provide a lifeline at a time when the aircraft industry was fighting for survival. Among the new aircraft produced under these contracts was a Westland-built batch of 35 D.H.9A (Dual Control) trainers, J8460-J8494. Another batch of aircraft, converted by Westlands during rebuilding, were six much-modified D.H.9As, J6957-J6962, powered by 465hp Napier Lion II engines - which bestowed a sea level maximum speed of 144 mph; only one o f these Lion aircraft ever served with a Squadron when J6958 joined No 55 in February 1927 at Hinaidi, Iraq, for the personal use of Air Vice-Marshal Sir John Higgins KCB, KBE, DSO, AFC, Air Officer Commanding British Forces in Iraq.

  Type: Single-engine, two-seat, two-bay biplane light bomber.
  Manufacturers: Wartime. The Aircraft Manufacturing Co Ltd, Hendon, London NW9; F W Berwick & Co Ltd, Park Royal, London NW10; Mann, Egerton & Co Ltd, Aylsham Road, Norwich, Norfolk; The Vulcan Motor and Engineering Co (1906) Ltd, Crossen, Lancashire; Westland Aircraft Works, Yeovil, Somerset; Whitehead Aircraft Co Ltd, Richmond, Surrey. Postwar. The de Havilland Aircraft Co Ltd, Stag Lane, Edgware, Middlesex; The Blackburn Aeroplane and Motor Co Ltd, Leeds and Brough, Yorkshire; II G Hawker Engineering Co Ltd, Canbury Park Road, Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey; George Parnall and Co Ltd, Coliseum Works, Bristol; S E Saunders Ltd, East Cowes, Isle of Wight; Short Bros (Rochester and Bedford) Ltd, Rochester, Kent; Westland Aircraft Works, Yeovil, Somerset.
  Powerplant: One 400hp Liberty 12 twelve-cylinder, water-cooled, in-line engine; 375hp Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII; 465hp Napier Lion II.
  Structure: Wire-braced wooden box structure in fuselage; forward section ply covered, rear fabric-covered. Laminated spruce wing spars.
  Dimensions: Span, 45ft 11 3/8in; length (Liberty 12 engine), 30ft 3in; height, 11ft 4in; wing area, 486.75 sq ft.
  Weights (Liberty 12): Tare, 2,800 lb; all-up (two 230 lb bombs), 4,645 lb.
  Performance (Liberty 12, with two 230lb bombs): Max speed, 123 mph at sea level, 114.5 mph at 10,000ft; climb to 10,000ft, 15 min 45 sec; service ceiling, 16,750ft; endurance, 5 1/4hr.
  Armament: One synchronized 0.303in Vickers machine gun on port side of nose, with Constantinesco CC interrupter gear, and single or twin Lewis machine guns with Scarff ring on rear cockpit. Bomb load of 740 lb carried on underwing and fuselage racks.
  Prototypes: Three (all converted D.H.9s, two with Eagle engines and one with Liberty 12)
  Production: Wartime orders for 2,250 aircraft, of which 1,730 were built, plus peacetime orders for 267 aircraft of which all were built; total production, 1,997. Aircraft built: Wartime production: Whitehead, 300 (E701-E1000); Airco, 575 (E8407-E8806 and H1-H175); Mann, Egerton, 150 (E9657-E9756 and J551-J600); Vulcan, 225 (E9857-E9956 and H3546-H3670); Westland, 350 (F951-F1101, F1603-F1652 and H3396-H3545); Berwick, 140 (F2733-F2872); Peacetime production: de Havilland, 45 (J7700, J7787-J7798, J7877-J7883 and J8129-J8153); Westland, 101 (J7799-J7819, J7855-J7866, J8096-J8128 and J8460-J8494); Short Bros, 37 (J7823-J7834, J7884-J7890 and J8154-J8171); Hawker, 30 (J7835-J7854 and J7867-J7876); Parnall, 18 (J8172-J8199); Saunders, 18 G8190-J8207); Blackburn, 18 (J8208-J8225). In addition, 204 aircraft were rebuilt (usually involving the assembly of stored components), all being allocated new serial numbers, by the following: Westland (66), Handley Page (21), de Havilland (18), Gloster (35), Hawker (39), and Packing Depot, Ascot (25).
  Summary of Service: D.H.9As served with Nos 18,99,110 and 205 Squadrons, RAF, on the Western Front; with No 25 Squadron in Germany, 1919; with the following home-based light bomber Squadrons after the War, Nos 11, 12, 35, 57, 100, 101 and 207 Squadrons; with Nos 212 and 273 Squadrons, home based on coastal patrol duties; with No 3 Squadron, home-based for fleet cooperation; with No 24 (Communications) Squadron; and No 120 Squadron, home-based for mail services. D.H.9As served with the RAF overseas with No 8 (Iraq and Aden), 14 (Palestine), 27, 30, 39 and 60 (India), 45 (Egypt), 47 (Russia and Egypt), 55 and 84 (Iraq), and 221 (Russia). D.H.9As equipped No 501 Squadron of the Special Reserve, and Nos 600, 601, 602, 603, 604 and 605 Squadrons of the Auxiliary Air Force.
A Westland-built early-standard Liberty-powered D.H.9A, during performance trials at the Experimental Aircraft Station, Martlesham Heath, in 1918. Because Westland undertook all the early design work to install the American engine in the aircraft, it became regarded as the parent company.
Originally flown by No 39 Squadron in the United Kingdom in 1923, this Whitehead-built D.H.9A was shipped to the Middle East in 1924 where it was fitted with an auxiliary radiator at the Hinaidi Aircraft Depot. It is seen here with No 84 Squadron flying from Shaibah in 1926, equipped for night flying and carrying a spare main wheel on the side of the front fuselage.
E8673 was a D.H.9A ordered from Airco during the War and completed tn 1920; in 1923 it was shipped to India and was converted to a dual-control trainer before joining No 27 Squadron at Risatpur, in whose markings it is shown here.
'Hyderabad No 7', F1000, one of the presentation D.H.9As of No 110 Squadron, the first squadron to fly the 'Nine-Ack' in action.
First of the Westland-built Lion II-powered D.H.9As, J6957, at Martlesham Heath in 1923; note the elaborate oleo undercarriage fitted on this variant.
One of the last Westland-built D.H.9As, produced to Specification 13/26, J8118 first flew in 1927 and was shipped to the Middle East where it served with Nos 8 and 45 Squadrons, being lost in an accident on 30 January 1928 in Egypt.
Airco D.H.9A
Airco D.H.11 Oxford

  It was perhaps to be expected that the manufacturers of the D.H.10 Amiens bomber should be invited to tender a design for an aircraft intended to replace that aircraft in service, and a Contract was signed with the Aircraft Manufacturing Company at Hendon for three prototypes (H5891-H5893) on 27 July 1918; all were required to be powered the 320hp ABC Dragonfly.
  Like the Avro Manchester, the D.H.11 was a twin-tractor biplane with a crew of three, and was designed to carry its bomb load internally. It was, however, an entirely different design from its antecedent, the D.H.10, often being likened to an enlarged, twin-engine version of the D.H.9. Construction was entirely of wood with wings and rear fuselage fabric-covered, the fuselage nose being ply-clad. The unswept, unstaggered, parallel-chord wings were fitted with horn-balanced ailerons on upper and lower surfaces; the lower wing possessed dihedral of two degrees outboard of the engines, and the upper of four degrees from the roots, giving the illusion from some aspects that the top wing was swept forward. The engine nacelles were mounted directly on the upper surface of the lower wings.
  The very deep fuselage occupied the entire wing gap, enabling the midships gunner to command an excellent all-round field of fire, while the pilot (occupying the left hand side of a very wide cockpit) and the nose gunner both enjoyed good fields of view.
  It seems likely that difficulty arose with regard to locating the bomb bay, owing to the type and disposition of the undercarriage fitted on the first prototype, as well as to the position of the aircraft’s centre of gravity, a problem compounded by the fact that, when delivered, the engines were each found to be some 120 lb heavier than previously notified - a discrepancy that required hurried recalculation of weight distribution. The undercarriage was of plain V-strut design with wheel cross-axle, the upper ends of the struts being anchored to the fuselage at the junctions of the wing spars with the lower longerons. If, as seems likely, the bomb bay was to be located between the planes of the wing spars, so as to be close to the aircraft’s centre of gravity, the bombs would have fouled the wheel cross-axle. This all suggests that the first prototype was not equipped with a bomb bay and that the undercarriage was no more than a jury structure, fitted temporarily pending design of a more robust split-axle type.
  Being roughly a month behind the completion of the Avro Manchester, the first D.H.11 prototype, H5891, was able to make its maiden flight in January 1919 powered by the Dragonfly engines. From the outset the aircraft encountered handling problems associated primarily with longitudinal and directional control and stability, the aircraft being nose-heavy in most flight regimes. It was therefore returned to the factory in July for repositioning of the engines - and possibly the fitting of a divided-axle undercarriage. It is not clear from records that have been located whether the D.H.11 had visited Martlesham Heath for trials in the meantime.
  In any case, owing to general dissatisfaction with the Dragonfly engine, the second and third prototypes had been cancelled on 30 June by the Air Ministry. The name Oxford had been officially bestowed on the D.H.11 during 1918 and, although this appears in Air Ministry documents of that time, it seems that the name was seldom used, particularly by the manufacturers, whose reports reflect an air of frustration with the design, not least when it also emerged that the engines were not only heavier than expected, but incapable of producing the power promised.
  Paradoxically, it is known that de Havilland undertook an alternative design of the D.H.11 to be powered by two 300hp high-compression Siddeley Puma engines in an Oxford Mk II, and these may have been intended for fitting in one of the uncompleted prototypes. In any case, this would have been abandoned when the Air Ministry dropped its plans to replace the D.H.10 Amiens.

  Type: Twin-engine, three-seat, three-bay biplane medium bomber.
  Air Ministry Specification: RAF Type IV, VI and VIII.
  Manufacturer: The Aircraft Manufacturing Co Ltd, Hendon, London N.W.9
  Powerplant: Two 320hp ABC Dragonfly I 9-cylinder air-cooled radial engines driving 2-blade tractor propellers.
  Structure: All-wood airframe structure, ply- and fabric-covered.
  Dimensions: Span, 60ft 2in; length, 45ft 2 3/4 in; height, 13ft 6in; wing area, 719 sq ft.
  Weights: Tare, 4,105 lb; all-up (four 230 lb bombs), 7,027 lb.
  Performance (with two 230 lb bombs): Max speed, 123 mph at sea level, 116 mph at 10,000ft; climb to 10,000ft, 13 min 45 sec; service ceiling, 14,500ft; endurance, 3 hr.
  Armament: Bomb load of up to four 230 lb bombs carried internally. Gun armament comprised nose and midships 0.303in Lewis machine guns on Scarff rings.
  Prototypes: One, H5891, first flown in January 1920; two others, H5892 and H5893, cancelled in 1919. No production.
Another view of the D.H.11, illustrating the illusion given by the upper wing's dihedral that it was swept forward. Such was the width and depth of the fuselage that there was space for a catwalk between the pilot's cockpit and the midships gunner's position.
In-flight view of the D.H.11 Oxford, H5891, showing the excellent field of fire provided for the midships gunner.
Airco D.H.14 Okapi

  Conceived as a successor to the Airco D.H.4, D.H.9 and D.H.9A, before the last-named had entered widespread service, the D.H.14 was ordered in prototype form a fortnight before the Armistice was signed when a far-reaching appraisal of the RAF’s peacetime aircraft requirements was hurriedly conducted. The document produced (now in Public Record Office AIR/1/2423, dated 25 November 1918) lists the D.H.14 as being considered as future equipment and a possible replacement for the D.H.10 Amiens day bomber under the Air Ministry Technical Department’s Specification VIII. In fact the manufacturer was at that time working to an amended version of Specification IVA, which had been superseded.
  The apparent confusion arose because the likely performance of the D.H.14, particularly in range and bomb load, was not far short of that being demanded of the prototypes already ordered for competitive evaluation to become a potential D.H.10 replacement, a fact that had not escaped the Air Ministry’s notice. Being powered by a single engine and with a two-man crew, it was likely that the unit cost of the D.H.14 would be significantly less than the twin-engine contenders. This consideration would become progressively more significant as the postwar cost-cutting began to take effect on the Services.
  The D.H.14, named the Okapi, was a large aeroplane for a single-engine aircraft, its size being dictated by the big 600hp, 21.4-litre Rolls-Royce Condor engine selected, and the bomb and fuel loads envisaged. Superficially it was not unlike an enlarged Liberty-powered D.H.9A, the Condor being provided with a large rectangular frontal radiator. Construction of the three prototypes was of wood throughout, the bomb load of six 112 lb bombs being accommodated in the fuselage in two bays between the wing spars and beneath the pilot's cockpit.
  Work on the Condor engine slowed down after the Armistice, and the first military D.H.14, J1938, was not flown until September 1920 at Stag Lane, having been taken over and completed by the new de Havilland Aircraft Company after the demise of Airco. (The third D.H.14, J1940, had been completed a year earlier and, as G-EAPY on the Civil Register, was powered by a 450hp Napier Lion engine. Flown by F S Cotton and W A Townsend in an attempt to fly to South Africa, it crashed in Italy on 4 February 1920. Repaired, and carrying its military serial, J1940, it was delivered to Martlesham Heath for comparative trials with the other, Condor-powered D.H.14 prototypes in April 1921.)
  The Okapi J1938 paid its first visit to Martlesham in December 1920, the month in which the second Okapi was first flown. Both aircraft underwent a long series of flight trials, much of their time being spent contributing to the development of the Condor engine, expected to become one of the RAF's cornerstone powerplants in a few years' time. The initial version, the Mark I, although intended to produce 600hp, was derated for the Okapi trials at 525hp, until J1939 was fitted with a fully-rated Condor IA in November 1921. Both prototypes were written off early in 1922, J1938 hitting a tree and being destroyed by fire on 10 February, while J1939 was damaged beyond economic repair in an accident during April.
  
  Type: Single-engine, two-seat, two-bay biplane medium bomber.
  Air Ministry Specifications: D of R Type 4A (as amended); later RAF Type IX.
  Manufacturer: The Aircraft Manufacturing Co Ltd, Hendon, London NVV9.
  Powerplant: One 525hp Rolls-Royce Condor I (later IA) V-twelve, water-cooled, in-line engine driving four-blade propeller. D.H.14A. 450hp Napier Lion.
  Dimensions: Span, 50ft 5in; length, 33ft 11 1/2 in (D.H.14A, 37ft 7in); height, 14ft 0in; wing area, 617 sq ft.
  Weights: Tare, 4,484 lb; all-up (six 112 lb bombs and full fuel), 7,074 lb.
  Performance (Condor I): Max speed, 126 mph at sea level, 122 mph at 10,000ft; endurance, 5 hr.
  Armament: Provision to carry six 112 lb bombs internally. Gun armament comprised one fixed, synchronized, 0.303in Vickers machine gun firing forward, and one Lewis gun with Scarff ring on observer's cockpit.
  Prototypes: Two D.H. 14s, J1938 (first flight, 29 or 30 September 1920) and J1939; J1940 (D.H.14A) first flown as G-EAPY on 4 December 1919. No production.
The first D.H.14 Okapi, J1938, c/n E.44, with 525 h.p. Rolls-Royce Condor I engine; this differed from previous Rolls-Royce engine in having four valves per cylinder.
Airco D.H.15 Gazelle

  Although intended from the outset as an experimental test bed for the big Galloway Atlantic engine, the Airco D.H.15 (named the Gazelle, in line with the current practice of naming all military aeroplanes) was ordered by the Air Ministry on 7 September 1918. The single prototype, J1937, was a standard D.H.9A airframe with local structural modifications to accommodate the new engine, and retained all the standard D.H.9A’s armament, including provision to carry its bomb load - presumably so that a realistic performance comparison could be made with the standard aeroplane, as well as other variants.
  The Galloway Atlantic was evolved in much the same manner as the Siddeley Tiger, except that two standard cast-iron BHP cylinder blocks were brought together on a common crankcase. Drive to the two-blade propeller was without reduction gear, and a large rectangular frontal radiator, similar to that of the Liberty 12, was provided. Two other features readily distinguished the Gazelle. The long, almost horizontal exhaust pipe on each side of the fuselage extended as far aft as the gunner's cockpit, while the pair of front centre-section wing struts were rigged almost vertically, whereas previously they had been raked forward.
  J1937 was completed in July 1919, and was eventually delivered to Martlesham Heath for performance trials the following May. Compared with the standard Liberty-powered D.H.9A’s maximum speed of about 114 mph at 10,000 feet (without bomb load), the Gazelle achieved 133 mph under the same load conditions; it also displayed a 10 per cent all-round performance superiority over the 450hp Napier Lion-powered version of the D.H.9A.

  Type: Single-engine, two-seat, two-bay biplane experimental light bomber.
  Manufacturer: The Aircraft Manufacturing Co Ltd, Hendon, London NW9.
  Powerplant: One 500 hp (BHP) Galloway Atlantic twelve-cylinder water-cooled in-line engine driving two-blade propeller.
  Dimensions: Span, 45ft 11 3/8 in; length, 29ft 11ft; wing area, 486.73 sq ft.
  Weights: Tare, 2,312 lb; all-up, 4,773 lb.
  Performance: Max speed, 139 mph at sea level, 133 mph at 10,000ft; climb to 10,000ft, 8 min 12 sec; service ceiling, 20,000ft.
  Armament: One forward-firing synchronized 0.303in Vickers machine gun on nose, and one Lewis gun with Scarff ring on observer’s cockpit; provision to carry 460 lb bomb load.
  Prototype: One, J7936, flown in July 1919. No production.
Dyott Bomber

  George M Dyott gained his RAeC pilot's certificate on 11 August 1911 and almost immediately set off on a tour of North America, giving public demonstrations in a Deperdussin monoplane. On returning home he designed a small sporting monoplane, which he had built by Hewlett & Blondeau Ltd, and shortly before the War he designed a twin-engine biplane intended for exploration in Africa.
  This aircraft attracted the Admiralty's attention as a potential naval bomber and Dyott was prevailed upon to adapt it for Service consideration. Once again manufacture was the subject of a contract with Hewlett & Blondeau during the spring and summer of 1916, and the aircraft emerged as a well-proportioned biplane with parallel-chord, equal-span, four-bay wings outboard of the engines, which were located in the gap. Power was provided by a pair of 120hp Beardmore water-cooled engines without cowlings the only engines available to a relatively unknown aircraft designer on the fringe of the aircraft industry, and clearly unequal to the task of providing adequate power for a fairly large bomber.
  No fewer than five Lewis machine guns were carried, two being located to fire through ports in the sides of the nose; two spigot mounted on the front gunner's spacious cockpit and another on a gunner's position aft of the wings.
  After initial flights at Chingford, Essex, in August 1916, the first aircraft, No 3687, was delivered for trials at Hendon, while efforts were made to improve the design of the engine installations by introducing fully-cowled nacelles with frontal radiators. The nose contours were improved by straightening the top line of the fuselage and eliminating the slope upwards to the pilot's windscreen.
  No 3688 joined 3687 at Hendon at the beginning of September 1916. Both remained there until early October, when 3687 went to the Experimental Armament Depot on the Isle of Grain. After a period with the Design Flight at Eastchurch, No 3688 was transferred to Dunkerque for Service trials, but records suggest that it had been written off by March 1918.

  Type: Twin-engine, three-crew, four-bay biplane naval bomber.
  Manufacturer: Hewlett & Blondeau Ltd, Leagrave, Luton, Bedfordshire, to the design of George M Dyott,
  Powerplant: Two 120hp Beardmore six-cylinder water-cooled in-line engines driving two-blade tractor propellers. Later fitted with 230hp BHP engines.
  Dimensions (approx.): Span, 70ft; length, 50ft; height, 12ft; wing area, 800 sq ft.
  Weight (approx.): All-up, 7,800 lb.
  Armament: Gun armament comprised five Lewis guns four in the nose and one on midships gunner's cockpit. Details of intended bomb load not known.
  Prototypes: Two, Nos 3687 and 3688. No 3687 was flown at Chingford in August 1916.
The first Dyott Bomber, No 3687, in the aircraft's initial configuration with uncowled Beardmore engines, probably photographed at RNAS Hendon in August 1916.
In efforts to improve the Dyott, the first aircraft was later fitted with uncowled BHP engines (with their characteristic oval radiators), enlarged rudders and an improved front gun mounting.
Fairey F.16-F.22 Campania

  Formed in 1915 by Charles Richard Fairey (formerly chief engineer with Short Bros Ltd, Rochester, and later Sir Richard, Kt, MBE), Fairey Aviation Co Ltd was set on its path of aircraft manufacture by a production order for a dozen Short Type 827 seaplanes, aircraft whose configuration appears to have set a pattern for the majority of the company's own designs for several years to come. After an initial design, the F.2 - somewhat unrealistically termed a 'fighter', it being a large, gangling twin-engine aeroplane - Fairey turned his attention to producing a single-engine floatplane, drawing on his previous experience with Shorts, although the head of the design staff was F Duncanson. And in building this aeroplane, the Fairey F.16, the company embarked on a family of aircraft whose lineage could be traced through progressive derivatives to the famous Fairey IIIF of 1926 (after which Duncanson left to join the Gloster Aircraft Company).
  In the early days of floatplane operation from ships at sea the normal procedure was to hoist the seaplanes outboard from their 'carrier' prior to take-off from the water, a time-consuming and dangerous process in enemy waters as the parent vessel was obliged to heave-to. There were, moreover, frequent accidents when pilots attempted take-off from choppy seas. In an effort to circumvent this procedure, the Admiralty had purchased the ex-Cunard liner Campania, 20,000 tons, converted her to carry seaplanes and provided a 120-foot flight deck over the fo'c'sle, it being intended to fly the seaplanes off the deck, using a trolley chassis which separated from the floats as the aircraft left the deck. The first successful trolley launch was carried out by a Sopwith Schneider flown by Flt-Lt William Lawrie Welsh RN (later Air Marshal Sir William, KCB, DSC, AFC, RAF) on 6 August 1915.
  It was immediately obvious that a much longer deck would be required if larger floatplanes were to be operated in this manner, and the Campania was extensively modified to have a 200-foot flight deck. The Fairey F.16 was therefore designed specifically to examine the possibility of operating from this ship, with dimensions tailored to match the size of her hatches, and the name Campania was bestowed on the aircraft and its direct developments.
  Powered by a 250hp Rolls-Royce IV engine (later to become the 284hp Eagle IV), the F.16 was a well-proportioned two-bay, two-seat patrol aircraft. The folding wings, of unequal span, featured triangular kingpost structures to brace the outer sections of the upper wing, to which ailerons were fitted; small floats were located flush up to the undersurface of the bottom wing tips. The engine installation included radiator blocks attached to the sides of the nose, and the twin exhaust manifolds extended upwards through the upper wing.
  The prototype F.16, N1000, was the first in an order for ten aircraft (N1000-N1009) placed with Fairey, and was flown by Sydney Pickles at Hamble on 16 February 1917; soon afterwards it underwent official trials at the Marine Aircraft Experimental Depot, Isle of Grain.
  The following aircraft, N1001, termed the N.17, embodied numerous alterations, including the installation of a 275hp Rolls-Royce Mk V on longer engine bearers which enabled the twin exhaust stacks to incline upwards ahead of the wing; the cumbersome side radiators were discarded in favour of a more efficient frontal radiator. The chord of the ailerons was increased so that they now extended beyond the line of the wing trailing edge, and the kingposts were altered to rectangular structures, bestowing improved torsional rigidity on the outer wing sections. The wing floats were lowered by attaching them by short struts to provide better stability on the water, and the fin was enlarged by extending it forward some two feet. This version of the Campania returned a maximum sea level speed o f 90 mph, an increase of 5 mph over that of the F.16, and was first flown on 3 June, again by Pickles.
  The F.16 was probably not fitted with bomb racks, although the RNAS trials reports issued in July 1917 quote performance figures with military loads of up to 699 lb, a likely ballast weight to make allowance for the rear Lewis gun and ammunition, as well as two 230 lb bombs. For the purposes of maximum patrol endurance, however, the F.17 was capable of carrying over 1,000 lb of fuel, and the normal bomb load would usually comprise four 100 lb anti-submarine bombs mounted on a long beam suspended beneath the fuselage.
  The finite Campania was designated the F.22 and was characterised by installation of the 260hp Sunbeam Maori II vee twelve-cylinder water-cooled engine, also with frontal radiator but with a large single exhaust stack well forward above the engine. This was a generally tidier installation than those of the Rolls-Royces although, in response to an Admiral's request, late production F.22s were fitted with larger radiators with adjustable shutters to cater for possible service in tropical climates. Resort to the Maori engine was made when it seemed likely that demands for the Rolls-Royce Eagle would exceed supply, and the Sunbeam was fitted in twenty-five F.22s (N2375-N2399), all produced by the parent company.
  Thus, of the total of 62 Campanias completed, a total of 36 were F.17s and, of these, twelve were built by Barclay, Curie & Co Ltd of Whiteinch, Glasgow. According to availability, the F. 17s were powered by several versions of the Eagle, including Marks IV, V and VII, and the 345hp Mark VIII; in the latter configuration the maximum all-up weight was increased to 5,986 lb.
  In service, Campanias joined HMS Campania in 1917, and in the following year were also embarked in two light carriers, HMS Nairana and Pegasus. In 1919 five F.17s (with two Sopwith Camel fighters) accompanied HMS Nairana with the British North Russian Expeditionary Force to Archangel.
  The Maori-powered F.22s were confined mainly to operations from RNAS shore stations, including Bembridge, Calshot, Dundee, Portland, Rosyth and Scapa Flow, often serving alongside Short 184s. The Campania gained an excellent reputation in the RNAS and RAF, from various accounts being considered a pleasant aeroplane to fly on long patrol sorties, the Rolls-Royce engines being regarded as utterly reliable.
  The last Campanias were declared obsolete and withdrawn from service with the RAF when the last squadrons were disbanded in 1919.

  Type: Single-engine, two-seat, two-bay biplane shipborne patrol bomber seaplane.
  Manufacturers: The Fairey Aviation Co Ltd, Hayes, Middlesex; Barclay, Curle & Co Ltd, Whiteinch, Glasgow.
  Powerplant: F.16. One 250hp Rolls-Royce Mk IV twelve-cylinder water-cooled in-line engine driving four-blade propeller. F.17. One 275hp Rolls-Royce Eagle V or 340hp Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII; F.22. 250hp Sunbeam Maori II driving two-blade propeller.
  Structure: All-wood construction with fabric covering.
  Dimensions: Span, 61ft 7 1/2in; length, 43ft 3 5/8in (F.16), 43ft 0 5/8in (F.17 and F.22); height, 15ft 1in; wing area, 639.8 sq ft (F.16), 627.8 sq ft (F.17 and F.22).
  Weights. F.16. Tare, 3,725 lb; all-up (max load). 5,786 lb. F.22 (Eagle VIII). Tare. 3,874 lb; all-up, 5,986 lb.
  Performance: F.22 (Maori). Max speed, 85 mph at 2,000ft; climb to 5,000ft, 18 min; service ceiling, 6,000ft; endurance, 4 1/2 hr.
  Armament: Bomb load of up to six 112 lb bombs carried externally under wings and fuselage. Single 0.303in Lewis machine gun with Scarff ring on rear cockpit.
  Prototype: One, N1000 (F.16), first flown by Sydney Pickles at Hamble on 16 February 1917.
  Production: Total of 61 built, excluding prototype. Fairey, 49 (N1001-N1009 and N2360-N2399); Barclay, Curle. 12 (NI840-N1X51) 138 cancelled: Barclay. Curle. 38 (N1852-N1899); Frederick Sage/Sunbeam, 100 (N1890-N1959 and N2200-N2229).
  Summary of Service: Campanias served aboard HMS Campania, Pegasus and Nairana (in the latter with the British North Russian Expeditionary Force during 1919), and with No 240 Squadron, RAF, at Calshot, and No 241 Squadron. RAF, at Portland, and at Bembridge, Dundee, Rosyth and Scapa Flow.
Late production Maori-powered F.22 Campania with the enlarged frontal radiator.
Fairey F.128 and Types IIIA-C

  During the spring of 1917 F Duncanson completed the preliminary designs of two floatplanes to the Air Board's Specification N.2(A), which called for a single-engine seaplane with folding wings, capable of being flown from a carrier deck using the trolley-separation method. These two aircraft, the Fairey F.127 and F.128, became generally known by their serial numbers, N9 and N10.
  The first, powered by a 200hp Rolls-Royce Falcon I engine, failed to meet the performance requirements laid down, but proved to be of exceptional value in tests carried out in the early development of aircraft catapults. First flown on 5 July 1917, N9 was a single-bay two-seat biplane with wings o f unequal span, the top wing, with a 7ft 6in overhang on each side, being wire braced using kingposts. Wing flaps (the so-called camber-changing system patented by Fairey the previous year) were fitted over the full span of the lower wings.
  Delivered to the Isle of Grain in June 1918, N9 was embarked in HMS Slinger, a converted mud-carrying vessel fitted with a 60ft-long compressed-air catapult built by Sir W G Armstrong, Whitworth Aircraft Ltd. Trials were completed by Lt-Col Harry Busteed (the first such launches in Britain by a seaplane at sea), before Fairey repurchased N7 from the Admiralty in 1919, fitted it with a 260hp Sunbeam Maori II, and later sold it to Norway.
  The second floatplane, N10, powered at the outset by the Maori II engine, was flown by Lt-Col Vincent Nicholl at the Isle of Grain on 14 September 1917 and satisfied all N.2(A)'s performance and load requirements. It was a rather larger aircraft than N9, with equal-span two-bay wings, though the fuselage was identical to that of the single-bay aeroplane. Following successful trials as a seaplane, N10 was converted to landplane configuration to become the Fairey Series III prototype by substitution of the main floats and tail float with plain V-strut, cross-axle wheel undercarriage and tailskid. Trials were flown by RNAS pilots, including performance evaluation while carrying a pair of 112 lb bombs. The Maori II engine was retained, but with frontal radiator, and in this form, re-termed the Fairey IIIA, the aircraft was ordered into production to replace the obsolescent Sopwith 1 1/2-Strutter with the RNAS. The first aircraft, N2850, was flown by Lt-Col G L P Henderson MC, AFC, on 6 June 1918 at Northolt.
  Fifty Fairey IIIAs were ordered, of which fourteen featured plain wheel undercarriage and the remainder wheel-and-skid gear - a temporary recourse adopted on then-current deck-operating aircraft in an attempt to keep the aircraft straight during take-off and landing. As far as is known, none of these IIIAs ever reached a squadron, most o f them being used either as trainers or for various trials, although a few may have joined the coastal mine-spotting patrols undertaken after the Armistice. Others are known to have been delivered into storage to await scrapping.
  The first production seaplane variant of the basic Fairey III series was the IIIB, intended from the outset to be a bomber, as defined by Admiralty Specification N.2(B) which called for a bomb load of up to 600 lb. To enable this weight to be carried, the wing area was increased from 542 to 616 sq ft, the upper wing being extended to give an overhang of some eight feet on each side. To compensate for the side area of the floats, both fin and rudder areas were increased by about 25 per cent.
  Sixty Fairey IIIBs were ordered, but fewer than thirty were built as such, many being completed as IIICs (see below). The first production IIIB to be flown made its maiden flight on 8 August 1918 at Hamble, and subsequent aircraft reached No 219 Squadron at Westgate in Kent the same month. Others joined No 230 Squadron at Felixstowe in October, and No 229 Squadron in Flanders during November. None took part in bombing operations before the Armistice, but subsequently flew mine-spotting patrols over the Thames Estuary with the coming of peace. Two were used to operate a naval mail service between Ostend and Harwich between February and May 1919. In January 1919 No 229 Squadron took up residence at Great Yarmouth for spotting patrols off the Norfolk coast.
  The Fairey IIICs first flight actually predated that of the IIIB, the aircraft being flown by Vincent Nicholl in July 1918. It was widely recognised as the best British seaplane produced during the War, an opinion that owed its expression to the excellent 375hp Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII engine, renowned for its great reliability. Retaining the float undercarriage, fuselage and tail unit of the IIIB, and the equal-span wings of the IIIA, the Fairey IIIC featured engine radiators on the sides of the fuselage, and was intended to combine the reconnaissance role of the IIIA with the bombing role of the IIIB. Its normal bomb load comprised either two 230 lb or four 112 lb bombs carried beneath the fuselage. Fairey IIICs were armed with a synchronized Vickers gun and a Lewis gun on the rear cockpit.
  Production aircraft were delivered to Nos 229 and 230 Squadrons in November but were prevented from making any war flights against the Germans by the Armistice. However, in 1919, several Fairey IIICs were embarked in HMS Pegasus with the North Russian Expeditionary Force, making their base at Archangel. In June they carried out a bombing attack against four Russian warships and later attacked rail targets.
  The last Fairey IIICs were withdrawn from service with the RAF at Kalafrana, Malta, in August 1923, where they had been serving with No 267 Squadron since December 1920.

Fairey F.128
  Type: Single-engine, two-seat two-bay biplane shipborne twin-float seaplane.
  Manufacturer: The Fairey Aviation Co Ltd, Hayes, Middlesex.
  Admiralty Specification: N.2A
  Powerplant: One 260hp Sunbeam Maori II twelve-cylinder, in-line engine.
  Dimensions: Span, 46ft 2in; length, 36ft 0in; height, 11ft 10in; wing area, 476 sq ft.
  Weights: Tare, 2,970 lb; all-up, 4,159 lb.
  Performance: Max speed, 104 mph at sea level, 94.5 mph at 10,000ft; climb to 10,000ft, 23 min 30 sec; service ceiling, 14,000ft; endurance, 4: hr.
  Armament: One 0.303in Lewis gun on rear cockpit. Bomb load, two 112 lb bombs.
  Prototype: One, N10, first flown by Lt-Cdr Vincent Nicholl at the Isle of Grain on 14 September 1917.

