British Naval Aircraft since 1912

O.Thetford - British Naval Aircraft since 1912 /Putnam/


  Two-seat patrol flying-boat designed by the Air Department of the Admiralty and constructed by Pemberton-Billing, Ltd (later Supermarine), at Woolston, Southampton. First flown 1917. Prototypes (1412 and 1413) followed by 27 production aircraft (N 1290, N 1520 to 1529, N 1710 to 1719 and N2450 to 2455). One 150 hp or 200 hp Hispano-Suiza engine, loaded weight 3.327 lb and 3.567 lb respectively. Span, 50 ft 4 in. Length, 30 ft 7 in. Maximum speed, 100 mph at 2.000 ft. Climb, 30 min to 10.000 ft. Endurance, 4 1/2 hr.

  Devised but not flown by F/Lt J W Alcock (later to achieve fame in the Vimy Atlantic crossing of 1919), this single-seat scout was operated by No.2 Wing of the RNAS at Mudros in 1917-18. It was comprised of components from the Sopwith Triplane and Pup and had a 100hp Monosoupape or 110 hp Clerget engine. Armament was twin Vickers machine-guns. No other details available.

  Four of these unconventional two-seat quadruplanes were built for the RNAS in 1917, serialled N511-514. They were built under licence by the Phoenix Dynamo Manufacturing Company of Bradford. The first naval F.K.10 was equipped as a two-seat fighter and the second as a bomber. One 130 hp Clerget engine. Loaded weight, 2,019 lb. Maximum speed, 84 mph at 6,500 ft. Service ceiling, 10,000 ft. Span, 27 ft 10 in. Length, 22 ft 3 in.

   Two-seater used for training by both the Naval and Military Wings of the RFC from 1912. Used by RNAS flying school at Chingford after outbreak of war in 1914. Naval Wing allotted Nos.41, 51 to 53, 94, and 150. One 50 hp Gnome engine and loaded weight of 1.300 lb. Maximum speed, 62 mph. Span, 36 ft. Length, 29 ft.
AVRO 501

  Avro's first seaplane, produced in January 1913. One only supplied to RNAS as No.16, was converted from amphibian to a landplane and flown at Eastchurch Naval air station, where it was used for training. One 100 hp Gnome engine and a loaded weight of about 2,200 lb. Span, 50 ft. Length, 33 ft 6 in.
Avro 504

  For over 15 years the Avro 504 was the standard trainer of the British flying services, and on this fact alone its reputation stands secure in aviation history. It is less often appreciated that in the opening phases of the 1914-18 War it was used in first-line squadrons of the RFC and the RNAS for reconnaissance and bombing and that, with the RNAS, Avro 504s were responsible for one of the most audacious operations of the First World War.
  The prototype of the immortal 504 series was tested at Brooklands in July 1913. In general appearance it resembled very closely the thousands of production aircraft that were to follow; the main differences were in the square-section cowling for the 80 hp Gnome engine, the straight top longeron of the fuselage and the fact that lateral control was dependent on wing-warping instead of conventional hinged ailerons. Very early in the 504's career the wing-warping was discarded in favour of normal ailerons and a better streamlined cowling fitted.
  For 1913, the Avro 504 presented a thoroughly modern appearance, an appearance matched by a correspondingly good performance. Its sole rival in this respect was the Sopwith Tabloid, which turned out to have an even better performance, but in the event (chiefly due to its adoption as a trainer) the Avro outlived the Tabloid by many years.
  The original military orders for the Avro 504 were complicated by the fact that the Admiralty specified a different wing spar from that agreed by the War Office, and until the emergence of the RAF in 1918 this difference between the RFC and RNAS versions remained.
  At the outbreak of war in August 1914 the RNAS had only one Avro 504 on its strength, but by the middle of December 1914 No.1 Squadron RNAS (Sqn Cdr A M Longmore) had five more among its equipment. This squadron was sent to France in February 1915 to relieve Wg Cdr C R Samson's famous Eastchurch Squadron, which had been overseas since 27 August 1914 and which had taken delivery of its first Avro 504 on 27 November. The Eastchurch Squadron's Avro lost little time in getting into action, and on 14 December 1914, flown by F/Sub-Lt R H Collett, dropped four 16 lb bombs on the Ostend-Bruges railway.
  Routine sorties of this kind, however, would have contributed little to the fame of the Avro 504 as a weapon of war; what focused attention on the type was the magnificent and now historic raid of 21 November 1914, when three Avro 504s of the RNAS bombed the Zeppelin sheds at Friedrichshafen, on Lake Constance. This raid provided a good example of the Admiralty's remarkable foresight in the promoting the use of the bombing aeroplane, a policy which was later pursued with even more vigour in 1916 with the establishment of Nos.3 and 5 Wings for bombing duties.
  The RNAS unit which bombed Friedrichshafen formed at Manchester, under the command of Sqn Cdr P Shepherd, in October 1914, and it was decided to launch the attack from Belfort, a few miles from the Franco-Swiss border and about 120 miles from the target. The four Avro 504s concerned were Nos.179, 873, 874 and 875; No. 179 was the first of the type to be made for the Admiralty and hence, by the RNAS system of those days, sometimes used as a designation. The raid was at first delayed by bad weather, but when the aircraft eventually set off, each loaded with four 20 lb bombs, No.873 was flown by Sqn Cdr E F Briggs, No.874 by F/Lt S V Sippe and No.875 by F/Cdr J T Babington. No.179, flown by F/Sub-Lt R P Cannon, was forced to retire owing to a broken tailskid. The raiders flew north of Basle, followed the Rhine at a height of about 5,000 ft, came down to within 10ft of the water over Lake Constance to escape detection and then climbed to 1,200 ft again about five miles from the target. The three Avros dived to about 700 ft to release their bombs, and the effect was catastrophic. A gas-works exploded and sent gigantic flames into the sky and one of the Zeppelins was gravely damaged. Sqn Cdr Briggs was shot down and taken prisoner, but the other aircraft returned safely. Perhaps the best summary of this truly remarkable achievement is that by Walter Raleigh: the official historian, who wrote in The War in the Air:
  'The pilots deserve all praise for their admirable navigation, and the machines must not be forgotten. There have since been many longer and greater raids, but this flight of 250 miles, into gunfire, across enemy country, in the frail little Avro with its humble horse-power, can compare as an achievement with the best of them.'
  Although the Zeppelin sheds were not attacked again, Avro 504s took part in other notable bombing raids. One of these occurred on 24 March 1915, when five aircraft of No.1 Squadron, RNAS, flown by Sqn Cdr I T Courtney, F/Lts B C Meates and H L Rosher and F/Sub-Lts B L Huskisson and F G Andreae, raided the submarine depot at Hoboken near Antwerp and destroyed two U-boats, as well as setting the shipyard on fire.
  Avro 504s were also employed as anti-Zeppelin fighters, and on the night of 16-17 May 1915 both the LZ38 and LZ39 were intercepted by Avros flown by F/Sub-Lt R H Mulock (who later commanded No.3 Squadron, RNAS) and FICdr A W Bigsworth respectively. Both Zeppelins escaped destruction, but LZ39 was badly damaged by the four 20 lb bombs which were dropped on its envelope as Bigsworth climbed above it over Ostend. One variant of the Avro 504, the 504C, was specially developed for anti-Zeppelin patrols and about 80 were supplied to the RNAS. It had an auxiliary fuel tank in place of the front cockpit, which increased its endurance to eight hours, and frequently carried a Lewis machine-gun firing upwards at an angle of 45 degrees through the centre section.
  The Avro 504C (of which 80 were built) shared with the other RNAS variants the 504B, 504E and 504G a distinctive type of tail in which the familiar comma rudder of the 504 was replaced by vertical tail surfaces of elongated pattern. This tail assembly was used only on RNAS 504s; another distinctive feature of naval Avros were the long-span ailerons. The Avro 504B was employed chiefly for training and about 230 were built. The Avro 504G, of which 44 were built, was a gunnery-training development of the 504B and it was fitted with a single, fixed, synchronised Vickers machine-gun forward and a Lewis machine-gun on a Scarff ring aft.
  The Avro 504E differed more markedly from the classic 504 configuration than the other RNAS variants. Whereas the 504B, C and G had all retained the 80hp Gnome engine, the 504E had a 100hp Gnome Monosoupape; it also reverted to the straight-top longerons of the original Avro 504. Another noticeable feature of the 504E was the heavy reduction of wing stagger; this resulted from the changed centre of gravity position due to the installation of the main fuel-tank between the two cockpits and the re-positioning of the rear cockpit further aft. The Avro 504Es served at RNAS flying schools at Chingford, Cranwell and Fairlop.
  Mention must be made of two important experiments in naval flying which were undertaken by the Avro 504B and C. The 504B was used in pioneering work on deck-arrester gear and the 504C (under the new designation 504H) became in 1917 one of the first aircraft to be launched by catapult gear: the pilot was F/Cdr R E Penny.
  With the amalgamation of the RFC and RNAS to form the RAF in 1918, the Avro 504K was also used at former RNAS training schools, and this type remained in service for the training of FAA pilots during the nineteen-twenties. In 1923, at Leuchars, pilots scheduled for Panther spotter-reconnaissance flights first completed a course on Avro 504Ks, or dual Snipes, so as to accustom themselves to the vagaries of rotary engines; there were no dual-control Panthers. At about the same period all naval officers trained as pilots did their ab initio instruction on Avro 504Ks at Netheravon.

  NO.1 Squadron RNAS (Dover and Dunkirk): No.2 Wing. RNAS (lmbros); No.3 Squadron (formerly Eastchurch Squadron) RNAS (Dunkirk); No.4 Squadron. RNAS (Dover and Eastchurch). RNAS training schools at Chingford, Cranwell, Fairlop, Frieston, Manston, Port Victoria and Redcar.

TECHNICAL DATA (AVRO 504A, 504B and 504C)
  Description: Avro 504A: Single-seat bombing aircraft; Avro 504B: two-seat trainer; Avro 504C: single-seat anti-Zeppelin fighter.
  Manufacturers (504A): A V Roe & Co Ltd, Miles Platting, Manchester. (504B): A V Roe & Co Ltd, and sub-contracted by Parnall & Sons, Bristol; Regent Carriage Co Ltd, Fulham; Sunbeam Motor Car Co Ltd, Wolverhampton. (504C): A V Roe & Co Ltd, and sub-contracted by Brush Electrical Engineering Co Ltd, Loughborough. Serial numbers allocated were:- (504A):Nos.179, 873-878. (504B):Nos.1001-1050, 9821-9830, 9861-9890, N5250-5279, N5310-5329, N6010-6029, N6130-6159, N6650-6679. (504C):Nos.1467-1496, 3301-3320 and 8574-8603. (504E):Nos.9276-9285. (S04G):N5800-5829.
  Power Plant (504): One 80 hp Gnome; (504B): one 80 hp Gnome or 80 hp Le Rhone; (504C): one 80 hp Gnome.
  Dimensions: Span, 36 ft. Length, 29 ft 5 in. Height, 10 ft 5 in. Wing area, 330 sq ft.
  Weights (504): Empty, 924 lb. Loaded, 1,574 lb.
  Performance: (504): Maximum speed, 82 mph at sea level. Climb 7 min to 3,500 ft. Endurance, 4 1/2 hr.
  Armament: The Avro 504 equipped as a bomber carried four 20 lb bombs in improvised racks below the bottom wings and four small incendiaries. For anti-Zeppelin patrols, the Avro 504C had a single Lewis gun firing incendiary ammunition.
Avro 504A of the type used in the RNAS raid on the Zeppelin sheds. 1914.
Avro 504B (N5273) built by Sunbeam.
Avro 504C (No.1488) of the RNAS at St Pol.
One of the ten Avro 504E (No.9277) of the RNAS.
Avro 504K with 100 hp Gnome Monosoupape.
Avro 504A
AVRO 510

  Two-seat patrol seaplane used by RNAS coastal air stations from 1914 at Dundee, Isle of Grain and Killingholme. Allotted Nos.130 to 134. One 150 hp Sunbeam Crusader engine and loaded weight of 2,800 lb. Maximum speed, 70 mph. Climb, 15 min to 3,000 ft. Endurance, 4 1/2 hr. Span, 63 ft. Length, 38 ft.
AVRO 519

  Two only (Nos.8440 and 8441) supplied to the RNAS in 1916. So far as is known, the type saw no operational service. Originally built as a two-seater, a single-seat version (No.8441) is illustrated: it had folding wings. One 150 hp Sunbeam Nubian engine.
Beardmore W.B. III

  The Beardmore W.B. III was introduced during 1917 and, although it can lay claim to no memorable engagements with the enemy, it is nevertheless interesting historically as an early attempt to produce an aircraft exclusively for carrier-borne flying. It was not an original design, being a derivative of the Sopwith Pup, but the ingenuity that went into its modification for aircraft-carrier work was quite remarkable. The adaptation was the work of Mr G Tilghman Richards, and the manufacturers were no strangers to the Pup, as they had been the first company to build Pups under licence for the RNAS.
  The prototype W.B. III (No.9950) was in fact converted from the last batch of Sopwith Pups built at Dalmuir. It differed from the Pup in having folding wings to conserve hangar space aboard ship. Unlike the Pup, the wings had no stagger and the dihedral angle was reduced. The normal centre-section struts were replaced by full-length interplane struts adjacent to the fuselage and the ailerons were operated by control rods, the upper and lower ailerons being rigidly connected by a light strut. This last feature was abandoned in later production aircraft, which reverted to cable controls. Other modifications included wingtip skids and a lengthened fuselage, which was adapted to carry emergency flotation gear, and a remarkable system whereby the undercarriage was retracted to further economise in space when stored.
  Two official designations were applied to the W.B. IIIs in service, S.B.3D and S.B.3F. The former indicated an aircraft with an undercarriage which could be jettisoned in the event of 'ditching', the latter a folding undercarriage. Production orders for 100 W.B. IIIs reached Beardmores (N6100 to N6129 and N6680 to N6749), but it is possible that not all were built. On 31 October 1918, 55 W.B. IIIs were officially 'on charge' but only 18 with the Grand Fleet.

  Aircraft-carriers Nairana and Pegasus. RNAS shore stations at Donibristle, Rosyth and Tlirnholise.

  Description: Single-seat carrier-borne scout. Wooden structure, fabric covered.
  Manufacturers: William Beardmore & Co Ltd, Dalmuir, Dumbartonshire.
  Power Plant: One 80 hp Le Rhone or 80 hp Clerget.
  Dimensions: Span, 25 ft. (10 ft 4 in folded). Length, 20 ft 2 1/2 in. Height, 8 ft 1 1/4 in. Wing area, 243 sq ft.
  Weights: Empty, 890 lb. Loaded, 1,289 lb.
  Performance: Maximum speed, 103 mph at sea level; 91 mph at 10,000 ft. Climb, 9 min to 5,000 ft; 24 min to 10,000 ft. Endurance, 2 3/4 hr. Service ceiling, 12,400 ft.
  Armament: One Lewis gun mounted above centre-section firing over airscrew.
Beardmore W.B. III (N6101).
A Beardmore W.B.III leaves the steep forward launching platform of HMS Pegasus in 1918.
Beardmore S.B.3D

  First appeared in June 1910 and used by the RFC from its formation in May 1912. Six (Nos.942 to 947 inclusive) ordered by the Admiralty remained in service at RNAS training schools at Eastbourne, Eastchurch and Hendon until about the middle of 1915. One 50 hp Gnome engine and a loaded weight of 900 lb. Maximum speed, 40 mph. Span, 46 ft 6 in. Length, 38 ft 6 in. At least one Boxkite was fitted with flotation bags.
Bristol Military Boxkite with 50 h.p. Gnome.

  First flown in 1913. The first T.B.8 for the Admiralty, delivered in January 1914, had twin floats: subsequent aircraft were landplanes. Forty-five T.B.8 landplanes went to the RNAS (including 14 diverted from the RFC) and served until 1916. The aircraft illustrated (No.1216) was the first of a batch of twelve (Nos.1216 to 1227) diverted from the RFC to the RNAS at the end of 1914. Two T.B.8s served with Eastchurch Squadron at Ostend and Dunkirk and four with NO.1 Squadron at Gosport and Newcastle-on-Tyne. Others were used at Barrow-in-Furness, Chingford, Hendon, Killingholme, Kingsnorth and Redcar. One 80 hp Gnome, Le Rhone or Clerget engine. Loaded weight. 1,665 lb. Maximum speed, 75 mph. Climb, 11 min to 3.000 ft. Span, 37 ft 8 in. Length, 29 ft 3 in.
Bristol Scout C and D

  The Bristol Scout occupies a unique position in British naval flying by being the first landplane with a wheeled undercarriage to take off from the deck of an aircraft-carrier. This feat was achieved on 3 November 1915 when F/Sub-Lt H F Towler flew his Scout C (No.1255) from the short flying-deck of the seaplane carrier Vindex. Two Bristol Scouts were accommodated, and for stowage they were dismantled. As there were no facilities for landing-on, flotation bags were fitted so that the aircraft could 'ditch' alongside.
  The RNAS used both the Bristol Scout C and D, both of which were developments of the original Bristol Scout flown in February 1914. The RFC was the first Service to adopt the type (on 5 November 1914), but the RNAS followed soon afterwards with an order for 24 (Nos.1243 to 1266) on 7 December 1914. Some of these early Scout Cs served with the RNAS on the Western Front in 1915. They were followed by a second batch of 50 Scout Cs (Nos.3013 to 3062).
  Later Admiralty orders were for the Scout D, which differed from the C in having shorter ailerons, increased dihedral and wingtip skids further outboard. Of the 80 Scout Ds delivered to the RNAS, the first 60 had 100 hp Gnome Monosoupape engines (Nos.8951 to 9000 and N5390 to 5399), N5400 an 80 hp Le Rhone and the final 19 (N5401 to 5419) the 80 hp Gnome, as on the Scout Cs.
  Despite its fine design, the Bristol Scout was handicapped by lack of effective armament. It was used extensively for anti-Zeppelin patrols, both from carriers in the North Sea and from land bases such as Redcar and Great Yarmouth, but with no real success. One method of attack was to climb above the Zeppelin and drop Ranken darts.
  The RNAS also employed Bristol Scouts in the Dardanelles campaign, sometimes to escort bombing raids.

  No.2 Wing, RNAS (Belgium. Imbros and Mudros); 'A' Flight, RNAS (Thasos). Coastal air stations at Eastchurch. East Fortune, Great Yarmouth, Port Victoria and Redcar. Training schools at Chingford and Cranwell. Seaplane carrier Vindex.

  Description: Single-seat scout, land-based or carrier-borne. Wooden structure fabric covered.
  Manufacturers: British & Colonial Aeroplane Co Ltd, Filton and Brislington, Bristol.
  Power Plant: One 80 hp Gnome.
  Dimensions: Span, 24 ft 7 in. Length, 20 ft 8 in. Height, 8 ft 6 in. Wing area, 198 sq ft.
  Weights: Empty, 750 lb. Loaded, 1,190 lb.
  Performance: Maximum speed, 93 mph at sea level. Climb, 9 1/2 min to 6,000 ft. Endurance, 2 1/2 hr. Service ceiling, 15,000 ft.
  Armament: Anti-Zeppelin aircraft carried 48 Ranken darts. Some Scout Ds had one Lewis gun above the centre-section.
Bristol Scout D(No.8980) of the RNAS with 100 hp Mono-Gnome and small ailerons..
Bristol Scout D
de Havilland 4

  The D.H.4 was the first British aeroplane ever designed specifically for day-bombing duties. In this role it excelled, and it remained to the end of the First World War one of the truly outstanding aircraft of its day.
  The prototype (No.3696) of 1916 had a BHP engine, but the first production aircraft, which went to the RFC, were powered by the Rolls-Royce Eagle. In the RNAS, D.H.4s first saw service with squadrons in 1917, going to NO.2 (Naval) Squadron at St Pol in March and to No.5 (Naval) Squadron at Coudekerque at the end of April. No.2 Squadron specialised in reconnaissance, and spotted for the guns of naval monitors. On 1 April 1918, No.2 became No.202 Squadron, and its D.H.4s photographed the entire defensive system of Zeebrugge and Ostend before the Royal Navy's blocking operations of 22/23 April. Meanwhile, No.5 Squadron's D.H.4s had from July 1917 operated exclusively on day bombing raids, attacking naval targets as well as German Air Force bases at Ghistelles, Houtave and elsewhere.
  D.H.4s also served with distinction at RNAS coastal air stations. Great Yarmouth received its first D.H.4 in August 1917 and a year later, on 5 August 1918, a D.H.4 from this station, A8032 flown by Major E Cadbury and Capt R Leckie, shot down the Zeppelin L70 in flames. A few days later, on 19 August 1918, four D.H.4s of No.217 (formerly NO.17 (Naval) Squadron) sank the submarine UB-12. In the Aegean, Naval D.H.4s bombed the Sofia-Constantinople railway and the cruiser Goeben.

  Nos.2, 5. 6,11 and 17 (Naval) Squadrons (later Nos.202, 205. 206. 211 and217, RAF) in Belgium and Nos.212, 233 and 273 at coastal air stations. 'C' Squadron at Imbros and 'D' Squadron at Stavros, NO.220 (Mudros). NO.221 (Stavros), No.222 (Thasos). No.223 (Mitylene, Stavros and Mudros) and Nos.224, 226 and 227 (Italy).

  Description: Two-seat day bomber, reconnaissance or anti-Zeppelin patrol aircraft. Wooden structure, fabric covered.
  Manufacturers: Aircraft Manufacturing Co Ltd, Hendon, London. Subcontracted by F W Berwick & Co Ltd, Westland Aircraft (N5960 to 6009 and N6380 to 6429), and Vulcan Motor & Engineering Co Ltd.
  Power Plant: Variously one 200 hp RAF 3a; 230 hp BHP; 250 hp Rolls-Royce Eagle III, 322 hp Eagle VI, 325 hp Eagle VII or 375 hp Eagle VIII.
  Dimensions: Span, 42 ft 4 3/4 in. Length, 30 ft 8 in. Height, 10 ft 5 in. Wing area, 434 sq ft. ,
  Weights (with 250 hp Eagle): Empty, 2,303 lb. Loaded, 3,313 lb.
  Performance (with 250 hp Eagle): Maximum speed, 119 mph at 3,000 ft. Climb, 1 min 5 sec to 1,000 ft; 46 min to 16,500 ft. Endurance, 3 1/2 hr. Service ceiling, 16,000 ft.
  Armament: Twin, synchronised Vickers forward and one Lewis aft. Bomb load: two 230 lb or four 112 lb, or depth charges.
An Eagle VIII-powered D.H.4, N5997, of No 202 Squadron at Bergues in 1918, wearing highly individual markings. This example was of the first Westland-built batch for the RNAS, having been completed before the decision was taken to raise the observer s gun ring. Note the forward Vickers guns.
de Havilland 6

  The stark, utilitarian lines of the D.H.6 can be ascribed to the fact that it was designed for rapid and simple production in 1916 at a time when the RFC was expanding and needed many more training aircraft in a hurry. Captain (later Sir Geoffrey) de Havilland achieved this purpose admirably, and over 2,200 D.H.6s were built by the parent company and seven sub-contracting firms.
  Few aeroplanes can have had so many nicknames, for the D.H.6 was variously known as 'The Sky Hook', 'The Crab', 'The Clutching Hand', 'The Flying Coffin', 'The Dung-hunter' and 'The Sixty'. As a trainer, the D.H.6 saw widespread service at home and overseas during 1917, but was gradually withdrawn with the subsequent standardisation of the Avro 504K.
  By a curious turn of events, the D.H.6's decline as a trainer witnessed its introduction in a first-line operational role as an anti-submarine hunter with the RNAS. Early in 1918 the Admiralty asked for additional aircraft to patrol off the coast between the Tyne and the Tees, an area where U-boats were doing great damage, and the first two Flights of D.H.6s formed at Cramlington in March. In June 1918 a further 192 D.H.6s were made available for antisubmarine work, and 32 more Flights were established at coastal air stations, five of them operated by the US Navy.
  Little success was achieved by the D. H .6s, nor could it be expected with a performance so inferior that, in order to lift a mere 100 lb of bombs, the observer had to be discarded. Modifications such as the introduction of back-stagger and a new aerofoil section on the D.H.6A did little to improve the lack of speed, and D.H.6s fitted with the far from reliable Curtiss OX-5 engine suffered frequent descents in the sea. Fortunately, the type floated for long periods and thus improved the chance of rescue.
  On only one occasion did a D.H.6 come near to destroying a U-boat. This was on 30 May 1918, when UC-49 was attacked, but it crash-dived and made its escape.

  Thirty-four Flights allocated as follows: two Flights (Cramlington): five Flights (Humber to Tees); four Flights (Tees to St Abbs Head); four Flights (Portsmouth Group): eight Flights (South Western Group); six Flights (Irish Sea). After April 1918, organised as Nos.236, 241, 242, 244, 250, 251, 252, 253, 254, 255, 256, 258, 260 and 272 Squadrons.