Fairey Type IIIA
  Type: Single-engine, two-seat, two-bay biplane shipborne bomber.
  Manufacturer: The Fairey Aviation Co Ltd, Hayes, Middlesex,
  Admiralty Specification: N.2A
  Powerplant: One 260hp Sunbeam Maori II twelve-cylinder in-line engine.
  Dimensions: Span, 46ft 2in; length, 31ft 0in; height, 10ft 8in; wing area, 542 sq ft.
  Weights: Tare, 2,532 lb; all-up, 3,694 lb.
  Performance: Max speed, 109 mph at sea level; climb, 17 min 40 sec; service ceiling, 15,000ft; endurance, 4 1/2 hr.
  Armament: One 0.303in Lewis gun on rear cockpit Searff ring.
  Prototype: One, N10 (modified); first flown by Lt-Col G L P Henderson at Northolt on 6 June 1918.
  Production: 50 aircraft: N2850-N2852 with wheels; N2853-N2862 with skids; N2863 with hydrofoils; N2864-N2888 with skids, and N2989-N2999 with wheels.
  Service: A small number of Fairey IIIAs served with No 219 Squadron at Westgate.

Fairey Type IIIB
  Type: Single-engine, two-seat, two-bay biplane bomber seaplane.
  Manufacturer: The Fairey Aviation Co Ltd, Hayes, Middlesex.
  Admiralty Specification: N.2B
  Powerplant: One 260hp Sunbeam Maori II twelve-cylinder, water-cooled, in-line engine.
  Dimensions: Span, 62ft 8 1/16in; length, 37ft 1in; height, 14ft 0in; wing area, 570 sq ft.
  Weights: Tare, 3,258 lb; all-up weight (with three 230 lb bombs), 4,892 lb.
  Performance: Max speed, 97 mph at sea level, 90 mph at 10,000ft; climb to 10,000ft, 37 min 50 sec; service ceiling, 10,300ft; endurance, 4 1/2 hr.
  Armament: One 0.303in Lew is gun on rear cockpit; bomb load of up to three 230 lb bombs.
  Prototype: None. N2225 first flown by Vincent Nicholl at Hamble on 8 August 1918.
  Production: 28 aircraft: N2225-N2232, N2234-N2245 and N2247-N2254.
  Service: Fairey IIIBs served with Nos 219, 229 and 230 Squadrons, RAF.

Fairey Type IIIC
  Type: Single-engine, two-seat, two-bay biplane bomber-reconnaissance seaplane.
  Powerplant: One 375hp Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII twelve-cvlinder water-cooled in-line engine driving two-blade propeller.
  Dimensions: Span, 46ft 1in; length, 36ft 0in; height, 12ft 2in; wing area, 542 sq ft.
  Weights: Tare, 3,392 lb; all-up (with maximum bomb load), 5,039lb.
  Performance: Max speed, 110.5 mph at sea level; climb to 10,000ft, 14 min 15 sec; service ceiling, 17,000ft; endurance (max fuel), 5 hr.
  Armament: One synchronized 0.303in Vickers machine gun and one Lewis gun on rear cockpit; bomb load of up to 460 lb.
  Prototype: One, N2246; first Fairey IIIC to fly, N2255, flown by Vincent Nicholl at Hamble in July 1918.
  Summary of Service: Fairey IIICs served with No 229 Squadron, RAF, at Great Yarmouth, No 230 Squadron at Felixstowe and No 267 at-Kalafrana, Malta (the latter until August 1923); they also served with the North Russian Expeditionary Force in 1919.
The Fairey F.128, N10, at Hayes as originally built with two-bay folding wings and Sunbeam Maori II engine with side-located radiators.
6 июня 1918г.: первый из удачного семейства морских легких бомбардировщиков Fairey III - Fairey IIIA - поднялся в воздух в Нортхолте.
Grahame-White Type 18

  Notwithstanding the work already in progress on the big Handley Page O/100 heavy bomber, the Admiralty issued a requirement in mid-1915 for a rather smaller, single-engine, land-based bomber, possessing a range of about 700 miles, capable o f lifting 800 lb of bombs with a crew of two and a speed of 80 mph. Shorts had been quickest to produce a contender to this requirement, and accordingly received production orders. However, both Grahame-White and J Samuel White also produced prototypes, although none of the three aircraft tendered fully satisfied the performance demands.
  Design of the big Grahame-White Type 18 occupied much of the summer and autumn of 1915 and centred on the choice of a single 285hp Sunbeam 12-cylinder water-cooled engine, the bearers being extensions of the upper fuselage longerons. The wooden box girder, which constituted the fuselage primary structure, carried formers to fair the fuselage to oval section. The three-bay wings were built up on twin spruce spars with closely-spaced ribs and four pairs of interplane struts, the inboard pairs (which replaced conventional centresection struts) providing the rigidity required for the wing-folding attachments.
  The wings, of parallel chord and equal span, featured ailerons on upper and lower surfaces, and the twin mainwheel undercarriage with V-struts and spreader bar was augmented by a small balancing nosewheel. Bomb racks, capable of supporting two 230 lb or four 112 lb bombs were attached under the lower wings immediately outboard of the fold axis. A large fuel tank was located forward of the pilot's cockpit, and the gunner/observer was evidently provided with a Lewis gun on what appears to be a ring mounting.
  The Type 18 was probably completed in the spring or summer of 1916, by which time the Handley Page O/100 was confounding its critics by demonstrating the practicality of large bombing aeroplanes and, of the three bomber designs tendered, only the Short Bomber entered production, while the Wight Bomber was developed further by conversion into a floatplane, for which production orders were placed. By contrast, work was evidently halted on the Grahame-White Type 18 soon after completion, and no record of flight performance has been traced.

  Type: Single-engine, two-seat, four-bay biplane naval bomber.
  Manufacturer: The Grahame-White Aviation Co Ltd, Hendon, London NW 9 .
  Powerplant: One 285hp Sunbeam Maori twelve-cylinder water-cooled in-line engine driving four-blade propeller.
  Structure: All-wood, fabric-covered; two-spar folding wings.
  Dimensions, Weights and Performance: Not known.
  Armament: Single Lewis gun on observer's cockpit; details of bomb load speculative.
  Prototype: Believed, one; details of first flight (probably in 1916) not known. No production.
The sole Grahame-White Type 18 prototype, before covering.
Grahame-White E.IV Ganymede

  It is necessary here to return to 1918 to make brief mention of three other aircraft intended for consideration by the Air Ministry as very heavy long-range bombers, cast in a similar mould to that of the Bristol Braemar, but which, for various reasons of difficulty or misfortune, failed even to attract academic interest. Their manufacturers persevered mainly in the hope of recovering some of their losses suffered by contract cancellations at the end of the War or in an attempt to retain as much of their workforce as possible until better times arrived for the aircraft industry.
  Indeed, if they possessed a common design weakness, it was on account of their designers allowing the basic configuration of their aircraft to be compromised by attention to relatively unimportant elements in the Air Ministry requirements. The companies were also probably misguided in attempting to achieve too much, by means of unjustified ingenuity, at a time when the design staffs should have sought to improve and combine the best of existing design configurations.
  Chronologically, the first of these big bombers to be completed was the Grahame-White Ganymede, an aircraft originally intended to be powered by three 400hp Liberty 12 engines. It was a four-bay biplane with horn-balanced ailerons, two o f the three engines driving tractor propellers and located at the front of twin fuselages attached to the lower wings, and the third engine driving a pusher propeller at the rear of a central nacelle, which also accommodated the pilots and front gunner; the latter was also the bomb aimer. Each engine was provided with a large rectangular radiator mounted above it.
  Two midships gunners were also carried, in a mistaken belief that importance would be attached to a significant gun defence to the rear, whereas the Air Ministry seldom placed much emphasis on such a defence in night bombers. One gunner was located in each of the fuselages aft of the wing, and was provided with a Scarff ring. The biplane tail unit featured three fins and rudders, the outer surfaces being situated at the rear of each fuselage, the large triangular fins extending forward of the sternposts to which the rudders were hinged; the tailplanes were mounted one below the rear of the fuselages and the other several inches clear of the top of the fins; horn-balanced elevators were hinged to each, and each fuselage was fitted with a sprung tailskid.
  Uncertainty surrounding delivery of the Liberty engines in the late summer of 1918 resulted in recourse being made to three 270hp Sunbeam Maori engines, with the result that the Ganymede was inevitably underpowered, and it is doubtful whether the aircraft ever carried a bomb load. The Maoris were enclosed in square-section cowlings, neatly faired to the contours of large spinners fitted over the four-blade propellers; the overall effect was, however, marred by huge exhaust stacks extending upwards from the branch-manifolds to direct the exhaust gases over the upper wing - so as to pass well clear of the midships gunners. The undercarriage comprised four mainwheels arranged in separate pairs, one under each fuselage, and each with its own crossaxle. The wheel-mounting V-struts, incorporating oleos, were very short, and it is clear from photographs that the pilot would need to be very careful not to raise the tail too high during take-off, to avoid grounding the propellers.
  Three prototypes of this fairly large bomber, C3481-C3483, were ordered, and C3481 was completed before the end of 1918, although it may not have been flown until early in 1919. In any event flight trials went ahead as it was particularly important that Grahame-White received the contracted payment when so many production contracts were being summarily cancelled - including the second and third Ganymedes.
  Unfortunately C3481 suffered some damage in a forced landing when it dug its nose into soft ground. Either then, or shortly after, the Air Ministry notified Grahame-White that it would not be purchasing the Ganymede and, in an effort to recoup some of the financial loss, the company determined to examine the feasibility of modifying C3481 as a commercial aircraft, removing the centre engine altogether and rebuilding the nacelle as a long, glazed cabin capable of accommodating twelve passengers. The remaining Maoris were replaced by two 450hp Napier Lion engines, and the aircraft received its Certificate of Airworthiness on 12 September 1919, being re-registered G-EAMW - only to be destroyed by fire twelve months later.

  Type: Three-engine (two tractor and one pusher), five-crew, four-bay biplane heavy night bomber.
  Manufacturer: The Grahame-White Aviation Co Ltd, Hendon, London NW9.
  Powerplant: Three 270hp Sunbeam Maori twelve-cylinder water-cooled engines (two tractor engines located at forward end of outboard fuselages, and one pusher engine at rear of central nacelle). Later two tractor 450hp Napier Lion engines (in commercial conversion).
  Dimensions: Span, 89ft 3in; length, 49ft 9in; height, 16ft 0in; wing area, 1,660 sq ft.
  Weights: Tare, 11,500 lb; all-up, 16,000 lb.
  Performance: Max speed, 105 mph at sea level, 93 mph at 10,000ft; endurance, 9 hr.
  Armament: Three 0.303in Lewis machine guns with Scarff rings, one in nose of central nacelle, and one amidships in each outboard fuselage; details of bomb load not recorded.
  Prototype: C3481, first flown late in 1918 or early 1919. Two others, C3482 and C3983, ordered, but cancelled. No production.
Handley Page H.P.11 O/100

  The manner in which Britain's air forces acquired their first truly successful heavy bomber was both a masterpiece of individual enterprise and an assembly of technical knowledge and experience of epic proportions, comparable by the standards of the time with those that characterised the Royal Air Force's acquisition of the Avro Lancaster almost a quarter century later. Size alone had not deterred other British manufacturers, such as J Samuel White, from venturing into the realms of very large aeroplanes, but none could compare with the sheer muscle of Handley Page's extraordinary O/100, whose prototype was first flown in under one year from the issue of its original specification.
  Origins of the O/100 lay in an urgent message from that familiar naval officer, Charles Rumney Samson in Flanders, who pleaded with the Admiralty to send la bloody paralyser' with which to bomb the Germans to a standstill in their advance on Antwerp in December 1914. Implicit in this call was the need for very large aeroplanes, capable of laying a carpet of heavy bombs in the path of an advancing army, an extension of air power hitherto undreamed-of by the British War Office, but seized on at the Admiralty Air Department by Murray Sueter, the influential and energetic exponent of naval air power. Already, in line with advice by his technical adviser, Harris Booth, Sueter had placed an order for a very large bomber, the Wight Twin, and Harris Booth's own design, the A.D. 1000, was also under construction at East Cowes. Neither of these huge aeroplanes would prove successful.
  Sueter, knowing that Frederick Handley Page seemed instinctively to 'think big', having embarked on a prewar design of a proposed transatlantic aircraft, the L/200, summoned him and his designer, George Rudolph Volkert, to the Admiralty to discuss the naval requirement for a heavy bomber. As a sequence to this discussion, Volkert prepared project drawings for a twin-engine land-based bomber, designated the Type O, with a wing span of 114 feet. Further discussion, however, disclosed certain mandatory limitations on the aircraft's overall size, necessitating folding wings, yet on 28 December 1914 the final specification was agreed and issued, and an order for four prototypes was placed.
  The aircraft called for was required to be powered by a pair of 150hp Sunbeam engines with 200 gallons of fuel, was to be capable of carrying six 100 lb bombs and a bombsight, of climbing to 3,000 feet in 10 minutes and to have a crew of two. Armour protection from small arms fire was to be provided for crew, engines and fuel tanks, and a single Lee-Enfield rifle would suffice for self-protection. The aircraft was to be capable of storage within a 70-foot-square building, and a top speed of 65 mph at sea level was demanded; a wing loading of 5 lb/sq ft was not to be exceeded at all-up weight.
  When one considers the capabilities of the aircraft of the time, this was indeed a demanding specification; after all, the 100 lb bomb was only just entering production, and the call for armour and folding wings imposed the need tor an extremely robust but relatively light airframe.
  Design and component manufacture began immediately as Handley Page's Cricklewood factory worked round the clock, seven days a week. In the interests of low structural weight, Volkert favoured parallel-chord, straight-edged wings of unequal span, the upper wing being of 100 feet span, the lower of 70 feet (necessary for ground clearance when folded). The wings were of R.A.F.6 section, being built up on two rectangular-section spruce spars, spindled to I-section between strut attachments. Ailerons were fitted to the upper wings only, being horn-balanced outboard of the wing tips and extending aft of the wing trailing edge. Closely-spaced spruce wing ribs, reinforced longitudinally with oak tongues, imparted considerable torsional stiffness.
  The fuselage was of rectangular section, the upper longerons being horizontal and the lower longerons providing taper upwards towards the tail. Built in three sections, the fuselage structure featured joint and strut attachments of mild steel, folded round the components and brazed together. An example of the careful attention paid to detail was provided by the deliberate choice of stranded cabling for internal bracing, being of the type capable of being spliced by any naval artificer.
  The engines and fuel tanks were housed in armoured nacelles mounted at the centre of the wing gap, as close to the fuselage as the 11-foot propellers allowed. The radiators were mounted vertically atop the nacelles.
  The two-man crew was located in a cabin in the short fuselage nose, enclosed by a deep V-shaped Triplex windscreen with transparent Cellon roof and side panels. The cockpit floor and sides up to the sills were of 10- and 14-gauge manganese-steel armour.
  Every structural component was manufactured in duplicate so that a representative item could be tested to destruction in order to confirm stressing calculations, and a model of the complete aircraft underwent tunnel tests at the National Physical Laboratory.
  Work had only been underway for a couple of months when Rolls-Royce announced that its new Mark II 250hp twelve-cylinder, water-cooled engine would be ready in time for the prototype's first flight and, on account of its much improved power/weight ratio, this engine was substituted for the Sunbeam.
  In place of the a rotary bomb dispenser, originally intended to be incorporated in the centre fuselage with a load of eight bombs, it was decided to suspend the bombs vertically by nose rings, a change that allowed no fewer than sixteen 112 lb HERL (High Explosive, Royal Laboratory) Mark I bombs to be stowed in the space formerly occupied by the rotary dispenser. Such an increase in bomb load was made possible by the 60 per cent greater power available from the new Rolls-Royce II engines.
  Manufacture of the first prototype Handley Page O/100 (an arbitrary designation that simply referred to the aircraft's wing span) was completed in November 1915, and final assembly took place in the requisitioned factory at Kingsbury. After being towed along the Edgware Road at night with its wings folded, No 1455 was ready at Hendon on 17 December for its maiden flight. Taken aloft that afternoon by Lt-Cdr John Tremayne Babington (one of the naval Avro 504 pilots who had taken part in the attack on Friedrichshafen on 21 November 1914) accompanied by Lt-Cdr Ernest W Stedman (later Air Vice-Marshal, CB OBE), the big aeroplane successfully rose above the grass for a short distance before landing and coming to a stop within the boundary of the field.
  During the course of further testing it was found necessary to relocate the radiators to the sides of the nacelles and remove the cockpit enclosure and armour, modifications that reduced the aircraft's weight by some 500 pounds. Some tail oscillation resulted in extensive strengthening both of the rear fuselage and rear attachments of the wings to the fuselage.
  The second prototype, No 1456, was first flown early in April 1916 by an American, Clifford B Prodger, and soon proved itself capable of exceeding all the performance requirements demanded. On 7 May this aircraft was formally accepted by the RNAS. The third aircraft, 1457, featured a much lengthened nose to maintain cg position without ballast for the reduced cockpit weight, and a third crew position for a midships gunner.
  The fourth prototype, 1458, was the first to carry gun armament, being equipped with a Lewis gun and Scarff ring in the extreme nose, a pair of pillar mountings for Lewis gun on the midships dorsal position, and a ventral quadrant mounting for a Lewis gun to fire aft beneath the tail. No 1458 was also the first O/100 to be powered by the new 320hp Rolls-Royce Eagle III engines.
  In due course, production orders for a total of 42 aircraft were placed, of which 34 were powered by Rolls-Royce Eagle IIs or IVs (Nos 1458-1466, 3115, 3116 and 3118-3141); No 3117 was fitted with a succession of experimental engines which included the R.A.F.3A and Sunbeam Cossack in conventional nacelles, and four 200hp Hispano-Suiza engines mounted in tandem in the two nacelles.
  The majority of the initial batch of production aircraft was delivered to RNAS Manston in 1916 for pilot training with the Handley Page Training Flight, prior to delivery to operational units, the first of which was simply referred to as the Handley Page Squadron and assigned to the RNAS' 3rd Wing at Luxeuil-les-Bain under the command of Sqn-Cdr John Babington. The first O/100 to arrive at Luxeuil was No 1459, and the first operational sortie flown by the Squadron was a raid by No 1460, flown by Babington against a railway junction near Metz on the night of 16/17 March 1917. Unfortunately, in the meantime Lt H C Vereker, the pilot of an O/100, No 1463, had become lost during its delivery flight to Luxeuil on 1 January, and had landed his aircraft intact on the German-held aerodrome at Chalandry, near Laon. The Germans subsequently flew the aircraft to Johannisthal where it was, however, to be destroyed in a crash before any detailed evaluation could be completed by the enemy.
  The 3rd Wing was to be disbanded on 30 June 1917, and two O/100s, Nos 1459 and 1460, were transferred to the 5th Wing at Coudekerque for daylight bombing attacks on the U-boat bases at Bruges, Ostend and Zeebrugge. The first Squadron to be extensivelv equipped with O/100s was No 7 (Naval) Squadron, RNAS, which took over the remaining aircraft from Luxeuil and Manston. Four of these bombers attacked German destroyers in daylight on 25 April, sinking one and damaging another, but losing one of their number. This led to the suspension of daylight attacks, and a change to night operations which included bombing raids on the heavily protected submarine pens in the Belgian ports. The 520 lb Light Case and 550 lb Heavy Case bombs had been specially developed for use against these targets, and the O/100 carried two such weapons.
  In the meantime, Murray Sueter had left the Air Department and been posted to the Mediterranean. The Dardanelles campaign had reached stalemate, and Sueter requested that a Handley Page O/100, converted as a seaplane, should be sent out to Mudros for the purpose of bombing Constantinople (much of the route lay over water). Instead it was decided to despatch the standard O/100 No 3124 (hitherto intended for gun trials with a 6-pounder Davis gun in the nose) to Mudros and, flown by Sqn-Cdr Kenneth Savory DSC, this aircraft arrived on 8 June. After two attempts to reach Constantinople (each thwarted by headwinds), Savory finally succeeded and, on 9 July, dropped eight 112 lb bombs on the German cruiser Goeben, four more on a steamer being used as a German headquarters, and two on the Turkish War Office. No 3124 landed safely back at Mudros after a flight of almost eight hours, an exploit for which Savory was awarded a Bar to his DSC. The O/100 flew a number of other raids, but on 30 September it suffered engine failure and was ditched in the Gulf of Xeros; the pilot, Flt-Lt Jack Alcock (later of Atlantic crossing fame) and his crew were made prisoners of war.
  The final production batch of six O/100s, B9446-B9451, was completed with Sunbeam Cossack engines, and was intended as an interim stage in the development of the Handley Page Type 12 O/400 bomber. They did not, however, reach an operational unit. Numerous other experiments were conducted on O/100s, including the installation of Fiat A.12bis engines in No 3142, being the power unit stipulated in a production order from Russia; this aircraft crashed before completion of the trials, and the onset of the Revolution put an end to Russian participation in the War.
  The mention above o f the trials with a Davis 6-pounder recoilless gun in the nose of the O/100 requires further explanation. The trials were intiated by the Admiralty, who were becoming alarmed by increasing inshore activity by German submarines during the spring of 1917. A total of four O/100s, Nos 1459, 1461, 1462 and 3127 were fitted with these single-shot weapons in special mountings on the nose gunner's position. As the gun fired its shell the recoil force was dissipated by a rearwards-fired charge of fragmenting lead shot and grease which, it was intended, would pass over the aircraft's cockpit and upper wing. As the gun had to be fired at a considerably depressed angle of sight to avoid damage to the wing, it was extremely difficult to load and fire and, although three of the aircraft were delivered to the RNAS at Coudekerque in the autumn of 1917, the guns were scarcely used and were withdrawn from service early in 1918.
  The O/100 bombers based in France with the RNAS continued to give excellent service during the second half of 1917, equipping Nos 7 and 7A Squadrons and dropping an impressive tonnage of bombs on all manner of targets behind the Western Front.
  It was the increasing number of day and night raids by German bombers over south-east England during the latter half of 1917 that spurred the War Office to engage in strategic raiding of Germany at the earliest possible opportunity, and although requests for a transfer of naval O/100s to the RFC for this purpose fell on deaf cars, the considerable success achieved by these bombers encouraged the Government to sanction accelerated development and production of the improved Handley Page O/400, and it was to be this type that formed the heavy bombing element of the Royal Air Force's Independent Force, and the veteran O/100s began to be withdrawn from service in the spring of 1918.

  Type: Twin-engine, four-crew, three-bay biplane heavy bomber.
  Manufacturer: Handley Page Ltd, Cricklewood, London.
  Powerplant: Production aircraft. Two 250hp Rolls-Royce Mk II (260hp Eagle II) twelve-cylinder, water-cooled engines driving four-blade propellers; also two 320hp Sunbeam Cossack engines. Experimental aircraft. Two 260hp Fiat A.12bis; and four (two tractor, two pusher) 200hp Hispano-Suiza engines; two Fiat A.12bis engines; two R.A.F.3A engines.
  Structure: All-wood, ply- and fabric-covered; two-spar folding wings.
  Dimensions: Span, 100ft 0in; length, 62ft 10 1/4 in; height, 22ft 0in; wing area, 1,648 sq ft.
  Weights: Tare, 8,000 lb; all-up, 14,000 lb.
  Performance: Max speed, 76 mph at sea level; climb to 5,000ft, 19 min 40 sec; service ceiling, 8,700ft; endurance, 8hr.
  Armament: Bomb load of up to sixteen 112 lb bombs. Normal gun armament of two Lewis machine guns, one with Scarf! ring on nose gunner's cockpit and one on pillar mounting on midships gunner's cockpit; some aircraft carried a Lewis gun fitted to fire rearwards through hatch under the centre fuselage.
  Prototypes: Four, Nos 1455-1458; No 1455 first flown by Lt-Cdr J T Babington at Hendon on 17 December 1915.
  Production: Total of 42, excluding prototypes, all built by Handley Page: Nos 1459-1466, 3115-3142 and B9446-B9451 (Cossack engines).
  Summary of Service: O/100s served with Nos 7, 7A, 14 and 15 Squadrons, RNAS, in France for bombing operations over Belgium, these units later becoming Nos 207, 214 and 215 Squadrons, RAF. One O/100 served at the RNAS Station, Mudros, in the Aegean for bombing operations against Constantinople. O/100s also flew with the Handley Page Training Squadron at RNAS Manston, Kent.
The O/100, No 3124, arriving back at Mudros after one of its bombing sorties over the Eastern Mediterranean in the summer of 1917, flown by Sqn-Cdr Kenneth Savory DSC.
Handley Page O/100
Handley Page H.P.12 O/400

  The principal difference between the Handley Page O/100 and the O/400 lay in the choice of 360hp Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII engines in place of the Eagle II and IV. Final clearance to install Eagle VIIIs was, however, delayed pending finalisation of reports on the fuel system, and because Rolls-Royce was unable to meet delivery schedules with both left- and right-handed versions of the new engine, still assumed to be essential in large twin-engine aircraft to alleviate the control asymmetry caused by engine torque.
  The reasons for and process leading to the introduction of the O/400 had evolved throughout much of 1917. It is true that the arrival in service of the O/100 had betokened a marked increase in the strategic striking power of the RNAS, small though the initial effect of this power was seen to be. A total of 46 O/100s had been ordered and, although they had given good service, they were becoming short on performance by the standards of 1917 and their use of left- and right-handed engines had severely complicated maintenance and engine replacement.
  A standard O/100 was therefore set aside during the summer of 1917 for the progressive development of an improved version, the period in which German bombers launched their short series of daylight attacks on south-cast England and London, it has already been recounted how this sparked a premature decision, widely misinterpreted, to expand the RFC by the creation of many new light bomber squadrons. In September that year, however, the Germans switched to night raids, a militarily insignificant campaign by seldom more than a score of aircraft, but one that was to focus the Air Board's attention on the matter of increasing the British bombing capabilities against German towns and cities much further behind the Western Front. It was at this time, incidentally, that the first decisions were being taken that led to the development of the Handley Page V/1500 - a much larger bomber than the O/400 and one that was intended to be able to reach and bomb Berlin from the west. And it was in October that Maj-Gen Hugh Trenchard was ordered to begin assembling a dedicated bombing force, and established the 41st Wing with this role in mind. With numbers of O/100s now dwindling (and the majority of these being flow n by the RNAS), there was increasing pressure to introduce the O/400 into production without delay.
  The O/100, No 3138, was test flown, first with 320hp Rolls-Royce Eagle IVs and then with 275hp Sunbeam Maoris, and on the strength of preliminary reports of these trials an order for one hundred O/400s was placed with Handley Page. However, as the company's Cricklewood works could not tool up quickly to cope with this production, Handley Page-built components were immediately despatched to Farnborough so that the first twelve urgently needed aircraft could be hand-built at the Royal Aircraft Factory.
  It then emerged that the assumed benefit of handed engines was erroneous, and had in fact been the cause of directional instability in the O/100, and that the torque effects of two identical engines and propellers could be overcome by adjusting the incidence angle of the central fin of the O/400. Indeed, the benefit of handed propellers had originally been propounded by the Wright brothers, and blindly perpetuated by the Air Board's Technical Department. The exposure of this fallacy immediately ended Rolls-Royce's difficulties and enabled the delivery schedule of single-type Eagle VIIIs to be met, albeit after some three months' delay had already been occasioned.
  The other significant change introduced in the O/400 involved the fuel system. It will be recalled that fuel for the O/100's engines was carried in each engine nacelle; in the O/400 the nacelle tanks were replaced by two 130-gallon tanks located in the fuselage, enabling the nacelles to be significantly shortened. The nacelles also now incorporated large frontal radiators with horizontal shutters.
  In the event the first hand-built O/400s from Farnborough were only a few weeks ahead of the Cricklewood aircraft, and it was April 1918 before the first aircraft reached the new Royal Air Force's squadrons. In that month Nos 207 and 215 Squadrons took delivery of their full complements at Netheravon, the former being issued with Farnborough-built O/400s, and the latter with Handley Page aircraft. Almost simultaneously No 216 began receiving its first aircraft at Cramaille in France.
  By April 1918, as these squadrons began working up on their new bombers, the 41st Wing had increased in size to become the VIII Brigade. On 6 June the Independent Force officially came into being, and by the end of August comprised four day bombing squadrons, equipped or equipping with D.H.9s and D.H.9As, and four with O/400 night bombers (Nos 97, 115, 215 and 216 Squadrons). Elsewhere in France, Nos 100, 207 and 214 were also flying O/400s, temporarily but separately from the Independent Force.
  Although the O/400's airframe was little changed from that of the O/100, and the internal bomb load was the same (despite the presence of the fuel tanks in the fuselage), the new aircraft's greater power and improved specific fuel consumption enabled it to carry heavier bomb loads without fuel penalty. The increased power of the engines and reduced drag of the nacelles with their associated mounting struts brought an increase of 12 per cent in the cruising speed which, with the endurance remaining at about eight hours, resulted in a range increase of some 100 miles with the same bomb load.
  Production of the 520 lb light case and 550 lb heavy case bombs had increased five-fold during 1917. When carrying three of these bombs internally in the O/400, it was also possible to load two 112 lb bombs on external racks under the fuselage, and still carry full fuel. Another bomb which had been tested in 1917 was the 1,650 lb SN but, using a heavy cast case, this large weapon was not available until July 1918; an improved version, the 1,800 lb SN(Mod), specially tailored to the O/400 and, like the standard SN, normally carried on Gledhill slips under the fuselage, became available in August 1918.
  The remaining naval O/100s continued to serve alongside the new O/400s and flew a number of outstanding raids, particularly against the submarine base at Zeebrugge, both before and after the famous amphibious raid of 22/23 April. On account of much strengthened gun defences, widely introduced as the result of increasing Allied bombing, new tactics were being evolved and, on No 214 Squadron, Capts Cecil Curtis Darley (later Air Cdre, CBE, AM, RAF) and T A Batchelor, using a special low-level bombsight, designed by the latter and tested at Cranwell, evolved a form of surprise attack against such heavily defended targets as lock gates; this involved a steep glide approach to the target from 9,000 feet to 80 feet to release their 520 lb bombs in a carefully sequenced pattern, eventually gaining excellent results, despite heavy antiaircraft fire.
  The first 1,650 lb SN bomb was also dropped by No 214 Squadron when on the night of 24/25 July Sgt Dell attacked Middelkerke; the first such bomb dropped by a squadron of the Independent Force was delivered in September, and on the night of 21 / 22 October three SN bombs were dropped on Kaiserslautern.
  It is perhaps interesting to note that, in contrast to the manner in which Bomber Command operated at night during the Second World War, the O/400 Squadrons based in France during the last five months o f the Kaiser's War seldom attacked a single target with more than four or five aircraft, even though up to forty aircraft might be attacking targets elsewhere. In this way Trenchard believed that the largest number of targets would be attacked (and the Air Council had compiled a list of over 100 strategic targets to be bombed) but that the greatest disruption would be caused to the German war industry and transportation system with the minimum losses. To these targets were also added enemy bomber bases, and the damage caused among these substantially reduced enemy air support during the last great Allied advance during the final weeks of the War.
  It is, moreover, often overlooked, when quoting the well-publicised bombing figures achieved by the Independent Force, which fielded around seventy O/400s during the last three months of the War, that at least forty other O/400s and O/100s were also flying bombing raids by non-attached squadrons.
  During those last months, such were the relatively light losses among the O/400s that supply was outstripping wastage, and at any time sufficient spare aircraft were available to create two new squadrons at a moment's notice.
  Of course the statistics and economics favouring the use of night bombers were incontestable. To deliver the same load of bombs carried by a single O/400, itself costing ?9,600 and crewed by four men, would require five D.H.9As, together costing ?16,000 and crewed by ten men, while the loss rate from all causes during the last five months of the War was almost four times higher among the single-engine aircraft, capable of carrying nothing heavier than a couple of 230 lb bombs. Such statistics were, not unnaturally, bound to shape the overall bombing philosophy of the Royal Air Force for the next half-century.
  The Handley Page O/400 was the outstanding large bomber of the War. It was, however, recognised that its technology was fundamentally over three years old at the time of the Armistice and, within the limits of that technology, was not capable of further significant development, even though there had been trial installations of alternative powerplants, including a pair of American 350hp Liberty 12-N engines; this was followed by 70 sets of components being manufactured by The Standard Aircraft Corporation of New Jersey and shipped before the Armistice to Britain where they were assembled as Liberty-powered O/400s at the National Aircraft Factory, Waddon. The Vickers Vimy, with its ability to lift a 25 per cent greater bomb load at significantly lower production cost, was selected to remain in production to meet the needs of the peacetime RAF at home and overseas, while production of the O/400 was allowed to run out in 1919, the last remaining aircraft serving with No 216 Squadron in Egypt in October 1921.

  Type: Twin-engine, four/five crew, three-bay biplane heavy bomber.
  Manufacturers: Handley Page Ltd, Cricklewood, London; The Birmingham Carriage Co, Birmingham; British Caudron Co Ltd, Cricklewood, London N.W.2; Clayton and Shuttleworth Ltd, Lincoln; The Metropolitan Waggon Co, Birmingham; National Aircraft Factory No 1, Waddon; and the Royal Aircraft Factory, Farnborough, Hants. (Also The Standard Aircraft Corporation, Elizabeth, New Jersey, USA).
  Powerplant: Two 360hp Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII twelve-cylinder, water-cooled, in-line engines driving four-blade tractor propellers. 275hp Sunbeam Maori; 350hp Liberty 12-N.
  Structure: All-wood box girder fuselage structure with spruce longerons. Twin wooden wing box spars with steel tubular engine nacelles; wings folded outboard of the engines.
  Dimensions: Span, 100ft 0in; length, 62ft 10 1/4in; height, 22ft 0in; wing area, 1,648 sq ft.
  Weights (Eagle VIII): Tare, 8,502 lb; all-up (sixteen 112 lb bombs), 13,360 lb.
  Performance (Eagle VIII): Max speed, 97.5 mph at sea level, 87 mph at 5,000ft; climb to 5,000ft, 23 min; service ceiling, 8,500ft.
  Armament: Standard gun armament was five 0.303in Lewis guns, two double-yoked on nose Scarff ring, two on midships dorsal position with separate pillar mountings, and a single gun firing rearwards through ventral hatch. The bomb load could comprise one 1,650 lb SN bomb, three 550 lb, three 520 lb, eight 250 lb or sixteen 112 lb bombs.
  Production: A total of 554 O/400s was built: RAF (RAE), Farnborough, 24 (B8802-B8813 and C3487-C3498); Handley Page, 211(C9636-C9785, D8301-D8350 and F3748-F3758); Metropolitan Waggon, 100 (D4561-D4660); Birmingham Carriage, 102 (D5401-D5450, F301-F318 and J2242-J22751); Clayton & Shuttleworth, 46 (D9681-D9726); Standard, USA (assembled at NAF No 1), 70 (F5439-F5418). One other aircraft, J1934, was ordered from Harland & Wolff Ltd and delivered by Handley Page Ltd.
  Summary of Service: O/400s served with Nos 58, 97, 100, 115, 207, 214, 215 and 216 Squadrons, RAF, with IX Brigade and VIII Brigade (the Independent Force) in France. A small number, possibly only one, served with No 144 Squadron in the Aegean in October 1918, and with No 70 Squadron in Egypt after the War. (No 134 Squadron was scheduled to receive O/400s at Ternhill in 1918, but it is believed that none was delivered before the Squadron disbanded on 4 July that year.)
  J2276-J2291 cancelled; J2265-J2275 delivered to No 1 Aircraft Acceptance Park for storage.
A standard Handley Page O/400 at Ternhill during 1918.
A 1,650 lb SN bomb carried on Gledhill slips beneath a Handley Page O/400, probably in 1918.
Handley Page H.P.15 V/1500

  Last of the very heavy bombers to enter production during the First World War, the Handley Page V/1500 was a further result of the German air attacks on England in 1917 and their influence on changing British strategic bombing policy. In this instance, implicit in the Air Board requirement was an ability to reach and bomb the German capital.
  Drawing on the company's unmatched experience in building very large landplane bombers, Handley Page had already been engaged in the preliminary design of an aeroplane twice the weight of the O/400, to be powered by either two 600hp Rolls-Royce Condor or Siddeley-Deasy Tiger engines.
  Known initially as the Type V, three prototypes (B9463-B9465) of the Handley Page aircraft were ordered under the Air Board's Specification A.3(b), but it soon became obvious that the provisions of the Specification would be greatly exceeded, and it was to be completely rewritten in April 1918 as RAF Type VII. By then, however, Henry Royce had informed Handley Page that the Condor was unlikely to be available until 1919, and advised him to consider redesigning the aircraft to feature four 375hp Eagle VIIIs, and the official designation, V/1500, referred to the total engine power.
  Owing to a lack of space immediately available at Cricklcwood, design and manufacture of the prototype was transferred to Harland & Wolff Ltd at Belfast under the leadership of George Volkert, who took with him Francis Arcier and S T A ('Star') Richards; stressing was to be undertaken by Capt T M Wilson RN of the Admiralty.
  Construction of the V/1500, a four-bay biplane spanning 126 feet, was entirely of wood, the fuselage being built in three sections. The nose, principally of silver spruce longerons and frames, was covered with ply; the centre section, containing the bomb bay (beneath a 1,000-gallon fuel tank), was entirely of spruce except for two massive ash crossbeams which supported the bomb load; the rear fuselage was built to form a box-girder of rolled-up laminated spruce sections and longerons, and incorporated a catwalk to the tail gunner's position in the extreme rear.
  The wings, which folded immediately outboard of the engines, were rigged without stagger and were constructed about two silver spruce box main spars, the compression struts being either box-type or rolled-up laminated spruce structures. Ribs and ailerons were all of spruce. The upper wing was constructed in five sections, the centresection accommodating two gravity fuel tanks and four cooling water tanks. The lower wings were built in six sections.
  The four Eagle engines were arranged in tandem pairs, mounted at mid-gap by steel tube V-struts attached to front and rear wing main spars. A single massive radiator, serving all four engines, was located on top of the centre fuselage, forward of the centresection wing struts. The two front engines drove two-blade propellers, and the rear pair four-blade propellers of smaller diameter; though all four engines were right-handed, the front and rear propellers were of course counter-rotating.
  The biplane tail unit, with narrow gap, incorporated four balanced rudders, without fixed fins but with hinge rods attached to the front tailplane main spar.
  The maximum bomb load of the V/1500 comprised thirty 250 lb HE RL bombs or combinations of 550 lb and 250 lb bombs. The aircraft was also intended to be able to carry a single 3,360 lb SN Major bomb, which was being developed specially for the V/1500 but was not ready for flight trials before the Armistice.
  Manufacture of the first prototype, B9463, was an extraordinary feat of dedicated application and ingenuity and, as early as 27 January 1918, Harland & Wolff received an order for 20 production examples (E4304-E4323). Moreover, as an insurance against possible labour disputes - always a consideration in wartime conditions of food and coal shortages another production contract for 20 V/1500s (E8287-E8306) was signed with William Beardmore & Co Ltd at Dalmuir.
  The first flight by B9463 had been intended to take place in March at Crumlin (later named Aldergrove) but, owing to disputes and bad weather, it was decided to move the entire aircraft to Cricklewood, a feat completed by sea, road and rail by 12 April. Final assembly was achieved in nine days and on 22 May, flown by Capt Vernon E G Busby RAF, the prototype made a short straight hop over the grass at the new Clutterhouse Farm aerodrome.
  On 8 June, however, on its thirteenth flight, B9463 crashed and was destroyed by fire, Busby and four passengers being killed; one other, Col Alec Ogilvie, survived, having been occupying the tail gunner's position. The total loss of the aircraft, and the impossibility of determining its cause, severely delayed further production. During its short life a number of modifications had been found necessary and had been introduced in B9463; engine cowlings had been fitted, and then removed; frontal radiators had replaced the large central unit; and a lack of directional stability had resulted in increased tailplane gap and the introduction of fixed fins, the rudders being unbalanced.
  The V/1500 had consituted a major element in the plans to enlarge the Independent Force and, had the second and third prototypes joined in the flight programme as planned, in July, production machines would have probably fully equipped two, or even three squadrons before the end of the War. As it was, work on the remaining two prototypes was delayed and they were eventually completed as J1935 and J1936, the former being flown on 3 August and the latter in October. Both these aircraft carried the full gun armament, with Scarff rings in nose and tail, as well as pillar mountings amidships a possible total of six Lewis guns. J1936 also underwent trials at Orfordness with a three-inch mortar in the midships gunner's position, launching bombs aft over the tail.
  Meanwhile, No 86 Wing, No 27 Group, of the Independent Force had been formed in great secrecy at Bircham Newton under Wg Cdr Redford Henry Mulock dso* (later Air Cdre, CBE, dso*, RCAI) with Nos 166 and 167 Squadrons, these being the units intended to fly bombing raids over the heart of Germany. The two Squadrons received their first V/1500s in October and November 1918 respectively.
  By the date o f the Armistice, a total of seven V/1500s had been delivered to the RAF, comprising the first two built by Harland & Wolff, but assembled by Handley Page, three Handley Page aircraft and two Beardmore aircraft. The first of the latter had originally been delivered with 500hp Galloway Atlantic engines, but these were removed in favour of Eagle VIIIs following the Air Ministry's decision to abandon the Atlantic.
  Two aircraft of No 166 Squadron were each bombed-up with four 250 lb bombs on 9 November, ready to attack targets in Germany (the primary objective being Berlin), their pilots under orders to fly on to Czechoslovakia if they considered insufficient fuel remained for a safe return flight. Bad weather caused these sorties to be cancelled, but the engines were ready for starting two days later when the Armistice was announced.
  No records appear to have survived to indicate whether the bomb rack, designed to mount the heavy SN Major bomb, was ever completed, and it is believed that this weapon was never carried aloft. Nos 166 and 167 Squadrons were disbanded in March 1919, their aircraft and some of their crews being absorbed into No 274 Squadron at Bircham Newton (hitherto a coastal patrol unit flying Airco D.H.6s).
  A total of 213 V/1500s had been ordered from five manufacturers, but post-Armistice cancellations caused the number completed to be reduced to 41, plus a further 22 unassembled aircraft delivered into storage as spares. One of the latter was eventually assembled and flown as J6573 with Napier Lion engines, although an entire Handley Page order for 50 Lion IB-powered aircraft was cancelled, as were 40 ordered from Grahame-White Aviation Ltd.
  In the postwar months V/1500s made a number of notable flights. Following its weapon trials at Orfordness, J1936 - named HMA Old Carthusian - was prepared for a flight to India by way of Egypt during December 1918. Flown by Maj A S C MacLaren and Capt Robert Halley (later Gp Capt, DFC, AFC), with three sergeant crew members, and Brig-Gen Norman Duckworth Kerr MacEwen (later AVM, CMG, DSO, RAF) as passenger, the aircraft set out from Martlesham Heath on the 13th, and eventually force landed 35 miles from Karachi on 16 January 1919 with only the front two engines in operation. During its period in India J1936, having been repaired, was ordered north to Risalpur and, flown by Halley, carried out a daring raid on Kabul on 24 May, crossing and re-crossing the Pathan mountains.
  Another V/1500, F7140 built by Alliance Aircraft Co Ltd, was shipped to Newfoundland in May 1919 for an attempt to become the first aeroplane to fly the Atlantic non-stop, to be flown by Sqn Ldr Herbert George Brackley DSO, DSC, and the 55-year-old Vice-Admiral Mark Edward Frederick Kerr CB, MVO, with Major Geoffrey Ingram Taylor and Major Tryggve Gran (a Norwegian who had been the first to fly the North Sea in 1914, crossing from Scotland to Norway in a Bleriot). To accomplish the Atlantic crossing, Volkert had made provision for the V/1500 to carry a 2,000-gallon fuel tank - sufficient for well over 30 hours' endurance. However, owing to delays in assembling the Handley Page in Newfoundland, the Vickers Vimy of Alcock and Brown achieved the first successful Atlantic crossing, and the Handley Page's attempt was abandoned.
  Instead, Frederick Handley Page instructed Brackley and Kerr to fly on to New York, a flight which began on 5 July and presaged a veritable odyssey in the New World that ended with a crash landing at Cleveland on 16 November.
  Many of the postwar flights by V/1500s had been motivated by Frederick Handley Page's confidence in the future of large commercial airliners, and were intended to demonstrate his aircraft's considerable long-range potential. Ironically, they only served to show that the design of aircraft, considered adequate for wartime operations, left much to be desired - in particular with regard to reliability when it came to persuading a fare-paying public that danger and discomfort were acceptable penalties. Much remained to be accomplished before commercial operators would find suitable airliners that were truly profitable, without recourse to government subsidy.

  Type: Four-engine (two tractor, two pusher), eight- or nine-crew, four-bay biplane heavy bomber.
  Air Board Specification: A.3(b)
  Manufacturers: Handley Page Ltd, Cricklewood, London; William Beardmore & Co Ltd, Dalmuir, Dunbartonshire; Harland & Wolff Ltd, Belfast; Alliance Aircraft Ltd, Acton, London.
  Powerplant: Four 375hp Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII twelve-cylinder, water-cooled, in-line engines (with two tractor and two pusher propellers); four 500hp Galloway Atlantic; four 450hp Napier Lion I.
  Structure: Forward fuselage of ply-clad spruce construction; centre fuselage structure, with bomb-bay, built of spruce with cross members of ash; rear fuselage, incorporating catwalk to rear gun position, of spruce, cross-braced box girder construction. Twin silver spruce box-spars in wings, the top wing being built in five sections, the lower in six. The wings folded aft at the attachment points for the engine support struts.
  Dimensions: Span, 126ft 0in; length, 64ft 0in; height, 23ft 0in; wing area, 2,800 sq ft.
  Weights: Tare, 17,602 lb; all-up (max), 30,000 lb.
  Performance: Max speed, 99 mph at sea level; climb to 10,000ft, 41 min 25 sec; service ceiling, 11,000ft; range, 1,300 miles; max endurance, 17 hrs.
  Armament: Normal armament comprised twin 0.303in Lewis machine guns with Scarff ring on nose gunner's position, two Lewis guns on beam pillar mountings in the dorsal position, and a single Lewis gun on Scarff ring in the extreme tail. Maximum bomb load of thirty 250 lb bombs, carried internally.
  Prototypes: One, B9463, first flown by Capt Vernon E G Busby (accompanied by Jack Hathaway) on 22 May 1918 at Clutterhouse Farm aerodrome, Cricklewood, London. Aircraft manufactured by Harland & Wolff and assembled by Handley Page. Two other aircraft, B9464 and B9465, intended as prototypes, extensively modified and delivered later as J1935 and J1936 (see under Production below).
  Production: Two aircraft, B9464 and B9465, manufactured by Harland & Wolff, assembled and delivered by Handley Page as J1935 and J1936. 20 aircraft ordered from Harland & Wolff (E4304-E4323; three aircraft, E4304-E4306, assembled and delivered by Handley Page; five aircraft, E4307-E4311, built and delivered by Harland & Wolff; twelve aircraft, E4312-E4323, delivered by Harland & Wolff as spares, one of which was later assembled and delivered as J6573). 50 aircraft ordered from Beardmore (E8287-E8306 and F8201-F8230; nine aircraft, E8287-E8295, assembled and delivered; eleven aircraft, E8296-E8306, delivered as spares; F8201-F8230 cancelled). 10 aircraft ordered from Alliance Aircraft Co, F7134-F7143, and all completed and delivered by Handley Page Ltd. 90 aircraft ordered from Handley Page, F8281-F8320 and J6523-J6572 (ten assembled and delivered, F8281-F8290; the remaining 80 aircraft cancelled). 40 aircraft ordered from Grahame-White Aviation Ltd (H4825-H4864), but all cancelled. A further order for 50 aircraft, F8231-F8280, was placed with an unknown contractor possibly Handley Page - but cancelled. Summary, 210 aircraft ordered (excluding prototypes), 38 completed (excluding prototypes), assembled and delivered, 22 delivered in storage as spares (unassembled).
  Summary of Service: Handley Page V/1500s served with No 166 Squadron, RAF, at Bircham Newton (between October 1918 and March 1919), with No 167 Squadron, RAF at Bircham Newton (between November 1918 and May 1919), and with No. 274 Squadron, RAF, at Bircham Newton (between June 1919 and January 1920). One aircraft, J1936, carried out bombing attack on Kabul, Afghanistan, operating independently, on 24 May 1919.
The second Alliance-built V/1500, F7135, of No 274 Squadron at Bircham Newton late in 1919. It is said that the combined buoyancy provided by the four landing wheels was about two tons in the event that the aircraft was ditched in the sea.
Stated in some works to be a Cricklewood-built V/1500, this aircraft is of the finite production standard, with symmetric hexagonal frontal radiators and tailplanes with increased gap; note the two-blade tractor propellers and the four-blade pushers of reduced diameter.
The second Alliance-built V/1500, F7135, of No 274 Squadron at Bircham Newton late in 1919. The lower wings possessed dihedral so as to provide adequate ground clearance when folded, although even then the tail needed to be supported on a trolley.
The 3,360 lb SN Major bomb being displayed at the Crystal Palace shortly after the Armistice; it is not thought likely ever to have been flown on the V/1500.
Kennedy Giant

  The product of a gifted young man, Chessborough J H Mackenzie-Kennedy, the Giant was of impressive proportions, but of doubtful structural integrity and badly underpowered. As an eighteen-year-old and with three pounds in his pocket, Kennedy had left England for Russia, convinced of aviation's future and, in particular, the potential of very large aeroplanes. In 1908 he completed the design of Russia's first aeroplane, and formed the Kennedy Aeronautic Company the following year. Becoming associated with Igor Sikorskii in 1911, he was involved in the design of the first Sikorskii four-engine biplanes before returning to England on the outbreak of war.
  Kennedy discussed his ideas for very large aeroplanes with the War Office, by which he was promised support, and established his design office at 102 Cromwell Road, South Kensington, together with T W K Clarke, G C McClaughlin and E A Vessey.
  The fruits of this encouragement were the Giant, whose manufacture was undertaken by the Gramophone Company Ltd and the Fairey Aviation Co Ltd, both of Hayes, Middlesex. Final assembly took place at Hendon but, owing to its great size, the aircraft had to be erected in the open. The four-bay, unstaggered wings spanned 142 feet; ailerons were fitted to the upper wings only, their control rods extending along the top of the leading edge, and the wing overhang being braced by pairs of outraked struts. The four engines, mounted in tandem pairs in nacelles on the lower wings, were very early British-built examples of the Canton-Unne/Salmson Z9 nine-cylinder water-cooled radials, each of which was provided with a pair of large vertical radiators on the sides of the nacelles.
  The fuselage, of singularly bizarre appearance, was of rectangluar section over its entire length and tapered towards the tail only in plan. It provided fully-enclosed accommodation for the crew, the pilot being situated in the extreme nose, with individual compartmented cabins aft. The tail surfaces were clearly of inadequate area, the tiny rudder (later enlarged) being unbalanced and without a fixed fin. The undercarriage was an extraordinarily complicated structure of multiple V-struts and skids. One is left to conjecture that the bomb load would have been suspended beneath the aeroplane, though exactly where it is difficult to imagine.
  Supply of the Sunbeam engines, manufactured under licence by the Dudbridge Iron Works Ltd of Stroud, were afforded very low priority (and were not subject of official trials until May 1919). Early examples were rated at only 200hp and, with these, the Giant was made ready for flight at Hendon late in 1917. This power proved insufficient to gain true flight, and despite being taxied at full throttle downhill, the pilot, Lieut Frank Courtney, only managed to lift the mainwheels off the ground for a short hop with the tailskid still dragging along the ground.
  Although no further attempts were made to fly the Giant, Kennedy was not discouraged from designing a second, smaller version, and construction was underway at the works of John Dawson & Co Ltd, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, in 1920 when the venture was abandoned owing to financial failure.

  Type: Four-engine (two tractor, two pusher), three-crew, four-bay biplane bomber.
  Manufacturers: Fairey Aviation Co Ltd, and the Gramophone Co Ltd, both of Hayes, Middlesex, to the design of Kennedy Aeroplanes Ltd, South Kensington, London W.7
  Powerplant: Four 200hp Canton-Unne Salmson Z9 nine-cylinder water-cooled radial engines driving two tractor and two pusher two-blade propellers.
  Dimensions: Span, 142ft 0in; length, 80ft 0in; height, 23ft 6in.
  Weight: Tare, 19,000 lb.
  Performance: No true flight achieved.
  Prototype: One, No 2337. One partial flight made by Lieut Frank T Courtney late in 1917.
The Kennedy Giant, No 2337, at Hendon in 1917. Mr J M Bruce is quoted as stating that it required two lorries and seventy men to move it, but even this effort broke the aircraft's back. It was repaired, but with the fuselage shortened by 10 feet, presumably in the form shown here. The Giant bears more than a superficial resemblance to the Sikorskii Ilya Mouram'etz, the worlds first four-engine aeroplane.
Mann, Egerton Type B

  The motor car manufacturer Mann, Egerton & Co Ltd of Norwich had been one of the first companies to offer its services to build aircraft for the Admiralty after the outbreak of war in 1914, and had received a contract to produce twelve Short Type 184s in the spring of 1915. Later that year the Admiralty encouraged such sub-contractors to embark on designs of their own, believing that experience gained in building aeroplanes of other companies' design would bring fresh opinions on how best to improve the aircraft themselves as well as, for instance, simplifying their production. (It has already been recorded that the Armstrong, Whitworth F.K.3 was produced for the War Office as a development of the Factory's B.E.2C, structurally simplified in order to speed production.)
  So it was with Mann, Egerton who, in collaboration with both Short Bros and the Admiralty, prepared the design (the Type B) of a modified version of the Type 184 seaplane, intended to make for simpler production as well as improved performance and handling. The new wings were of two-bay configuration with reduced lower wing span and much increased upper wing extensions, the large overhang being liberally wire-braced using tall kingposts; indeed the entire wing form was similar to that of the Short Bomber, production of which followed on after the Type B at Norwich. The float undercarriage, fuselage and tail unit were constructed with standard Type 184 components, but the 225hp Sunbeam engine was located several inches higher than in the Short aircraft, resulting in the upper fuselage line sloping downwards behind the radiator towards the pilot's cockpit. The outrigger floats were moved inboard beneath the lower wing tips (although it is difficult to understand what purpose they now served, being located so close to the main float gear).
  The bomb load remained the same as that of the Type 184, although it is unlikely that the Mann, Egerton Type B was ever required to carry a torpedo. A production order for ten Type Bs was completed at Norwich during 1916, and these entered service with the RNAS alongside the standard Type 184s. No suggestion, however, has been found that the Service appreciated any marked improvement in the modified seaplanes and, apart from the company's indigenous H.1 and H.2 single-seat fighters and the Short Bombers (referred to above), Mann, Egerton reverted to subcontracted production of other companies' designs (including the French Spad S.VII, and the Airco D.H.9, D.H.9A and D.H.10).

  Type: Single-engine, two-seat, two-bay biplane patrol bomber seaplane.
  Manufacturer: Mann, Egerton & Co Ltd, Prince of Wales Road, Norwich, Norfolk.
  Powerplant: One 225hp Sunbeam water-cooled engine driving two-blade propeller.
  Dimensions: Span, 70ft 0in; length, 40ft 7in.
  Armament: One 0.303in Lewis machine gun in rear cockpit; provision to carry light bombs under the wings.
  Production: Ten aircraft, Nos 9085-9094.
The first Mann, Egerton Type B, No 9085, at Norwich in 1916. Note the very long, inversely-tapered ailerons fitted on the upper wings only.
Martinsyde G.102 Elephant

  An almost exact contemporary of the Factory's F.E.2B in the bombing role, the single-seat Martinsyde G.102 was nevertheless of more modern concept and configuration, yet was possibly less popular among its pilots when used for night operations. Ironically, although both aeroplanes were powered by the 160hp Beardmore engine in their finite bombing configurations, and carried much the same bomb load, the Martinsyde was about ten per cent faster at all altitudes (being somewhat smaller and lighter), yet fewer than two hundred were built, and only fully equipped one front line bombing squadron in France.
  The G.102 was a derivative of the G.100, a fighting scout of portly dimensions and powered by the 120hp Beardmore. It entered service at the end of 1915, before the appearance of reliable British front gun synchronizing gear. Thus during the Battle of the Somme the G. 100s, which equipped No 27 Squadron (commanded by Maj Sydney Smith, later Bt Col, DSO, MC), were generally outclassed in air combat and straightway became employed as light support bombers over the battlefield and immediately behind the German lines, being capable of carrying a pair of 112 lb bombs or up to eight 25-pounders.
  Like the F.E.2B, the Martinsyde was then fitted with the 160hp Beardmore to improve its weight-lifting abilities, a remedy that increased its ground level speed (without bombs) from 93 to 103 mph, and enabled it to carry a maximum load of one 230 lb bomb under the fuselage and four 25 lb bombs under the wings, although more often it flew with two 112 lb and four 25 lb bombs, or four 65-pounders. This version was termed the G.102, quickly gaining the unofficial, but widely accepted name of Elephant, a name prepetuated in the device of the official Badge of No 27 Squadron.
  Unlike the F.E.2B, the G.102 was little used as a night bomber for, despite possessing adequate range to attack targets well behind the enemy lines, it was not considered realistic for the pilot to navigate himself over long distances at night, nor for that matter to aim his bombs with any great accuracy. The G.102 therefore confined its bombing raids to daylight, being capable to a reasonable degree of defending itself against enemy fighters. Nevertheless No 27 Squadron flew many noteworthy raids, particularly during the Battles of Arras, Messines and Ypres.
  Being thus confined to daylight bombing over short ranges, the Elephant was not chosen for inclusion in the 41st Wing's order of battle for strategic bombing during the winter of 1917-18, and was therefore replaced on No 27 Squadron by D.H.4s by November 1917.
  Overseas, however, Elephants equipped Nos 14 and 67 (Australian) Squadrons in Palestine and Mesopotamia, as well as elements of Nos 30, 63 and 72 Squadrons, also based in Mesopotamia, between September 1916 and the end of the War, when they also were withdrawn from service.

  Type: Single-engine, single-seat, two-bay biplane light support bomber.
  Manufacturer: Martinsyde Ltd, Brooklands, Byfleet, Surrey.
  Powerplant: One 160hp Beardmore water-cooled in-line engine driving two-blade propeller.
  Dimensions: Span, 38ft 0in; length, 27ft 0in; height, 9ft 8in; wing area, 410 sq ft.
  Weights: Tare, 1,793 lb; all-up (with two 112 lb bombs), 2,692 lb.
  Performance (with two 112 lb bombs): Max speed, 96 mph at sea level, 92 mph at 10,000ft; climb to 5,000ft, 9 min 15 sec; service ceiling, 12,800ft; endurance, 3 hr.
  Armament: One forward-firing 0.303in Lewis machine gun above the wing centresection and one Lewis gun on mounting behind the cockpit on the port side. Bomb load of either one 230 lb and four 25 lb bombs, two 112 lb and four 25 lb bombs, or four 65 lb bombs on external racks under fuselage and wings.
  Prototype: Identity of first aircraft with 160hp Beardmore engine not known.
  Production: 171 G.102s built (A1561-A1610, A3935-A4004 and A6250-A6300). At least two aircraft, B864 and B865, formerly G.100s, rebuilt as G.102s by No 1 (Southern) Aircraft Repair Depot, South Farnborough, Hampshire.
  Summary of Service: G.102s served with No 27 Squadron, RFC, over the Western Front, with Nos 14 and 67 (Australian) Squadrons in Palestine, and with elements of Nos 30, 63 and 72 Squadrons, RFC, in Mesopotamia. They also flew with the Central Flying School, Upavon, and with Nos 31, 39 and 51 (Training) Squadrons.
A Martinsyde G.102, A6263, of No 27 Squadron. Being without synchronized front gun, the aircraft carried a Lewis gun on the top wing and another behind the pilot's left shoulder; these were usually retained when engaged in bombing operations.
Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.8

  The Royal Aircraft Factory's B.E.8 was a rotary-engined derivative of the B.E.2, and probably flew in prototype form early in 1913. Powered by the 80hp Gnome engine, it differed from the contemporary B.E.2 in possessing heavily staggered wings, although early production examples retained wing-warping, and the prototype had no fin. The fuselage was somewhat deeper than that of the B.E.2 in order to accommodate the engine within the nose contours, the rounded nose cowling being open in the lower segment to assist engine cooling.
  As limited production got underway in 1914 a small triangular fin was added and fuselage top decking was fitted between the cockpits; the undercarriage was of the twin wheel-and-skid type, and most aircraft were fitted with four-blade propellers.
  On the outbreak of war a single B.E.8 accompanied No 3 Squadron to France on 13 August 1914 but suffered a fatal crash three days later. Half a dozen further B.E.8s (known as 'Bloaters' in the RFC on account of their bulbous noses) were issued to Squadrons in France by the end of the year and, like the B.E.2s, began bombing attacks in March 1915. Four aircraft of No 1 Squadron, flown by Capt Edgar Rainey Ludlow-Hewitt (later Air Chief Marshal Sir Edgar, KCB, CMG, DSO, MC, RAF), Lieut Eustace Osborne Grenfell (later Gp Capt, vie, DFC, AFC, RAF), Lieut Oswald Mansell Moullin and Lieut V A Barrington-Kennett, bombed railway targets at Douai on the 12th.
  The B.E.8A, of which 42 were built by Vickers and the Coventry Ordnance Works, also powered by the 80hp Gnome, introduced wings similar to those of the B.E.2C with double-acting ailerons on upper and lower surfaces; later aircraft also featured the B.E.2C's tail unit with enlarged fin. One experimental B.E.8A was tested with the 120hp R.A.F.2 nine-cylinder radial engine.

  Type: Single-engine, two-seat, two-bay biplane field reconnaissance aircraft, later flown in the light tactical bombing role.
  Manufacturers: The Royal Aircraft Factory, Farnborough, Hants. B.E.8. The British & Colonial Aeroplane Co Ltd, Filton, Bristol; Vickers Ltd (Aviation Department), Knightsbridge, London SW. B.E.8A. The Coventry Ordnance Works Ltd, Coventry.
  Powerplant: 80hp Gnome air-cooled rotary engine. Experimental. 120hp R.A.F.2.
  Dimensions: Span, 39ft 6in (B.E.8A, 37ft 8 1/2in); length, 27ft 3in.
  Performance: B.E.8. Max speed, 70 mph at sea level; climb to 3,000ft, 10 min 30 sec.
  Armament: No standard gun installation. One 100 lb bomb could be carried.
  Prototype: Prototype was probably No. 365.
  Production: Completion of at least 27 B.E.8s (between No 373 and 740) has been confirmed, and 42 B.E.8As, Nos 2133-2174.
  Summary of Service: Small numbers of B.E.Ss and 8As served with Nos 1, 2, 3, 5, 6 and 9 Squadrons, RFC in France between September 1914 and November 1915. First used as a bomber in March 1915. B.E.Ss and 8As were flown at the Central Flying School, Upavon, and one B.E.8 was flown by No 3 Flight, RNAS, Westgate, in July 1915.
B.E.8, No 625, at the Royal Aircraft Factory shortly after the outbreak of war; many RFC aircraft were at this time given a makeshift camouflage paint scheme, as can be seen on this aircraft.
Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2C/E Bombers

  It has been shown that by the end of 1914 the RNAS had deployed a number of seaplanes capable of carrying bombs or torpedoes, and had already demonstrated its ability to strike targets with the relatively small bombs then at its disposal, although as yet no success had attended the use of the aerial torpedo.
  In France the RFC with the British Expeditionary Force was deployed in the field with a heterogeneous collection of aircraft whose pilots were charged with general reconnaissance duties over and immediately beyond the German lines. None of the aircraft hitherto built under War Office contracts had been equipped to carry bombs.
  The onset of aerial combat in the skies over the Western Front during the winter of 1914-15, rudimentary as it was in both tactics and weapons, was but an inevitable presentiment of a more ominous turn of events, and the first recorded raid by the RFC with aerial bombs as distinct from hand grenades, or adaptations thereof appears to have been launched on 11 March 1915 by three B.E.2As of No 4 Squadron, then based at St Omer, against the railway junction at Lille, 38 miles distant; none of the aircraft returned to base, all having succumbed to engine failure.
  The Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2 variants were the best of the aircraft taken to France by the RFC with Nos 2 and 4 Squadrons in 1914. Designed by Geoffrey de Havilland, the B.E.2 prototype had first flown in 1912, when it was seen to be the best aeroplane attending the Military Trials of that year (though ineligible to be declared the winner). Powered by a 70hp Renault in-line engine driving a four-blade propeller, the B.E.2 was a two-bay biplane of wire-braced wooden construction with fabric covering. Lateral control on the early B.E.2s was by means of wing warping; there was no fin and the rudder was unbalanced.
  The B.E.2 and 2A had attracted adverse comment on account of a lack of protection from the slipstream for the observer, who occupied the front cockpit, and the B.E.2B, produced in small numbers, introduced increased fuselage decking around the two cockpits.
  The next B.E.2 variant, and the most famous and longest-serving, was the B.E.2C, of which a single example accompanied the RFC to France in August 1914. Early production aircraft retained the 70hp Renault, but this engine had provided the basis of a new design produced at the Royal Aircraft Factory that was to emerge as the R.A.F 1 of 90hp. Unfortunately the prototype engine, installed in an experimental B.E.2 at the Factory, was lost when it caught fire and the aircraft crashed, killing Edward Teshmaker Busk. This pilot was the Assistant Engineer (Physics) at Farnborough, and had been largely responsible for much of the investigation and improvement of aircraft stability in flight, improvements that were to be incorporated in the new B.E.2C.
  This version retained the fuselage of the B.E.2B but introduced new wings with marked stagger and ailerons on upper and lower surfaces. A new tailplane was fitted to the rear fuselage between the upper and lower longerons, and a steel-framed, triangular fin was added forward of the rudder.
  Deliveries o f production B.E.2Cs were slow to build up, and by the date of the raid against Lille, mentioned above, only 13 of this type had reached the seven RFC squadrons on the Western Front. And it was in a B.E.2 or 2A o f No 2 Squadron that Lieut William Barnard Rhodes-Moorhouse won the first Victoria Cross to be awarded to a British airman; on 26 April 1915 he succeeded in dropping his 100 lb bomb on Courtrai railway station from 300 feet and, although mortally wounded, brought his aircraft back to his own base at Merville to make his report. One of the first bombing attacks made by the B.E.2C was that by Lieut Lanoe G Hawker (later also to win the Victoria Cross), who attacked a German airship shed at Gontrode on 19 April.
  It was soon after these early bombing attacks by the RFC that the first German Fokker monoplane fighters began appearing over the Western Front, aircraft that possessed remarkable manoeuvrability for that time; they were, moreover, armed with a synchronized machine gun capable of firing through the propeller arc. The B.E.2s, on account of the stability for which they were applauded while performing bombing and reconnaissance duties, and their lack of agility, were to suffer mounting losses, and it soon became normal practice, whenever aircraft were available, to provide escorts for the vulnerable B.E.s. Efforts were made to fit defensive armament, but this simply served to reduce their performance still more. Because the B.E.2 was only flown as a single-seater when carrying bombs, the bombers were usually fitted with a single, spigot-mounted Lewis gun behind the pilot's cockpit to fire aft! The B.E.2Cs normal bomb load was usually a pair of 112 lb or up to eight 20 lb Hales bombs.
  With a raid by two aircraft of No 4 Squadron on Cambrai airfield on 19/20 February 1916, the B.E.2Cs began operating increasingly at night, and during the preparations for the Battle of the Somme in June and July that year fairly large formations of B.E.s carried out setpiece attacks on important targets behind the German lines; on one occasion about 30 aircraft from Nos 8 and 12 Squadrons dropped 57 112 lb bombs on a key railway junction.
  As the 90hp R.A.F. 1A engine became available in sufficient numbers it was adopted as standard in the B.E.2C, replacing the Renault, and this engine was retained in the other two variants, the B.E.2D with dual controls, and the B.E.2E which reached the RFC in France during the Battle of the Somme, No 34 Squadron bringing with it a full complement from England on the 15th. The B.E.2E featured a new single-bay wing-structure and with a substantial upper wing overhang.
  Although the B.E.2C, 2D and 2E continued in service on the Western Front throughout much of 1917, their use as bombers declined after the autumn of 1916 owing to their vulnerability to ground fire and enemy fighters, and their inability to carry a worthwhile bomb load.
  B.E.2s also served in smaller numbers with the RNAS, beginning with three B.E.2As taken to France by Wg-Cdr Charles Rumney Samson's Wing in August 1914. One of these aircraft, No 50, survived two year's service, accompanying Samson to the Dardanelles in 1915. Some naval B.E.2Cs which served during that ill-fated campaign with No 3 Wing, RNAS, were employed as bombers, a few being flown as single-seaters with the front cockpit faired over; others carried a rack for three light bombs directly beneath the engine.
  B.E.2Cs also served in the bombing and reconniassance roles in German East Africa, Egypt, Palestine, Macedonia and on the North-West Frontier of India.