  Description: Two-seat elementary trainer, later used for anti-submarine patrol. Wooden structure, fabric covered.
  Manufacturers: Aircraft Manufacturing Co Ltd, Hendon. Sub-contracted by Grahame-White Aviation Co, Gloucestershire Aircraft Co; Harland & Wolff; Kingsbury Aviation Co; Morgan & Co; Ransome, Sims & Jeffries; and Savages pd.
  Power Plant: One 90 hp RAF Ia, 90 hp Curtiss OX-5 or 80 hp Renault.
  Dimensions: Span, 35 ft 11 in. Length, 27 ft 3 1/2 in. Height, 10 ft 9 1/2 in. Wing area, 436 sq ft.
  Weights: Empty, 1,460 lb. Loaded, 2,027 lb.
  Performance: Maximum speed, 75 mph at 2,000 ft. Climb, 35 min to 6,500 ft. Service ceiling, 6,100 ft.
  Armament: Up to 100 lb of bombs below wings.
D. H.6A of No.242 Squadron. Newhaven.
de Havilland 9

With the exception of the B.E.2c, the D.H.9 was the most severely criticized British aeroplane of the First World War. It was designed as a replacement for the D.H.4 in day bomber squadrons, where it was intended to offer a much wider radius of action. In the event its performance fell far short of expectations, and it was actually inferior to the type it superseded. Although this fact was known before it entered service, it was decided (fantastic as it sounds) to proceed with large-scale production despite protests from commanders in the field. The inevitable results followed. Losses were high, one of the worst incidents being on 31 July 1918, when only two out of 12 D. H. 9s returned from a raid over Germany.
The fault lay not in the aeroplane but in the engine, the BHP, which failed to deliver its designed power of 300 hp and remained unreliable to the end. As a result, forced landings were common, and with full bomb-load the D.H.9 could rarely exceed 13,000 ft, leaving it at the mercy of enemy fighters.
The prototype (A7559) flew in July 1917 and production aircraft entered squadrons early in 1918. Although chiefly identified with the Independent Force, RAF, and the raids on Germany, the D.H.9 in fact saw a good deal of service on naval work of various kinds; with RNAS bombing squadrons in Belgium before they became RAF squadrons, on naval co-operation work in the Mediterranean and for anti-Zeppelin and anti-submarine patrols from coastal air stations in the United Kingdom. Some of these latter squadrons (technically RAF, but employed exclusively on maritime duties) retained D.H.9s as late as July 1919, when they disbanded.
During raids on Bruges Docks with the 5th Wing, RNAS, in March 1918, D.H.9s of No.6 Naval Squadron destroyed three cement barges, a submarine, two torpedo boats and a cargo vessel. This unit operated from Petite Synthe until transferred to the RAF on 1 April 1918.

Nos.2, 6 and 11 Naval Squadrons (later Nos.202, 206 and 211 Squadrons, RAF) in Belgium. Sea patrol: No.212 (Great Yarmouth). NO.219 (Manston). No.233 (Dover). No.236 (Mullion); No.250 (Padstow). No.254 (Prawle Point). No.260 (Westward Ho!), No.273 (Burgh Castle). Aegean: Nos.220. 221. 222 and 223. Mediterranean: Nos.224, 225, 226 and 227. Egypt: No.269 (Port Said) and NO.270 (Alexandria).

Description: Two-seat day bomber, also used for anti-submarine patrol. Wooden structure, fabric covered.
Manufacturers: Aircraft Manufacturing Co Ltd, Hendon, London, and fifteen sub-contractor .
Power Plant: One 230 hp BHP or Siddeley Puma.
Dimensions: Span, 42 ft 4 5/8 in. Length, 30 ft 6 in. Height, 11 ft 2 in. Wing area, 434 sq ft.
Weights: Empty, 2,203 lb. Loaded, 3,669 lb.
Peljormance: Maximum speed, 111 1/2 mph at 10,000 ft; 104 1/2 mph at 13,000 ft. Climb, 1 min 25 sec to 1 ,000 ft; 31 min 55 sec to 13,000 ft. Endurance, 4 1/2 hr. Service ceiling, 15,500 ft.
Armament: One fixed, synchronised Vickers machine-gun forward and either single or double free-mounted Lewis aft. Bomb-load: 460 lb.
Fairey Hamble Baby

  Although in the first place a derivative of the Sopwith Baby, the Hamble Baby was so extensively re-designed by the Fairey Company in 1916 that it must be considered as a separate type, more particularly in view of the incorporation of the Fairey Patent Camber Gear. The introduction of this latter device was a landmark in aircraft development, for it was the first time that trailing edge flaps, to increase wing lift, made their appearance. These flaps extended along the entire trailing edge of each wing and were also used for normal aileron control. They remained a standard feature of Fairey naval aircraft right down to the Seal of 1932.
  The original Hamble Baby was converted from a Sopwith Baby (No.8134) and emerged with new wings, incorporating the camber gear, a new set of floats and a re-designed tail reminiscent of the Campania. This square-cut tail became something of a Fairey trademark and was to be seen for many years after the war on such types as the IIID and Flycatcher.
  Fifty Hamble Baby seaplanes were built by the Fairey factory, airframes N1320 to 1339 having a 110hp, and N1450 to 1479 a 130hp Clerget engine. By far the majority of Hamble Babies, however, were made under sub-contract by the Bristol firm of Parnall and Sons, which built 130. The Parnall aircraft could be readily distinguished by their retention of the original Sopwith-type floats and tail assembly. The first 56 Parnall-built Hamble Babies were seaplanes, N1190 to 1219 with 110 hp Clerget engines, and N1960 to 1985 with the 130 hp version, but the remainder (ending N2044) were landplanes. These were known as Hamble Baby Converts, and were extensively used for training by the RNAS school at Cranwell.
  Hamble Babies gave good service with the RNAS during 1917-18 on anti-submarine patrols from coastal stations at home and overseas, as well as with seaplane carriers, and their ability to carry two 65 lb bombs was a direct outcome of their camber-gear innovation. By the end of the war, however, they were giving way to later types and only 18 remained in service on 31 October 1918.

  RNAS Stations at Calshot, Cattewater, Fishguard and Great Yarmouth. Overseas with seaplane carrier Empress and at seaplane stations in the Aegean and in Egypt. After April 1918, served with Nos.219 (Westgate), 229 (Great Yarmouth), 249 (Dundee), and 263 (Otranto).

  Description: Single-seat anti-submarine patrol seaplane. Wooden structure, fabric covered.
  Manufacturers: Fairey Aviation Co Ltd, Hayes, Middlesex. Sub-contracted by Parnall & Sons, Bristol.
  Power Plant: One 110 hp or 130 hp Clerget.
  Dimensions: Span, 27 ft 91/4 in. Length, 23ft 4 in. Height, 9ft 6 in. Wing area, 246 sq ft.
  Weights: Empty, 1,386 lb. Loaded, 1,946 lb.
  Performance: Maximum speed, 90 mph at 2,000 ft. Climb, 5 1/2 min to 2,000 ft; 25 min to 6,500 ft. Endurance, 2 hr. Service ceiling, 7,600 ft.
  Armament: One fixed, synchronised Lewis gun forward and two 65 lb bombs on racks below fuselage.


  Seventy-four of these landplane converts of the Hamble Baby seaplane were built by Parnall at their Bristol works. the serial numbers being N1986 to 2059. They were employed mainly for training at various RNAS flying schools. including Cranwell.
Fairey Hamble Baby
Fairey Campania

  The Campania is important in the history of British naval aviation as the first aircraft specifically designed for operation from a carrier vessel. It was designed in 1916, when the Fairey Company was only a year old, and was that famous concern's second type of aircraft. It took its name from the fact that the carrier for which it was designed was Campania, a former Cunard passenger liner purchased by the Admiralty in October 1914. Campania was commissioned in April 1915, after being converted to carry 10 seaplanes and fitted with a 120ft flying-off deck above the forecastle. By the time that Fairey Campanias first operated from Campania in 1917, the flying-off deck had been lengthened to 200ft. The Campanias took off with the aid of a wheeled trolley, which was left behind as the aircraft became airborne.
  The prototype Campania (N 1000) had the Fairey works designation F. 16 and mounted a 250 hp Rolls-Royce Mk,lV engine, later named Eagle IV. With the second prototype (N1001) a number of changes were introduced, including an improved wing section, larger fin and rudder and the more powerful 275 hp Rolls-Royce Mk.1 (later Eagle V) engine. This version had the Fairey works number F.17 and was the first to be ordered in quantity. With Campania N1006 a change of power plant was necessitated by the temporary shortage of Eagles, and the Sunbeam Maori II was substituted. The Fairey works number changed to F.22 with this modification, but in later production aircraft the Eagle was re-introduced.
  Production contracts for 100 Campanias included airframes N1000 to 1009 and N2360 to 2399 from the parent company and N2360 to N2399 from sub-contractors, but only 62 were completed. On 31 October 1918 some 42 Campanias were serving at coastal air stations and with seaplane carriers. Campanias continued to serve for a period after the Armistice, and in 1919 five were ahoard the seaplane carrier Nairana (together with two Camels) during operations against the Bolsheviks from Archangel.

  RNAS Stations at Bembridge, Calshot, Cherbourg, Dundee, Newhaven, Portland, Rosyth and Scapa Flow, HM Seaplane Carriers Campania, Nairana and Pegasus, After April 1918, Nos.240, 241 and 253 Squadrons.

  Description: Two-seat coastal patrol or carrier-borne reconnaissance seaplane. Wooden structure, fabric covered.
  Manufacturers: Fairey Aviation Co Ltd, Hayes, Middlesex. Sub-contracted by Barclay, Curle & Co Ltd, of Glasgow.
  Power Plant: One 275 hp Sunbeam Maori II or 345 hp Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII.
  Dimensions: Span, 61 ft 7 1/2 in. Length, 43 ft 0 5/8 in. Height, 15 ft 1 in. Wing area, 627 sq ft.
  Weights: Empty, 3,672 lb (Maori) or 3,8741b (Eagle). Loaded, 5,329 lb (Maori) or 5,657 lb (Eagle).
  Performance (Maori II): Maximum speed, 85 mph at sea level. Climb 7 min to 2,000 ft; 38 min to 6,500 ft. Endurance, 4 1/2 hr. Service ceiling, 6,000 ft (Eagle VIII): Maximum speed, 80 mph at 2,000 ft. Climb, 4 1/2 min to 6,500 ft. Endurance, 3 hr. Service ceiling, 5,500 ft.
  Armament: Lewis gun on Scarff ring and bombs on racks below fuselage,

  The Fairey IIIA was a landplane conversion of the earlier N.10 twin-float seaplane and fifty were built for the RNAS with the serial numbers N2850 to 2899. Only one (N2850) had been delivered (to Luce Bay) by the Armistice. Served post-war with No.258 Squadron (Luce Bay) and No.272 Squadron (Machrihanish) until March 1919. One 260 hp Sunbeam Maori II engine. Loaded weight, 3.694 lb. Maximum speed, 109 1/2 mph at sea level. Climb, 10 min to 6.500 ft. Endurance, 4 1/2 hr. Service ceiling, 15.000 ft. Span, 46 ft 2 in. Length, 31 ft.


  The Fairey IIIB was designed for bombing duties to the requirements of the Admiralty's N.2B specification. Twenty-five IIIBs were built (N2230-2254) and served with No.219 Squadron (Westgate). No.230 Squadron (Felixstowe) and No.229 Squadron (Great Yarmouth). Withdrawn in February 1920. One 260 hp Sunbeam Maori II engine. Loaded weight, 4,892 lb. Maximum speed, 95 mph at 2.000 ft. Climb, 17 min 50 sec to 6.500 ft. Endurance, 4 1/2 hr. Service ceiling, 10,300 ft. Span, 62 ft 9 in. Length, 37 ft 1 in.

Fairey IIIC

  The Fairey IIIC was a development of the IIIA and IIIB, and was the last of the Series III to be delivered from the Fairey works before the Armistice of November 1918. In that month the first IIIC was received by Great Yarmouth air station, but it was too late to see any action in the First World War.
  Generally considered to be the first general-purpose seaplane for British naval aviation, the IIIC combined the scouting role of the IIIA landplane with the bombing duties of the IIIB seaplane. In configuration, too, it merged the features of the two earlier types, having the equal span wings of the IIIA and the float undercarriage of the IIIB. Its advantage over both its predecessors was in the installation of the powerful Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII engine which improved the power:weight ratio by as much as 26 per cent.
  The first Fairey IIIC (N2246) left the factory in September 1918 and a total of 35 was delivered. Serial numbers were N2255 to 2259 and N9230 to 9259. Fairey IIICs served both at home and overseas until the autumn of 1921, when they were finally supplanted by the more famous IIID.
  Despite a relatively brief Service career, the IIICs did see active service, for they equipped part of the North Russian Expeditionary Force in 1919, based at Archangel. They were taken to the scene of action in HMS Pegasus and on 8 June 1919 made a bombing attack on four Bolshevik naval vessels, though without much effect. Later, they attacked enemy rail communications. At least seven IIICs served in action with British Forces in North Russia in 1919. These included N9230, N9231, N9233, N9234, N9238 and N9241. Operations on the Murmansk front are described by Group Capt F E Livock in his book To the Ends of the Air, published in 1973.

  No.229 (Great Yarmouth) and No.230 (Felixstowe). Also with North Russian Expeditionary Force in HMS Pegasus at Archangel and HMS Nairana at Murmansk.