  Type: Single-engine, single/two-seat, two-bay biplane, as used as support light bomber.
  Manufacturers: Sir W G Armstrong, Whitworth & Co Ltd, Gosforth, Newcastle-upon-Tyne; Barclay, ( Airle & Co Ltd, Whiteinch, Glasgow; William Beardmore & Co Ltd, Dalmuir, Dunbartonshire; The Blackburn Aeroplane & Motor Co Ltd, Olympia, Leeds; The British Caudron Co Ltd, Cricklewood, London, NW2; The British & Colonial Aeroplane Co Ltd, Filton, Bristol; The Daimler Co Ltd, Coventry; William Denny & Bros, Dumbarton; The Eastbourne Aviation Co Ltd, Eastbourne; The Grahamc-Whitc Aviation Co Ltd, Hendon, London NW9; Hewlett & Blondeau Ltd, Clapham, London; Martinsyde Ltd, Brooklands, Surrey; Napier & Miller Ltd, Old Kilpatrick; Ruston & Proctor & Co Ltd, Lincoln; Vickers Ltd (Aviation Dept), Knightsbridge, London; The Vulcan Motor & Kngineering Co (1906) Ltd, Southport, Lancashire; G & J Weir Ltd, Cathcart, Glasgow; Wolseley Motors Ltd, Birmingham.
  Powerplant: B.E.2C. 70hp Renault; 90hp R.A.F.1A; 105hp R.A.F.1B; 105hp R.A.F.1D; 90hp Curtiss OX-5; 150hp Hispano-Suiza. B.E.2D. 90hp R.A.F.1A.
  Structure: Fuselage of wire-braced wooden box girder construction, wooden twin-spar wings; fin and rudder of steel tubular frame construction. Engine part-cowled with aluminium sheet panels, cockpit decking plywood-covered, the remainder of the aircraft fabric-covered.
  Dimensions: B.E.2C. Span, 37ft 0in; length, 27ft 3in; height, 11ft 1 1/2in; wing area, 371 sq ft. B.E.2D. Span, 36ft 10in; length, 27ft 3in; height, 11 ft 0in; wing area, 371 sq ft.
  Weights: B.E.2C. Tare, 1,370 lb; all-up (eight 20 lb bombs), 2,142 lb.
  Performance: B.E.2C(R.A.F.1A). Max speed, 77 mph at sea level, 69 mph at 10,000ft; climb to 5,000ft, 9 min 10 sec; service ceiling, 10,000ft.
  Armament: A single Lewis machine gun was sometimes carried on a spigot mounting aft of the rear cockpit. When flown as a singleseat bomber, the B.E.2C could carry up to two 112 lb bombs or smaller bombs up to an equivalent weight.
No 1738, a Bristol-built B.E.2C with a 90hp Curtiss OX-5 engine, a conversion probably made by Frederick Sage & Co Ltd.
A B.E.2C single-seat bomber of No 2 Wing, RNAS, at Imbros. This aeroplane, shown carrying 20 lb Hales bombs on racks under the engine and fuselage amidships, was the first to bomb Constantinople, flying from Imbros. The identity of the two naval pilots is not known.
BE.2D, No 2559, at Farnborough in 1916, experimentally fitted with a 150hp Hispano-Suiza engine.
Royal Aircraft Factory F.E.2B Bomber

  The venerable F.E.2 (Farman Experimental) was originally flown long before the War, and production examples of the first variant, the F.E.2A, were sent to France in January 1915 - the first British aeroplanes designed for air combat to reach the RFC. As such the F.E.2A was to shoulder much of the early responsibility for defence against the Fokker monoplane scouts over the Western Front, a brave but largely ineffective defence owing to the aircraft's deficiencies in performance and agility.
  When British purpose-designed dogfighters, beginning with the Airco D.H.2, began arriving in France, some of the pressure was removed from the F.E.2As and 2Bs - the latter with 120hp Beardmore engines - and the opportunity was taken to investigate the possibility of operating the F.E.2B at night, and No 6 Squadron flew a number of night patrols from Abeele, confirming that the aircraft was indeed suitable for night operations, provided that the outrigged nosewheel was removed; to begin with, however, the oleo struts were retained, until these were replaced by plain V-struts. Late production F.E.2Bs were powered by the 160hp Beardmore, but this engine initially proved unpopular owing to unreliability.
  By the spring of 1916 a new generation of German fighting scouts had started appearing over the Front, and new efforts were made to find a substantially more powerful engine for the F.E.2, and the choice fell upon the new 250hp Rolls-Royce, soon to be named the Eagle. The version thus powered, the F.E.2D, entered production in March and the first example to be dispatched left for France on 30 June, only to be captured intact by the Germans later that day when its pilot landed at Lille in mistake for St Omer.
  This aircraft had been intended for No 20 Squadron at Clairmarais, and subsequent deliveries were safely made during the following month, the Squadron being engaged in converting from the F.E.2B during the Battle of the Somme. No 57 Squadron, also flying the F.E.2D, arrived in France during December that year, and No 25 Squadron converted in March 1917.
  By then, however, it was recognized that the slower F.E.2B was fatally vulnerable in daylight operations, and it was No 6 Squadron, drawing on its previous night flying experience, which flew the first significant night bombing sorties on the night of 16/17 November 1916, when four aircraft, each carrying three 100 lb bombs, took off to attack targets of opportunity - and achieved notable success against enemy rail targets.
  With a relatively large number of F.E.2B squadrons now in service (and a shortage of Rolls-Royce engines threatening early in 1917), the decision was taken to retain the 2B in service as a night bomber, a role it continued to perform for the remainder of the War. On the other hand, the F.E.2D (of which very few were ever flown with bombs) was withdrawn from front-line service before the end of 1917.
  Results of the early night attacks by No 6 Squadron were examined closely by the War Office, and the first dedicated night bombing Squadron to be equipped with F.E.2Bs was No 100, which was formed at Hingham in Norfolk on 23 Februarv 1917 and moved to France the following month, where it was placed under the direct command of RFC HQ. The aircraft flown by this Squadron featured the plain V-strut undercarriage, without oleos, as standard, for this configuration permitted the aircraft to carry a 230 lb RL bomb, whereas the gear with oleos did not.
  During the first week of July No 100 Squadron twice raided targets at Douai, location of a German fighter aerodrome and, during an attack on the night of the 7th/8th included a pair o f newly-arrived F E.2Bs each armed with a single Vickers one-pounder quick-firing gun. Although these guns, which continued to be used for about three months, were found to be quite effective so long as they continued firing, any stoppage that occurred could not be rectified in the air; there was also a danger that spent shell cases could foul the propeller. Aircraft armed with the one-pounder (also flown by No 102 Squadron) were distinguishable by the side-by-side disposition of the crew, the gunner being seated to the right of the pilot.
  In August No 100 Squadron was heavily engaged during the battles of Messines and Ypres, dropping four-and-a-half tons of bombs in attacks on Mouveaux aerodrome and on railway targets at Comincs, Courtrai, Menin and Roulers on the night of the 16th/17th. This series of raids presaged a continuing bomber offensive that lasted through the autumn and winter, and was joined by the bomb-carrying F.E.2Bs of Nos 58,83,101,102,148 and 149 Squadrons although, with Trenchard's creation of the 41st Wing for the strategic bombing of German industrial targets, No 100 Squadron, itself coming to be regarded as the spearhead of the RFC's night bombing effort, was transferred to the new force on 11 October 1917. Its first major attack with the Wing was flown on the 24th of that month, when fourteen F.E.2Bs accompanied nine naval Handley Page O/100s to bomb the Burbach factory near Saarbruchen.
  As early as January 1917 it had been assumed that, with the F.E.2B's approaching obsolescence, its value as a bomber would be short-lived, and for several months its production was allowed to run down, and would have ceased altogether by the end of that year had not No 100 Squadron's early successes suggested that the F.E.2B represented an economical, and by all accounts effective bombing weapon by night. Therefore, as new squadrons were about to be formed and others transferred to the night bombing role, new orders were placed for F.E.2B production - so much so that as late as the third quarter of 1918 its production rate was still accelerating. Indeed, at the date of the Armistice, the venerable pusher bomber was still serving with six front-line squadrons, while a further six were training on the type in the United Kingdom.
  That the F.E.2B was outdated long before the end of the War is undeniable, and it was quite fortuitous that the art of night fighting was still in its infancy, so that bombing by night could be, and was performed with some impunity by both sides. Yet the old pusher aeroplane demonstrated a number of important attributes that recommended it for such operations: it possessed docile handling qualities and was straightforward to land at night, and with the engine located aft the crew was afforded an excellent field of view, unimpeded by exhaust flash. With generous wing area and ample power, it could lift a 230 lb bomb or, perhaps surprisingly, as many as fourteen 25 lb bombs (The actual weight of the Cooper '20-pounder' with fragmentation case) - the latter a most appropriate armoury for use against diffuse targets such as trains and other troop transport.

  Type: Single pusher engine, two-seat, three-bay biplane as employed as a night bomber.
  Manufacturers: The Royal Aircraft Factory, Farnborough, Hampshire; Boulton & Paul Ltd, Norwich, Norfolk; Richard Garrett & Sons, Leiston, Suffolk; Ransome, Sims & Jefferies, Ipswich, Suffolk; G & J Weir, Cathcart, Glasgow.
  Powerplant: F.E.2B as bomber. 120hp or 160hp Beardmore six-cylinder, water-cooled, inline engine driving four-blade pusher propeller. F.E.2D. One 225hp Rolls-Royce (Eagle I).
  Dimensions: Span, 47ft 9in; length, 32ft 3in; height, 12ft 7 1/2 in; wing area, 494 sq ft.
  Weights (160hp Beardmore): Tare, 2,061 lb; all-up, 3,037 lb.
  Performance (160hp Beardmore): Max speed, 91.5 mph at sea level, 76 mph at 10,000ft; climb to 10,000ft, 39 min 44 sec; service ceiling, 11,000ft.
  Armament (as a bomber): Usually a single 0.303in Lewis machine gun, bracket-mounted on the front cockpit. 160hp Beardmore-powered night bombers could carry up to three 112 lb bombs when flown as single-seaters, or one 230 lb bomb when flown as two-seaters; combinations of smaller bombs were sometimes carried, equivalent to these bomb loads.
  Production: Total number of F.E.2Bs converted or built and flown as bombers is not known (some sources give the total as about 860). The following figures refer to the entire new production of F.E.2Bs and F.E.2Ds (1,810 aircraft). Royal Aircraft Factory, 137 (Nos 6328-6377 [Bs], No 7995 [D], A1-A40 [Ds], A1932-A1966 [Ds], A5143-A5152 [Ds] and A8950 [B]); Boulton & Paul, 550 (Nos 5201-5250 [Bs], 6928-7027 (Bs), 7666-7715 [Bs], A6351-A6600 [Ds], B1851-B1900 |Ds] and A5438-A5487 [Bs]); Garrett, 60 (D3776-D3835 (Bs]); Ransome, Sims & Jefferies, 250 (B401-B500, C9786-C9835 and D9900-D9999, all Bs); Weir, 650 (Nos 4838-4937, A778-A877, A5500-A5649, A5650-A5799 and D9081-D9230, all Bs); constructors not known (probably R.A.F., Farnborough), 163 (Nos 4938-5000 and E7037-E7163, all Bs). Bomber conversions are known to have been made in almost all the above batches.
  Summary of Service: F.E.2Bs operated regularly as night bombers with Nos 58, 83, 100, 101, 102, 148 and 149 Squadrons, RFC and RAF, and with No 3 Naval Wing, RNAS, in France. They were also flown by numerous other squadrons over the Western Front on short-range bombing-reconnaissance attacks.
Standard production F.E.2B with plain V-strut undercarriage; the nose Lewis gun has not yet been fitted on this factory-fresh example.
A presentation F.E.2B, A5478, Gold Coast No 10, of No 22 Squadron, probably at Chipilly during 1917; it is shown carrying a single 230 lb bomb under the nacelle and six 25 lb fragmentation bombs under the wings - the maximum bomb load of the F.E.2B with a two-man crew. The tube extending down from the nose of the nacelle is a flare chute.
Pilot and observer watch an armourer load a 112 lb bomb on their F.E.2B; either six or eight 20 lb Cooper bombs are also being carried under the wings.
Royal Aircraft Factory F.E.2B
Royal Aircraft Factory R.E.5 and R.E.7

  Despite the reluctance of the War Office to recognise aerial bombing as a prescribed role for the aeroplane in service prior to the First World War, the fact that no such role was undertaken regularly by the RFC in France during 1914 was attributable as much to the absence of suitable aircraft as to the absence of any significant stock of aerial bombs. Indeed, the only stock amounted to twenty-six 20 lb Hales bombs held by the RNAS at the outbreak of War. It is true that the Bristol T.B.8 had been ordered for the RFC, ostensibly as a bomber, but this order was transferred to the RNAS when war was declared.
  The first aircraft considered as adequately powerful to lift pilot, fuel and bomb(s) was the Royal Aircraft Factory's R.E.5, by 1914 a promising member of the 'Reconnaissance Experimental' category of aircraft that had originated in 1912 as a derivative of the B.E.2. The latter aircraft, in its developed forms, also came to carry bombs as a matter of necessity early in 1915, and the only reason that in this work the R.E.5 ante-dates the B.E.2 lies in the work carried out during 1914 to examine the likelihood o f the R.E.5 being capable of carrying bombs in service, although the distinction of it being the first to do so is extremely tenuous.
  The R.E.5, like its immediate predecessor, the R.E.3, was powered by the 120hp Austro-Daimler water-cooled inline engine, and was ordered into production by the War Office 'off the drawing board' in December 1913, the cost of the 24 aeroplanes (less engines) being subscribed by a windfall payment by the Admiralty in return for the transfer of all Army airships to the Navy at that time. Thus the R.E.5 was among the first Factory aircraft actually built in quantity at Farnborough, instead of being subcontracted to a commercial manufacturer.
  The first R.E.5 (there was no prototype per se) was completed before the end of January 1914, being a two-bay, two-seat biplane with equal-span wings; construction was of mixed metal tube and spruce with fabric covering. Ailerons were fitted to upper and lower wings, and the unbalanced rudder was hinged to a triangular fin; a conventional twin wheel and skid undercarriage was standard.
  The 5th, 6th, 12th and 13th aircraft were completed as single-seaters with upper wings extended in span to 57ft 2 1/2 in, the large tip overhang being braced by additional outward-raked pairs of interplane struts. These aircraft were often referred to - though unofficially - as R.E.5As and were intended for high altitude work, and Norman Spratt, a Factory pilot (later Gp Capt, RAF), climbed No 380 to a height o f 18,900 feet on 14 May 1914.
  Beardmore-built Austro-Daimler engines with strengthened crankshafts proved to be more reliable than the imported examples, and an R.E.5 thus powered was retained by the Factory to investigate the carriage of bombs, and was flown with various loads of jettisonable weights for investigation of performance penalties and effects on handling. Although these trials were performed before the War, they were largely academic for, as already stated, real bombs were in acutely short supply.
  By the outbreak of war about 15 RE.5s and 5As had been completed, and a few of these accompanied the RFC squadrons to France. One example, allocated to the RNAS, was flown to Dunkerque by Sqn-Cdr A M Longmore on 27 September. Three days later Longmore carried out a bombing attack on Courtrai railway station but, as the aircraft was without bomb racks, Longmore's observer carried the small, improvised French bombs in his cockpit, dropping them over the side when above the target!
  As far as can be determined, RFC R.E.5s did not fly true bombing sorties until 26 April 1915, when a pair of these aircraft from No 7 Squadron, accompanied by seven B.E.2Cs of No 8 Squadron, flying from St Omer, set out to attack German troop trains near Ghent. Thereafter such attacks became fairly commonplace (though the first regular bombing attacks by RFC aircraft had in fact commenced a month earlier, see the B.E.2C). In the course of one R.E.5 attack on 31 July, Capt John Aidan Liddell of No 7 Squadron was mortally wounded in the thigh by ground fire. His aircraft was hit and dropped out of control, the throttle and control wheel being smashed. In great pain, Liddell managed to regain control and crash landed on a Belgian aerodrome, thereby saving the life of his observer. Liddell was awarded the Victoria Cross, only to succumb to his wounds shortly afterwards.
The R.E.7

  RE.5s continued in limited operational service until the autumn of 1915, by which time most of the survivors from the original batch of 25 aircraft were being relegated to training duties. A new version, the R.E.7, was coming into service, an aircraft that retained the big Beardmore engine and took no significant account of performance advances made by other in-service aircraft since the beginning of the War.
  However, stemming largely from prewar work done to determine the bomb-carrying potential of the R.E.5, already referred to, the R.E.7 was intended from the outset to carry a single 336 lb bomb, designed and developed at the Royal Aircraft Factory. This bomb, which was first flown experimentally on an R.E.5A, was 4ft 11 1/2in long, and was classified as a heavy case (HC) weapon, containing only 70 lb of compressed or cast TNT.
  Unlike the R.E.5, all R.E.7s were contract-built by commercial manufacturers, namely the Austin Car Company, the Coventry Ordnance Works, D Napier & Sons and the Siddeley-Deasey Motor Car Company, a total of 252 being built. The aircraft featured the long-span upper wings of the R.E.5A, and first reached No 21 Squadron in July 1915, then forming at Netheravon. In September that year No 12 Squadron, already flying B.E.2Cs and R.E.5s at Natheravon, received in addition a few R.E.7s and moved to St Omer on the 6th.
  Owing to delays in manufacturing the Factory's 336 lb bomb, No 12 Squadron's R.E.7s were flown as escort fighters but, with the observer/gunner occupying the front cockpit beneath the upper wing, were quickly found to be quite unable to counter the new German Fokker monoplane scouts, then in full cry over the Western Front.
  When No 21 Squadron brought its full complement of R.E.7s to France in January 1916, both it and No 12 were transferred to special reconnaissance work in preparation for the major Allied offensive which was to be launched on the Somme in July that year.
  As No 12 Squadron gave up its R.E.7s to re-equip with F.E.2Bs, No 21 received new R.E.7s powered by the 150hp R.A.F. 4A - an engine that was some 100 lb lighter than the Beardmore - and in June began operations with the 336 lb bomb, flying from Fienvillers. During the period between 30 June and 9 July the Squadron flew 29 bombing sorties, each with the big bomb, against targets at St Sauveur, Bapaume and Cambrai, often with spectacular results. On at least two other occasions the R.E.7s each carried two 112 lb and six 60 lb bombs.
  Despite these belated successes the bombing career of the R.E.7 was destined to be shortlived, and in August No 21 Squadron, the only operational unit to be fully equipped with the type, was withdrawn from operations to re-equip with the B.E.12. The great majority of R.E.7s were retained at home for training purposes. Some attempts were made to improve their performance, and among the engines experimentally fitted for this purpose were the 190hp Rolls-Royce Falcon and the 250hp Rolls-Royce III. Two aircraft, Nos 2299 and 2348 (built by Napier and Siddeley-Deasey respectively) were modified as three-seaters, with an extra cockpit with Lewis gun mounting added aft of the pilot in an effort to improve the aircraft's ability to defend itself. Predictably the extra weight of gun and gunner only served to reduce the aircraft's very poor performance yet further.
  The truth had yet to dawn on the War Office in early 1916 that engines of greatly improved power/weight ratios were essential if bomb loads of effective powers of destruction were to be carried by aircraft with the slightest chance of survival in the face of superior enemy fighters.

  Type: Single-engine, two-seat, two-bay biplane corps reconnaissance bomber.
  Manufacturers: The Austin Motor Co (1914) Ltd, Northfield, Birmingham; The Coventry Ordnance Works Ltd, Coventry; D Napier & Sons Ltd, Acton, London; The Siddeley-Deasy Motor Car Co Ltd, Park Side, Coventry.
  Powerplant: One 120hp Beardmore; 160hp Beardmore; 150hp R.A.F. 4A. Experimental installations: 190hp Rolls-Royce Falcon; 250hp Rolls-Royce Mk III (284hp Eagle III); 200hp R.A.F.3A; 225hp Sunbeam.
  Dimensions: Span, 57ft 2in; length 31ft 10 1/2in; height, 12ft 7in; wing area, 548 sq ft.
  Weights: 160hp Beardmore. Tare, 2,285 lb; all-up, 3,290 lb. 150hp RAF.4A (with 336 lb bomb). Tare, 2,170 lb; all-up, 3,449 lb. 190hp Falcon. All-up, 3,280 lb.
  Performance: 160hp Beardmore. Max speed, 91 mph at sea level, 83 mph at 10,000ft; climb to 10,000ft, 31 min 50 sec. 150hp R.A.F.4A (with 336 lb bomb). Max speed, 85 mph at sea level. Service ceiling, 6,500ft. Endurance, 6 min.
  Armament: Standard aircraft were provided with a single 0.303in Lewis machine gun on the front cockpit. Capable of carrying one 336 lb R.A.F. bomb, or two 112 lb and four 20 lb bombs.
  Prototype: None. First production aircraft probably first flown in May-June 1915.
  Production: A total of 252 R.E.7s was built: Coventry Ordnance Works, 50 (Nos 2185-2234); Austin, 52 (Nos 2235-2286); Napier, 50 (Nos 2287-2336); Siddeley-Deasy, 100 (Nos 2348-2447). Nos 2241, 2242, 2260 and 2364 were transferred to the RNAS.
  Summary of Service: R.E.7s served with Nos 12 and 21 Squadrons, RFC, over the Western Front during 1915-16, and with Nos 6,9,19, 37, 38, 49 and 60 Squadron, RFC, in the United Kingdom between 1915 and 1917.
The second three-seat R.E.7, No 2299, shown here experimentally powered by a 250hp Rolls-Royce III (later the Eagle III), a view of the aircraft that emphasises the increased span of the R.E.7 s upper wing.
R.E.7, No 2348, in standard form powered by a 150hp R.A.F. 4A engine, and featuring twin cockpits. What appears to be a 20lb bomb may be seen under the starboard wing. This aeroplane was later modified with a third cockpit and provision to carry the 336 lb bomb.
The two seat Royal Aircraft Factory RE 7, first flown in early 1915, was employed in a variety of roles, ranging from its original task of light bomber, to reconnaissance, and escort fighter. Deliveries of the RE 7 started towards the close of 1915, the type making its operational debut with No 21 Squadron, RFC, on 23 January 1916. Not a great operational success due largely to the gunner being seated forward, where wings and struts restricted both his vision and field of fire, the type was withdrawn from front-line use by the end of 1916. Using a 150hp RAF 4a, the RE 7's top level speed was 82mph at 7,000 feet, while its maximum bomb load was 336lb. In all, 244 RE 7s were delivered to the RFC.
R.E.7 No 2348 after modification as a three-seater and carrying the 336 lb bomb. The aircraft also appears to have reverted to the 160hp Beardmore engine.
Royal Aircraft Factory R.E.7
Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.12

  The growing clamour during the latter half of 1915 over the inferior aircraft being supplied to the RFC in France was focused principally on the Factory's B.E.2C, an aeroplane that had been applauded early in its Service life on account of its inherent stability in all three axes a laudable quality for unopposed reconnaissance work but suicidal in the presence of enemy fighters. It was slow and simply incapable of evasive manoeuvre and, when required to carry bombs, suffered enormous losses. Nor was the B.E.8's performance significantly better.
  For months the Army remained deaf to calls for an enquiry into the administration of the Factory and the reasoning behind the continued letting of contracts for B.E.2 production. Moreover, during the early months of 1916, as a result of further Parliamentary charges by Noel Pemberton Billing, the Burbidge Committee's report was published, only to demonstrate steadfast support for the B.E.2C as an effective operational aeroplane. None of the report's authors was a close witness to events over the Western Front.
  Discomfited by further charges in Parliament, the War Office halted production of the B.E.2C in mid-1916, although the aircraft continued in service for a further year. It had, however, been divulged that the Factory had already, in mid-1915, initiated action to further develop the B.E.2/B.E.8 formula, and a marginally improved aircraft, the B.E.12, was first flown in August that year.
  Nevertheless, it was the War Office's clear intention to introduce a fighter aircraft into service (the Airco D.H.2), capable of meeting the German fighting scouts on equal terms, rather than to pursue fundamental changes in existing bombing and reconnaissance aircraft, believing that providing escorts for the established B.E.s would halt the rising losses being suffered.
  Little urgency was therefore lent to the B.E.12's development. The prototype was a converted B.E.2C, No 1697, in which the front cockpit was deleted and a 140hp R.A.F.4A twelve-cylinder air-cooled in-line engine replaced the 90hp R.A.F. 1 A. No gun armament was provided initially (confirming that the new aircraft was conceived as yet another bomber/reconnaissance type, for which fighter escort would be available).
  While No 1697 went to France during the autumn of 1915 for Service trials, production orders were placed with three Coventry-based manufacturers, Daimler also being contracted to produce the Factory's R.A.F.4A engine. Delays with the latter prevented completion of the first production B.E.12s until March 1916, and it was midsummer before examples were reaching the Squadrons in France, by which time the superior German scouts had been demonstrating their ability to evade the RFC's escorts to attack the reconnaissance machines.
  As a result, the B.E.12s were provided with a single fixed, forward-firing Vickers gun on the side of the fuselage, but this was found to be virtually useless as the B.E. still lacked the manoeuvrability to engage in any sort of dogfighting. By adopting the smaller tailplane of the B.E.2E, some improvement in handling was evident, but when a Lewis gun was also provided on a pillar mounting behind the pilot's left shoulder, the aircraft proved almost unmanageable and the gun incapable o f being aimed. In August 1916, therefore, the aircraft was withdrawn from daylight reconnaissance duties and transferred almost exclusively to night bombing, a task which it continued to perform until February 1917.
  In mid-1916 an attempt was made to improve the B.E.12's manoeuvrability by adopting the B.E.2E's single-bay wings of unequal span, this version - the B.E.12A arriving on the Squadrons at the end of the year, but with little real evidence of improvement. (The B.E.12B, of late 1917, was an anti-Zeppelin fighter, powered by a 200hp Hispano-Suiza engine, and therefore lies outside the scope of this work.)
  A few B.E. 12s served with No 17 Squadron at Mikra Bay, near Salonika, from November 1916, being flown as fighters, bombers and reconnaissance aircraft, as opportunity dictated; and it was this Squadron's well-known pilot, Capt Gilbert Ware Murlis-Green (later Gp Capt, DSO, MC, RAF) who achieved the rare score of three enemy aircraft shot down while flying the B.E.12.
  These operations only served to extend the original B.E.'s dismal service and anachronistic operational role. That B.E.s continued to be manufactured and flown on operations long after they had been shown to be disastrously outdated emphasised the War Office's wholly unjustified dependence on the products of the Royal Aircraft Factory.

  Type: Single-engine, single-seat, two-bay biplane light reconnaissance/bomber.
  Manufacturers: The Daimler Co Ltd, Coventry; The Standard Motor Co Ltd, Coventry; The Coventry Ordnance Works Ltd, Coventry.
  Powerplant: One 140hp R.A.F.4A in-line engine driving four-blade propeller.
  Dimensions: Span, 37ft 0in; length, 27ft 3in; height, 11ft 1 1/2in; wing area, 371 sq ft.
  Weights: Tare, 1,635 lb; all-up, 2,352 lb.
  Performance: Max speed, 102 mph at sea level, 91 mph at 10,000ft; climb to 10,000ft, 33 min; service ceiling, 12,500ft; endurance, 3 hr.
  Armament: Gun armament comprised one 0 303in Vickers machine gun on nose with Vickers mechanical interrupter gear, and occasionally one Lewis gun on pillar mounting aft of the cockpit on the port side; bomb load of up to two 112 lb, four 65 lb, sixteen 16 lb or eight 20 lb or 25 lb bombs carried under the wings.
  Prototype: No 1697 (a converted Bristol-built B.E.2C), first flown at Farnborough by Frank Goodden in August 1915.
  Production: A total of about 400 B.E.12s was built but, bv the time the aircraft began bombing operations, many had been lost in action while flown as fighting scouts. The following are known to have been built: Nos 6136-6185 (Standard Motors, 50, all built as B.E.12s); Nos 6478-6677 (Daimler, 200, all built as B.E.12s); A562-A611 (Coventry Ordnance, 50; six completed as B.E.12As); A4006-A4055 (Daimler, 50; three completed as B.E.12As); A6301-A6350 (Daimler, 50; three completed as B.E.12As); C3081-C3280 (Daimler, 200; mixed B.E.12s, B.E.12As and B.E.12Bs).
  Summary of Service: B.E. 12s served with Nos 10, 19 and 21 Squadrons on light bombing duties over the Western Front, and No 17 Squadron at Salonika.
A Daimler-built B.E.12 bomber in German hands. Flown by Lieut Briggs of No 19 Squadron, RFC, from Fienvillers, No 6562 was forced down on 26 August 1916, the pilot being made prisoner. Note the pillar-mounted, rearward-firing Lewis gun aft of the cockpit. The front Vickers gun and underwing bomb racks for four 65lb bombs are not visible in this photo, taken at the German Adlershof aerodrome during evaluation.
Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.12
Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2C/E Bombers

<...>
  As the 90hp R.A.F. 1A engine became available in sufficient numbers it was adopted as standard in the B.E.2C, replacing the Renault, and this engine was retained in the other two variants, the B.E.2D with dual controls, and the B.E.2E which reached the RFC in France during the Battle of the Somme, No 34 Squadron bringing with it a full complement from England on the 15th. The B.E.2E featured a new single-bay wing-structure and with a substantial upper wing overhang.
  Although the B.E.2C, 2D and 2E continued in service on the Western Front throughout much of 1917, their use as bombers declined after the autumn of 1916 owing to their vulnerability to ground fire and enemy fighters, and their inability to carry a worthwhile bomb load.
<...>

  Powerplant: B.E.2E. 90hp R.A.F.1A; 105hp R.A.F.IB; 150hp Hispano-Suiza; 75hp Rolls-Royce Hawk.
  Dimensions: B.E.2E. Span, 40ft 9in; length, 27ft 3in; height, 12ft 0in; wing area, 360 sq ft.
  Weights: B.E.2E. Tare, 1,431 lb; all-up (two 25 lb bombs), 2,080 lb.
  Performance: B.E.2E (R.A.F.1A). Max speed, 90 mph at sea level.
  Armament: A single Lewis machine gun was sometimes carried on a spigot mounting aft of the rear cockpit.
A standard B.E.2E with 90hp R.A.F. IA engine driving a four-blade propeller. The distinguishing feature of this version was the much extended upper wing with kingposts above the interplane struts. Ailerons were provided on upper and lower wings.
Royal Aircraft Factory R.E.8

  Despite its designation, the Royal Aircraft Factory's R.E.8 was in no respect a development of the R.E.5 or R.E.7, and it is said to have carried that designation so as to avoid any obvious connotation with the discredited B.E. family to which it was in fact closely related. It was unfortunate in acquiring ill-repute through flying accidents and combat casualties, and it has to be said that a very high proportion of these were more the result of poor pilot training that any specific fault in the design.
  Design of the R.E.8 (inevitably dubbed the Harry Tate by the RFC, after a popular music hall comedian) started in the winter of 1915-16 in response to an RFC requirement for a reconnaissance aircraft capable of defending itself from German fighting scouts. The aircraft was of all-wood construction, a distinctive feature being the rear longerons, which appeared to slope upwards aft of the rear cockpit; this, combined with the large air scoop above the R.A.F.4A engine (a feature common to the B.E. 12), bestowed on the R.E.8 a curious upward curving profile. The heavily staggered wings of unequal span and large overhang were reminiscent of those of the B.E.2E, and were probably adopted in the belief that this was the feature mainly responsible for the B.E.2E's apparent superiority over the despised 2C. The tailplane was also similar to that of the B.E.2E, and its incidence was adjustable by a handwheel in the pilot's cockpit. The most prominent difference between the two aircraft was the R.E.8's much smaller fin, and herein lay one of the causes of the handling difficulties experienced by fledgling pilots of the RFC.
  In an effort to improve the observer/gunner's field of fire forward in level flight, the engine was mounted to provide a downward thrust line (ie tail-up in level flight); however, in the event of the aircraft stalling, the tail surfaces were so far above the propeller's slipstream as to be useless, and a spin frequently proved fatal. Moreover, the steeply sloping engine air scoop, forward of the front windscreen, produced an unfamiliar illusion when approaching to land that the aircraft was on the point of stalling and, on moving the stick forward instinctively, the pilot would either crash on undershooting or land too fast and crash on overshooting. In either instance there was a likelihood that the engine would be forced back and rupture the fuel tank, which was located immediately in front of the pilot. In these circumstances, fire was a not unnatural consequence, and the R.E.8 quickly earned a reputation as a 'flaming coffin' - indeed it was probably no more prone to fire than any other combat aircraft of the period.
  Two prototype R.E.8s, No 7996 and 7997, were built, the first being flown by the Factory's chief pilot, Frank Goodden, on 17 June 1916. The second was quickly despatched to France for assessment by the Service's airmen. Being experienced pilots, they approached the new machine with caution, but soon recognised and accepted its idiosyncrasies, reporting very favourably on its performance; the one important requirement was that the observer's Lewis gun should be replaced by a belt-fed Vickers (this was not put into effect).
  On the strength of this report (endorsed by Col H R M Brooke-Popham, later Air Chief Marshal Sir Robert, GCVO, KCB, CMG, DSO, AFC, RAK), the War Office immediately placed orders for no fewer than 1,475 RE.8s, of which only 75 were to be built at the Royal Aircraft Factory; apart from 200 (which were intended to be produced by the British & Colonial Aeroplane Company, but which were cancelled), the remaining 1,200 were built by six commercial subcontractors. Further substantial orders were to follow during the next eighteen months.
  The first RFC- Squadron to receive R.E.8s was No 52, which began converting from B.E.2Cs at Hounslow Heath in October 1916, and transferred to France the following February. However, owing to a spate of flying accidents and a consequent drop in morale on the Squadron, it was decided to revert to B.E.2Cs. In the meantime. No 34 Squadron gave up its B.E. 12s at Alonville in January in favour of the R.E.8, and by April six squadrons had been fully re-equipped in France.
  There could have been no more unfortunate time for an aircraft to receive its baptism of fire than 'Bloody April', the worst single month of the War for the RFC in terms of combat casualties over the Western Front, and the ferocity of the air battles served to demonstrate just how unsuited for corps reconnaissance the R.E.8 was. For instance, on the 13th a formation of six aircraft from No 59 Squadron set out from Bellevue on a reconnaissance sortie, two of the aircraft being camera-equipped and escorted by the other four; the formation was also to have been covered by about a dozen genuine fighters, but these evidently failed to reach the area of reconnaissance. The R.E.8s were attacked by six German single-seat scouts, led by Manfred von Richthofen, which shot down every one of the British machines, ten of the twelve airmen being killed. The following month five further squadrons were re-equipped with RE.8s, and by the end of the year no fewer than seventeen R.E.8 squadrons were in action over the Western Front, as well as four in Greece and the Middle East.
  Of course there were those experienced pilots who mastered the R.E.8's handling difficulties, and not only survived the depredations of enemy fighters but gave good account of themselves in combat. And during the great battles of Messines and Ypres the R.E.8s of Nos 16 and 21 Squadrons achieved excellent results when assisting Allied gunners to silence enemy gun batteries.
  On 6 September 1917 R.E.8s began night bombing attacks in support of the Ypres offensive, statistics showing that in the following 90 days a total of 260 such sorties were flown, during which 390 112 lb and 65 lb bombs were dropped. Thereafter the aircraft continued to divide their efforts between bombing and reconnaissance, although the greatest care had to be taken to ensure their close protection by fighters when operating by day.
  R.E.8s were used on a number of occasions towards the end of the War to lay smokescreens in support of ground forces; on 8 August 1918 aircraft of Nos 5, 9 and 3 (Australian) Squadrons used 40 lb phosphorus bombs to provide screens during the Amiens offensive, and in Palestine the following month No 113 Squadron's R.E.8s dropped smoke candles in support of Commonwealth infantry during the great Turkish retreat; shortly afterwards the Squadron dropped many 20 lb fragmentation bombs when the Turks were caught in the open on the road to Amman.
  However, for the sake of dropping small numbers of relatively light bombs, whether by day or night, such operations were seen to be a waste of resources, and it had been proposed to withdraw R.E.8s from front line duties as early as April 1918, replacing them with Bristol F.2B Fighters. This plan failed to materialise and the R.E.8 continued in operational service right up to the Armistice (when there were still 21 squadrons in the field), and for many months after. 'The last RAF squadron to give up its R.E.8s was No 208 in November 1920, then stationed at Ismailia in Egypt.
  Despite its poor reputation both as a flying and fighting aeroplane, the R.E.8 underwent very little remedial treatment, due largely, it is said, to the gradual dispersion of the design staff at the Royal Aircraft Factory from the summer of 1917 onwards. The obvious lack of directional control attracted attention, and when minor increases in ventral fin and rudder area were seen to provide only marginal improvement, the upper fin area was almost doubled; yet, despite this modification being found to effect an almost complete remedy, it was very slow to be introduced in production aircraft.
  Relatively early in its life the R.E.8 came to be used in a number of interesting experiments, although few were pursued as serious efforts to improve the aircraft in service. For instance, an R.E.8 was fitted with a 200hp R.A.F.4D engine with exhaust-driven turbo-supercharger and four-blade variable-pitch propeller of Factory design; the aircraft was easily distinguishable by its enormous air scoop (some three feet in diameter) above the engine. A variant, known as the R.E.8A, was produced by replacing the customary R.A.F.4A engine by a 200hp Hispano-Suiza; however, with the majority of these engines earmarked for the Factory's S.E.5 fighter, the R.E.8A was not built in quantity.

  Type: Single-engine, two-seat, single-bay biplane corps reconnaissance bomber.
  Manufacturers: The Royal Aircraft Factory, Farnborough, Hampshire; The Austin Motor Co (1914) Ltd, Northfield, Birmingham; The Coventry Ordnance Works Ltd, Coventry; The Daimler Co Ltd, Coventry; D Napier & Sons Ltd, Acton, London; The Siddeley-Deasy Motor Car Co Ltd, Park Side, Coventry; The Standard Motor Co Ltd, Coventry.
  Powerplant: R.E.8 Production. 150hp R.A.F.4A. Experimental. 200hp R.A.F.4D; 150hp R.A.F.5. R.E.8A. 200hp Hispano-Suiza.
  Dimensions: Span, 42ft 7in; length, 32ft 7 1/2in; height, 11ft 4 1/2in; wing area, 377.5 sq ft.
  Weights: Tare, 1,803 lb; all-up (two 112 lb bombs), 2,869 lb
  Performance: (With two 112 lb bombs). Max speed, 109 mph at sea level, 95 mph at 10,000ft; climb to 10,000ft, 39 min 50 sec; service ceiling, 11,000ft; endurance, 2 3/4 hr.
  Armament: One synchronized 0.303in Vickers machine gun on port side of nose, and one Lewis gun with Scarff ring on rear cockpit. Bomb load usually two 112 lb or four 65 lb bombs.
  Prototypes: Two, Nos 7996 and 7997; first flown at Farnborough by Frank Goodden on 17 June and 5 July 1916 respectively.
  Production: A total of 4,180 R.E.8s and R.E.8As (excluding prototypes) was built. Royal Aircraft Factory, 75 (A66-A115 and A3506-A3530); Austin, 250 (A3169-A3268 and A4261-A4410); Siddeley-Deasy, 685 (A3405-A3504, A3681-A3830, B6451-B6625, B7681-B7730, E1151-E1250, F1553-F1602 and F3246-P3305); Daimler, 1,450 (A3531-A3680, A4161-A4260, B3401-B3450, B5001-B5150, C2231-C3030 and F3548-F3747); Napier, 400 (A3832-A3931, B2251-B2300, C4551-C4600, D4811-D4960 and E1101-E1150); Standard, 570 (A4411-A4560, A4564-A4663, D1501-D1600, D4661-D4810 and F1665-F1734); Coventry Ordnance Works, 750 (A4664-A4763, A6631-B6730, C5025-C5125, D6701-D6850 and El-E300). In addition 49 R.E.8s underwent rebuilding, as follows: No 1 (Southern) Aircraft Repair Depot: B737, B738, B742, B765, B814, B821, B832, B836, B845, B853, B7808, B7893 and B7917; No 2 (Northern) ARD: B4048, B4069, B4105 and B4134; No 3 (Western) ARD, B8884, B8885, B8886, B8887, B8900, D4980 and D4998; contractors not known: F5879, F5897, F5902, F5909, F6016, F6018, F6044, F6049, F6050, F6277, H6843, H7018, H7022-H7027, H7033, H7038, H7042, H7055, H7057, H7262 and H7265.
  Summary of Service: R.E.8s served with Nos 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 12, 13, 15, 16, 21, 52, 53, 59 and 69 Squadrons, RFC and R\F, on the Western Front; with No 6 Squadron, RAF, in Iraq after the War; with Nos 30 and 63 Squadrons in Mesopotamia; with Nos 34 and 42 Squadrons, RFC and RAF, on the Western Front and in Italy; with Nos 67, 113, 142, 144 and 208 Squadrons, RFC and RAF in Egypt and Palestine; and with Nos 37, 50, 89, 91, 106, 110 and 117 Squadrons in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
One of the two R.E.8 prototypes, either No 7996 or 7997. The aircraft was armed with a Lewis gun of the observer's cockpit, a feature that was criticised by the RFC when the type was first flown in France.
A mid-production standard Daimler-built R.E.8, C2670, with extended ventral fin and modified engine cowling; later the upper fin was considerably enlarged.
Royal Aircraft Factory R.E.8.
Short Folder Seaplanes

  Following the visit by the American pioneer pilot, Wilbur Wright, to Europe in August 1908, the Leysdown-based manufacturer Short Bros acquired the British licence rights to construct a small number of Wright Flyers and, during the next four years, embarked on the production o f original tractor and pusher aeroplanes to the orders of various British private owners. By 1912 the Board of Admiralty had become sufficiently interested in the potential of the float-equipped seaplanes, which were being advocated by Horace Short, to order a number of Short aeroplanes for the newly-established Naval Wing of the Royal Flying Corps.
  Early in 1913 Horace Short drew up and patented a system whereby the wings of his seaplanes could be folded aft, thereby enabling them to be accommodated aboard naval vessels. Thereafter Shorts' Eastchurch works on the Isle of Sheppey became almost exclusively engaged in building a range of twin-float biplanes equipped with two-bay folding wings, the first being allocated the naval serial numbers 81 and 82 (Short S.63 and S.64 respectively), powered by 160hp Gnome engines. Four others, Nos 119-122, entered service at the RNAS Station, Isle of Grain, in May and June 1914.
  Following successful participation by No 81 in naval manoeuvres during July 1913, when it operated from HM Seaplane Carrier Hermes, Shorts produced three examples of a new version with three-bay wings, Nos 89, 90 and 186, and the last o f these was with the Calshot Flight, commanded by Sqn-Cdr A M Longmore, RN (later Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur, GCB, DSO, RAF), during the Royal Naval Review at Spithead on 18-22 July 1914. Immediately after the Review, the First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill, discussed with Longmore the possibility of adapting a Short Folder, No 121, to deliver an aerial torpedo. (The Sopwith Special Seaplane and Type C had been fitted with a 14in naval torpedo some months earlier, but the weapon had not yet been flow n by these aircraft.)
  Within a week Horace Short had completed the necessary drawings and new cross-beams had been fitted between No 121 's floats to enable a torpedo to be carried on crutches, clear of the water, and on 28 July the first torpedo drop by a British aircraft was made by Longmore at Calshot. (Although Longmore reported that he made the first drop on this day, an account, written long afterwards by Oswald Short, claimed that Gordon Bell, the company's staff pilot, had made a drop on the previous evening, albeit only after two attempts to coax the Gnome-Short into the air.
  None of the Short Folders was ever used to deliver a torpedo against the Germans after the outbreak of the First World War, although at least two other aircraft were modified to carry the weapon. The Admiralty decided instead to depend on aerial bombs; in any case the Gnome-powered Folder was unable to take off with its second crew member while carrying the torpedo.
  Two Folders, Nos 119 and 120 (flown by Flt-Cdr Robert Peel Ross RN [later Air Cdre, DSO, AFC, RAF], and Flt-Lt Arnold John Miley RN [later Gp Capt, OBE, RAF], respectively) accompanied HMS Engadine for the bombing attack against Cuxhaven on Christmas Day 1914. Three other Folders, Nos 811,814 and 815, powered by 100hp Gnome monosoupape engines, also took part in this raid (Short Admiralty Type 74, see below).
  Nos 120-122 were shipped to Durban in 1915 aboard the armed liner Laconia for operations against the German light cruiser Konigsberg, trapped in the Rufiji delta, but, in the hot humid climate prevailing, proved incapable of taking off with bombs.

  Type: Single-engine, two-seat, two- or three-bay biplane torpedo-carrying seaplane.
  Manufacturer: Short Brothers, Eastchurch, Isle of Sheppey, Kent.
  Powerplant: One 160hp Gnome 14-cylinder rotary engine driving two-blade propeller.
  Dimensions: Span, 56ft 0in; length, 39ft 0in; wing area, 550 sq ft.
  Weights: Tare, 2,400 lb; all-up (with 14in torpedo), 3,830 lb
  Performance (without torpedo): Max speed, 78 mph at sea level; climb to 3,000ft, 5 min 30 sec; endurance, 5 hr (about 30 min with torpedo).
  Armament: No gun armament. Four 112 lb bombs or one 810 lb Admiralty torpedo.
  Prototype and Production: Admiralty No 81, first flown by Cdr C R Samson in July 1913. Total of nine 'Folders' built, Nos 81, 82, 89, 90, 119-122 and 186. No 121 first flown with torpedo by Sqn-Cdr A M Longmore on 28 July 1914.
  Summary of Service: Short Folders served at RNAS Stations at Isle of Grain, Westgate and Calshot, and aboard HM Seaplane Carriers Engadine, Empress and Riviera. Three aircraft served with the RNAS detachment to Niororo Island, East Africa, in operations against German light cruiser Konigsberg in 1915.


Short Admiralty Type 74

  As was a fairly common practice at the time, the Short Admiralty Type 74 Seaplane took its designation from the serial number of a representative production example, in this instance the first such aircraft completed.
  Bearing a marked resemblance to an earlier Short design, the Biplane No 42, though initially with three-bay nonfolding wings, the Type 74, No 74, was first flown by Gordon Bell on 4 January 1914, being followed by Nos 75-80 during the next four weeks. Powered by 100hp Gnome ten-cylinder rotary engines, the Type 74 followed the customary Short construction of box-girder fuselage with aluminium nose panels, ply-covered cockpit panels and fabric-covered rear fuselage. However, despite the successful use of double-acting ailerons in earlier aircraft. Shorts reverted to the single-acting type in the Type 74.
  These first seven Type 74 seaplanes served with the RNAS at Grain and Dundee during 1914, four of them taking part in the Royal Naval Review at Spithead in July. They were followed by eleven further 100hp Gnome-powered examples, Nos 180, 182, 183 and 811-818 - the latter batch being equipped with folding wings. Unlike the earlier 'Folders', none was converted to lift a torpedo, owing to the lack of engine power; instead they were adapted to carry a pair of bombs, usually of 100 lb or 112 lb.
  Three of the 100hp Gnome Folders, Nos 811 (Flt-Lt C H K Edmonds), 814 (Flt Sub-Lt V Gaskell-Blackburn) and 815 (Flt-Cdr D A Oliver) took part in the raid against the Zeppelin sheds at Cuxhaven on Christmas Day 1914; however, the pilots failed to find their intended targets, and attacked other installations along the Kiel canal with only limited success.

  Type: Single-engine, two-seat, three-bay biplane coastal patrol twin-float seaplane.
  Manufacturer: Short Brothers, Eastchurch, Isle of Sheppey, Kent.
  Powerplant: One 100hp Gnome ten-cylinder rotary engine driving two-blade propeller.
  Dimensions: Span, 57ft 0in; length, 39ft 0in; wing area, 580 sq ft.
  Weights: Tare, 2,100 lb; all-up, 2,700 lb (without bombs).
  Performance: Max speed, 65 mph at sea level; endurance, 5 hr (45 min with light load).
  Armament: No gun armament. Bomb load of up to two 112 lb bombs carried externally.
  Prototype and Production: Admiralty No 74 first flown in January 1914 by Gordon Bell, followed by seventeen similar examples, Nos 75-80,180, 182, 183 and 811-818 (the last eight with folding wings). Nos 811, 814 and 815 accompanied HM Seaplane Carriers Arethusa, Engadine and Riviera for bombing raid against Cuxhaven on Christmas Day, 1914.
An early two-bay Short Folder seaplane employing Short's patented wing-folding system; note the single-acting ailerons which conveniently permitted the necessary clearance of the tail unit when folded.
Three-bay Short Folder No 120 at the RNAS Station, Westgate, in about September 1914. It had previously been at Calshot where it had been flown on 21 July with a dummy torpedo, weighing little more than 500 lb; as far as is known it never flew with the real 810 lb weapon, but this was said to have been due to a recalcitrant engine. No 120, carrying bombs and flown by Flt-Lt Arnold John Miley RN, accompanied the raid against Cuxhaven on Christmas Day, 1914.
Short Folder (Two Bay)
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.


Short Admiralty Type 166

  The first purpose-designed torpedo-carrier produced by Shorts was the Admiralty Type 166, which retained the 200hp Salmson engine of the Type 135 and embodied the arched cross-struts between the floats incorporated in the modified Folders to mount the torpedo. The first six production aircraft, Nos 161-166, were just beginning construction at Eastchurch when war broke out on 4 August 1914, just over a week since No 121 had first dropped a torpedo - such was the Admiralty's determination to press ahead with this air-dropped weapon without further delay.
  The Type 166 featured Shorts' customary wire-braced wooden box structure in the fuselage and single-acting ailerons were fitted but, unlike the Type 135s, the outer wing extensions were wire-braced by kingposts located immediately above the outboard interplane struts; the two-bay wings were made to fold using the Short patented system, but it had been found that the sloping struts supporting the wing extensions possessed little clearance with the tailplane in the folded position, with a risk of damage; hence the decision to revert to extensive wire bracing with kingposts instead. The Type 166 also introduced a much-enlarged fixed fin, and retained the ungainly vertical radiator block on top of the nose, a feature of most Salmson-powered aircraft and one which would have interfered with the pilot's line of sight during a torpedo attack.
  The six Short-built Type 166s were the only examples to give service with the RNAS during 1915 and, as far as is known, were never flown in service with torpedoes. Instead they remained at home naval air stations until, in November that year, five of them were shipped in HMS Ark Royal to the Eastern Mediterranean. They were used to good effect, bombing enemy gun batteries at Salonika and spotting for the monitors HMS Raglan and Roberts. Two of them, Nos 163 and 166, were later converted to landplanes for operations from RNAS Thasos.
  By 1916 Short Bros were heavily engaged in production o f later aircraft so that, when the need arose for further Type 166s, an order for twenty aircraft (Nos 9751-9770) was placed with Westland Aircraft Works at Yeovil. On completion of the seaplanes they were moved by train to Hamble where they were test flown by Sidney Pickles on behalf of Shorts. Being no longer required to carry torpedoes, these 166s reverted to the straight cross-struts between the floats and, equipped with wireless and armed with a Lewis gun on the rear cockpit, were fitted with racks to carry up to three 112 lb bombs. At least one o f them. No 9754, was flown as a landplane at Thasos, while another, No 9758, is known to have still been on charge with 'A' Squadron, RNAS, at Thasos in February 1917.

  Type: Single-engine, two-seat, two-bay biplane, twin-float torpedo-bomber reconnaissance seaplane.
  Manufacturers: Short Bros, Eastchurch, Kent; Westland Aircraft Works, Yeovil.
  Powerplant: One 200hp Salmson fourteen-cylinder water-cooled two-row radial engine.
  Dimensions: Span, 57ft 3in; length, 40ft 7in; height, 14ft 0 3/4in; wing area, 573 sq ft.
  Weights: Tare, 3,500 lb; all-up, 4,580 lb.
  Performance (with two 112 lb bombs): Max speed, 62 mph at sea level; service ceiling, 8,200ft; endurance, 1 3/4 hr; max endurance without external load, 4 hr.
  Armament: Provision to mount one Lewis gun in rear cockpit. Bomb load of up to three 112 lb bombs or one 810 lb 14in Admiralty torpedo (the latter not employed operationally).
  Prototype and Production: A total of 26 Type 166s was built, Nos 161-166 by Short Bros in 1914-15, and Nos 9751-9770 by Westland during 1916.
  Summary of Service: Type 166s served in the bombing role with HM Seaplane Carrier Ark Royal at Salonika at the end of 1915 and with 'A' Squadron, RNAS, at Thasos in 1916; they also served at RNAS, Calshot.
No 166 being hoisted outboard from the seaplane carrier Ark Royal at Mitylene, Greece, in 1916.
Short Admiralty Type 135
Short Admiralty Type 166
Short Admiralty Types 827 & 830

  As early as 1912 both the War Office and Admiralty had expressed concern that no British engine manufacturer was yet working on an engine which promised high power with reliability. During the following year Louis Coatalen at the Sunbeam Motor Car Company was commissioned by the Admiralty to start on an adaptation o f his successful 3-litre racing car engine, producing a V-8 of 150hp (later named the Nubian) and a V-12 of 225hp. The first examples of these engines, roughly equivalent in power and weight to the Salmson nine- and fourteen-cylinder water-cooled radials (which were being purchased in small numbers from France), were not ready by the outbreak of war. In anticipation of deliveries, however, the Admiralty had during the early summer of 1914 ordered twelve new seaplanes from Short Bros similar in most respects to the Type 166; six of them (Nos 819-821 and 828-830), referred to as Admiralty Type 830, were powered by the 135hp Salmson, while Nos 822-827, the Type 827, featured the 150hp Sunbeam Nubian.
  By the time these seaplanes were being completed at the end of 1914, the Admiralty was beginning to express a preference for bombs, and neither the Type 827 nor 830 had provision to carry torpedoes. Moreover, despite its slightly inferior performance, it was the Type 827, with its indigenous Sunbeam engine, that was selected for the greater production, sub-contracts being placed with Brush Electrical Engineering, Parnall and Sunbeam for a total of 72 aircraft, in addition to 30 further examples from Shorts, which switched production from Eastchurch to Rochester.
  Following shipboard trials by Nos 824 and 826 with HMS Campania in June 1915, Type 827s began delivery to the RNAS Stations at Calshot, Dundee, Grain, Great Yarmouth and Killingholme, being equipped to carry a pair of 112 lb bombs for coastal patrol duties.
  When Lowestoft and Southwold were shelled by warships of the German High Seas Fleet in April 1916, a Short 827 was among the British seaplanes which attacked the enemy ships with bombs.
  Three Short 827s were shipped to East Africa to spot for British naval guns operating against the German warship Konigsberg trapped in the Rufiji delta, but arrived too late to take part; they were therefore sent on to Mesopotamia where two of them, converted as landplanes with wheel undercarriages, flew bombing attacks on the Turkish forces advancing on Kut in December 1915.
  Another epic involved the use of four Short 827s, Nos 3093-3095 and 8219, which were handed over to Belgian volunteers who, in March 1916, were opposing German colonial forces on Lake Tanganyika. Dismantled and transported overland to Lake Tongwe, they were assembled and flown in May, and two months later bombed the German lake cruiser Graf von Goetzen in port at Kigoma, leading to the surrender of the town three days later.
  At home, Short 827s remained in service until late in 1918.

  Type: Single-engine, two-seat, two-bay biplane, twin-float reconnaissance bomber seaplane.
  Manufacturers: Short Brothers, Rochester, Kent; The Brush Electrical Engineering Co Ltd, Loughborough; The Fairey Aviation Co Ltd, Hayes, Middlesex; Parnall & Sons Ltd, Eastville, Bristol; The Sunbeam Motor Car Co Ltd, Wolverhampton.
  Powerplant; Type 830. One 135hp Salmson water-cooled radial engine. Type 827. One 150hp Sunbeam (later Nubian) eight-cylinder water-cooled in-line engine.
  Dimensions: Span, 53ft 11in; length, 35ft 3in; height, 13ft 3in; wing area, 506 sq ft.
  Weights: Type 830. Tare, 2,624 lb; all-up, 3,324 lb; Type 827. Tare, 2,700 lb; all-up, 3,400 lb.
  Performance: Sunbeam. Max speed, 61 mph. Salmson. Max speed, 70 mph; climb to 2,000ft, 10 min 25 sec; endurance, 3 1/2 hr.
  Armament: Provision to mount one Lewis gun on rear cockpit. Bomb load of two 112 lb or four 65 lb bombs carried on underwing racks.
  Prototypes and Production: The Type 830 (Salmson) appeared before the Type 827 (Sunbeam), the first 830s being flown and delivered to the RNAS at the end of 1914. Production of the Type 830 was 19 aircraft, all built by Short Bros (Nos. 819-821, 827*-830 and 1335-1346). Total of 827s' was 107 aircraft: Short, 35 (Nos 822-826, 3063-3072 and 3093-3112); Brush, 20 (Nos 3221-3332 and 8230-8237); Parnall, 20 (Nos 8218-8229 and 8250-8257); Sunbeam, 20 (Nos 8630-8649); Fairey, 12 (Nos 8550-8561).
  Summary of Service: Short 827s and 830s served on patrol and bombing duties at RNAS Stations Calshot, Dundee, Grain, Great Yarmouth and Killingholme; others were shipped to East Africa with HM Armed Liner Laconia, and operated from Laconia. Himalaya and Manica, flying with No 8 Squadron, RNAS; Short 827s operated in the Mediterranean at Otranto, Italy, and from HM Seaplane Carrier Ben-my-Chree.
* No 827 was test flown with both Sunbeam and Salmson engines; therefore it was at one time a Type 827.
A Type 830, No 1344, at an RNAS Station in Britain.
Short Bomber

  It was Commodore Murray Eraser Sueter who, more than any other, championed the cause of naval aviation as the modern extension of the Royal Navy's traditional task of attacking enemy ships at sea no less than in their ports. As Director of Admiralty Air Department since 1911, he had been instrumental in the creation of the Naval Wing, and shortly afterwards the Royal Naval Air Service. And once the marine aeroplane had proved itself potentially capable of lifting useful loads, be they in the form of additional crew members or fuel, he used his influence to accelerate the development of the torpedo-carrying seaplane.
  As has been related, suitable targets for the airborne torpedo were seldom presented in the early months of the War in circumstances that could be exploited, and Sueter, pointing to the relatively high power of these torpedo-carriers, directed the Admiralty's attention to the development of the bomb-carrying seaplane. Indeed, the War was not four months old when Sueter began toying with the idea o f developing a really large, long-range aeroplane capable of delivering a heavy load of large bombs - even though such weapons did not then exist. He saw this delivery of high explosive against enemy ports and shore establishments as the natural extension of the heavy naval gun, without exposing the capital ship to the inshore dangers presented by submarine and mine. Unfortunately such a very large load-carrying aeroplane was not yet fully practical in the United Kingdom owing to the lack of adequately powerful engines. Instead, it seemed logical to modify an existing floatplane as a landplane and develop this as a stopgap bomber and, not surprisingly, the choice fell on Short Bros to undertake such work.
  By the time the first Short 184 seaplane was completed, early in 1915, a landplane derivative was already well advanced (as No 3706). This prototype was generally referred to as the Type 184 landplane, and retained the equal-span, three-bay wings of the Type 184 seaplane. These, however, soon underwent extensive redesign as two-bay wings, the lower wings being shortened considerably and the outer pairs of interplane struts discarded; to support the large upper wing overhang, cable-bracing using kingposts was adopted. This wing design, with ailerons on the upper wing only, was to feature on production Bombers.
  The fuselage of 3706 was little changed from that of a standard Type 184, complete with 225hp Sunbeam engine driving two-blade propeller. A sturdy but cumbersome four-wheel undercarriage was fitted with band-brakes on the rear pair of mainwheels. Perhaps the most grotesque feature was the positioning of the observer/gunner who, occupying the front cockpit, was required to climb on to the upper decking of the fuselage in order to man his Lewis gun, which was provided with a pillar mounting on top of the upper wing.
  With the wings extended to span 84 feet, 3706 proved capable of lifting its intended bomb load of nine 65 lb bombs, its two-man crew and sufficient fuel for about four hours' flight. Handling in the air, however, was quite unacceptable, the aircraft being wholly unstable in pitch and yaw, and it became obvious that this shortcoming could only be overcome by substantially increasing the tail moment with a much lengthened rear fuselage, a remedy opposed by Horace Short, bearing in mind that the first production machines had been completed (but not yet flown) and that such a modification would demand substantial restressing of the fuselage. By a simple subterfuge, Ronald Kemp (Shorts' chief pilot) and Wg-Cdr Arthur Longmore, on a visit to the works, undertook the necessary modification to the first production aircraft during a stage-managed absence of the chief designer, by the simple expedient of sawing through the longerons immediately aft of the rear cockpit and inserting an 8ft 6in long, parallel-section fuselage extension. On his return, an angry Horace Short checked the stressing calculations and reluctantly agreed that the proposed modification was suitable for introduction in production aircraft.
  By then, however, production orders had been placed, not only with Shorts but with sub-contractors, and a number of aircraft had already been completed to the original drawings, but remained unaccepted owing to the instability problems. The aircraft, therefore, had to undergo modification. While those produced by Shorts and the Sunbeam Motor Car Company retained the 225hp Sunbeam engines, the aircraft ordered from Mann, Egerton & Co, Parnall & Sons, Bristol and the Phoenix Dynamo Company were all destined to be allocated the new 250hp Rolls-Royce I (soon to be named the Eagle I).
  These changes from the existing Type 184 fuselage served to delay acceptance of the Short bomber until well into 1916, by which time the first Handley Page O/100 twin-engine heavy bomber had flown, and plans had been laid to put this very large bomber into production for the RNAS. Therefore there was no question of extending production of the Short bomber, and Sunbeam-powered Short-built aircraft began delivery to the RNAS in mid-1916. In the meantime the cockpits had reverted to the customary arrangement of the observer/gunner occupying the rear cockpit, this being provided with the conventional gun ring. The Service aircraft proved capable of lifting a load of eight 112 lb bombs although, in the interests of a worthwhile range, 65 lb bombs were usually carried instead.
  At about the time that the Shorts were being accepted by the RNAS, the RFC, suffering disastrous losses during the terrible summer battles on the Western Front, appealed to the Admiralty for the transfer of as main aircraft as could be spared, and a total of 15 Short bombers was accordingly delivered to the RFC. This had the effect of seriously delaying delivery of the bombers to the RNAS' 3rd Wing. In the meantime, other aircraft were delivered to No 7 (Naval) Squadron, 5th Wing, RNAS, and on 15 November 1916 four Shorts attacked the submarine base at Zeebrugge at night, dropping a total of thirty-two 65 lb bombs. With the arrival of much heavier bombs that winter, the 5th Wing's Shorts were able to mount raids against Zeebrugge on four successive nights in April 1917 using 520 lb light case bombs (each containing 340 lb of Amatol).
  The simultaneous issue of these much heavier bombs and delivery of the first Handley Page O/100s, combined with the onset of German daylight bombing raids by aeroplanes over England, prompted the Admiralty to concentrate on operations by the new twin-engine heavy bombers; after all, the Short bombers had never been regarded as the mainstay of any strategic bomber offensive, but merely as an interim measure. Unfortunately the Short took an unconscionable lime to enter service, and when eventually it did so it was already something of an anachronism, with the inevitable result that most, if not all, had been withdrawn from operational flying by mid-1917. It is not even certain that any of the aircraft so generously handed over by the Admiralty to the War Office in 1916 were ever put to any operational use.