  Description: Two-seat general-purpose seaplane. Wooden structure, fabric covered.
  Manufacturers: Fairey Aviation Co Ltd, Hayes, Middlesex.
  Power Plant: One 375 hp Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII.
  Dimensions: Span, 46 ft 1 1/4 in. Length, 36 ft. Height, 12 ft 1 3/4 in. Wing area, 542 sq ft.
  Weights: Empty, 3,392 lb. Loaded, 4,800 lb.
  Performance: Maximum speed, 110 1/2 mph at 2,000 ft, or 102 1/2 mph at 10,000 ft. Climb: 2 min 20 sec to 2,000 ft and 18 min to 10,000 ft. Endurance,5 1/2 hr. Service ceiling, 15,000 ft.
  Armament: One fixed Vickers gun forward and one manually-operated Lewis gun on Scarff ring aft. Provision for light bomb-load on external racks beneath the wings.
Following the earlier temporary modification of N10 to landplane form, this version went into production as the IIIA with a Sunbeam Maori engine.
Fairey IIIB
Fairey IIIC (N9236).
Felixstowe F.2A

  Though it saw action only during the last year of the First World War, the F.2A earned a reputation comparable with that of the Sunderland in the Second World War. By virtue of its great endurance and heavy defensive armament, it bore the brunt of the long-range anti-submarine and anti-Zeppelin patrols over the North Sea in 1918 and figured in innumerable fights with German seaplanes; the exploits of Great Yarmouth's boats were typical, and are related at length in C F Snowden Gamble's classic, The Story of a North Sea Air Station. It established the trend of British flying-boat design for two decades and was a triumphant justification of the pioneer work of John Porte, who had from 1914 devoted himself unceasingly to the development of the flying-boat as a weapon of war.
  The F.2A was the first of the Felixstowe boats to be widely used by the RNAS. The first of the series was the F.1 (No.3580), which combined the Porte I type of hull with the wings and tail assembly of a Curtiss H.4. This was an experimental design only and was not put into quantity production. The success of the Porte I hull was such that it was decided to build a larger one on the same principles which could be married to the wings and tail assembly of the Curtiss H.12 Large America. The outcome of this idea was the Felixstowe F.2, the immediate forerunner of the F.2A. The Porte-type hulls offered greater seaworthiness than had been the case with the Curtiss hulls, yet their method of construction was such that they could be produced by firms with no previous boat-building experience. This was an obvious asset at a period of the war when the need for greater numbers of flying-boats for anti-submarine patrol was becoming urgent.
  The first F.2A flying-boats were delivered late in 1917, and by March 1918 some 160 had been ordered; by the Armistice just under 100 had been completed, and in the immediate post-war period some aircraft ordered under these contracts were converted on the production line to F.5 flying-boats. The total production of 180 would undoubtedly have been greater if a decision had not been taken by the Admiralty to issue extensive contracts for the F.3, a flying-boat in some respects inferior to the F.2A. As the F.2A had originally been intended for operation from sheltered harbours, it was necessary to make some structural modifications to the hull when its use became more widespread and indiscriminate. Nevertheless, the F.2A stood up well to harsh operational conditions, and such setbacks as it had were due not to lack of seaworthiness, but rather to the inadequacies of the fuel system, for the windmill-driven piston pumps failed all too frequently.
  One of the great advantages of the F.2A in view of its considerable range (some boats stayed airborne for as long as 9 1/4 hours by carrying extra petrol in cans) was the provision of dual control; this had not been available on earlier types, such as the H.12. Modifications to the boats to suit the ideas of individual air stations were quite common; one of the most noteworthy was the removal of the cabin for the pilot and second pilot, leaving an open cockpit. This improved both visibility and performance, and from about September 1918 was incorporated in aircraft as they left the works.
  F.2As of the Felixstowe air station inherited from the Curtiss H.12s the historic 'Spider's Web' patrol system. This patrol began in April 1917, and was centred on the North Hinder Light Vessel, which was used as a navigation mark. Flying-boats operated within an imaginary octagonal figure, 60 sea-miles across, and followed a pre-arranged pattern which enabled about 4,000 square miles of sea to be searched systematically. One flying-boat could search a quarter of the whole web in about three hours, and stood a good chance of sighting a U-boat on the surface, as submarines had to economise on battery power. Moreover, flying-boats had the advantage over other heavier-than-air anti-submarine aircraft in that they could carry bombs of 230 lb, which could seriously damage a submarine, even if a direct hit were not secured.
  The F.2A, despite its five-and-a-half tons, could be thrown about the sky in a 'dog-fight' with enemy seaplanes, and on 4 June 1918 there occurred one of the greatest air battles of the war, waged near the enemy coastline, over three hours' flying time from the RNAS bases at Great Yarmouth and Felixstowe. The formation of flying-boats, led by Capt R Leckie, consisted of four F.2As (N4295 and N4298 from Great Yarmouth and N4302 and N4533 from Felixstowe) and a Curtiss H.12. One F.2A (N4533) was forced down before the engagement, due to the old trouble of a blocked fuel line, but the remaining F.2As fought with a force of 14 enemy seaplanes and shot six of them down. During the action another F.2A (N4302) was forced down with a broken fuel pipe, but a repair was effected, and finally three F.2As returned triumphantly to base having suffered only one casualty. Following this action, in which the danger of being forced down on the sea with fuel-pipe trouble became only too evident, it was decided to paint the hulls of the F.2As in distinctive colours for ready recognition. Great Yarmouth boats were painted to the crews' own liking, and some bizarre schemes resulted; Felixstowe, on the other hand, imposed a standardised scheme of coloured squares and stripes. The scheme of each individual F.2A was charted, and copies were held by all air and naval units operating off the East Coast.
  The F.2a was also successful against Zeppelins. The most remarkable of these engagements was on 10 May 1918, when N4291 from Killingholme, flown by Capts T C Pattinson and A H Munday, attacked the Zeppelin L62 at 8,000 ft over the Heligoland minefields and shot it down in flames. Some F.2As, operating as far afield as Heligoland, were towed to the scene of action on lighters behind destroyers. This technique was first employed on 10 March 1918, and was originally part of a scheme to extend the flying-boats' range so as to mount a bombing offensive on enemy naval bases.
  One variation of the F.2A was built with the designation F.2C ( 65); it had a modified hull of lighter construction and alterations to the front gun position. Although only one F.2C was produced, it saw active service with the RNAS at Felixstowe. The F.2C, flown by Wg Cdr J C Porte, the famous flying-boat pioneer, shared the credit with two other flying-boats in the same formation for the destruction of a U-boat.

  No.228 Squadron (ex-324, 325 and 326 Flights) at Great Yarmouth; Nos.230, 231, 232 and 247 Squadrons (ex-327, 328, 329, 330, 333, 334, 335, 336, 337 and 338 Flights) at Felixstowe; No.238 Squadron (ex-347, 348 and 349 Flights) at Cattewater; No.240 Squadron (ex-345, 346, 410 and 411 Flights) at Calshot; No.257 Squadron (ex-318 and 319 Flights) at Dundee and No.267 Squadron (ex-360, 361, 362 and 363 Flights) at Kalafrana. Also Nos.320, 321 and 322 Flights at Killingholme.

  Description: Fighting and reconnaissance flying-boat with a crew of four. Wooden structure, with wood and fabric covering.
  Manufacturers: Aircraft Manufacturing Co Ltd, Hendon (with hulls from May, Harden & May, Southampton); S E Saunders Ltd, Isle of Wight; Norman Thompson Flight Co, Bognor Regis. Serial numbers allocated were N4080 to N4099, N4280 to N4309, N4430 to N4504, N4510 to N4519, N4530 to N4554 and N4560 to N4568, but some aircraft were eventually delivered as F.5s.
  Power Plant: Two 345 hp Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII
  Dimensions: Span, 95 ft 7 1/2 in. Length, 46 ft 3 in. Height, 17 ft 6 in. Wing area, 1,133 sq ft.
  Weights: Empty, 7,549 lb. Loaded, 10,978 lb.
  Performance: Maximum speed, 95 1/2 mph at 2,000 ft; 80Y2 mph at 10,000 ft. Climb, 3 min 50 sec to 2,000 ft; 39 min 30 sec to 10,000 ft. Endurance (normal) 6 hr. Service ceiling, 9,600 ft.
  Armament: From four to seven free-mounted Lewis machine-guns (in bows, waist positions, rear cockpit and above pilot's cockpit) and two 230 lb bombs mounted in racks below the bottom wings.

Felixstowe F.3

  It is generally conceded that the F.3, though the subject of large-scale production contracts (263 ordered and 176 delivered), was in many respects the inferior of the F.2A. Admittedly it could carry twice as many bombs, but it was slower and less manoeuvrable, and hence lacked the qualities which had enabled the F.2A to take on German seaplane fighters in air combat. On the other hand, it was capable of a greater range. It first entered service in February 1918 and was not declared obsolete until September 1921.
  The prototype F.3 (N64) differed from production aircraft in having twin 320 hp Sunbeam Cossack engines instead of Rolls-Royce Eagles. It is recorded that it served operationally during 1917-18 with the Royal Naval air station at Felixstowe. It made its maiden flight in February 1917 and was finally written off in May 1918.
  The F.3 operated extensively in the Mediterranean, and in October 1918 accompanied the Naval attack on Durazzo in Albania. The operational requirements for anti-submarine flying-boats in the Mediterranean area were, in fact, so pressing that manufacture of F.3 flying-boats was undertaken locally in Malta dockyards. Twenty-three were built in Malta between November 1917 and the Armistice.

  No.234 Squadron (ex-350, 351, 352 and 353 Flights) at Tresco; No.238 Squadron (ex-347, 348 and 349 Flights) at Cattewater; No.263 Squadron (ex-359, 435, 436 and 441 Flights) at Otranto; No.267 Squadron (ex-360, 361, 362 and 363 Flights) at Kalafrana and No.271 Squadron (ex-357, 350, 359 and 367 Flights) at Taranto. Also No.300 Flight at Catforth, Nos.306 and 307 Flights at Houton and Nos.309, 31 () and 311 Flights at Stemless.

  Description: Anti-submarine patrol flying-boat with a crew of four. Wooden structure, with wood and fabric covering.
  Manufacturers: Short Bros Ltd, Rochester (N4000 to N4036); Dick, Kerr & Co Ltd, Preston (N4100 to N4117 and N4230 to N4279); Phoenix Dynamo Manufacturing Co Ltd, Bradford (N4160 to N4176 and N4400 to N4429); Malta Dockyard (N43 10 to N4321 and 4360 to 4370).
  Power Plant: Two 345 hp Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII.
  Dimensions: Span, 102 ft. Length, 49 ft 2 in. Height, 18 ft 8 in. Wing area, 1,432 sq ft.
  Weights: Empty, 7,958 lb. Loaded (normal), 12,235 lb.
  Performance: Maximum speed, 91 mph at 2,000 ft; 86 mph at 6,500 ft. Climb, 5 1/4 min to 2,000 ft; 24 min to 6,500 ft. Endurance, 6 hr. Service ceiling, 8,000 ft.
  Armament: Four Lewis machine-guns on free mountings and four 230 lb bombs on racks beneath the wings.
F.2A flying-boats on the slipway at a coastal air station of the RNAS.
The Felixstowe F.2C flying-boat.
Felixstowe F.2a
Felixstowe F.3

  Known as the Type 1600 in RNAS service (the prototype, No.1600, is illustrated), this pusher biplane was extensively used as a trainer in the first part of the First World War, operating at the Royal Naval Air Station at Chingford as well as other schools. The RNAS received about 80, serial numbers 3151 to 3162, 3607 to 3616, 8305 to 8316 and 8752 to 8801. It was fitted with an 80 hp Gnome or Le Rhone rotary engine.

  First flown in 1913, this biplane was unusual in having wings with curved swept-back leading edges. It was acquired by the Admiralty soon after the outbreak of war in 1914 and served with the RNAS for training and Home Defence duties at Hendon and Chingford until August 1915. It had the serial number 892. One 100 hp Anzani engine. Maximum speed, 73 mph at sea level. Span, 44 ft. Length, 25 ft 1 in.
Handley Page O/100

  It is not always appreciated that the Admiralty was the first of the British Service Departments to recognise the potentialities of the large aeroplane for long-range bombing work, and that it made its requirements known to the industry as early as December 1914. The O/100, the forerunner of the much better known O/400, was the outcome of this policy and the answer to Commodore Murray F Sueter's classic request, when Director of the Air Department of the Admiralty, for a 'bloody paralyser' of an aeroplane.
  The prototype O/100, with an enclosed cabin for the crew, flew for the first time at Hendon on 18 December 1915. Later the cabin was removed and, also, most of the armour plating. Deliveries of production aircraft to the RNAS began in September 1916, and the first front-line unit to receive the type was the Fifth Naval Wing at Dunkirk in November 1916. The third O/100 for the RNAS was delivered to the enemy intact on 1 January 1917, due to a navigational error.
  Apart from a solitary night raid by an O/100 of the Third Wing on 16/17 March 1917, the O/100s were at first employed in their original intended role of oversea patrols off the Belgian coast and in September/October 1917 flew anti-submarine patrols from Redcar with No.7 (Naval) Squadron. Later they concentrated almost exclusively on night-bombing raids against U-boat bases, rail centres and Gotha aerodromes. By the end of 1917 the RNAS had four squadrons of O/100s in action, including Naval 'A' Squadron-later No.16 (Naval) Squadron-which joined the 41st Wing at Ochey, the nucleus of the Independent Force for strategic raids against targets in southern Germany. These O/100s first operated on the night of 24/25 October 1917 with F.E.2bs of No.100 Squadron, RFC.
  In June 1917 an O/100 flown by Sqn Cdr K S Savory went overseas to Mudros in the Aegean, and on 9 July succeeded in bombing Constantinople. During this raid the enemy battle-cruiser Goeben was attacked with eight 112 lb bombs.
  Forty-six O/100s were built, the airframe numbers being 1455 to 1466 and 3115 to 3142 for Eagle-engined aircraft and B9446 to B9451 for Cossack-engined versions.
  One O/100 (No.3127) based in Northern France made an historic bombing raid on Cologne on 24/25 March 1918. Flt Cdr F K Digby, its pilot, had also attacked Mannheim in the same aircraft on 24/25 January 1918 and later bombed Freseaty on 10/11 November 1918, achieving 400 hours operational flying.

  Nos.7 and 7A (later NO.14 Naval) of the RNAS 5th Wing at Dunkirk; RNAS 3rd Wing at Luxeuil; 'A' Squadron (later No.16 Naval) at Ochey; RNAS Mudros (one aircraft).

  Description: Heavy night-bomber with a crew of four. Wooden structure, fabric covered.
  Manufacturers: Handley Page Ltd, Cricklewood, London.
  Power Plant: Two 266 hp Rolls-Royce Eagle II or two 320 hp Sunbeam Cossack.
  Dimensions: Span, 100 ft. Length, 62 ft 10 1/4 in. Height, 22 ft. Wing area, 1,648 sq ft.
  Weights: Empty, 8,000 lb (approx). Loaded, 14,000 lb (approx).
  Performance: Maximum speed, 85 mph (approx).
  Armament: Up to five free-mounted Lewis machine-guns in nose, amidships and ventral positions and a bomb-load comprising 16 112 lb bombs.
O/100 of the RNAS at Manston.

  This seaplane was a modified version of the Short 184, previously built by Mann, Egerton of Norwich to Admiralty contracts. Mann, Egerton built 10 of their own Type B (Nos.9085 to 9094 inclusive) and they were delivered to the RNAS in 1916, seeing service at Calshot. The Type B No. 9085 is illustrated. The engine was a 225 hp Sunbeam.
Norman Thompson N.T.4

  The Norman Thompson N.T.4 is perhaps the least known of all the large flying-boats employed on coastal patrol by the RNAS in the First World War. It never enjoyed the fame that attended the American Curtiss boats, or the Felixstowe series, but nevertheless was responsible for a good deal of routine anti-submarine reconnaissance from a string of bases between Calshot and Scapa Flow.
  The N.T.4 was the first new design to appear after the old White and Thompson Company changed its name to the Norman Thompson Flight Company in October 1915, and its emergence coincided with the Curtiss H.4. For this reason, in the somewhat haphazard custom of those days, it was known by the name of 'America', and later changed to 'Small America', in the same way as the Curtiss. This may account for the obscurity in which its operational record is shrouded, as there may have been some confusion between the two types in official archives.
  A feature of the N.T.4 was the completely enclosed accommodation for the crew. In the earlier version the view was poor and the cabin was progressively improved, so that in the late production models the cabin-top was glazed as well as the sides.
  The first batch of aircraft (Nos.8338 to 8343) were fitted with two 150 hp Hispano-Suiza engines. Subsequent machines had 200 hp geared Hispanos, were designated N.T.4A and were allotted the serial numbers 9061 to 9064 and N2140 to 2159. Production ceased in the summer of 1918 after 30 had been built.
  One of the N.T.4 flying-boats (No.8338) was the subject of an interesting experiment in armament. It was fitted with a Davis two-pounder recoilless gun mounted above the cabin. The installation was never embodied in production aircraft.

  RNAS coastal air stations at Calshot, Cattewater. Dundee, Felixstowe, Invergordon, Killingholme and Scapa Flow.

  Description: Anti-submarine reconnaissance flying-boat with a crew of four. Wooden structure, with wood and fabric covering.
  Manufacturers: Norman Thompson Flight Co Ltd, Bognor Regis, Sussex.
  Power Plant: Two 200 hp Hispano-Suiza.
  Dimensions: Span, 78 ft 7 in. Length, 41 ft 6 in. Height, 14 ft 10 in. Wing area, 936 sq ft.
  Weights: Empty, 4,572 lb. Loaded, 6,469 lb.
  Performance: Maximum speed, 95 mph at 2,000 ft; 91 mph at 10,000 ft. Climb, 3 min 50 sec to 2,000 ft; 31 min 5 sec to 10,000 ft. Service ceiling, 11,700 ft.
  Armament: Possibly provision for free-mounted Lewis gun firing through a side window and racks for bombs beneath lower wings.
Norman Thompson NT.4A
Parnall Panther

  The Panther was one of the first British aircraft designed specifically for operation from aircraft-carriers. It was the work of Mr Harold Bolas, formerly with the Air Department of the Admiralty, and met the requirements of the Admiralty Spec N.2A for a two-seat deck-landing reconnaissance aircraft. The first prototype (N91) emerged in April 1918 and was followed by five other prototypes (N92 to 96). It was unorthodox in a number of respects: it had a monocoque fuselage, a form of construction not then very common, and to conserve space aboard ship the fuselage was made to fold, being hinged just aft of the rear cockpit so that the rear fuselage and tail assembly could be swung to starboard. The pilot and observer were mounted unusually high; this gave the pilot an excellent forward view for deck-landing, but restricted entry to the cockpit which had to be reached through a hole in the top wing.
  Two other features of the Panther, which added to its somewhat singular appearance, were the flotation air bags fitted beneath the bottom wings at either side of the undercarriage, and the hydrovane to prevent the aircraft nosing over in the event of a forced descent in the sea. The wheels could be jettisoned.
  The original order for 312 Panthers was reduced to 150 with the Armistice, and these aircraft (N7400 to 7549) were built mostly by Bristol at Filton during 1919 and 1920 following a small initial batch by Parnall. The Panthers equipped Fleet Spotter Reconnaissance Flights aboard Argus and Hermes at a period when longitudinal arrester wires supporting hinged wooden flaps were in vogue. The aircraft itself carried hooks on the axle. This system was far from satisfactory and caused a lot of accidents; during training only five landings out of six escaped mishap. Although the Panthers handled well in the air, their Bentley engines needed careful nursing and demanded frequent attention. Be that as it may, the Panther was a great pioneer of early deck-flying, and remained in first-line service with the FAA as late as October 1924 with No.442 Flight at Leuchars. Panthers were finally superseded by the Fairey IIID.

  No.20S Squadron (April 1920-April 1923. Leuchars). No.441 Flight (April 1923-June 1924, embarked Argus and Hermes). No.442 Flight (April 1923-0ctober 1924, embarked Argus).

  Description: Two-seat carrier-borne spotter-reconnaissance aircraft. Wooden structure with wood and fabric covering.
  Manufacturers: Parnall & Sons, Bristol. Sub-contracted by the British & Colonial Aeroplane Co Ltd, Filton, Bristol.
  Power Plant: One 230 hp Bentley B.R.2.
  Dimensions: Span, 29 ft 6 in. Length, 24 ft 11 in (14 ft 6 in folded). Height. 10 ft 6 in. Wing area, 336 sq ft.
  Weights: Empty, 1,328 lb. Loaded, 2,595 lb.
  Performance: Maximum speed, 108 1/2 mph at 6,500 ft; 103 mph at 10,000 ft. Climb, 2 min 20 sec to 2,000 ft; 17 min 5 sec to 10,000 ft. Endurance, 4 1/2 hr. Service ceiling, 14,500 ft.
  Armament: One free-mounted Lewis machine-gun in rear cockpit.
This photograph of a Parnall Panther aboard HMS Argus illustrates well the longitudinal arrester wires, the hinged wooden flaps mounted transversely, the hooks on the axle and the forward hydrovane. The period was 1919-20.
Panther (N7511) with non-standard oleo undercarriage.
Parnall Panther

  This little single-seat scout was designed and built in the surprisingly short time of eight days, and it made its first flight in August 1914. It was not produced in quantity, but the prototype was purchased by the Admiralty and served for a time as a trainer at the RNAS flying school at Hendon. One 50 hp Gnome rotary engine. Maximum speed, 78 mph. Climb, 500 ft/min. Endurance, 3 hr. Span, 26 ft. Length, 20 ft.

  Twenty P.B.25 single-seat scouts entered service with the RNAS at Eastchurch and Hendon during 1916. They had the serial numbers 9001 to 9020 and 9002 is illustrated. The P.B.25 was developed from the P.B.23 'Push-Proj' of 1915 and was armed with a single Lewis gun firing forward. One 100 hp Gnome or 110 hp Clerget engine. Maximum speed, 99 mph. Endurance, 3 hr. Span, 33 ft. Length, 24 ft 1 in.

  Produced by the Port Victoria design staff at the Isle of Grain, the Griffin reconnaissance aircraft was based closely on the concept represented by the Sopwith B.1 single-seat bomber prototype of 1917. The Griffin introduced a second cockpit for an observer and folding wings for carrier operations. Prototype (N50) was followed by seven production aircraft (N 100-106). The type saw very little service but one (N 100) was reportedly embarked in HMS Vindictive during 1919. One 200 hp Sunbeam Arab or 230 hp Bentley B.R.2 engine. Span, 42 ft 6 in. Length. 27 ft 3 in. Maximum speed, 115 mph at 5.000 ft. Climb, 12 min to 10,000 ft. Endurance, 3 hr. Service ceiling, 19.000 ft.

  This three-engined (two tractor and one pusher) flying-boat was built by May, Harden and May of Southampton to the designs of Sqn Cdr Porte. Eleven Porte Babies (Nos.9800 to 9810) were built and saw service on North Sea patrols from Felixstowe and Killingholme. The Baby first entered service in November 1916. Two 250 hp Rolls-Royce and one 200 hp Green engine in early versions; later Babies had three 325 hp Rolls-Royce Eagle VII or 300 hp Eagle VIII engines. Crew of five. Loaded weight, 18.000 lb. Maximum speed, 92 mph at sea level. Service ceiling, 8.000 ft. Span, 124 ft. Length, 63 ft.

  The B.E.2a served with both the Military and Naval Wings of the RFC from 1912. Naval Wing was allotted Nos.46, 47, 49 and 50, the last of these becoming the favourite mount of the famed Cdr Samson. It accompanied the Eastchurch Squadron to Belgium in August 1914 and served again with Samson in the Dardanelles region. One 70 hp Renault engine and a loaded weight of 1,600 lb. Maximum speed, 70 mph at sea level. Climb, 5 min to 7,000 ft. Endurance, 3 hr. Service ceiling, 10,000 ft. Span, 38 ft 7 1/2 in. Length, 29 ft 6 1/2 in.

  Commonly known as 'The Bloater', the B.E.8 was used from 1912 as a trainer at the Central Flying School and one example was still servIng WIth No.3 Flight, RNAS Westgate, in July 1915. One 80 hp Gnome engIne. Maximum speed, 70 mph at sea level. Climb, 10 1/2 min to 3.000 ft. Span, 39 ft 6 in. Length, 27 ft 3 in.

  Designed as a two-seat seaplane for the Naval Wing of the RFC by the Royal Aircraft Factory in 1913. Despite its intended purpose (the designation signified 'Hydro Reconnaissance Experimental') it was first flown as a landplane, was unsuccessful as a seaplane, and reverted finally to landplane form. With the serial number 17, the H.R.E.2 was still in service with the RNAS when war began in 1914. One 70 hp or 100 hp.Renault engine. Span. 45 ft 3 1/2 in. Length, 32 ft 3 in.

  The B.E.2c is more often associated with the RFC, yet over 300 aircraft were delivered to the RNAS, where they were employed for bombing duties, for anti-submarine patrols and for training purposes.
  Much has been written about the B.E.2c's dismal failure as a fighting machine with the RFC on the Western Front, its heavy losses in 1915-16 and the 'Fokker fodder' scandal. With the RNAS, however, it earned a somewhat happier reputation, perhaps because it was employed chiefly in theatres of war where the opposition was less vigorous. The RNAS was, in fact, the first service to use the B.E.2c in overseas zones other than France when, in April 1915, two B.E.2cs accompanied the Farmans, Voisins and a Breguet of NO.3 Wing to Tenedos to take part in the Dardanelles campaign. In August 1915 they were joined by six more belonging to NO.2 Wing, RNAS. All these naval B.E.2cs had 70 hp Renault engines, as fitted in the prototype which first flew in June 1914.
  On 13 November 1915 a B.E.2c of No.2 Wing flown by F/Cdr J R W Smyth-Pigott made a daring night-bombing attack on a bridge at Kuleli Burgas spanning the Maritza river, a vulnerable point on the Berlin-Constantinople railway. Smyth-Pigott bombed from 300 ft and was awarded the DSO for his gallantry, though the target was not destroyed.
  Many of the B.E.2cs used as bombers by the RNAS had a small bomb-rack beneath the cowling, as illustrated, and some were flown as single-seaters with the front cockpit faired over.
  In the United Kingdom the RNAS used B.E.2cs for anti-submarine and Zeppelin patrols from coastal air stations until as late as 1918. On 28 November 1916, off Lowestoft, three B. E.2cs flown by F/Lt Cadbury and F/Sub-Lts Pulling and Fane brought down the Zeppelin L21.
  The RNAS received 337 B.E.2cs altogether; 161 with Renault engines, 153 with the RAF la and 23 with the Curtiss OX-5. The last B.E.2c (No. 10,000) left the Blackburn factory on 3 July 1917.

  No.1 Wing, RNAS (Dunkirk), No.2 Wing, RNAS (Imbros and Mudros), No.3 Wing, RNAS (Imbros and Tenedos), No.7 (Naval) Squadron (East Africa). Also coastal air stations at Eastbourne, Hornsea, Great Yarmouth, Port Victoria, Redcar, Scarborough and training schools at Chingford and Cranwell.