  Type: Single-engine, two-seat, three-bay biplane naval landplane bomber.
  Manufacturers: Short Brothers, Rochester, Kent; Mann, Egerton & Co Ltd, Prince of Wales Road, Norwich, Norfolk; Parnall & Sons Ltd, Eastville, Bristol; The Phoenix Dynamo Manufacturing Co Ltd, Bradford; The Sunbeam Motor Car Co Ltd, Wolverhampton.
  Powerplant: One 225hp Sunbeam; one 250hp Rolls-Royce (Eagle).
  Dimensions: Span, 84ft 0in; length, 45ft 0in; height, 15ft 0in; wing area 870 sq ft.
  Weights: Tare, 5,000 lb; all-up, 6,800 lb.
  Performance: Rolls-Royce. Max speed, 77 mph at 6,500ft; climb to 10,000ft, 45 min; absolute ceiling, 10,600ft; endurance, 6 hr. Sunbeam. Max speed, 72 mph at 6,500ft.
  Armament: One 0.303in Lewis machine gun with Scarff ring on rear cockpit. Maximum bomb load, eight 112 lb bombs on underwing racks; usual load, eight 65 lb bombs.
  Prototypes: One, No 3706, first flown in mid-1915.
  Production: A total of 83 Short Bombers (excluding prototype) was built. Short, 35 (Nos 9306-9340); Sunbeam, 15 (Nos 9356-9370); Mann, Egerton,'20 (Nos 9476-9495); Parnall, 6 (Nos 9771-9776); Phoenix, 7 (Nos 9831-9836 and A3932). 15 aircraft transferred to the RFC: Nos 9315, 9319, 9320, 9325, 9476-9479, 9482-9485, 9487, 9488 and A3932.
  Summary of Service: Short Bombers served with 3rd Wing, RNAS, at Luxeuil, and with No 7 (Naval) Squadron, 5th Wing, RNAS, at Coudekerque.
Short-built Bomber, 9315, was the tenth Sunbeam-powered production aircraft, shown here with its load of eight 65 lb bombs for acceptance tests before delivery. This was one of the 15 aircraft destined to be handed over to the RFC at the time of the Somme battles of July 1916.
Second of the Sunbeam production batch of bombers, 9357, powered by the 225hp Sunbeam engine. With lengthened fuselage, this aircraft features a fin with straight leading edge. After acceptance, 9357 served with No 5 Wing, RNAS, at Dunkerque.
No 9476 was the first 250hp Rolls-Royce-powered Short bomber to be completed by Mann, Egerton (5 Co of Norwich, before the drastic steps had been taken at Shorts to lengthen the type's fuselage; indeed this aeroplane was probably never flown with the short fuselage shown here, and after modification it became one of the aircraft transferred to the RFC in mid-1916.
Short Bomber
Short Admiralty Type 184

  When approached by the Admiralty's Air Department in September 1914 to tender proposals for a torpedo-carrying seaplane powered by the 225hp Sunbeam engine (as were Sopwith and J Samuel White), Horace Short proposed submitting a development of his abortive 1913 Circuit of Britain seaplane, which had been withdrawn owing to a lack of power from its 100hp Green engine. Within a few months two prototypes, Nos 184 and 185, were ordered from Short Bros.
  The Short Admiralty Type 184 was not significantly larger than the former aircraft but, with more than twice the power available, could be strengthened considerably so as to lift a much greater weight. The equal-span, three-bay wings were of high aspect ratio and featured large-area, single-acting ailerons on the upper surfaces only. The wing folding arrangement was improved, the entire folding and locking operation being carried out by the pilot in his cockpit by means of a hand-operated winch and lever-controlled locking bar in the rear fuselage. The fuselage structure was the customary four-longeron box-girder of spruce members with wire bracing, the longerons extending forward to the front of the engine which itself was carried on pressed-steel cross frames.
  The sprung floats were not mounted directly on the attachment struts but were slotted so as to ride vertically relative to the front and rear crossmembers, being retained by stout elastic cords. Wingtip and tail floats were fitted, the latter including a small water rudder linked to the main rudder, this being a balanced surface with large fin.
  The upper wing was inversely tapered from the aircraft centreline to two-thirds of semi-span, and of parallel chord outwards thereafter; the lower wing was entirely of parallel chord. Apart from the front fuselage, the whole airframe was fabric-covered.
  An evaluation batch of ten further Short 184s was ordered before the prototypes flew in about March 1915. Early flights by Nos 184 and 185 disclosed the need to improve the lateral control, the large-area single-acting ailerons making the seaplanes almost unmanageable while taxying downwind, with the result that rubber cords were fitted to retain the ailerons in the neutral position, except when actuated by the pilot; this did not prove to be a complete remedy, and ailerons were then added to the lower wings, being connected to the upper surfaces by cables. Trials with bombs and torpedoes were also carried out, and No 184 was at some point fitted with an unbalanced rudder, although this is said to have been 'an improvisation rather than a modification'.
  Meanwhile, conversion of a number of Isle of Man packet steamers into seaplane carriers had been put in hand, and on 21 May 1915 one of these, Ben-my-Chree, sailed from Harwich for the Dardanelles with the two Short 184 prototypes embarked (as well as a spare airframe, unassembled, and two Sopwith Schneiders), arriving at her destination on 12 June. On 12 August Flt-Cdr Charles Humphrey Kingsman Edmonds (later Air Vice-Marshal, CBE, DSO, RAF), flying solo in No 184, torpedoed and sank a Turkish transport off Gallipoli - only to be told that the ship had already been damaged by a submarine; five days later this pilot torpedoed another Turkish transport, leaving it on fire, and on the same day Flt-Cdr George Bentley Dacre (later Air Cdre, CBE, DSO, RAF), flying No 186, had to alight in the Straits with a failing engine; however, he sighted a large enemy tug, which he torpedoed while taxying on the water. He was then able to fly back to Ben-my-Chree.
  These were the only successes with torpedoes achieved by Short 184s, principally on account of the difficulty they had in taking off with a heavy load in the hot, humid conditions of the Aegean. Instead, the seaplanes were employed, like the other Shorts, in bombing and gunnery spotting work. For the former, bombs were carried in tandem on a long beam attached beneath the fuselage which incorporated shackles for up to four 65 lb or two 100/112 lb bombs; with these loads the 184 could at least carry a two-man crew aloft as well as a somewhat greater fuel load. Indeed, on 8 November 1915 Edmonds and Dacre bombed a railway bridge at Maritza in Bulgaria, a round trip of over 200 miles.
  By this date, and probably encouraged by the isolated achievements o f the Short 184s in the torpedo attack role, the Admiralty had placed what were, for the time, large orders for the aircraft. However, Shorts became fully extended after receiving a contract for 75 aircraft, and further orders, totalling 78 Type 184s, were placed with five other manufacturers. In addition to twelve ordered from Mann, Egerton of Norwich, a further ten two-bay derivatives of the basic Short 184 were built as the Mann, Egerton Type B.
  At about this time it was a Short 184 that first dropped a 500 lb bomb during trials with the Short-built No 8052. On 8 May 1916 this weapon was dropped at Kingsnorth from 4,000 feet using a special bombsight designed by Lieut R B Bourdillon and Henry Thomas Tizard (later Sir Henry, GCB, AFC, FRS); it is said that the redoubtable Cdr C R Samson was the pilot on this occasion, before being posted to the Mediterranean.
  In June 1916 Cdr Samson was given command of Ben-my-Chree as well as two smaller seaplane carriers, Anne and Raven II for operations in the Eastern Mediterranean. Realising that the Shorts of his small force were severely handicapped by the need to operate only in the cooler temperatures of the early morning and late evening, Samson had one of his aircraft extensively modified by reducing the lower wing span, removing the outboard interplane struts, replacing the cylindrical wingtip floats by small planing hydrofoils, and reducing the tail fin area. Samson, who claimed that these modifications resulted in a seven-knot speed increase, was ordered to Aden to locate and destroy the German raider Wolf at large in the Indian Ocean early in 1917. The modified Short made numerous search patrols until, at the end of March that year, the floats collapsed in a heavy swell and the seaplane sank.
  Short 184s were despatched to Mesopotamia in February 1916 to serve with an RNAS detachment operating from the Tigris at Ora; at one time they were used to drop supplies to the beleaguered garrison at Kut, each aircraft being loaded with about 200 lb of containers.
  In home waters 184s flew many patrols over the Channel and North Sea, and HM Seaplane Carrier Engadine embarked two Short 184s with the Battle Cruiser Squadron prior to the Battle of Jutland on 31 May 1916. One of the Shorts, flown by Flt-Lt F J Rutland RN, with Asst Paymaster G S Trewin RN, as observer, was used to shadow an enemy force of light cruisers and destroyers, their position and course being transmitted back to the British fleet. This was history's first occasion on which an aeroplane was used in a major fleet action.

  Type: Single-engine, two-seat, three-bay biplane, twin-float torpedo-bomber patrol seaplane.
  Manufacturers: Short Brothers, Rochester, Kent; The Brush Electrical Engineering Co Ltd, Loughborough; Mann, Egerton & Co Ltd, Prince of Wales Road, Norwich, Norfolk; The Phoenix Dynamo Manufacturing Co Ltd, Bradford; Robey & Co Ltd, Lincoln; Frederick Sage & Co Ltd, Peterborough; S E Saunders Ltd, East Cowes, Isle of Wight; The Supermarine Aviation Works Ltd, Woolston, Southampton; Westland Aircraft Works, Yeovil, Somerset; J Samuel White & Co Ltd, Cowes, Isle of Wight.
  Powerplant: One 225hp, 240hp or 260hp Sunbeam engine; 275hp Sunbeam Maori III; 300hp Sunbeam Manitou; 250hp Rolls-Royce (Eagle IV); 240hp Renault.
  Dimensions; Span, 63ft 6 1/4in; length, 40ft 7 1/2in; height, 13ft 6in; wing area, 688 sq ft.
  Weights: Standard Type 184. Tare, 3,500 lb; all-up, 5,100 lb. Improved Type 184. Tare, 3,703 lb; all-up, 5,363 lb.
  Performance: Standard Type 184. Max speed, 75 mph at 2,000ft. Improved Type 184. Max speed, 88 mph at 2,000ft; climb to 2,000ft, 8 min 35 sec; service ceiling, 9,000ft; endurance, 2 1/4 hr.
  Armament: Single Lewis gun on rear cockpit, later provided with Scarff or Whitehouse ring mounting. A 810 lb 14in torpedo could be carried between the floats, or a bomb load comprising one 520 lb or 500 lb bomb, four 112 lb or 100 lb bombs or one 264 lb and one 100 lb bomb carried on external racks; single-seat bombers could carry nine 65 lb bombs internally.
  Prototypes: Two, Nos 184 and 185, both probably first flown at Rochester in March 1915; both flown operationally at the Dardanelles.
  Production: A total of 944 Short 184s, excluding prototypes, was built: Short, 115 (Nos 841-850, 8031-8105, N1080-N1099 and N1580-N1589); Brush, 190 (N1660-N1689, N2600-N2659, N2790-N2819, N9060-N9099 and N9260-N9289); Mann, Egerton, 22 (Nos 8344-8355 and 9085-9094*); Phoenix, 62 (Nos 8368-8379, NT 630-N1659 and N1740-NT759); Robev, 256 (Nos 9041-9060, NT220-NT229, NT260-NT279, NT820-NT839, N2820-N2849, N2900-N2949, N9000-N9059, N9140-N9169 and N9290-N9305); Sage, 82 (Nos 8380-8391,9065-9084, N1130-N1139, N1230-N1239, N1590-N1599 and N1780-N1799); Saunders, 80 (Nos 8001-8030, NT140-NT149, N1600-N1624 and N1760-N1774); Supermarine, 15 (N9170-N9184); Westland, 12 (Nos 8356-8367); White, 110 (1240-1259, N2950-N2999 and N9100-N9139). Orders for 159 further aircraft were cancelled at the end of the War.
  (*) The latter batch often aircraft, being modified to the design of Mann, Egerton as Type B aircraft, is also listed under the entry for the Mann, Egerton Type B.
  Summary of Service: Short 184s operated from the following seaplane and aircraft carriers: HMS Ark Royal, Anne, Ben-my-Chree, Campania, Empress, Engadine, Furious, Nairana, Pegasus, Raven II, Riviera and Vindex, and from HM Light Cruisers Arethusa and Aurora. They also served in the bombing, coastal patrol and anti-submarine roles at the following RNAS Stations in the United Kingdom: Westgate (becoming No 219 Squadron, RAF, on 1 August 1918), Dover (No 233 Sqn), Newlyn (No 235 Sqn), Cattewater (Nos 237 and 238 Sqns), Torquay (No 239 Sqn), Calshot (No 240 Sqn), Portland (No 241 Sqn), Newhaven (No 242 Sqn), Fishguard (No 245 Sqn), Seaton Carcvv (No 246 Sqn), Hornsea Mere (No 248 Sqn), Dundee (No 249 Sqn), and Bembridge (No 253 Sqn); and overseas at Alexandria, Egypt (Nos 202, 269 and 270 Sqns), Oudezeele, France (No 229 Sqn), Cherbourg, France (No 243 Sqn), Otranto, Italy (Nos 263 and 271 Sqns), Suda Bay, Crete (No 264 Sqn), Gibraltar (No 265 Sqn), Mudros, Aegean (No 266 Sqn) and Kalafrana, Malta (No 268 Sqn). They served on the East Indies Station, and with the RNAS Detachment, Basra, Mesopotamia, as well as the Torpedo Training School, Felixstowe.

  General recognition that the Type 184 was a fundamentally sound aeroplane and popular with its crews, so long as it was required to fly in no more than fairly docile weather and water conditions, prompted the Admiralty to pursue development of the aircraft with progressively more powerful engines. Some aircraft were fitted with the 240hp Sunbeam, while one example, Short-built No 8104, was powered by a 250hp Rolls-Royce Eagle, but no wartime production with the latter engine followed (although some aircraft, supplied to Estonia after the War, were so powered). Short 184s also appeared in production with 240hp Renault 12-cylinder water-cooled in-line engines, and some were powered by the 275hp Sunbeam Maori III. However, the best and most popular version was said to be the 260hp Sunbeam Maori I-powered Dover Type 184, so called on account of it being used primarily at the Dover Patrol stations at Newhaven and Cherbourg. The engine installation of this version featured a flat frontal honeycomb radiator immediately behind the propeller. Full-travel, double-acting ailerons were fitted on upper and lower wings, and wingtip floats of improved shape were introduced. When rigged with Rafwires throughout, in place of stranded cables, the aircraft was officially referred to as the Improved Type 184, and was the subject of late production orders.
  The Short Type 184 remained in service after the Armistice (even though 159 aircraft were cancelled at the end of the War), being widely used for mine-spotting over coastal waters, and a small number was embarked in the carrier HMS Pegasus for service at Archangel in 1919. A few were sold to Chile, Estonia, Greece and Japan,
The launching of the original Short Admiralty Type 184, No 184, at Rochester in March 1915, with a 14in torpedo in position between the floats.
Sage-built Improved Type 184, N1616, powered by a 260hp Sunbeam engine, probably at Newlyn, seen with a pair of 100/ 112 lb bombs - often carried during coastal patrol sorties.
No 8073 was a 'Dover' Type 184, originally built by Shorts and modified as a single-seat bomber. Up to nine 65 lb bombs could be carried, suspended vertically in the space normally occupied by the front cockpit.
Short Type 310

  Despite the outstanding, if isolated success achieved by the torpedo-carrying Short 184s at the Dardanelles in August 1915, it was evident that in order for a single-engine aircraft to possess adequate performance while carrying the 1,100 lb 18in torpedo (particularly in hot climates) it was necessary to acquire an engine of more than 300 horsepower, itself weighing scarcely more than the existing 250hp engines. The new Rolls-Royce twelve-cylinder water-cooled powerplant, soon to be named the Eagle, was already approaching the 300hp rating, but production engines were being earmarked for the Handley Page O/100.
  At Sunbeam, however, Louis Coatalen was developing a 300hp engine, later named the Cossack, and it was for this engine that Horace and Oswald Short designed new seaplanes, the Type 310A (torpedo-carrier) and the 310B (patrol scout) * - the former being accorded the highest priority owing to increased enemy naval activity in the Mediterranean early in 1916.
* Confusion has existed for many years with regard to the correct designation of the Type 310, resulting from the various systems of referring to the Short seaplanes. The term Type 310 was adopted to identify aircraft powered by the 310hp Sunbeam engine, this being the initial normal power. The rating was soon raised to 320hp (maximum), and eventually came to be regarded as the 'normal' rating. Strictly speaking the aircraft with these more powerful engines should have been referred to as Type 320s, and often were. However, the designation was never sanctioned, and Short's own designation, the Type 310-A4, came to be officially adopted.
  In contrast to the earlier Type 184, which carried its torpedo beneath arched float cross-members, the Type 310A incorporated torpedo crutches on the fuselage underside, thereby ensuring that the torpedo was always carried clear of the water. To provide additional float rigidity, a detachable cross-member interconnected the rear ends of the floats when a torpedo was not carried, and extra fixed raked struts gave adequate float rigidity when carrying the torpedo, while allowing the weapon unrestricted fall when released. The front float cross-member was located forward of the torpedo in any case, and therefore remained fixed.
  When carrying a torpedo, the Short 310A was invariably flown as a singleseater, the pilot occupying the rear cockpit so as to maintain the aircraft cg within acceptable limits. These crew dispositions were regarded as unsatisfactory as, occupying the front cockpit, the observer was so beset by interplane struts and upper wing that, without a gun mounting, the aircraft was defenceless. To overcome this, later aircraft featured a Lewis gun with Scarff ring level with the upper wing trailing edge; to man the gun, the observer was obliged to stand on his seat with most of his body exposed to the slipstream but at least he possessed an excellent field of fire.
  Two prototype Type 310As and two 310Bs had been ordered, and the first two, Nos 8317 and 8318, were first flown by Ronald Kemp in July and August 1916 respectively. (Of the two 310Bs ordered, only No 8319 was completed as such, No 8320 being converted to become an additional Type 310A during manufacture.)
  Nos 8317 and 8318 were quickly despatched to RNAS Otranto in Italy for operational torpedo trials, but both aircraft broke up in the air following failures of their rear float attachment. This was rectified in production aircraft by moving the floats further apart, and an additional V-strut was added to brace the float to the lower wing on each side; these struts were disconnected and rotated downwards to allow the wings to be folded. With this modification in place, the aircraft was termed the 310-A4.
  A total of 127 Type 310-A4s was built by Short Bros and the Sunbeam Motor Car Company, all carrying N-prefix serial numbers. The first 54 production machines were shipped to Otranto and Malta during the spring of 1917.
  Their first operation, however, ended in failure before it even began, when six 310-A4s, having been towed on rafts to Traste Bay, were destroyed by a sudden storm which capsized all the craft moments before the aircraft were due to be disembarked for take off. Their task had been to attack with torpedoes a flotilla of enemy submarines, known to be off Cattaro in the Adriatic. No such target was ever again presented.
  The Mediterranean-based seaplanes were employed on long-range patrols, made possible by their six-hour endurance when carrying a pair of 230 lb bombs. No submarine kill by a 310-A4 was ever confirmed, although the pilot of a Kalafrana-based aircraft claimed to have 'probably destroyed' a submarine which had attacked a French warship off Malta on 8 February 1918.
  The production of torpedo-carrying seaplanes was ended by the Admiralty late in 1917 when it became evident from trials aboard HMS Furious that year that deck-landing aircraft could operate with greater flexibility a belief that persisted for the remainder of the aerial torpedo's history.
  Nevertheless, no fewer than fifty Short Type 310-A4s remained in service with the RAF at the Armistice.

  Type: Single-engine, single- or two-seat, two-bay biplane reconnaissance torpedo bomber seaplane.
  Manufacturers: Short Bros, Rochester, Rent; The Sunbeam Motor Car Co Ltd, Wolverhampton.
  Powerplant: One 310hp (later 320hp) Sunbeam Cossack twelve-cylinder, water-cooled, in-line engine.
  Dimensions: Span, 75ft 0in; length, 49ft 9in; height, 17ft 6in; wing area, 810 sq ft.
  Weights (320hp Cossack): Tare, 4,933 lb; all-up, 7,014 lb (with 18in torpedo).
  Performance (18in torpedo; Cossack): Max speed, 72.5 mph at sea level; climb to 2,000ft, 12 min; ceiling, 3,000ft; endurance, 2 hr.
  Armament: One Lewis gun with Scarff ring on wing centresection requiring observer to stand on front cockpit seat to fire gun. Bomb load either one 1,000 lb 18in Mk IX torpedo or two 230 lb bombs. (Flown as single-seater when carrying torpedo.)
  Prototypes: Two, Nos 8317 and 8318. No 8317 first flown at Rochester in July 1916, 8318 in August, both by Ronald Kemp.
  Production: Total of 125 Short 310As built (excluding prototypes): Short, 75 (N1150-N1159, NT300-N1319, M390-N1409 and N1480-N1504); Sunbeam, 50 (N1360-NT389 and N1690-NT709).
  Summary of Service: Short 310As served at RNAS Uembridge (equipping No 253 Sqn, RAF, after August 1918); at RNAS Otranto, Italy (equipping No 263 Sqn, RAF, after September 1918); at RNAS Mudros, Aegean (equipping No 266 Sqn, RAF, after August 1918); at RNAS Kalafrana, Malta (equipping No 268 Sqn. RAF, after August 1918); and at RNAS Killingholme.
The first prototype Short Type 310A, No 8317, carrying a torpedo at Rochester in July 1916. The figure on the extreme right ts Oswald Short.
Short-built production Type 310-A4, N1397, showing the position of the observer's gun ring in the trailing edge of the upper wing. Note also the additional I-struts between the rear of the main floats and the wing beneath the inboard interplane struts. The beautifully executed inscription on the fuselage below the pilot's cockpit reads: 'Very Important: The Removable Rear Crossbar Must always be in Position Before the Wings are Folded'.
Short N.2B

  The first new seaplane produced by the Rochester manufacturers, Short Bros Ltd, after the death of Horace Short on 6 April 1917, was designed to Air Board Specification N.2B, and was therefore in direct competition with the Fairey III and the Wight Converted Seaplane.
  Design of the Short N.2B was the responsibility of Francis Webber, under the supervision of Oswald Short, and the first aircraft appeared rather later than its rivals, the prototypes being based on use of the 260hp Sunbeam Maori I engine. As both the Fairey and Wight had been ordered into production with Rolls-Royce Eagles, Oswald sought permission to use the same engine but, owing to an anticipated shortage of these engines, his request was refused.
  Eight prototype Short N.2Bs were ordered but only the first two were completed. The aircraft was a two-seat, two-bay folding biplane with prominent wing overhang, braced by outward-raked pairs of struts. The Maori was fully cowled with copious provision of cooling louvres and with a frontal radiator. The main floats were complemented by an outrigged tail float and wingtip floats, and the bomb load of two 230 lb bombs was carried on side-by-side racks under the fuselage.
  The first aircraft, N66, was launched at Rochester on 22 December 1917 and flown before the end of that month, being delivered for evaluation at the Isle of Grain on 2 Februarv 1918. Here it was seen to possess no better performance than the established Short Type 184, and subsequent efforts to reduce drag, and therefore improve performance, achieved little benefit.
  A second prototype, N67, was flown early in 1918 with shorter floats and a generally tidied-up engine cowling with fewer louvres, but it was obvious that, no matter what cosmetic treatment was applied, the Maori engine did not impart adequate power, and work on the other prototypes was abandoned.
  Rather later, in 1919, Oswald Short had a borrowed, low-compression Rolls-Royce Eagle installed in N67 but, although this imparted a small speed improvement, it was much too late to consider the aircraft in the context of Specification N.2B. N67 had its Maori reinstated at the end of that year and was taken on RAF charge in January 1920.

  Type: Single-engine, two-seat, two-bay biplane, patrol bomber twin-float seaplane.
  Air Board Specification: Type N.2B
  Manufacturer: Short Brothers, Rochester, Kent.
  Powerplant: One 260hp Sunbeam Maori I water-cooled in-line engine driving two-blade propeller.
  Dimensions: Span, 55ft 2in; length, 40ft 2in; height, 13ft 9in; wing area, 678 sq ft.
  Weights: Tare, 3,280 lb; all-up, 4,911 lb.
  Performance: Max speed, 92 mph at sea level; climb to 6,500ft, 19 min 30 sec; service ceiling, 10,600ft.
  Armament: One 0.303in Lewis machine gun with Scarff ring on rear cockpit; bomb load of two 230 lb bombs on underfuselage racks.
  Prototypes: Two, N66 and N67. N66 first flown in December 1917. No production. (Six other aircraft, N68-N73, cancelled.)
The first N.2B, N66, with wings folded and carrying two 230 lb bombs, probably at the Isle of Grain in February 1918.
Short Shirl

  If a significant shortcoming existed in the Cuckoo's concept it was that it was only able to carry the 1,086 lb Mark IX torpedo, a weapon that was not thought capable o f sinking any ship larger than a light - that is, unarmoured - cruiser. The Admiralty's decision to adopt landplane torpedo aircraft coincided with plans to complete two through-deck aircraft carriers in 1918, HMS Argus and Eagle (*)
  Air Board Specification N.1B of April 1917 covered a number of naval requirements in single-engine, single-seat aircraft, one of which was to be a torpedo carrier, intended in due course to replace the Cuckoo. The Specification outlining the requirements for the latter was amended several times, and in October 1917 called for the aircraft to be capable of carrying the Mark VIII torpedo, a 1,436 lb weapon that possessed a warhead 50 per cent larger than that of the Mark IX. Both Short Bros and Blackburn submitted tenders, and each company was invited to build three prototypes.
  Little time was allowed before the first prototypes were required for preliminary Service evaluation, and both manufacturers made tremendous efforts to meet the deadline set for the end of April 1918. The Short aircraft, named the Shirl (N110-N112), was of simple configuration, owing much to Oswald Short's N.2B seaplane, but with the single cockpit situated in much the same position as the observer's cockpit in the earlier aircraft. As permitted in the Contracts, power was provided by the 375hp Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII driving a two-blade propeller and being neatly cow led with frontal radiator.
  The broad-chord wings of equal span and with square tips were rigged without stagger, being foldable and with ailerons on upper and lower wings. An unusual requirement, partly occasioned by delays in the completion of HMS Eagle, was that the wheel landing gear was to be jettisonable so as to simplify ditching if the need arose, and flotation gear was to be provided to increase the chances of salvaging the aircraft from the sea.
  When first flown by John Parker at the Isle of Grain on 27 May 1918, the first Shirl, N110, was fitted with a simple two-wheel undercarriage with V-struts and cross-axle, this being necessary to meet the test deadline, and when the aircraft was delivered to Martlesham Heath a few days later it carried a dummy Mark VIII torpedo which of course could not have been released with such an undercarriage. During the early tests the aircraft was found to be severely tail-heavy, and this appeared to be rectified by introducing wings with sweepback when N110 returned to Rochester. At about this time the original undercarriage was replaced by twin-wheel units, each pair of wheels being provided with a skid and attached to the lower wing by a pair of V-struts, thereby eliminating the cross-axle. A large inflatable flotation bag could be carried within each undercarriage structure.
  The second Shirl, N111, was delivered to Grain on 8 July and subsequently took part in torpedo dropping trials at East Fortune alongside the Blackburn Blackburd. It then went to Martlesham for Service performance and handling evaluation trials in August. In these, however, despite meeting the general performance and load requirements, the Shirl attracted criticism on account of sluggish handling characteristics, lacking the manoeuvrability of the Cuckoo, particularly during evasive action after releasing its torpedo. It was also found that, while carrying the torpedo, the aircraft was still excessively tail-heavy, and that, after releasing the torpedo, it became nose-heavy.
  The third Shirl, N112, did not fly until December 1918 when, with the War over, the urgency for a new torpedo aircraft had largely disappeared, and official interest in the Shirl (and the Blackburn Blackburd) gave place to further production orders for the established Sopwith Cuckoo.
(*) HMS Argus, 15,775 tons, had been begun in 1914 as a liner, Conte Rosso, for an Italian shipping company, but came to be launched in 1917 with a full-length flight deck, and was indeed completed in 1918. HMS Eagle, 22,600 tons, had been begun in 1913 as a dreadnought battleship, Almirante Cochrane for Chile; she was launched in 1918 but did not achieve full service with the Royal Navy until 1923. HMS Furious, 22,000 tons, the only other ship with a true flight deck, was eventually completed in 1917 with a flight deck forward of the superstructure (she had been laid down as a light battle cruiser in 1915); in 1917-18 an after deck was added, and between 1921 and 1925 she was fully converted to a flush-deck carrier).

  Type: Single-engine, single-seat, two-bay biplane torpedo bomber.
  Admiralty Specification: N I B (later RAF Type XXII).
  Manufacturer: Short Brothers, Rochester, Kent.
  Powerplant: One 375hp Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII twelve-cylinder, water-cooled, in-line engine driving two-blade propeller.
  Dimensions: Span, 52ft 0in; length, 35ft 0in; height, 13ft 3in; wing area, 791 sq ft.
  Weights (360hp Eagle VIII): Tare, 3,319 lb; all-up, 5,512 lb (with torpedo).
  Performance (360hp Eagle VIII; with torpedo): Max speed, 93 mph at 6,500ft; climb to 6,500ft, 17 min 30 sec; service ceiling, 10.000ft; endurance, 3 3/4 hr.
  Armament: One 1,423 lb 18in Mark VIII torpedo. No gun armament.
  Prototypes: Three, N110-N112. N110 first flown at Grain by John Parker on 27 May 1918. No production
The second Short Shirt, N111, at the Isle of Grain in July 1918; note the twin-wheel and skid undercarriage.
Sopwith Special (No 170) & Type C

  Whether or not Italian pioneering work on aerial torpedo-dropping, dating from 1912, in any way influenced the British Admiralty, has not been positively established. It is, however, recorded that a discussion paper was prepared by Lieut D H Hyde-Thomson RN in 1912, setting down suggested parameters for the use of aerial torpedoes; this was submitted to the Admiralty torpedo establishment and eventually reached Capt Murray Fraser Sueter RN (later Rear-Admiral, CB, MP) of the Air Department at the Admiralty. In 1913, as a direct result of this paper, the Admiralty invited the manufacturers Sopwith, Short and White to produce prototype torpedo-carrying seaplanes. These were to become the Sopwith Special, the Short Type 184 and the Wight Type 840 (listed chronologically - although, by means of adaptation, a Short Folder was to be the first British aeroplane to air-drop a torpedo).
  Until relatively recently there has been much confusion regarding early Sopwith torpedo-carrying seaplanes, to some extent caused by surviving company records which suggest that all seaplanes ordered by the Admiralty before the First World War, and powered by the 200hp Canton-Unne fourteen-cylinder water-cooled radial engine, mounted horizontally (purchased in France, and later manufactured in Britain as the Salmson 2M.7), were referred to as Type Cs. There was certainly a Short Type C powered thus, but it was not equipped to carry a torpedo. A surviving Sopwith company photograph was captioned to illustrate a large four-bay seaplane with Canton-Unne engine as a Type C aeroplane. The accuracy of this caption had never been questioned until recent research indicated that the photograph in fact depicts the Sopwith Special, No 170, apparently designed by R J Ashfield, an aircraft intended to lift a 14in torpedo weighing 810 lb. Indeed, this was the first British aeroplane designed and built with the specific object of carrying a torpedo.
  According to Sqn-Cdr Longmore, commanding NAS Calshot, No 170 arrived on or about 1 July, and was assembled within about five days. Engine runs and some taxying trials, however, disclosed that 'extensive' modifications would be needed before the aircraft would succeed in taking off with the torpedo. To begin with, it was found that the engine was not giving full power, and a new engine was fitted, but even when the torpedo was removed the aircraft still refused to take off. Thus, it was to be the Short No 121 that first took off and launched a torpedo on 28 July.
  There is no doubt but that the Short Folder was a superior aircraft and, although the Sopwith Special eventually managed at least one flight with pilot (Flt-Cdr J L Travers), passenger and a full load of fuel on 7 November, it never succeeded in lifting a torpedo. At the end of that month, in a belief that No 170 might be usefully employed as a bomber, the seaplane was being fitted with an experimental bomb rack, but it is not known whether it was ever flown with this for, early in January 1915, the Canton Unne engine was being stripped down for inspection at Calshot. At about the end of April the Special was removed from RNAS charge and during the following weeks it was finally dismantled.
  Unfortunately very little information of a reliable nature survives about the Sopwith Type C, other than reference to three such aircraft, Nos 157-159, in the RNAS equipment lists; these seaplanes (and the six Short Type Cs, Nos 161-166) were categorised as 'bomb-carriers' with folding wings, wireless equipment and a defensive gun. However, there is no evidence that the Sopwith Type Cs ever flew with a bomb load and, as they do not appear to have undergone trials with the RNAS at Calshot, there are no surviving records of flight trials.