  Description: Two-seat bomber and anti-submarine patrol aircraft. Wooden structure, fabric covered.
  Manufacturers: Admiralty contracts to Beardmore; Blackburn; Eastbourne; Grahame-White; Hewlett and Blondeau; Martinsyde; Ruston, Proctor; Vickers; Vulcan; and G & J Weir.
  Power Plant: 70 hp Renault, 90 hp RAF 1a or 90 hp Curtiss OX-5.
  Dimensions: Span, 37 ft. Length, 27 ft 3 in. Height, 11 ft 1 1/2 in. Wing area, 371 sq ft.
  Weights: Empty, 1,370 lb. Loaded, 2,142 lb.
  Performance: Maximum speed, 72 mph at 6,500 ft. Climb, 6 1/2 min to 3,500 ft; 45 min to 10,000 ft. Endurance, 3 1/4 hr. Service ceiling, 10,000 ft.
  Armament: Renault-engined bombers carried up to four 25 lb bombs under engine nacelle. RAF-engined single-seaters carried two 112 lb bombs or ten 20 lb bombs below the wings.
B.E.2c (No.8300) of the RNAS.

The R.E.5, the first aeroplane to be produced in quantity at the Royal Aircraft Factory, Farnborough. made its appearance in 1914. It was used mainly by the RFC but one example (No.26) reached the RNAS and was flown to Dunkirk on 27 September 1914 by Sqn Cdr A M Longmore (later Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Longmore). It was used for a bombing raid on Courtrai on 30 September 1914. One 120 hp Austro-Daimler engine. Maximum speed, 78 mph.

The R.E.7 was a development of the R.E.5, and it first appeared in 1915. It was used mainly by the RFC but six examples were handed over for the use of the RNAS. It was fitted at various times with a great variety of engines, ranging from the 120 hp Beardmore to the 280 hp Rolls-Royce Eagle. Maximum speed with the 120 hp Beardmore was 82 mph. Span, 57 ft. Length, 31 ft 10 1/2 in.

  Two-seat Corps reconnaissance aircraft, a development of the B. E.2c and B. E.2d, used mainly by the RFC but some 95 were transferred to the RNAS for service at training schools such as Cranwell. Some of the RNAS trainers had the 75 hp Rolls-Royce Hawk engine instead of the standard 90 hp RAF IA. Loaded weight, 2,100 lb. Maximum speed 90 mph at sea level. Climb, 53 min to 10.000 ft. Endurance, 4 hr. Service ceiling, 9,000 ft. Span, 40 ft 9 in. Length, 30 ft 6 in.

  This box-kite biplane, fitted with an eight-cylinder E.N.V. engine, first appeared in 1910, and provided the basis for a series of Short biplanes, all of which were used in the earliest days of naval flying in Great Britain when Royal Navy officers were trained at the Royal Aero Club aerodrome at Eastchureh, at first on aeroplanes privately owned by Mr Frank McClean and loaned to the Admiralty. Maximum speed, 40 mph. Span, 34 ft 2 in. Length, 42 ft 1 in.


  These aeroplanes were a development of the S.27 from which they differed in having strut-braced extensions to the top wings. Later models were also to be seen with a small nacelle for the pilot and passenger. The most famous of the modified S.27s was S.38 (RNAS No.2), which was fitted with three air-bags (attached to the undercarriage struts and beneath the tail) enabling it to alight on water. On 1 December 1911 this feat was achieved by Lt A M Longmore (later Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Longmore), who flew the S.38 on to the River Medway. On 10 January 1912 Lt Samson used the same aeroplane to make the first take-off from the deck of a British warship (HMS Africa) whilst it was at anchor off Sheerness. On 9 May 1912 this performance was repeated from the deck of HMS Hibernia as it was steaming in Weymouth Bay at 10 l/2 knots, and again from HMS London on 4 July 1912. The improved S.27 was fitted with a single 50 hp or 70 hp Gnome rotary engine. Maximum speed, 48 mph. Span, 46 ft 5 in.
Early Short S.27 fitted with E.N.V. engine.
Short S.27 with 50 h.p. Gnome engine and extended wings heralded the start of the company's long and mutually beneficial relationship with the Admiralty's air arm.

  Also known as the T.5 (Tractor Five), this was the first tractor biplane built by Short Brothers, and appeared early in 1912. The original model, with uncovered rear fuselage. was owned by Mr Frank McClean. The type was quickly adopted by the Admiralty, and served with the Naval Wing of the RFC both as a landplane and as a seaplane, the latter with a single centre float and two smaller floats below the wings. 70 hp Gnome rotary engine.

  This aeroplane, with the Triple Twin the first multi-engined aircraft ever built in Great Britain, was purchased by the Admiralty in 1911 and used at the Naval Flying School at Eastchureh. It was converted from a Short S.27 airframe. It had two 50 hp Gnome rotary engines, one driving a tractor and one a pusher airscrew, the pilot being seated between. Maximum speed, 55 mph. Span, 34 ft 2 in. Length, 40 ft 6 in.


  This early Short biplane, also used by the Naval Flying School at Eastchurch from 1911 (RNAS No.3) was powered by two 50 hp Gnome engines. The front engine drove twin airscrews and the rear engine a single pusher. Maximum speed, 55 mph. Span, 50 ft. Length, 45 ft. In July 1913 it was re-built as a two-seater with no forward stabiliser and a single Gnome pusher and went to Belgium in 1914 with Cdr Samson's Eastchurch Squadron.
A modified Short S.27 pusher biplane on the launching ramp of HMS Hibernia in May 1912.

  Developed from earlier Short pushers but introducing a crew nacelle and dual control, the S.38 trainer was widely employed by RNAS flying schools at Chingford and Eastchurch during 1915-16. Thirty-six were built by Supermarine (1580-1591), White and Thompson (3143-3148 and 8530-8541) and Norman Thompson (8434-8439). One 80 hp Gnome engine. Maximum speed, 58 mph. Span, 52 ft. Length, 35 ft 6 in.

  Developed from Short S.41 (No.10) which first appeared early in 1912 as a landplane; later it was fitted with floats and was flown in the Review of the Fleet at Weymouth on 8 May 1912. An improved version (No.20, illustrated) entered service at Great Yarmouth in July 1913 and took part in the Naval Review of that year. No.20 remained in service on North Sea patrols until June 1915. It was used in early wireless experiments. One 100 hp twin-row Gnome engine. Maximum speed, 60 mph. Span, 50 ft. Length, 39 ft.

  This type first appeared at the 1913 Olympia Exhibition as a seaplane. It bore a considerable resemblance to the S.4l from which it was developed. Purchased for the Naval Wing, it was allotted the official number 42 and participated in the 1913 Fleet manoeuvres. Afterwards it was given a land undercarriage and was one of the aeroplanes taken to Ostend with Cdr Samson's Eastchurch Squadron of the RNAS on 27 August 1914. One 80 hp Gnome engine. Maximum speed, 65 mph. Span, 48 ft. Length, 35 ft.

  This was one of the earliest aeroplanes to incorporate folding wings. The first two Folders (Nos.81 and 82) had two-bay wings and were closely related to the S.41. Later Folders (including NO.119 shown in the photograph) had three-bay wings. The original Folder. No.81. took part in the Naval manoeuvres of July 1913 and carried an early type of wireless transmitter. On 28 July 1914 a Short three-bay Folder (No. 121) from Calshot flown by Sqn Ldr A M Longmore made the first successful air-torpedo drop in Great Britain. The weapon used on this historic occasion was a 14 in torpedo which weighed 810 lb. Two Short Folders (Nos.119 and 120) were among the seven RNAS seaplanes which raided Cuxhaven on Christmas Day, 1914. One 160 hp Gnome engine. Maximum speed, 78 mph. Span (three-bay version), 67 ft. Length, 39 ft.


  Also known as the Improved S.41, this seaplane entered service with the RNAS in 1914 and took part in the Naval Review of July. Serial numbers allotted were Nos.74 to 80, 183 and 811 to 818. Three Type 74 seaplanes (Nos.811, 814 and 815) joined four other seaplanes in the historic raid on Cuxhaven from the carriers Empress, Engadine and Riviera on Christmas Day, 1914. The Type 74 had a 100 hp Gnome engine but two later examples (Nos.78 and 79) were powered by 160 hp twin-row Gnome engines.
An early Admiralty Type 74, No 76, without folding wings; this type was adapted in 1915 to carry up to a pair of 112 lb bombs.

  The Type 135 was a development of the Short Folder, and it also had folding wings. Only two were built: No.135, with a 135 hp Salmson. and No.136 (illustrated), with a 200 hp Salmson engine. The Short 135 seaplanes were both used in the celebrated RNAS raid on Cuxhaven on Christmas Day, 1914, and No.136 later served in the Dardanelles with the seaplane-carrier Ark Royal. Maximum speed, 65 mph. Span, 54 ft 6 in. Length, 39 ft.


  Originally the Short Type C, the Type 166 was designed to carry an 810 lb 14 in torpedo, though there is no record of this weapon having been used operationally by the aircraft in service. The parent firm built six (Nos.161 to 166) and the Westland Aircraft Works 20 (Nos.9751 to 9770); the photograph shows the first of the Westland-built Type 166 seaplanes on the Hamble River in 1916. The Type 166 was used by the RNAS at Calshot and Thasos and in the seaplane-carrier Ark Royal. One 200 hp Salmson engine. Loaded weight, 4.580 lb. Maximum speed, 65 mph. Span, 57 ft 3 in. Length, 40 ft 7 in.


  Ten seaplanes of this type were built, Nos.9781 to 9790, and No.9790 is illustrated. They served with the RNAS seaplane station at Calshot from 1916. The engine was a 140 hp Salmson radial.
Short S.87 (RNAS No.136) was one of two machines built in 1914 with Sunbeam engines.
The photograph shows the first of the Westland-built Type 166 seaplanes on the Hamble River in 1916.
SHORT (140 hp SALMSON) SEAPLANE. Ten seaplanes of this type were built, Nos.9781 to 9790, and No.9790 is illustrated.
Short 827/830 Seaplane

  Very similar in appearance to the Short 166 Seaplane, the Short 827/830 was of somewhat smaller dimensions and had two alternative power plants. The Type 827 could be more readily distinguished from the Type 166 in that it had an in-line Sunbeam engine, whereas the Type 830 had a Salmson water-cooled radial as in the Type 166.
  The Admiralty's first contract for 12 aircraft was placed in the summer of 1914: it covered six Type 827s (Nos.822 to 827) and six Type 830s (Nos.819 to 821 and 828 to 830). Ultimately, the Type 827 predominated and 108 were ordered, against 28 of the Type 830. The Short 827 enjoyed a remarkably long operational life, for it served from 1915 until the Armistice.
  Unlike the Short 830, which was built by the parent firm only, the Short 827 was manufactured by four firms in addition to Short Bros and, indeed, 12 aircraft of this type (Nos.8550 to 8561) were the first aircraft ever built by Fairey before they turned to their own designs.
  Both the Short 827 and 830 were used from seaplane carriers, from RNAS, coastal air stations and overseas. In March 1916 four Short 827s accompanied four Voisins to Zanzibar to form a unit which became No.8 Squadron, RNAS. They did much useful work in the East African campaign and a number of successful attacks were planned after photographic reconnaissance by a Short 827 operating from the seaplane carrier Manica. Short 827s operated in Mesopotamia from September 1915 and in December two were converted as landplanes to bomb the Turks advancing on Kut al Imara.
  The following year, on 25 April 1916, a Short 827 (No.3108) from Great Yarmouth bombed the German warships that were shelling Lowestoft.

  No.8 Squadron, RNAS (East Africa). Seaplane carriers: Ben-my-Chree, Engadine, Manica and Raven II. Armed merchant vessels: Himalaya and Laconia. RNAS coaslal air stations: Calshot, Dundee. Great Yarmouth, Isle of Grain and Killingholme. Overseas: Basra and Otranto.

  Description: Two-seat reconnaissance and bombing seaplane. Wooden structure, fabric covered.
  Manufacturers: Short Bros (827s serialled 822-827, 3063-3072, 3093-3112 and 830s serialled 819-821, 828-830, 1335-1346 and 9781-9790). Subcontracted 827s by Brush Electrical (serialled 3321-3332 and 8230-8237), by Parnall (8218-8229 and 8250-8257), by Fairey (8550-8561) and by Sunbeam (8630-8649).
  Power Plant: One 150 hp Sunbeam Nubian.
  Dimensions: Span, 53 ft 11 in. Length, 35 ft 3 in. Height, 13 ft 6 in. Wing area, 506 sq ft.
  Weights: Empty, 2,700 lb. Loaded, 3,400 lb.
  Performance: Maximum speed, 61 mph. Endurance, 3 1/2 hr.
  Armament: One free-mounted Lewis machine-gun. Bomb-racks below fuselage.
An Admiralty Type 827 off the German East African coast, probably one of those sent to Mombasa in July 1915 for operations against the Konigsberg in the Rufiji delta.
Short Bomber

  As will be evident from its appearance, the Short Bomber was a landplane adaptation of the famous Short Type 184 seaplane. The prototype (No.3706) was produced to meet the requirements of an Admiralty competition of 1915 for a bomber offering good range and load-carrying properties, for even at this early stage the RNAS was turning its attention to the possibilities of strategic bombing. The prototype originally had standard Short 184 three-bay wings, then two-bay wings with overhung top surfaces, but all production aircraft had three-bay wings of increased span. The fuselage, too, was lengthened on later production aircraft, though early batches had a short fuselage, as in the drawing. Contracts for over 80 Short Bombers were placed, of which 36 were by Short Bros (Nos.9306 to 9340), 15 by Sunbeam (Nos.9356 to 9370), 20 by Mann, Egerton (Nos.9476 to 9495), six by Parnall (Nos.9771 to 9776) and six by Phoenix (Nos.9831 to 9836). The Sunbeam Company fitted the 225 hp Sunbeam engine in their aircraft: otherwise the 250 hp Rolls-Royce was standard.
  The Short Bomber first entered service with No.7 Squadron, RNAS. Four of the new Shorts (250 hp engines) joined 18 other bombers of the 4th and 5th Naval Wings in a raid on the Ateliers de la Marine and the Slyken Electric Power Station at Ostend on the night of 15 November 1916. Each Short carried eight 65 lb bombs, twice the bomb-load of the accompanying Caudrons, but well below the aircraft's total capacity of 900 lb. No.7's Short Bombers continued to raid enemy naval installations throughout the winter of 1916-17, until superseded by Handley Page O/100s when the Squadron moved to Coudekerque in April 1917.
  Early in 1916 15 Short Bombers (together with 20 Sopwith 1 1/2 Strutter bombers) were reserved for the initial equipment of the new RNAS bombing unit known as No.3 Wing, based at Luxeuil in the Nancy area, but ambitious plans for raids on German industry were seriously hampered by the need to transfer aircraft to the hard-pressed RFC, at the request of Gen Trenchard. It is not known to what extent the Shorts eventually participated in the NO.3 Wing raids which began on 12 October 1916.

  No.7 Squadron of No.5 Wing, RNAS. Coudekerque. and No.3 Wing, RNAS, Luxeuil.

  Description: Two-seat long-range bomber. Wooden structure, fabric covered.
  Manufacturers: Short Bros, Rochester. Sub-contracted by Mann, Egerton & Co Ltd of Norwich; Parnall & Sons Ltd of Bristol; the Phoenix Dynamo Manufacturing Co Ltd of Bradford, and the Sunbeam Motor Car Co Ltd of Wolverhampton.
  Power Plant: One 225 hp Sunbeam or 250 hp Rolls-Royce Eagle.
  Dimensions: Span, 85 ft. Length, 45 ft. Height, 15 ft. Wing area, 870 sq ft.
  Weight: Loaded, 6,800 lb.
  Performance: Maximum speed, 77 1/2 mph at 6,500 ft. Climb, 45 min to 10,000 ft. Endurance, 6 hr. Service ceiling, 9,500 ft.
  Armament: One free-mounted Lewis gun in rear cockpit. Bomb-load of four 230 lb or eight 112 lb bombs on racks below wings.
Short Type 184 Seaplane

  In any history of the development of British naval aviation the Short Type 184 must occupy an honoured place. It was to the First World War what the Swordfish became in the Second World War; both types made history as torpedo-carrying aircraft and earned reputations in every theatre of war for solid reliability. More than 900 Short Type 184 seaplanes were built for the RNAS. They served at practically every coastal air station round Great Britain, as well as in the Mediterranean, the Aegean, the Red Sea, in Mesopotamia and on the French coast. The most important fact about the Short Type 184, however, is that it was the first aircraft in the world to sink an enemy ship at sea by means of a torpedo attack. It was also the only aircraft to play an active part in the Battle of Jutland.
  As was the case with a number of key types of British naval aircraft, the Short Type 184 owed its existence to the fertile brain of Commodore Murray F Sueter (later Rear-Adm Sir Murray Sueter), who was Director of the Air Department of the Admiralty in the formative years of the RNAS. Commodore Sueter, from the earliest days a keen advocate of the torpedo as a RNAS weapon, had had his hand strengthened by the success of the experiment, on 28 July 1914, when a 14-in Whitehead torpedo of 810 lb had been dropped from a Short seaplane with 160 hp Gnome engine. With the outbreak of war, Commodore Sueter pressed his theories about the value of a powerful torpedo-carrying seaplane, and talked over his plans with Shorts. The outcome, early in 1915, was the Short Type 184. It took its designation from the curious Admiralty custom of those days whereby types were referred to by the number allocated to the first aircraft. Later, the type became known in general service by the more colloquial '225', which was the horse-power of the engine, though more powerful engines were subsequently fitted.
  Some of the first Short 184s delivered to the RNAS (including the original No.184) went aboard the seaplane carrier Ben-my-Chree to serve in the Dardanelles campaign from June 1915. Within a few weeks it seemed that the optimism about the torpedo had been justified, for, on 12 August, FICdr C H K Edmonds made his historic flight, during which he sank an enemy ship. Flying from the Gulf of Xeros, he spotted a 5,000-ton Turkish merchant vessel, glided down from 800 ft to 15 ft, and launched his Whitehead torpedo at a range of 300 yards, striking the ship abreast the mainmast. On 17 August FlCdr Edmonds took his Short seaplane out again and repeated his success; his torpedo hit one of three steamers making for Ak Bashi Liman. The steamer was set on fire and had to be towed back to Constantinople, a burnt-out hulk. Meanwhile, FlLt G B Dacre in another Short 184 had succeeded in sinking a large steam tug whilst taxying on the water after a forced alighting due to engine failure. Afterwards he coaxed his Short into the air again under heavy Turkish fire.
  These early successes with air-launched torpedoes were not to be repeated, but the Shorts from Ben-my-Chree were far from inactive. They performed a vital reconnaissance function, spotting for a naval monitor which shelled enemy transports, and bombing Turkish harbours. On 8 November 1915 Short seaplanes bombed the railway bridge over the River Maritza, and they were still hammering away at enemy communications as late as 27 August 1916, when Cdr C R Samson (who had taken over command of Ben-my-Chree the previous May) led a raid on Chikaldir Bridge, with FICdr England and Lt Clemson in the other Shorts. As Cdr Samson recalls in his book Fights and Flights, these raids were not without their difficulties; engines gave a lot of trouble due to overheating, as the coolant water boiled readily in the hot climate.
  In February 1916 five Short 184s were sent to Mesopotamia, where they operated from the River Tigris. During the seige of Kut they dropped supplies to the garrison, each seaplane carrying about 250 lb of food.
  In home waters Short 184s did a vast amount of routine anti-submarine patrol, and on one occasion (9 November 1916) even participated in a night-bombing raid on Ostend and Zeebrugge. For these operations they flew from coastal air stations, but they were also embarked in seaplane carriers, and it was one of these latter aircraft that achieved immortality in the Battle of Jutland. The Short 184 in question (No.8359, a Westland-built aircraft) was serving in Engadine and operating with the Battle Cruiser Fleet under Sir David Beatty. Piloted by FILt F J Rutland (who later pioneered the flying of Pups from gun-turret launching platforms), and with Assistant Paymaster G S Trewin as observer, the Short took off just after 3 p.m. on 31 May 1916. Within 40 min it had reported the presence and course of three enemy cruisers and ten destroyers. To make this observation, the Short had to fly low, under enemy gun-fire, as the clouds were at 900 ft and the visibility was poor. Continued bad weather made further air activity impracticable during the Battle of Jutland, and Engadine returned to Rosyth on 2 June. Limited as it was, the reconnaissance of 31 May was a milestone in naval air warfare equal in significance to the torpedo attack of the previous August.
  The Short 184 was progressively improved throughout its career, some of the changes being introduced by the sub-contracting firms, of which there were many. In 1915, after only 12 Short 184s had been completed by the parent company, contracts were issued to S E Saunders Ltd, Mann, Egerton & Co Ltd, Westland, the Phoenix Dynamo Company and Frederick Sage & Co Ltd. Some of these firms had never previously built aircraft; nevertheless the first sub-contracted aircraft (from Sage) was ready in September 1915, and was followed by deliveries from Mann, Egerton in November 1915 and from Westlands and Phoenix early in 1916. Meanwhile the type continued in production at Shorts, and still more contractors were brought in later. As mentioned earlier, total production reached over 900, of which more than 300 were still in service in October 1918.
  The power of the Short 184 was progressively increased from the 225 hp of the original Sunbeam to the 275 hp of the Sunbeam Maori III. This latter engine was fitted in some late production models, which could be distinguished by their twin exhaust stacks. Other standard installations were the 240 hp Sunbeam, the 240 hp Renault and the 260 hp Sunbeam.
  The late production 260 hp Short became known as the Dover type; it differed from its fore-runners in having a car-type radiator immediately behind the airscrew and dispensed with the ugly box-type radiator above or at the sides of the engine which had characterised other Short 184s. Most of the later Short 184s had a bomb-beam below the fuselage, between the float struts, and a Scarff ring for the observer in the aft cockpit.
  By late 1918 the 184s were being steadily replaced in the Grand Fleet at sea by Fairey Campania seaplanes and at shore stations by the Fairey IIIB, but they continued to form the sole equipment of Nos.235, 237 and 239 Squadrons based at Newlyn, Cattewater and Torquay. The 184 saw only brief post-war service and was mostly withdrawn during 1919. The last Short 184s in service were most probably those with No.202 Squadron at Alexandria which were retained until May 1921.
  It is interesting to note that the unique historic remains of Short 184 No.8359 (built by Westlands), which served from the seaplane-carrier Engadine at the Battle of Jutland arrived on public display at the FAA Museum at Yeovilton on 27 January 1976.

  Seaplane carriers: Embarked in Anne, Bell-my-Chree, Campania, Cily of Oxford, Empress, Engadine, Furious, Nairana, Pegasus, Raven n, Riviera and Vindex. Units at RNAS coastal air stations re-designated after formation of RAF as follows:- No.202 Squadron (Alexandria), No.219 Squadron (Westgate), No.229 Squadron (Great Yarmouth), No.233 Squadron (Dover), No.234 Squadron (Tresco), No.235 Squadron (Newlyn), NO.237 Squadron (Cattewater), NO.238 Squadron (Cattewater), NO.239 Squadron (Torquay), No.240 Squadron (Calshot), No.241 Squadron (Portland), No.242 Squadron (Newhaven). No.243 Squadron (Cherbourg), No.245 Squadron (Fishguard), No.246 Squadron (Seaton Carew), No.248 Squadron (Hornsea), No.249 Squadron (Dundee), No.253 Squadron (Bembridge), No.263 Squadron (Otranto), No.264 Squadron (Suda Bay), No.266 Squadron (Mudros and Petrovsk), No.267 Squadron (Kalafrana), No.286 Squadron (Kalafrana), NO.269 Squadron (Port Said), NO.270 Squadron (Alexandria) and No.271 Squadron (Taranto).

  Description: Two-seat reconnaissance, bombing and torpedo-carrying seaplane. Wooden structure, fabric covered.
  Manufacturers: Short Bros, Rochester, Kent (Nos.184, 185,841 to 850,8031 to 8105, N1080 to 1099, N1580 to 1589). Sub-contracted by Brush Electrical Engineering Co Ltd, Loughborough (N1660 to 1689, N2630 to 2659, N2790 to 2819, N9060 to 9099 and N9260 to 9289); Mann, Egerton & Co Ltd, Norwich (Nos.8344 to 8355); Phoenix Dynamo Manufacturing Co Ltd, Bradford (Nos.8368 to 8379, N1630 to 1659 and N1740 to 1759); Robey & Co Ltd, Lincoln (Nos.9041 to 9060, N1220 to 1229, N1260 to 1279, N1820 to 1839, N2900 to 2949, N9000 to 9059 and N9290 to 9317); Frederick Sage & Co Ltd, Peterborough (Nos.8380 to 8391,9065 to 9084, N1130 to 1139, N1230 to 1239, N1590 to 1599 and N1780 to 1799); S E Saunders Ltd, Isle of Wight (Nos.800l to 8030, N1140 to 1149, N1600 to 1624 and N1760 to 1774); Supermarine Aviation Works Ltd, Southampton (N9170' to 9199); Westland Aircraft Works, Yeovil (Nos.8356 to 8367) and J Samuel White & Co Ltd, Isle of Wight (N1240 to 1259, N2950 to 2999 and N9100 to 9139).
  Power Plant: One 225 hp or 240 hp or 260 hp Sunbeam; 240 hp Renault or 275 hp Sunbeam Maori III.
  Dimensions: Span, 63 ft 6 1/4 in. Length, 40 ft 7 1/2 in. Height, 13 ft 6 in. Wing area, 688 sq ft.
  Weights (with 260 hp Sunbeam): Empty, 3,703 lb. Loaded, 5,363 lb.
  Performance (with 260 hp Sunbeam): Maximum speed, 88 1/2 mph at 2,000 ft; 84 mph at 6,500 ft. Climb, 8 min 35 sec to 2,000 ft; 33 min 50 sec to 6,500 ft. Endurance, 2 3/4 hr. Service ceiling, 9,000 ft.
  Armament One free-mounted Lewis machine-gun aft and provision for one 14-in torpedo or various loads of bombs up to a maximum of 520 lb.
Short Type 184 (N 1091) with 240 hp Renault. built by Short Brothers.
Short Improved 184 (N 1631) with 260 hp Sunbeam, built by Phoenix.
Short 320 Seaplane

  The Short 320 was the last of many types of Short seaplane to enter service during the First World War. It was also the largest, since it was designed to combine long range with weight-lifting capacity to carry the new Mk.IX 18-in torpedo of 1,000 lb.
  The designation of the Short 320 derived from its 320 hp Sunbeam Cossack engine, though the original version had a Sunbeam of only 310 hp. The prototypes (Nos.8317 and 8318) made their first flights in 1916 and were followed by 75 production aircraft from Shorts and 45 from Sunbeam. At this time the Admiralty was giving increasing attention to the claims of the Mediterranean, where U-boats based in the Adriatic called for more air patrols. As an immediate step, six Short 225s were transferred from Dundee air station to this theatre, and plans were finalised for attacks by torpedo-carrying seaplanes on the Austrian fleet at Pola. It was decided that the new Otranto base should have 12 Short 320s on its strength when these became available and two more were to be established at a torpedo school based in Malta.
  The first attack by the Italian-based Short 320s was launched on 2 September 1917, when six aircraft, carrying their 18-in torpedoes, were towed by motor launches to a point 50 miles south of Traste Bay, where they were to take off for a raid on submarines lying off Cattaro. The operation proved abortive; by a great misfortune it was robbed of success by gales and heavy seas which sprang up on 3 September.
  For some unexplained reason, no further attacks of this kind were made, though a series of experiments with torpedo drops at Calshot in February 1918 proved very successful. By 31 March 1918 the RNAS had received 110 Short 320s and when the war ended there were 50 still in service: 30 of these were in the Mediterranean. Thereafter, with more interest being shown in the carrier-borne landplane for torpedo work, the Short 320 soon disappeared from the scene. Some of the last remained with No.268 Squadron, which served at Malta until disbanded in October 1919.