  Type: Single-engine, two-seat, four-bay biplane, twin-float seaplane designed to carry a torpedo.
  Manufacturer: The Sopwith Aviation Co Ltd, Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey.
  Powerplant: One 205hp Canton-Unne (Salmson) fourteen-cylinder, water-cooled, radial engine mounted with crankshaft vertical and driving two-blade propeller through extension shaft and gearbox.
  Dimensions: Span (upper wing) 66ft; (lower wing) 58ft; length, 36ft; wing area, 785 sq ft.
  Weight: Max all-up, 4,3241b (design estimate)
  Performance: No records traced.
  Armament: Provision to carry one 810 lb 14in Whitehead torpedo. No gun armament. (Neither torpedo nor gun believed to have been flown)
  Prototypes: Special Seaplane, No 170, first flown during September 1914. Three Sopwith Type Cs are believed to have been constructed (Nos 157-159), but no flight details have been traced.
Sopwith Admiralty Type 860

  Experience with the early torpedo-carrying seaplanes had demonstrated to two of the three main Admiralty contractors that the smaller Salmson and Sunbeam engines were inadequate to enable torpedo-carriers to lift off the water when carrying full fuel load. After the unsuccessful attempts by the Sopwith Special No 170 to lift a torpedo into the air in August 1914, its manufacturers decided to produce a smaller aircraft, powered by the 225hp Sunbeam (later named the Mohawk). In the meantime Sopwith persevered with another of its seaplanes, No 138 (also powered by a 200hp Canton Unne engine), and on 29 August 1914, flown by Longmore, this machine succeeded in lifting and launching an 810 lb torpedo at Calshot.
  Continuing frustration with the recalcitrant Canton Unne engine encouraged Sopwith to adopt the 225hp Sunbeam, at the time the most powerful engine available to the RNAS; no prototype of the new aircraft was built as such, a total of 22 examples of this aircraft being ordered during the autumn of 1914. All but four were completed between December that year and early in 1915. The first ten examples were numbered 851-860, and were referred to as Admiralty Type 860s (although confusion was compounded when the RNAS equipment list erroneously referred to them as Type 157s, suggesting that they were a production batch of Sopwith Type Cs). The first flight by a Type 860 with a torpedo was made by Victor Mahl, a Sopwith pilot, at Calshot on 27 January 1915.
  The big Sunbeam engine, driving either a two- or four-blade propeller, featured a frontal radiator and a prominent stack of twelve vertical exhaust pipes extending upwards immediately forward of the upper wing. The single-step main pontoon floats were attached by long struts to the lower fuselage longerons, the 14in torpedo being carried on crutches at the centre of the cross-bars between the floats (when the aircraft was at rest on the water the torpedo was partly submerged). A single tail float was provided, as well as stabilizing wingtip floats.
  Folding wings of at least three alternative designs appeared on the production aircraft; the original three-bay wings of equal span were fitted with double-acting ailerons on upper and lower surfaces. Some aircraft were fitted with two-bay wings of unequal span with ailerons on the upper wing only; the outboard upper wing extensions were wire-braced with kingposts, but some aircraft featured outwardly raked struts in place of interplane wire bracing. At an early stage in production the fin, originally a small triangular structure, was enlarged to incorporate a curved leading edge. Further redesign resulted in a rectangular fin being fitted.
  The Sopwith Type 860 was flown from the rear cockpit, a surprising feature of this aircraft having regard for its torpedo-dropping role. The observer's cockpit was located beneath a large aperture in the upper wing centresection, suggesting that it was intended to mount an upward firing Lewis gun though no evidence has been found to suggest that this was ever fitted, despite being called for in the original Admiralty purchase order.
  Production Type 860s are said to have been test flown from the Solent and subsequently served briefly with the RNAS at Grain, though without much distinction. The greater experience gained by Short Bros in numerous aspects of naval seaplane design inclined the Admiralty to favour that company's parallel project, the Type 184, which was to become one of the outstanding British seaplane bombers of the First World War. Certainly the Sopwith aircraft never launched a torpedo in anger.

  Type: Single-engine, two-seat, two- or three-bay biplane, torpedo-carrying twin-float seaplane.
  Manufacturer: The Sopwith Aviation Co Ltd, Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey.
  Powerplant: One 225hp Sunbeam Mohawk twelve-cylinder, water-cooled, in-line engine driving a two- or four-blade propeller.
  Dimensions, Weights and Performance: No records traced.
  Armament: Provision to carry one 810 lb 14in Whitehead torpedo. Provision may have been made to mount a Lewis gun above the observer's cockpit.
  Prototypes and Production: Total of 22 aircraft ordered, Nos 851 -860 and 927-938, but four (Nos 833, 834, 836 and 837) not completed. No 851, possibly regarded as the prototype, is believed to have first flown in December 1914.
  Summary of Service: At least three Sopwith Type 860s were flown at the RNAS Station, Isle of Grain, in 1915, and two may have been present during the Dardanelles campaign that year.
Type 860 No 931 at the RNAS Station, Great Yarmouth in August 1915; this example featured two-bay wings of unequal span, braced by kingposts, curved wing tips, and a rectangular rudder. A suggestion that this machine flew North Sea patrols has not been confirmed.
Sopwith 1 1/2-Strutter Bomber

  Design of the Sopwith 1 1/2-Strutter probably began quite early in 1915 although, being in effect a private venture at the outset, manufacture of a prototype at Kingston was accorded less urgency than to aeroplanes being prepared to specific Admiralty orders. As with most of the early Sopwith aircraft, delineation of design responsibility was nebulous, frequent informal discussions on new designs being held between Thomas Sopwith himself, his works manager Fred Sigrist, and his chief pilot Harry Hawker, with R J Ashfield and Herbert Smith representing their respective design offices.
  Being almost exclusively involved with Admiralty requirements, Sopwith would have been familiar with that Ministry's shift towards bombing aircraft during 1915 (away from purely torpedo-carrying seaplanes), yet no less aware of the Army's desperate shortage of effective light tactical bomb-carrying aeroplanes, and in particular such aeroplanes capable of defending themselves in the presence of German fighting scouts.
  The 1 1/2-Strutter (so called on account of the shortened inboard wing struts being attached to the upper longerons and not extending down to the lower wing spars) was therefore deliberately intended to attract both Admiralty and War Office orders for a self-defensible light bomber. Designed initially as a two-seater, it was provided with a Lewis gun on the rear cockpit and later a fixed, front Vickers gun, firing through the propeller, made possible by the Vickers and Scarff-Dibovski synchronizing gears. The former gear was preferred by the War Office, the latter by the Admiralty.
  Structurally the 1 1/2-Strutter was entirely conventional by Sopwith standards, that is to say it was of all-wood construction with ply and fabric covering; ailerons were fitted to upper and lower wings, which were of equal span. Early aircraft were fitted with the 110hp Clerget engine, but also came to be powered by the 130 and 135hp Clergets and Le Rhone engines of similar power.
  The aircraft featured two interesting innovations which served to demonstrate the efforts made to alleviate any handling difficulty that might arise when carrying and dropping bombs. These were a pair of rudimentary airbrakes set in the lower surfaces of the wing centresection, and a variable-incidence tailplane, adjustable by a control wheel in the pilot's cockpit to compensate for variations in trim. The latter innovation was patented by Harry Hawker and, in 1920, when the Sopwith company went into liquidation, the patent rights were determined in favour of the H G Hawker Engineering Company. (The variable-incidence tailplane was to be a feature of most Hawker aircraft produced between 1926 and 1935, as well as others)
  The prototype, No 3686, was placed on an Admiralty contract, and probably first flew at the end of December 1915 or early the following month. It was followed by numerous production contracts - which were widely subcontracted - from the Admiralty (where the aircraft was referred to as the Type 9700) and War Office, the majority of the former being for bombers, and the latter for fighters. The 50 naval aircraft of the first production order, built by Sopwith, were two-seaters, but it was quickly decided that, when carrying the normal bomb load (of up to four 65 lb bombs in an internal fuselage bay), it was necessary to fly without the observer/gunner, with the result that all subsequent Admiralty orders for bombers required the rear cockpit to be deleted altogether, and faired over. The front gun was, however, retained. A total of 172 naval single-seat bombers was built by Sopwith, Westland, and Mann, Egerton.
  It is perhaps worth recording here that it was Warrant Officer F W Scarff at the Admiralty Air Department who drew up the design of the front gun synchronizing gear from proposals made by a Russian, Lt-Cdr V V Dibovski, and that Scarff it was who also designed the gun mounting ring that was to carry his name in the RAF for a quarter century. Some 1 1/2-Strutters were fitted with a Nieuport ring of French origin, but when two-seater naval aircraft were transferred to the RFC at the time of the great summer battles o f 1916, General Trenchard ordered all his Service's 1 1/2-Strutters to be converted to have Scarff rings, so superior were they found to be.
  The arrival of the 'Strutter' bomber in the RNAS was intended to be central to the build-up of a bombing campaign by No 3 Wing, based at Luxeuil, but this plan was severely delayed when the Admiralty agreed to transfer more than 70 of these aircraft to the RFC to help make good the losses being suffered during the Somme battle of July.
  Despite these delays, naval 1 1/2-Strutters flew a number of outstanding bombing attacks during the summer of 1916, including raids on the airships stations at Evere, Berchem Ste Agathe and Cognelee, an ammunition dump at Lichtervelde and the shipyards at Hoboken, serving with Nos 5 and 8 (Naval) Squadrons.
  Apart from anti-submarine coastal patrols, which 1 1/2-Strutters flew as stopgap equipment from such stations as Mullion, Pembroke and Prawle Point, the aircraft gave long service with the RNAS in the Mediterranean both as anti-submarine aircraft and bombers in Italy, Macedonia and the Aegean (probably sinking an enemy submarine with a 65 lb delayed-action bomb on 17 September 1917).
  The aircraft were also supplied to a number of Allied air forces, in most instances as two-seat fighters or reconnaissance aircraft, although France (where the 1 1/2-Strutter was also licence-built by Liore et Olivier and Hanriot) also received single-seat bombers.

  Type: Single-engine, single- and two-seat, single-bay biplane light bomber.
  Manufacturers: The Sopwith Aviation Co Ltd, Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey; Mann, Egerton & Co Ltd, Prince of Wales Road, Norwich, Norfolk; Morgan & Co, Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire; Westland Aircraft Works, Yeovil, Somerset.
  Powerplant: One 110hp Clerget 9Z or 130hp Clerget 9Bc nine-cylinder rotary engine driving two-blade propeller.
  Dimensions; Span, 33ft 6in; length, 25ft 3in; height, 10ft 3in; wing area, 346 sq ft.
  Weights (Clerget 9Z): Tare, 1,354 lb; all-up (with four 56 lb bombs), 2,362 lb.
  Performance (Clerget 9Z): Max speed, 104 mph at sea level; climb to 10,000ft, 26 min 55 sec; service ceiling, 12,500ft.
  Armament: One synchronized 0.303in Vickers machine gun on nose decking; bomb load of four 65 lb bombs or equivalent weight of lighter bombs carried internally in bay aft of the pilot's cockpit.
  Production: No special bomber prototype. Of the total of 1,513 Sopwith 1 1/2-Strutters recorded as having been ordered for the RFC and RNAS, 172 were built as single-seat bombers: Sopwith, 145 (Nos 9651, 9652, 9655, 9657, 9660, 9661, 9664, 9666-9673, 9700, 9704, 9707, 9711, 9714, 9715, 9718, 9720, 9723, 9724, 9727, 9729, 9732, 9733, 9736, 9738, 9741, 9742, 9745 and 9747; A6014 and A6015; N5088 and N5089; N5120-N5179; N5500-N5537 and N5550-N5559); Morgan, 2 (A6014 and A6015); Mann, Egerton, 20 (N5200-N5219); Westland, 5 (N5600-N5604).
  Summary of Service: Sopwith 1 1/2-Strutter single-seat bombers served with 3rd and 5th Wings, RNAS, in France, and with RNAS units in Italy (at Otranto), Macedonia and the Aegean, including 'F' Squadron which flew a number of bombing raids in the Smyrna area.
Sopwith 1 1/2-Strutter single-seat bombers of the 3rd Wing, RNAS, probably at Luxeuil-les-Bams. The aircraft's bomb load was stowed in a compartment immediately aft of the pilot's cockpit, slightly aft of the centre of gravity, hence the assumed need for a variable-incidence tailplane.
Sopwith 1 1/2-Strutter Bomber.
Sopwith B.1

  Although comprehensive records of the origins of this Sopwith aeroplane do not appear to have survived, it is known that early in October 1916 T O M Sopwith entered discussions with the Admiralty on the subject of two related proposals, one for a single-seat bomber and the other for a similar aircraft capable of carrying an 18in torpedo. The basis of the Sopwith proposals was the belief that both aircraft could be sufficiently small (spanning less than 40 feet) to avoid the necessity for folding wings. When, however, the Admiralty issued its formal requirement for a single-seat torpedo-bomber, the demand for sufficient fuel for four hours' flying at full throttle indicated the need for larger wings to provide more lift. The greater span thus demanded wing folding and, in order to avoid fouling the tail surfaces, a longer fuselage.
  Admiralty interest in the smaller bomber project proved to be little more than academic (as the D.H.4 promised to be adequate to meet foreseeable requirements), and Sopwith decided to pursue it as a private venture, and managed to secure a licence (No 6) to go ahead with a prototype - as demanded by the 1917 regulations - basing the design on use of a 200hp Hispano-Suiza geared engine in an installation similar to that being used in the second Sopwith Hispano Triplane fighter.
  Thus the B.1 bomber design was in effect a scaled down version of the T.1 torpedo aircraft (later to appear as the Cuckoo), but there the relationship ended. The longer fuselage of the bomber was dictated, not by the span of the two-bay wings but by the inclusion of a bomb bay located in the fuselage aft of the cockpit, capable of accommodating nine 50 lb HE RL (amatol) bombs, stowed vertically and suspended by their nose rings (as in the Avro Type 529A). However, further discussions with the Admiralty elicited the information that the RNAS in France was interesting in using the French 10kg 'liquid-anilite' bomb (This bomb's explosive filling comprised petrol (the hydrocarbon element) and liquid nitric oxide in separate cells; after release from the aircraft, a small wind-driven vane ruptured the separating diaphragm, allowing the elements to mix and thus 'arming' the highly sensitive explosive compound. No impact detonator was therefore required) as an alternative to the British HE RL, and in order to cater for twenty of these weapons the bomb suspension beams in the Sopwith were moved further apart by about two inches (without alteration to the overall dimensions of the bomb bay).
  The B.1 prototype, believed to have been numbered X.6 (although no photographs have come to light showing this serial on the aircraft), was first flown at Brooklands early in April 1917 and underwent brief assessment at the Isle of Grain in the same month. During these trials the aircraft was loaded with twenty 10kg anilite bombs and, at an all-up weight of 2,945 lb, returned a maximum speed of 118.5 mph at 10,000 feet.
  Although this was regarded as an exceptionally good performance, the B.1 was criticised for its lack of longitudinal control, being found to be tail heavy while carrying the full bomb load, and nose heavy when flying light, a lack of trim that could not be fully countered, even with the adjustable tailplane at its limits of travel. The ailerons were also criticised, though probably owing to undue friction in the control circuits.
  Nevertheless the Admiralty stepped in and purchased this aircraft and it was delivered to the RNAS 5th Wing at Dunkerque for Service trials, participating in raids by the naval squadrons flying from Petite Synthe and Coudekerque alongside their D.H.4s. During these operations the B.1 was armed with a single synchronized Lewis gun mounted above the engine.
  On return to the United Kingdom, the engine (still Sopwith's property) was removed and returned to Kingston, while the airframe was delivered to the Admiralty's Experimental Construction Depot at Port Victoria. Here it was rebuilt as a two-seat naval reconnaissance aircraft; as such, and given the experimental naval serial number N50, it became the prototype of the Grain Griffin. Later, seven production examples were built by the ECD (N100-N106), powered by the 200hp Sunbeam Arab; one aircraft, N101, was later fitted with a 230hp Bentley B.R.2 rotary engine.
  At Brooklands, investigation into the control criticisms expressed by the naval pilots suggested that the complex control linkage in the elevator circuit, previously located within the fuselage structure, made necessary to clear the mounting beams in the bomb bay, was restricting the full movement of the control surfaces. A second aircraft (Despite a number of statements suggesting that more than two B.1 aircraft were completed by Sopwith, an examination of Works manifests in 1958 indicated fairly conclusively that only two complete sets of components were manufactured for airframe assembly, these two airframes always being referred to in Works records as 'No 6' and 'No 1496') was therefore built with the elevator control cables and rocking arms located outside the fuselage, a much simpler circuit which appears to have cured the problem. It is not clear, however, whether changes were also made to the tailplane incidence controls, or to the aileron circuits.
  This second aeroplane was also purchased by the Admiralty as B1496 and underwent further trials by Service pilots. However, no further interest appears to have been expressed in the project and the ultimate fate of this aircraft is not known.

  Type: Single-engine, single-seat, two-bay biplane bomber.
  Manufacturer: The Sopwith Aviation Co Ltd, Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey.
  Powerplant: One 200hp Hispano-Suiza eight-cylinder, watercooled, in-line engine driving two-blade propeller.
  Dimensions: Span, 38ft 6in; length, 27ft 0in; height, 9ft 6in; wing area, 460 sq ft.
  Weights: Tare, 1,700 lb; all-up (with max bomb load), 3,055 lb.
  Performance (with max bomb load): Max speed, 118.5 mph at 10,000ft; climb to 10,000ft, 15 min 30 sec; service ceiling, 19,000ft; endurance, 3 3/4 hr.
  Armament: Single, fixed, synchronized 0.303in Lewis machine gun located centrally on the nose decking (fitted only during Service trials in 1917); bomb load of twenty 25 lb HE RL bombs, or twenty 10kg anilite bombs, carried in internal bomb cell immediately aft of the cockpit.
  Prototypes: Two, the first being authorised under Licence No 6, and first flown early in April 1917. A second example, B1496, was probably first flown in January 1918. No production.
Sopwith T.1 Cuckoo

  The single-seat Sopwith T.1 torpedo aircraft was the subject of a discussion between T O M Sopwith and Murray Sueter at the Admiralty at the beginning of October 1916. The fact that Sopwith took with him to the meeting project drawings of the aircraft suggests, though not conclusively, that the idea of a single-seat torpedo-carrying landplane originated at Kingston; it is, however, clear that the Admiralty tentatively suggested that either one or two torpedoes should be carried together with fuel for four hours' flying. Sopwith would have ruled out the two-torpedo capability in a single-engine aircraft small enough to be accommodated in any aircraft carrier likely to be planned in the foreseeable future. This discussion was confirmed in an Admiralty memorandum, dated 9 October, requesting that the Sopwith company should go ahead with the aircraft, expressing the view that some sort of catapult would be made available to assist the heavily-laden aircraft into the air (an innovation that was possibly brainchild of Murray Sueter himself).
  With the posting of Commodore Sueter to the Mediterranean in January 1917, the Admiralty's interest in the project was temporarily shelved, but the following month Wg-Cdr Arthur Longmore, who was shown the half-completed T .1 prototype during a visit to Sopwith, suggested that the aircraft should be completed forthwith, and shortly afterwards arranged for a licence, No 6, to be issued for its manufacture. In the event, the prototype was made the subject of an Admiralty contract and the licence was transferred to the B.1 Bomber at Sopwith's suggestion as the two designs were interrelated, and the B.1 would be ready to fly first.
  The prototype T .1 , which probably flew first in June 1917, was powered by a 200hp Hispano-Suiza engine and underwent official trials at the Isle of Grain the following month, the performance report being dated 20 July. The three-bay, unstaggered wings spanned 46ft 9in and were made to fold on the plane of the inner pairs of interplane struts; these struts were constructed in halves along their length, the outboard halves being attached to the folding sections o f the wings, and the inboard halves fixed so as to provide rigidity of wing structure. The undercarriage, attached to the fixed inboard wing section, comprised sturdy double-V struts.
  Like the first B.1, the tail control cables were enclosed in the rear fuselage for much of their length but, as on the second B.1, the production T.1, named the Cuckoo, featured external tail control cables. The production aircraft were also fitted with a much lengthened tailskid to allow greater ground clearance for the rear of the torpedo, which was slung below the fuselage between the split-axle mainwheels.
  The first production order for 100 Cuckoos was placed on 16 August with the Fairfield Shipbuilding & Engineering Company o f Glasgow (Sopwith being fully occupied with production of Camel fighters). Shortly afterwards Sir David Beatty, commanding the Grand Fleet (later Admiral of the Fleet Earl Beatty GCB, OM, GCVO, DSO, 1st Sea Lord) put forward an ambitious plan for 200 Cuckoos to launch a torpedo offensive against the German Fleet in their harbours. Although this was not accepted as a realistic undertaking, an order was nevertheless placed for a further 50 Cuckoos with Pegler & Co Ltd of Doncaster.
  Introducing the Cuckoo into production was beset about with problems and delays. The Royal Aircraft Factory was given priority for deliveries of the Hispano-Suiza engine for its S.E.5A fighter, and as a result the heavier 200hp Sunbeam Arab was selected as an alternative; this change occasioned extensive alterations to the Cuckoo's nose structure, and the engine was further delayed by unsatisfactory performance and reliability during development.
  Moreover, neither of the original contractors possessed any significant knowledge of aircraft production, and both were very slow to set up their production lines. In February 1918, therefore, 230 further aircraft were ordered from the Blackburn Aeroplane & Motor Company, its first two Cuckoos being completed only two months later. (The first Fairfield-built Cuckoo was not delivered until September 1918, and the first of only 20 Pegler aircraft the next month.)
  Fifty Blackburn-built Cuckoos had been completed by the end of August, and production was allowed to continue into 1919, by which time the company had built 162 aircraft in its factory at Sherburn-in-Elmet, Yorkshire. Early production examples were delivered for pilot training at East Fortune, East Lothian, with the Torpedo Aeroplane School, and in October began to equip No 185 Squadron, RAF, also at East Fortune. This Squadron began to embark in HMS Furious on the 19th of that month, but did not take part in any war operations before the Armistice, and was disbanded on 14 April 1919.
  In July 1919 Cuckoos joined No 186 Squadron for naval co-operation duties at Gosport, remaining in service until April 1923 (this Squadron being renumbered No 210 on 1 February 1920).
  An alternative to the Arab engine had been sought and a number of Cuckoos (all the Fairfield-built aircraft and about nine from the Blackburn production) were fitted with the 275hp Wolseley W.4A Viper, and became known as the Cuckoo Mk II; another aircraft, N7990, was flown experimentally with the 275hp Rolls-Royce Falcon III, but neither this nor the Viper gave any significant improvement in performance.
  Once the Arab's early unreliability had been improved, the Cuckoo came to be generally liked by Service pilots, and its replacement by the Blackburn Dart in 1923-24 was more on account of a preference, then being expressed, for two-seat torpedo-bombers than any appreciable performance shortcoming in the Cuckoo.

  Type: Single-engine, single-seat, three-bay biplane torpedo-carrier.
  Manufacturers: The Sopwith Aviation Co Ltd, Kingston-upon- Thames, Surrey (prototype only); The Blackburn Aeroplane and Motor Co Ltd, Leeds, Yorkshire; Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Co Ltd, Govan, Glasgow; Pegler & Co Ltd, Doncaster.
  Powerplant: Prototype. 200hp Hispano Suiza. Production. 200hp Sunbeam Arab; 200hp Wolseley W4.A Viper. Experimental: 275hp Rolls-Royce Falcon III.
  Dimensions (Arab engine): Span, 46ft 9in; length. 28ft 6in; height, 10ft 8in; wing area, 566 sq ft.
  Weights (Arab engine): Tare, 2,199 lb; all-up (with 18in torpedo), 3,883 lb.
  Performance (Arab engine): Max speed, 103.5 mph at 2,000ft; climb to 6,500ft, 15 min 40 sec; service ceiling, 12,100ft; endurance, 4 hr.
  Armament: No gun armament nor provision to carry bombs. War load comprised one 18in Mark IX Whitehead torpedo weighing nominal 1,000 lb.
  Prototype: One, N74 (Sopwith-built), first flown in June or July 1917.
  Production: A total of 350 production Cuckoos was ordered, of which 232 were built: Blackburn. 162 (N6900-N6920, N6950-N6999, N7150-N7199 and N7980-N801I; N8012-NS079 cancelled); Pegler. 20 (N6930-N6949); Fairfield. 50 (N7000-N7049; N7031-N7099 cancelled).
  Summary of Service: Sopwith Cuckoos served with No 185 Squadron, RAF, at East Fortune from October 1918 to April 1919; with No 186 Squadron at Gosport from July 1919 to February 1920 (this became No 210 Squadron and continued to fly Cuckoos at Gosport until April 1923).
Another Blackburn-built Cuckoo, this time fitted with the large, fixed torpedo pistol-stop structure under the engine; on some later aircraft this could be folded to lie flat under the nose after dropping the weapon.
Sopwith T.1 Cuckoo
Sopwith 2B.2 Rhino

  The Sopwith Rhino two-seat triplane bomber was a private venture, not intended to approximate to any official requirement, and therefore subject of a special licence (No 14) for the manufacture of two prototypes, X7 and X8. Designed during the late summer of 1917, the first aircraft was flown at Brooklands in October, powered by a 230hp BHP six-cylinder in-line water-cooled engine. The dominant feature, apart from the triplane wings, was the exceptionally deep fuselage, necessitated by the internal bomb bay beneath the pilot's cockpit, the bombs being loaded into a self-contained structure which was winched into the aircraft's bomb bay. The choice of the BHP engine, which was fully cowled, also resulted in a deep nose profile. The second Rhino was flown around the end of the year.
  Although the engine was cooled by an orthodox water-circulation system, with radiators on the sides of the nose (each with an adjustable ramp shutter), a small frontal air intake was incorporated above the propeller shaft to provide additional cooling of the tandem cylinder blocks and exhaust manifold.
  The single-bay wings, of generous area, were all fitted with ailerons and were rigged with slight stagger. The ailerons on both prototypes were originally horn-balanced, extending beyond the wing structure, but were later shortened to blend with the profile of the wing tips. The lower pairs of ailerons were interconnected by faired struts, and the upper pairs by cables.
  Front gun armament comprised a single synchronized Vickers gun above the nose decking, and rear protection was afforded by a Lewis gun on the rear cockpit; on X7 the rear gun was pillar-mounted, and on X8 a Scarff ring was provided. No bomb sight could be titled, and downward view for the pilot (situated directly below the upper wing) was assisted by cutout panels in the roots of the centre and lower wings.
  The undercarriage comprised plain steel tubular V-struts with bungee-bound cross-axle, the whole wheel structure giving an impression of being understressed.
  Both Rhinos were officially tested at Martlesham Heath in February and March 1918, but returned somewhat pedestrian performance figures with and without bomb load, and the aircraft was not accepted for production.

  Type: Single-engine, two-seat, single-bay triplane bomber
  Manufacturer: The Sopwith Aviation Co Lid, Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey.
  Powerplant: One 230hp Beardmore-Halford-Pullinger (BHP) six-cylinder, water-cooled, in-line engine driving two-blade propeller
  Dimensions: (1) Span, 41ft; length, 30ft 3in; height, 10ft 11 in; wing area, 612 sq ft.
  Weights: (2) Tare, 2,184 lb; all-up (with four 112 lb bombs), 3,590 lb.
  Performance (with four 112 lb bombs) : Max speed, 114 mph at sea level, 103 mph at 10,000ft; climb to 10,000ft, 24 min 50 sec; service ceiling, 12,000ft; endurance, 3 3/4 hr.
  Armament: One synchronized 0.303in Vickers machine gun located centrally on nose decking, and one Lewis gun on rear cockpit (with Scarff ring on second aircraft); bomb load of up to four 112 lb bombs or equivalent weight of smaller bombs carried in a detachable structure winched into internal bomb bay.
  Prototypes: Two, X7 and X8, built under Licence No 14. X7 first flown in October 1917. No production.
  (1) These figures are suspect, and a span of 33ft (sometimes quoted) is also believed to be incorrect; unfortunately no copies of the original Sopwith drawings appear to have survived, and Sopwith records themselves are inconsistent.
  (2) Quoted from Martlesham Reports M.167A and B, dated February and March 1918.
Sopwith Cobham

  Notable as being the only twin-engine Sopwith aeroplane ever built, the triplane Cobham's career was also bedevilled by its association with the ABC Dragonfly engines. Designed during the summer of 1918 to the Air Ministry Specification IV, as qualified in Specifications VI and VIII by virtue of variations in range and bomb load (all three of which were amalgamated in the Department of Research Type 3 Specification) - the Cobham began building in September that year.
  Although the aircraft was designed as a three-seat medium bomber, capable of carrying three 250 lb bombs (stowed internally and suspended vertically), the greater part of the Cobham's life was preoccupied with attempts to come to terms with the thoroughly unreliable Dragonfly. The first of three prototypes ordered, H671, was completed at Brooklands in about December 1918 but, owing to delays in the delivery of the 320hp Dragonfly I engines, Herbert Smith (whose design the Cobham was) was instructed to make provision to install a pair of standard 240hp Siddeley Puma engines, so as to begin flight trials as quickly as possible. H671 was therefore termed the Cobham Mark II, and was flown in about April 1919. It was, however, never destined to receive Dragonfly engines as, some time in 1919, it suffered an accident and was undergoing repair at about the time that the first modified Dragonfly IA engines were starting delivery. It was therefore fitted with high-compression Pumas and underwent performance trials with these at Martlesham Heath in March 1920, and in November that year was delivered to the RAE, Farnborough, where it was last flown on 27 January 1921.
  Neither of the other two Cobhams was flown during 1919; these, termed Mark Is, were both powered by 360hp Dragonfly IAs with redesigned cylinders and pistons. H672 and H673 were first flown in January and February 1920 respectively but, with the Sopwith company beginning to suffer serious financial difficulty, they were taken on Air Ministry charge and delivered to Martlesham Heath in February. Recurring engine failures caused them to be forwarded on to Farnborough to await a decision on the future of the Dragonfly and, when its development was abandoned in September, the Cobham Is were struck off Air Ministry charge.
  The Cobham's airframe design underwent fairly extensive change when it was discovered that the Dragonfly was substantially over the weight originally notified to Sopwith; compared with the original works drawings of the aircraft, the Mark I prototypes had their engines set some fifteen inches further aft, with the plane of the cylinder centreline in line with the centre wing's leading edge. Moreover, the Mark Is featured changes in wing stagger, the top wings being rigged with positive stagger, and no stagger on the bottom wings; the Puma-powered Mark II featured slight sweepback and back stagger on the top wing. The Mark I was also found to require increased rudder area, this being extended below the fuselage sternpost, with horn balances at each end. This modification was said to have been demanded by Harry Hawker who, having had to land a Cobham with one dead engine, found the aircraft almost unmanageable and entirely devoid of rudder control.

  Type: Twin-engine, three-crew, three-bay triplane medium bomber.
  Air Ministry Specification: RAF Types IV, VI and VIII.
  Manufacturer: The Sopwith Aviation Co Ltd, Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey.
  Powerplant: Mark I. Two 360hp ABC Dragonfly IA nine-cylinder, air-cooled, radial engines driving two-blade propellers. Mark II. Two 240hp Siddeley Puma six-cylinder, water-cooled, in-line engines.
  Structure: Wire-braced wooden box-girder fuselage with ply and fabric covering; two spruce wing spars and fabric-covered wings.
  Dimensions: Span, 54ft; length, 38ft; height, 13ft.
  Performance: No records traced.
  Armament: Single 0.303in Lewis machine guns in nose and midships positions with Scarff rings; bomb load, carried internally, said to be about 750 lb.
  Prototypes: Three, H671-H673. H671, the Puma-powered Mark II, first flown about April 1919; H672 first flown, January 1920; H673 first flown, February 1920. No production.
Sunbeam Bomber

  A contemporary o f the Sopwith B. 1, and approximating to its general configuration and purpose, was the Sunbeam Bomber, designed and built in response to encouragement from the Admiralty by a company which had not only produced numerous aircraft on behalf of other manufacturers, notably Short Bros, but also an impressive range of aircraft engines of its own design.
  For this reason the Admiralty appeared more generously disposed towards Sunbeam than Sopwith in this instance, ordering two prototypes o f the former company's Bomber while declining to offer support for the Sopwith B. 1. Unfortunately the Sunbeam aircraft proved a thoroughly inept design, and the Sunbeam engine chosen to power it, the 200hp Arab, was found to suffer from severe vibration which, for many months, defied rectification.
  The Sunbeam Bomber was a single-seat, two-bay biplane which, despite spanning 42 feet, did not feature folding wings. The bomb load, amounting to no more than 332 lb, was suspended from beneath the wings, and the 50-gallon fuel tank was located in the fuselage about the aeroplane's centre of gravity. The cockpit was therefore located well aft, some 13 feet from the nose of the aircraft, with a deplorable field of view for the pilot. His single synchronized Vickers machine gun was situated in the extreme nose and, being nine feet from the cockpit, was of course inaccessible in the event of a gun stoppage.
  At no time did the Admiralty suggest folding wings, nor would they have been possible as the upper wing possessed no centresection, the two halves meeting on the aircraft's centreline and being bolted to pyramidal cabane struts.
  The first example, N515, was flown during the latter half of 1917 at Castle Bromwich, but almost immediately encountered engine vibration which considerably delayed the Service trials; these eventually took place at Martlesham Heath in August 1918, and were only conducted to satisfy contractual obligations. The second aircraft was not completed, and N515 was not held on Air Ministry charge at the date of the Armistice.

  Type: Single-engine, single-seat, two-bay biplane naval bomber.
  Manufacturer: The Sunbeam Motor Car Co Ltd, Wolverhampton, Staffs.
  Powerplant: One 200hp Sunbeam Arab eight-cylinder, water-cooled, in-line engine driving two-blade propeller.
  Dimensions: Span, 42ft; length, 31ft 6in; height, 11ft; wing area, 466 sq ft.
  Weights: Tare, 1,915 lb; all-up (with three 100 lb bombs), 2,952 lb
  Performance: Max speed, 112.5 mph at 6,500ft; climb to 10,000ft, 14 min 20 sec; service ceiling, 18,500ft; endurance, 4. hr.
  Armament: Single fixed synchronized 0.303in Vickers machine gun located over engine; bomb load said to comprise three 100 lb bombs, carried externally.
  Prototypes: One, N515 (second aircraft, N516, not built). First flown late in 1917 at Castle Bromwich.
A view of the sole Sunbeam Bomber, N515, which well illustrates the aircraft's long nose decking forward of the cockpit.
Tarrant Tabor

  Not only was the Tarrant Tabor six-engine triplane almost fifty per cent heavier than the Handley Page V/1500, but it was expected to be able to carry a ton greater bomb load about thirty per cent further. It was the product of highly competent engineers and an imaginative concept.
  W G Tarrant Ltd was a well-known woodworking contractor at Byfleet, Surrey, which had supplied countless structural components to other aircraft manufacturers and had patented a method of constructing wing spars featuring wooden lattice webs. In 1917 W G Tarrant took this a stage further, securing a patent for lattice-braced circular girders for use in large aircraft fuselages. He was to be joined by Marcel Lobelle from the nearby company of Martinsyde, and by W H Barling from the Royal Aircraft Factory.
  Together they produced the design of a very large four-engine biplane towards the end of 1917, intending that it should be powered by four 600hp Siddeley Tigers, arranged in tandem pairs at midgap. It soon became evident, however, that the Tiger would not be ready in the timespan of the aircraft and, in order to maintain a comparable power/weight ratio, Tarrant elected to fit six 450hp Napier Lions instead, at the same time adding an upper, third wing with the same dimensions and structure as those of the bottom wing, transferring the support for what became the central wing's large overhang to the top wing, the diagonal support struts now being stressed in tension instead of compression.
  The additional Lion tractor engines were mounted directly above the lower pairs, the pairs of interplane struts to which the nacelles were braced being raked outwards towards their apices; additional diagonal centresection struts passed from the upper wing, through the central wing to meet on the aircraft's centreline below the fuselage and on the lower wing, thereby forming, in effect, the section of a huge Warren truss of great strength. It is assumed that the bomb load, amounting to the equivalent of about twenty 230 lb HE RL bombs, would have been carried under the lower wing centresection, for the wing structure would thus have distributed the load to all the wings without compromising the cylindrical fuselage structure.
  The fuselage was a finely-streamlined, cigar-shaped structure which carried a biplane tail unit, comprising two tailplanes, the lower of which incorporated a horn-balanced elevator, and the upper a trimming surface operated by handwheel in the pilot's cockpit. A second elevator was mounted in the tailplane gap.
  The undercarriage comprised two suitably massive structures, each carrying three five-foot-diameter main wheels on their own common axle. With each wheel assembly being attached by struts directly beneath the engine mounting interplane struts, the landing loads were distributed directly between the three wings and, at the same time provided an uninterrupted wheel track of no less than 31ft 5in.
  Such was the great overall height of the Tabor (37ft 3in compared, for instance, to 20ft 8in of the Bristol Braemar triplane bomber) that Tarrant arranged for its final assembly to be undertaken in the huge balloon shed at Farnborough, the finished aircraft being moved in and out sideways on a specially-constructed pair of railway tracks.
  Prior to its first scheduled flight, the Tabor was examined and tunnel-tested by both the Royal Aircraft Establishment and the National Physical Laboratory. Unfortunately the reports by the two authorities conflicted, the RAE suggesting that the aircraft was excessively tail-heavy, and it is understood that representations were made to add 1,000 lb of lead ballast in the nose, although this proposal was put forward by a third party. Tarrant disagreed with this recommendation and, on the instructions of Maj-Gen Henry Robert Moore Brooke-Popham, the Deputy Assistant QMG (later Air Chief Marshal Sir Robert, GCVO, KCB, CMG, DSO, AFC, RAF), the investigation reports were not to be divulged. It is therefore not known whether Tarrant and the pilots, detailed to make the first flight, were aware that the ballast had been added on that occasion.
  The aircraft was made ready for flight on 26 May 1919, the pilots being Capt F G Dunn AFC, RAF and Capt P T Rawlings DSC, accompanied by four crewmen. After completing the lengthy process of starting the six engines, which required the use of a large gantry, Dunn carried out a number of trial taxying runs before starting his take-off. After lifting the tail, he opened up the two upper engines, and the huge triplane was seen to tip on to its nose; the undercarriage collapsed, the aircraft reared up and came to rest tail-up, the nose being crushed. Both Dunn and Rawlings died shortly afterwards in hospital.
  The subsequent investigation concluded that the direct cause of the accident was the sudden onset of increased thrust from the top pair of engines (whose thrust line was about 28 feet from the ground), which caused the aircraft to pitch on to its nose. It seems likely that, had the pilots been aware of the heavy ballast added in the nose, they would have been much less inclined to apply so much extra power from the upper engines, bearing in mind that the overall weight of the aircraft was relatively light (without bombs and with only limited fuel).
  Thus ended a courageous attempt to produce a very large bomber whose capabilities seemed likely to represent a marked advance beyond those of the V/1500. Whether such a radical attempt was justified, especially as there were important differences of opinion among the best specialist technical agencies in the country as to the stability of the aeroplane, it is impossible to decide. Certainly it was clearly not economical to further develop the Tabor as a six-engine, passenger-carrying commercial airliner, even if Tarrant had felt inclined to do so. Yet one is perhaps left with the impression that, with the top wing discarded, together with the two upper engines, a biplane might well have succeeded on the power produced by, say, four Rolls-Royce Condor engines.

  Type: Six-engine, six-crew, three-bay triplane long-range heavy bomber.
  Manufacturer: W G Tarrant Ltd, Byfleet, Surrey; aircraft assembled at the RAE, Farnborough.
  Powerplant: Six 450hp Napier Lion twelve-cylinder, water-cooled, broad-arrow in-line engine (four tractor and two pusher) driving two-blade propellers.
  Structure: All-wood throughout with Tarrant lattice-webbed circular fuselage frames, covered overall with 2mm or 4mm ply.
  Dimensions: Span, 131ft 3in; length, 73ft 2in; height, 37ft 3in; wing area, 4,950 sq ft.
  Weights: Tare, 24,750 lb; all-up (with 5,130 lb war load), 44,672 lb.
  Performance (estimated): Max speed, over 110 mph; climb to 10,000ft, 33 min 30 sec; service ceiling, 13,000 ft; endurance, 12 hr.
  Armament: No gun armament on prototype; bomb load equivalent to about twenty 230 lb HE RL bombs.
  Prototype: One, F1765 (second aircraft, F1766, cancelled); F1765 crashed on take-off for first flight on 26 May 1919 at Farnborough, killing the two pilots, Capt F G Dunn and Capt P T Rawlings. No production.
The Tarrant Tabor, F1765, probably on the day of its first intended flight. The arrangement of the six engines is clearly shown, the rear lower engines driving four-blade pusher propellers. Only the long-span central wing carried ailerons.
A photo taken during the engine starting process for the labor, immediately before its ill-fated first flight attempt at Farnborough on 26 May 1919. Close examination of the original print discloses that the enormous gantry incorporated an engine-starting linkage to a clutch attachment at ground level, the vehicle presumably having been driven away after starting all the engines; it must therefore have been the largest Hucks starter ever built. The photo well illustrates the very considerable thrust moment of the upper engines about the undercarriage.
Vickers F.B.27 Vimy

  It is perhaps reasonable to speculate that, had a Vickers Vimy, flown by Alcock and Brown, not been the first aeroplane to fly non-stop across the Atlantic, the aircraft might have remained relatively obscure in the annals of the Royal Air Force; it was, after all, too late to give service during the First World War and, in the first half-dozen years of peace thereafter, it served on only five home-based squadrons.
  Following hard on the heels of the decision to increase substantially the number of light bomber squadrons in the RFC, the Air Board opened discussions to investigate the possibility of introducing new heavy bombers into service with which to extend the offensive against German targets well beyond the Western Front. It has been told how large orders were quickly placed with Handley Page to hasten deliveries of the O/400, an excellent aeroplane, yet one that apart from the Eagle engines was already a long-established design.
  The basic proposals for new heavy bombers were discussed at the Air Board's meeting of 28 July 1917 and, in response to the subsequent memorandum sent to Handley Page and Vickers, both companies embarked on new designs, three prototypes of each being ordered. The Vickers company was approached as it was known that its chief designer, Reginald Kirshaw Pierson, was already working on the preliminary design of a heavy bomber intended to meet the requirements set out in Air Board Specification A.3(B), issued in April, calling for an aircraft able to carry a 3,000 lb bomb load. In this he followed the general configuration of his previous F.B.7 and F.B.8 gun carriers (twin-engine biplanes), though of course the new bomber was to be much larger. The new requirements, in contrast to those of Specification A.3(B), placed less emphasis on bomb load and more on cruising speed and range, the former being reduced to around 2,200 lb and the latter increased to 90 mph and 400 miles respectively; an earlier demand for folding wings was also waived.
  Reflecting the urgency attached to the new aircraft, the first Vickers F.B.27 prototype, B9952, was flown by Gordon Bell at Joyce Green on 30 November, only four months after the requirement had been first discussed, but made possible by use of the company's established steel construction.
  Power was provided by two geared 200hp Hispano-Suiza engines and, with these, B9952 was delivered to the Aeroplane Experimental Station at Martlesham Heath in January 1918 where, despite some trouble with the engines, at an all-up weight (ballasted for a bomb load of 2,200 lb) it returned a sea-level maximum speed of 90 mph, thereby meeting the Specification's main requirements. This prototype featured horn-balanced ailerons on upper and lower wings, extending outboard of the square-tipped mainplane structure.
  By then, however, all Hispano-Suiza engines were being allocated to production S.E.5A fighters, and the second Vickers prototype, B9953, was flown in April with a pair of 260hp Sunbeam Maori II engines, and delivered to Martlesham on the 25th. This aircraft featured inversely tapered ailerons, whose outer ends blended with the curved tips of the wings; it also introduced a ventral hatch through which a Lewis gun was mounted to fire, in addition to the upper gun positions in the nose and midships. B9953 was, however, to be destroyed in a crash in May.
  At about this time the first aircraft was returned to Joyce Green, where the Hispano engines were replaced by a pair of 260hp Salmson 9Zm nine-cylinder water-cooled radials (though these engines never succeeded in producing more than about 230hp, and gave constant trouble with the cooling system).
  The last o f the original Vimy prototypes, B9954, was fitted with 300hp Fiat A.12bis engines with octagonal frontal radiators, these having been scheduled to power the proposed 'Vimy Mark III' in production. Arriving at Martlesham on 15 August, this prototype demonstrated a maximum sea level speed of 98 mph while carrying 2,124 lb of bombs. This aircraft, however, was also destroyed when, on 11 September, it crashed on take-off for a bombing test from Martlesham and its bombs exploded.
  Meanwhile an initial production order for 150 Vimys had been raised with Vickers Ltd for production at the cornpany's Crayford works, the engines being specified as the 230hp BHP, 400hp Fiat or the 400hp Liberty 12 - according to availability. In the event, only twelve of these aircraft were completed, and it is not known what engines were installed, although it is unlikely that any were fitted with Liberties as deliveries from America of these engines were temporarily halted in August.
  With uncertainty surrounding the delivery of engines already flown in the Vimy, two further prototypes were ordered in August, it now being intended to fit 360hp Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII engines, whose production and delivery was assured. The first of these aircraft, F9569, arrived at Martlesham on 11 October for brief Service trials, returning a maximum speed of 103 mph at sea level. The aircraft was fitted with a single 452-gallon fuel tank in the fuselage bomb bay, sufficient for an endurance of about eleven hours while carrying two 520 lb bombs on external racks. This Vimy was then delivered to No 3 Aircraft Depot of the Independent Force in France, where it remained until after the Armistice. There is little doubt but that half-formed plans had existed for this aircraft to attempt a bombing raid on Berlin - involving a round flight of about 1.000 miles from the closest Independent Force aerodrome. Such a raid would have been marginally within F9569's capabilities.
  The other new Vimy prototype, F9570, was destroyed by fire at Joyce Green before completion on 11 January 1919, but it is not known what engines were intended for this aircraft.
  Production of the Vimy was severely reduced following the Armistice and, of the 776 then on order from Vickers and six other contractors, only 199 came to be built for the Royal Air Force, and contracted delivery dates were relaxed considerably owing to the postwar reductions in factory labour forces.
  An order for 30 Fiat-powered Vimys (often referred to as Mark IIIs) was placed with the Royal Aircraft Establishment, but delivery of engines was erratic and only twenty aircraft were completed. As far as is known, only Eagle-powered aircraft were delivered to the RAF, and these became officially known as Mark IVs, simply to differentiate from the possible future use of the American Liberty engines in later aircraft (bearing in mind that many D.H.9As were to be powered by this powerplant). 150 Liberty-Vimys were ordered from Westland Aircraft Works, that company having been given the resposibility of designing the Liberty installation in the D.H.9A, but the superiority of the Eagle VIII in the Vimy caused this contract to be changed to the Rolls-Royce engine in the Westland-built Vimys, and the number of aircraft reduced to 25.
  The first three production Mark IVs (one aircraft each from Vickers, Clayton & Shuttleworth and Morgan) were delivered in Februarv 1919. No homebased squadrons were yet scheduled to re-equip with Vimys and most of the early aircraft were shipped out to Egypt where they began to re-equip No 58 Squadron at Heliopolis in July that year, joining, and later replacing Handley Page O/400s.
  Meanwhile, Vickers had begun the modifications to enable a Vimy to attempt an east-west non-stop crossing of the Atlantic, under conditions stipulated before the War for a prize of ?10,000 offered by the Daily Mail. The thirteenth aircraft in the production line at Vickers' new factory at Weybridge was modified to carry 865 gallons of fuel and all military equipment was omitted. The aircraft was shipped out to Newfoundland and, crewed by Capt John Alcock (later Sir John, KBE) and Lieut Arthur Whitten-Brown (later Sir Arthur, KBE) took off near St John's on 14 June 1919, landing 16 hours 12 minutes later near Clifden, Co Galway in Ireland, a distance flown of 1,890 miles.
  The next long-distance Vimy was an aircraft prepared for the first aeroplane flight by Australians from Britain to Australia completed before the end of 1919, for which the Australian government was offering ?A 10,000. The flight was made by the two brothers, Capt Ross Smith and Lieut Keith Smith (later Sir Ross KBE and Sir Keith, KBE) of the Australian Air Force with crew members Sgts W H Shiers and J M Bennett. The flight was made between Hounslow, Middlesex, and Darwin, Australia, and took place between 12 November and 10 December, a distance of 11,294 miles being covered in 135hr 55min elapsed flying time.
  The third of the great trail-blazing flights by Vimys was an attempt to fly from England to Cape Town by Lieut. Col Pierre Van Ryneveld (later Gen Sir Pierre, KBE, CB, DSO, MC) and Maj Christopher Joseph Quintin Brand (later Air-Vice Marshal Sir Christopher, KBE, DSO, MC, DFC, RAF). Setting off from Brooklands on 4 February 1920, their aircraft, however, crashed south of Cairo with a leaking radiator, and another attempt was made in a second Vimy, whose flight also ended prematurely, this time at Bulawayo in Southern Rhodesia. They completed their journey in a D.H.9, to be awarded ?5,000 each by the South African government.
  At Heliopolis No 58 Squadron was renumbered No 70 in February 1920, this Squadron's role being that of bomber-transport, the Vimys being replaced by Vickers Vernon transports in November that year. The next Squadron to fly Vimys (including some of the aircraft just discarded by No 70) was No 45, reformed at Helwan as a bomber unit on 1 April 1921. This Squadron was tasked with route-proving flights throughout the Middle East in preparation for the introduction of commercial air travel in the region.
  The first home-based Vimy Squadron to be equipped was No 100, newly returned from Ireland to become a day bomber squadron flying a mixed complement of D.H.9As and Vimys at Spittlegate (Grantham), and continuing in this role until May 1924 when it was re-equipped with Fairey Fawns.
  The next Squadron to receive the Vimy was No 216, at the time regarded as the RAF's premier bomber squadron, having flown O/400s with great distinction during the War, and later equipped with D.H. 10s in Egypt. On receiving Vimys at Heliopolis in June 1922, the Squadron was declared a bomber-transport unit, dividing its efforts between practice bombing and carrying passengers (in some discomfort) and mail throughout the Middle East. No 216 Squadron continued to fly the Vimy until January 1926.
  All the remaining four Vimy squadrons were home-based, No 7 re-forming at Bircham Newton in Norfolk with the aircraft on 1 June 1923, and continuing to fly them until April 1927. Most of the aircraft received on the Squadron from mid-1924 onwards were from a new production batch ordered in December 1923 (J7238-J7247). Nos 9 and 99 Squadrons, at Upavon and Netheravon respectively, began receiving Vimy IVs in April 1924, the former moving to Manston in the following month and the latter to Bircham Newton.
  The last Squadron to receive Vimys was No 502 of the Special Reserve formed at Aldergrove on 15 May 1925, being declared a dedicated heavy bomber squadron and retaining these aircraft until July 1928.
  Second-line duties performed by the Vimy included training, the type becoming the standard heavy bomber training aircraft during the early and mid-1920s. Many ex-squadron aircraft were converted with dual controls and issued to No 2 Flying Training School at Duxford and No 4 FTS in Egypt, and remained with these schools until the earlv 1930s. Others were used by the Parachute Training School at Henlow and by the Night Flying Flight at Biggin Hill. Many of these aircraft were re-engined late in their lives with air-cooled Bristol Jupiter and Armstrong Siddeley Jaguar radial engines when supplies of Eagle VIIIs became exhausted.

  Type: Twin-engine, three-crew, three-bay biplane heavy bomber
  Specification: War Office (later RAF) Type V of 1917.
  Manufacturers: Vickers Ltd (Aviation Department), Knightsbridge, London (manufacture at Bexley, Crayford and Weybridge); Clayton & Shuttleworth Ltd, Lincoln; Morgan & Co, Leighton Buzzard; Royal Aircraft Establishment, Farnborough, Hants; Westland Aircraft Works, Yeovil, Somerset. Production orders placed (but cancelled) with Boulton and Paul Ltd, Norwich; Ransomes, Sims and Jefferies, Ipswich, Suffolk; Kingsbury Aviation Co, Kingsbury; and The Metropolitan Wagon Co, Birmingham.
  Powerplant: Prototypes. Two 200hp Hispano-Suiza, two 260hp Sunbeam Maori II, two 260hp Fiat A.12bis, two 400hp Liberty 12 and two 260hp Salmson 9Zm engines. Production. Two 260hp Fiat A.12bis, two 230hp B.H.P., and (Mk IV) two 360hp Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII engines.
  Structure: Composite steel tube and wooden construction with ply and fabric covering.
  Dimensions: Span, 67ft 2in; length, 43ft 6 1/2in; height, 15ft 3in; wing area, 1,330 sq ft.
  Weights (Mark IV): Tare, 7,101 lb; all-up (with 1,650 lb war load), 12,500 lb.
  Performance (Mark IV with bomb load): Max speed, 103 mph at sea level, 95 mph at 6,500ft; climb to 6,500ft, 33 min; service ceiling, 7,000ft.
  Armament: One Lewis gun on nose gunner's cockpit with Scarff ring, and another amidships. Bomb load, carried internally and on wing racks, could comprise two 230 lb and eighteen 112 lb bombs (a total of 2,476 lb).
  Prototypes: Three, B9952-B9954; B9952 first flown on 30 November 1917 by Capt Gordon Bell. Other prototypes included F9569 (Mark IV prototype) and J6855 (ambulance prototype).
  Production: A total of 776 Vimv bombers was ordered before the end of the First World War (excluding prototypes), of which 239 were built, all of them after the Armistice. Those built were: Vickers, 113 (F701-F712, F8596-F8645, F9146-F9195 and H9963); R.A.E., 10 (H651-H660); Clayton & Shuttleworth, 50 (F2996-F3045); Morgan, 41 (F3146-F3186); Westland, 25 (H5065-H5089). 30 Vimy bombers (all Mark IVs) and two ambulances were ordered after the War from Vickers, and all were built: J7143-J7144 (ambulances), J7238-J7247, J7440-J7454 and J7701-J7705.
  Summary of Service: Vimy bombers served as follows: With No 7 Squadron at Bircham Newton from June 1923 to April 1927; with No 9 Squadron at Manston from April 1924 to June 1925; with No 24 Squadron at Kenley in 1925; with No 45 Squadron in Iraq from November 1921 to March 1922; with No 58 Squadron at Heliopolis from July 1919 to February 1920 and at Worthy Down from April 1924 to March 1925; with No 70 Squadron from February 1920 to November 1922 at Heliopolis, Egypt, and in Iraq; with No 99 Squadron at Netheravon and Bircham Newton from April to December 1924; with No 100 Squadron at Spittlegate from March 1922 to May 1924; with No 216 Squadron at Heliopolis, Egypt, from June 1922 to January 1926; and with No 502 Squadron of the Special Reserve at Aldergrove from June 1925 to July 1928. They also served with the Night Flying Might, Biggin Hill, and with Nos 2 and 4 FTS.
The first Vickers F.B.27 prototype, B9952, as originally powered by the 200hp Hispano-Suiza engines driving two-blade propellers. The small vertical tail surfaces were later enlarged to almost fill the gap between upper and lower tailplanes.
The second Vickers Vimy prototype, B9953, powered by two 260hp Sunbeam Maori engines, and fitted with inversety-tapered, plain ailerons. This aircraft was to be a destroyed in a crash within a month of arriving at Martlesham Heath for evaluation.
The first Vimy 'Mark III', H651, built by the Royal Aircraft Establishment with Fiat A.12bis engines. Although these engines returned a good performance, their unreliable delivery caused production of this version of the Vimy to be abandoned before completion.
A standard Vimy IV, probably of fairly early vintage, with Eagle VIIIs.
Morgan-built Vimy IV, FR3182, of No 216 Squadron flying from Heliopolis in late 1925 or early 1926; 'R' in the serial number denotes that the aircraft had been rebuilt (in this case by the Aircraft Depot at Aboukir).
A Vimy IV of No 4 Flying Training School, probably flying from Heliopolis in 1926; most aircraft flying with this School were converted to provide dual controls, but also carried full bombing equipment for training purposes.
Vickers F.B.27A Vimy IV (Jupiter engines)
Wight Admiralty Type 840

  The appearance of the 225hp Sunbeam engine encouraged not only Short Bros to embark on their successful Type 184, but also the East Cowes company of J Samuel White, whose chief designer, Howard T Wright, recognised that an engine of this power made possible a torpedo-carrying seaplane, capable of realising Admiralty demands for a worthwhile range as well as a relatively heavy warload. The ensuing design was the Admiralty Type 840, so designated from the serial number of an example in the first production batch ordered, Nos 831-840.
  The Type 840 was an almost exact contemporary of the Short 184 and, despite featuring four-bay wings, possessed a closely comparable performance. Moreover, on account of much longer, three-step main floats, the Wight seaplane could dispense with a tail float. The 14in torpedo was held by crutches on the rear three inter-float ties, and would have been partly submerged when the aircraft was resting on the water.
  Although the Short was probably recognised from the outset as being the superior aircraft, the Admiralty clearly felt Wright's design worthy of production orders, and 52 examples (from at total of 68 ordered) came to be built, though none ever joined an operational unit of the RNAS, serving instead at various naval ports, perhaps occasionally performing coastal patrols.
  Just as the Short 184 came to provide the basis of a landplane bomber, which was built in numbers and reached operational service (see Short Bomber), Whites produced a landplane version of their Type 840, retaining the four-bay wings. Small changes were made to the tail unit, the tailplane being raised to top of the fuselage. A much simpler twin mainwheel undercarriage replaced the floats, incorporating a small, forward-rigged wheel to avoid the possibility of grounding the propeller during landing. Unlike the Short, the Wight landplane inherited a long slim fuselage, and one is perhaps able to conjecture that handling of this version would have been superior to that of the original Short 184 landplane. Bomb load would probably have been of the order of eight 65 lb bombs in place of the seaplane's 810lb torpedo. It has been suggested that at some time in its life a 275hp Rolls-Royce engine might have been fitted, but as far as is known only one example of the landplane was completed.

  Type: Single-engine, two-seat, four-bay biplane torpedo-bomber seaplane.
  Manufacturers: J Samuel White & Co, East Cowes, Isle of Wight; William Beardmore & Co Ltd, Dalmuir, Dumbartonshire; Portholme Aerodrome Ltd, Huntingdon.
  Powerplant: One 225hp Sunbeam eight-cylinder, water-cooled, in-line engine driving two-blade propeller.
  Dimensions: Span, 61ft; length, 41ft; wing area, 568 sq ft.
  Weights: Tare, 3,408 lb; all-up (with 810 lb torpedo), 4,810 lb.
  Performance (without torpedo): Max speed, 81 mph at sea level; max endurance, 7 hr.
  Armament: Either one 810 lb 14in torpedo or equivalent weight of bombs; no provision for gun armament.
  Production: A total of 68 Type 840s was ordered, of which 52 were built. White, 24 (Nos 831-840, 1300-1319 and 1351-1354); Beardmore, 25 (Nos 1400-1411 and 9021-9033); Portholme, 3 (Nos 8281-8283). The remainder were delivered as spares (Nos 8284-8292 and 9034-9040).
  Summary of Service: Wight Type 840s served at a number of RNAS Seaplane Stations, including Felixstowe, Scapa Flow and Gibraltar.
The landplane bomber version of the Wight Admiralty Type 840, of which only one example is believed to have been completed.
Wight Twins

  The boat-building company of J Samuel Wight & Co Ltd, sited in the Isle of Wight at East Cowes, had entered the aircraft manufacturing industry in 1912 with its acquisition of the services of Howard T Wright as designer. By mid-1914 at least three of Wright's seaplane designs had been built and exhibited, and the company had established itself as one of the three prime contractors to the Admiralty.
  All the above aircraft were single pusher-engine aircraft, classified as unarmed reconnaissance seaplanes, the last being a large two-seater powered by a 200hp Salmson fourteen-cylinder radial. Seven examples were ordered by the Admiralty, one of which was shipped to the Dardanelles aboard HMS Ark Royal in 1915.
  Wright's next essay was, for its time, an exceptionally large aeroplane, originally built as a landplane and almost certainly intended from the outset to carry a torpedo or bombs. With five-bay wings spanning 117 feet, the aircraft featured twin fuselages each with a 200hp Salmson water-cooled radial engine at the front; the two-man crew was accommodated in a small central nacelle. Like the Short aircraft, previously described, the Wight Twin's wings were designed to fold rearwards.
  This first Wight Twin suffered an accident early in 1915, resulting in substantial damage to the crew nacelle, engine installations and undercarriage. The company, however, persevered with the project, producing a twin-float prototype at the behest of the Admiralty - almost certainly employing most of the components of the crashed landplane. The wings evidently remained unchanged, as did the biplane tail unit and long parallel-chord fins with rectangular cutouts between the two horizontal surfaces. The crew nacelle was deleted and a cockpit provided in each fuselage well aft of the wings. The Salmson engine installations were revised to be enclosed within the contours of the front fuselage bays, the two-blade propellers being driven through extension shafts.
  Very long three-step main floats were located beneath the fuselages, these being considered of sufficient length to avoid the need for tail floats; cylindrical outrigger floats were mounted directly below the outboard interplane struts, and double-acting ailerons were fitted on upper and lower wings.
  This aircraft, given the naval serial number 187, was destined from the start to carry a torpedo, contemporary photographs showing it carrying the 1,100 lb Admiralty Mark IX weapon beneath the lower centre wing section. It seems likely from these pictures that difficulty would have been experienced in taking off with the torpedo in anything but the calmest water conditions without submersing the tail, and the two further Wight Twin seaplanes, Nos 1450 and 1451 (ordered in 1915) featured longer float struts so that the aircraft rode higher on the water. The vertical tail surfaces were completely revised with much smaller triangular fins and long, nearly parallel chord ventral fins.
  No 1450 was delivered to RNAS Felixstowe and 1451 to Calshot where torpedo drops were achieved, although it was quickly realised that the aircraft were badly underpowered - being incapable of leaving the water when carrying a torpedo and a full fuel load.

  Type: Twin-engine, two-seat, five-bay biplane, twin-float torpedo-carrying seaplane with twin fuselages.
  Manufacturer: J Samuel White & Co, East Cowes, Isle of Wight.
  Powerplant: Two 200hp Salmson (Canton-Unne) fourteen-cylinder two-row, water-cooled, radial engines driving two-blade tractor propellers through extension shafts.
  Dimension: Span, 117ft. Further details of dimensions, weights and performance not traced.
  Armament: Provision to carry one Whitehead Mk IX 18in torpedo of 1,100 lb nominal weight; no provision for guns.
  Prototypes: Three, Nos 187, 1450 and 1451. No 187 was originally completed and flown as a landplane in 1914. Nos 1450 and 1451 underwent Service trials at RNAS Felixstowe and Calshot respectively. No production.
This view of the Wight Twin landplane provides a good impression of its great size as well as illustrating the central crew nacelle then included.
The third Wight Twin, No 1451, showing the two cockpits, set well aft of the wings; note also the wings of unequal span, with kingpost bracing to support the large upper wing overhang.
Wight Bomber

  Although superficially appearing to be in the same general category as the Avro Type 528, Howard Wright's Wight Bomber was obviously superior, due principally to the choice of a 275hp Rolls-Royce Eagle engine, the increased power available making possible the lifting of four 112 lb bombs. Like the Avro aircraft, the Wight design possessed three-bay folding wings of about 65-foot span, but carried its bombs on conventional racks under the lower wings.
  Single-acting ailerons were fitted to the upper wings only, and the large upper wing overhang was wire-braced using kingposts. The usual box-girder fuselage was of small cross-sectional area, and the tall undercarriage was of simple V-strut configuration.
  The single Wight prototype was almost certainly ordered at about the same time as, and for comparison with, the Short Bomber, and was therefore at an immediate disadvantage owing to the latter's use of existing Short 184 components (being a direct development of that aircraft). Thus by the time the Wight Bomber first flew, late in 1916, the Short had already been ordered into production by several manufacturers. Nevertheless, while the Avro 528 was not considered worthwhile to develop further, successful development of the Wight resulted in production orders being placed by the Admiralty for a seaplane derivative.

  Type: Single-engine, two-seat, three-bay biplane naval bomber.
  Manufacturer: J Samuel White & Co, East Cowes, Isle of Wight.
  Powerplant: One 275hp Rolls-Royce Eagle II twelve-cylinder water-cooled in-line engine driving two-blade propeller.
  Dimensions: Span, 65ft 6in; wing area, 715 sq ft.
  Weights: Tare. 3.162 lb; all-up, 5,166 lb.
  Performance: Max speed, 89 mph at sea level; climb to 10,000ft, 34 min.
  Armament: One Lewis machine gun with Scarff ring on rear cockpit; bomb load, four 112 lb bombs.
  Prototype: One, N501, first flown in 1916. No production.


Wight Converted Seaplane

  The intensification of submarine warfare by Germany during 1917, to a degree that threatened Britain's ability to sustain her population and ultimately to continue the War against the Central Powers, concentrated the minds at the Admiralty to pursue all possible measures to protect Allied shipping round the coasts of the British Isles. Among these measures was the urgent strengthening of RNAS patrols by seaplanes. As the Short 184 came to provide the backbone of this effort, newer aircraft, such as the Fairey Campanias, were entering service in relatively small numbers. Another aircraft in this category was the Wight Converted Seaplane which, as its unimaginative title suggests, was a development of the unrewarded Wight Bomber.
  As it happened, this transformation was remarkably successful, and 50 examples were ordered, of which 37 came to be built. The design conversion was relatively straightforward, the seaplane retaining the basic wing and fuselage structure of the Bomber. Rectangular kingpost structures replaced the inverted vees of the earlier aircraft, being found to provide better torsional stiffness for the wing extensions, and double-acting ailerons replaced the single-acting control surfaces of the Bomber.
  The undercarriage consisted of a pair of boat-built, three-step floats which were of sufficient length to enable the aircraft to float tail-up, although a small buoyancy chamber was added under the rear fuselage. Small floats were also added to the lower wings directly below the outboard pair of interplane struts.
  Most of the Wight Seaplanes were powered by the 275hp Rolls-Royce Mk II, and this was regarded as the standard powerplant; however the incipient shortage of Rolls-Royce engines encouraged Wight (as it had influenced Fairey with the F.22) to adopt the Sunbeam Maori as an alternative, and once again the employment of a frontal radiator resulted in a generally neater installation.
  The normal bomb load carried by the Wight comprised four 100 lb anti-submarine bombs, although its maximum fuel capacity limited its patrol endurance to little more than half that of the Fairey seaplanes.
  Wight Converted Seaplanes entered service in 1917, flying coastal patrols from Calshot, Cherbourg and Portland - a grouping of Flights that was to become No 241 Squadron of the RAF in 1918. And it was a Wight Seaplane flown by Flt Sub-Lieut C S Mossop and Air Mechanic A F. Ingledew which, bomb - the first submarine to succumb to direct air action by a British aircraft in the Channel.
  Manufacture of the Wight Seaplane was abandoned when the company was persuaded to switch production to the Short 184. Only seven Converted Seaplanes were still on RAF charge at the time of the Armistice.

  Type: Single-engine, two-seat, three-bay biplane, twin-float patrol bomber seaplane.
  Manufacturer: J Samuel White & Co, East Cowes, Isle of Wight.
  Powerplant: One 275 hp Rolls-Royce (322hp Eagle VI); one 265hp Sunbeam Maori.
  Dimensions: Span, 65ft 6in; length, 44ft 8 1/2in; height, 16ft 0in; wing area, 715 sq ft.
  Weights: Tare, 3,578 lb; all-up (with four 112 lb bombs), 5,556 lb.
  Performance: Max speed, 84 mph at 2,000ft; climb to 6,500ft, 18 min 20 sec; service ceiling, 9,600ft; endurance, 3 1/2 hr.
  Armament: One 0.303in Lewis machine gun with Scarff ring on rear cockpit; bomb load of up to four 112 lb bombs carried on underfuselage racks.
  Production: Total of 50 Converted Seaplanes ordered, all built by White: Nos 9841-9860, N1280-N1289 and N2180-N2199. Some sources suggest that Nos 9841-9850 were completed as landplanes, but were converted to floatplanes before delivery, and that N2195-N2199 were delivered into storage without engines.
  Summary of Service: 'Converted' Seaplanes are known to have served at RNAS Stations, Calshot, Portland and Cherbourg.
The Wight Bomber, N501; despite its greater power, the Eagle installation was little tidier than that of the Avro 528's Sunbeam. In other respects the Wight was an altogether superior aeroplane.
A Sunbeam Maori-powered Seaplane, No 9853. The installation of this engine was altogether neater than that of the Rolls-Royce.
A standard Converted Seaplane, with Rolls-Royce Mk II engine, alighting off Bembridge in the Isle of Wight. Note the tall radiator block above the engine.