  RNAS coastal air stations which, following the formation of the RAF, were designated No.229 Squadron (Great Yarmouth), No.240 Squadron (Calshot), No.248 Squadron (Hornsea). No.263 Squadron (Otranto), No.264 Squadron (Suda Bay), No.266 Squadron (Mudros), No.268 (Malta) and No.269 Squadron (Kalafrana).

  Description: Two-seat anti-submarine patrol or single-seat torpedo-carrying seaplane. Wooden structure, fabric covered.
  Manufacturers: Short Bros (serialled N1300-1319, N1390-1409 and N1480-1504) and Sunbeam (serialled N1360-1389, N1690-1696 and N1702-1709).
  Power Plant: One 310 hp or 320 hp Sunbeam Cossack.
  Dimensions: Span, 75 ft. Length, 45 ft 9 in. Height, 17 ft 6 in. Wing area, 810 sq ft.
  Weights (with torpedo): Empty, 4,933 lb. Loaded, 7,014 lb.
  Performance (with torpedo): Maximum speed, 72 1/2 mph at 1,200 ft. Climb, 12 min to 2,000 ft. Service ceiling, 3,000 ft.
  Armament: One free-mounted Lewis machine-gun above front cockpit level with wing. One 18-in torpedo or two 230 lb bombs below the fuselage.
Short Type 320 (N1498) built by Short Brothers.

  The Bat Boat, which first appeared in 1913, was the first flying-boat to be built in Great Britain. It entered service with the Naval Wing (No.38) and a second (No.118) took part in the Royal Naval Review of July 1914. On the outbreak of war it was used on sea patrols from Scapa Flow until November 1914. One 100 hp Green engine as illustrated. Later fitted with a 90 hp Austro-Daimler engine. Loaded weight, 1,700 lb. Maximum speed, 65 mph. Span, 41 ft. Length, 32 ft.

  Three seaplanes of this type were delivered to the Naval Wing of the RFC, beginning with No.58 in July 1913. The others were numbered 59 and 60. They were used at Cromarty and Great Yarmouth seaplane stations and one participated in the Naval Manoeuvres of 1913. The engine was a 100 hp Anzani radial.
Sopwith Tabloid

  The Tabloid was one of the most outstanding aircraft produced in Great Britain before the outbreak of war in 1914. By the standards of those days, its top speed of over 90 mph and its climb of 1,200 ft per min were remarkable, and it caused a sensation when demonstrated in public for the first time by Harry Hawker, at Hendon on 29 November 1913. The prototype seated two, side-by-side, but subsequent Tabloids were single-seaters, including the seaplane flown to victory in the 1914 Schneider Trophy contest by Howard Pixton.
  The military potential of the Tabloid was immediately apparent and production for the Naval and Military Wings of the RFC began early in 1914. By October 1914 the RNAS possessed only three Tabloids, yet in that month the type struck a telling blow at the enemy. On the 8th Sqn Cdr Spenser Gray and FlLt R L G Marix took off from Antwerp, then under bombardment by the enemy, in Tabloids Nos.167 and 168 to bomb Zeppelin sheds at Cologne and Dusseldorf. Mist prevented Spenser Gray from finding his target, so he bombed Cologne railway station, but Marix's success was complete. He dived on the sheds at Dusseldorf and bombed from 600 ft. Within 30 seconds flames had risen to 500 ft; the new Zeppelin ZIX had been destroyed, the first to fall a victim to a British aircraft.
  Between October 1914 and June 1915, a further 36 Tabloids were built and delivered to the RFC and RNAS. The naval Tabloids served with Wg Cdr Samson's Eastchurch squadron in Belgium, as already mentioned, and later with Samson's No.3 Squadron, RNAS, in the Dardanelles campaign. Others served aboard the seaplane-carrier Ark Royal in the same campaign, and at least one Tabloid was on the strength of the RNAS station at Great Yarmouth.
  RNAS Tabloids received the serial numbers 167, 168, 169,326,362,378,386, 387,392,394 and 1201 to 1213.

  Description: Single-seat scouting and bombing aircraft. Wooden structure, fabric covered.
  Manufacturers: Sopwith Aviation Co Ltd, Kingston-on-Thames.
  Power Plant: One 100 hp Gnome Monosoupape.
  Dimensions: Span, 25 ft 6 in. Length, 20 ft 4 in. Height, 8 ft 5 in. Wing area, 241 sq ft.
  Weights: Empty, 730 lb. Loaded, 1.120 lb.
  Performance: Maximum speed, 92 mph at sea level. Climb, 1 min to 1.200 ft. Endurance, 3 1/2 hr.
  Armament: One Lewis machine-gun mounted on the centre section or at the side of the fuselage. A small load of 20 lb bombs could be carried.
Tabloid number 326 was flown briefly by No 4 Squadron Royal Flying Corps. This Tabloid is unarmed and is used in the reconnaissance role
Sopwith Tabloid

  This biplane, which seated two passengers side-by-side in the front cockpit and the pilot in the rear cockpit, appeared at the same time as the Bat Boat in 1913. It was adopted by both the Naval and Military Wings of the RFC, and on the outbreak of war in 1914 the RNAS had two, Nos.l03 and 104. They flew from Eastchurch and Calshot and on patrols from Scapa Flow. One 80 hp Gnome engine. Loaded weight, 1.550 lb. Span, 40 ft. Length, 29 ft.

  Officially known as the Two-seater Scout, this aeroplane was more or less a landplane version of the Type 807 and at least 24 were delivered to the RNAS, being employed on anti-Zeppelin patrols from Hendon, Great Yarmouth and Killingholme. Armament was rudimentary and usually consisted of grenades, pistols or rifles. They enjoyed little success and were mostly withdrawn by the end of 1915. Serial numbers allocated were Nos.1051 to 1074 and No.1064 is illustrated. One 100 hp Gnome Monosoupape engine. Maximum speed, 69 mph. Service ceiling, 3.000 ft. Span, 36 ft.

  The Type 807, based on the earlier 'Round Britain' Contest seaplane, was first supplied to the RNAS in July 1914 and it incorporated the folding wings first patented in the Short Folders. At least 15 Sopwith 807s entered service and operated both at home (at Calshot and Great Yarmouth) and overseas (in the Dardanelles and East Africa). Some were carried in the seaplane-carrier Ark Royal. One 100 hp Gnome Monosoupape engine. Maximum speed, 80 mph.
Designed for reconnaissance duties, the two-seat Sopwith Admiralty Type 807 seaplane emerged in 1914. Powered by a 100hp Gnome Monosoupape, the machine had a top level speed of 80mph at sea level. Serial no 807, seen here, was the first of these aircraft delivered to the RNAS, their serial nos being 807-810 and 919-926. Both 920 and 921 arrived in East Africa on 21 February 1915, where despite being adversely affected by the climate, they played a part in the ultimate destruction of the German cruiser, Konigsberg, on 11 July 1915.

  This two-seat pusher biplane first appeared in 1913 as a seaplane trainer for the Greek Naval Air Service. Six further Gun Buses ordered by Greece were taken over by the Admiralty in 1914 and fitted with landplane undercarriages. Serial numbers allotted were No.801 to 806. These aircraft carried a machine-gun in the front cockpit and were fitted with a 100 hp Gnome Monosoupape engine. They were used mainly for training at Hendon. Later examples were also built, as illustrated, with a 150 hp Sunbeam engine and a modified nacelle. Maximum speed, 80 mph. Span, 50 ft. Length, 32 ft 6 in.
Sopwith Schneider

  The Schneider was so named because it was directly descended from the Sopwith Tabloid seaplane which had been used by Mr Howard Pixton to win the Schneider Trophy contest for Great Britain at Monaco on 20 April 1914. The little Tabloid performed magnificently; its average speed was over 86 mph, and in an extra two laps after finishing the race Pixton reached 92 mph, which was then a world's record for seaplanes.
  It was natural that with the outbreak of war the RNAS should adopt this fine seaplane, and production began in November 1914 with an order for 12 aircraft, Nos.1436 to 1447. The early RNAS Schneider differed little from Pixton's Tabloid. The same 100 hp Monosoupape Gnome engine was used, housed-in a curious bull-nosed cowling which became a characteristic feature of the Schneider and in fact distinguished the type from the later Baby. Early aircraft had a triangular fin and employed wing-warping; later an enlarged, curved fin and normal ailerons were introduced, as in the three-view drawing. Subsequent orders were for 24 Schneiders (Nos.1556 to 1579) and 100 (Nos.3707 to 3806), and the final production total was 160, five of which remained in commission in March 1918.
  During 1915 repeated attempts were made to use Schneiders to intercept Zeppelins over the North Sea. The seaplanes were carried in light cruisers, paddle-steamers such as Killingholme and Brocklesby, and in the seaplane-carriers Ben-my-Chree and Engadine. Scant success attended these sorties; frequently the seaplanes could not take off due to heavy seas, or the floats broke up in the water. A remedy was sought by fitting two-wheeled dollies beneath the floats, enabling the Schneiders to operate from the short flying-off deck of carriers so equipped. The first successful take-off using this device was from Campania on 6 August 1915. The Schneider was flown by FlLt W L Welsh. On 26 March 1916 a Schneider bombed aircraft sheds at Sylt and, on 6 May, the Zeppelin sheds at Tondem.
  Overseas, Schneiders did an immense amount of useful work, both reconnaissance and righting. in the eastern Mediterranean and the Red Sea. They saw service in the Dardanelles campaign, flying from Ark Royal, and as late as 21 November 1916 a Schneider, flown by FlSub Lt A F Brandon, shot down an enemy aircraft over Mudros.

  RNAS coaslal air stations at Calshot, Dundee, Dunkirk, Felixstowe, Fishguard, Great Yarmouth, Killingholme, Scapa Flow and Westgate. Seaplane carriers: Anne, Ark Royal, Ben-My-Chree, Campania, Empress, Engadille, and Raven II. RNAS stations in Aegean, Egypt and Mediterranean. Also used experimentally aboard submarine E.22.

  Description: Single-seat scouting seaplane. Wooden structure, fabric covered.
  Manufacturers: Sopwith Aviation Co Ltd, Kingston-on-Thames.
  Power Plant: One 100 hp Gnome Monosoupape.
  Dimensions: Span, 25 ft 8 in. Length, 22 ft 10 in. Height, 10 ft. Wing area, 240 sq ft.
  Weights: Empty. 1,220 lb. Loaded, 1,700 lb.
  Performance: Maximum speed, 87 mph. Climb, 15 min to 6,500 ft and 30 min to 10,000 ft. Service ceiling, 8,000 ft.
  Armament: One Lewis machine-gun firing through aperture in centre section and provision for one 65 lb bomb below fuselage.

Sopwith Baby

  The Sopwith Baby was a development of the Schneider, from which it differed in having the more powerful 110 hp Clerget engine in place of the Gnome Monosoupape, the hull-nosed cowling of the earlier aircraft being replaced by an open-fronted cowling of more orthodox pattern. Another improvement was the installation of a synchronised Lewis gun above the fuselage, though some Babies retained the original type of gun-mounting with the Lewis inclined upwards through the top wing. The first batch of 100 Babies (Nos.8118 to 8217) were built by Sopwith and delivered between September 1915 and July 1916. The first five aircraft of this batched retained the 100 hp Gnome engine, as did No.8199. The rest had the 110 hp Clerget, and this engine was retained when Baby production was transferred to the Blackburn Company.
  The first Blackburn Baby (N300) was followed by 70 production aircraft with 110 hp Clerget engines (N1010 to 1039, N1060 to 1069 and N1100 to 1129) and 115 with the 130 hp Clerget engine (N1410 to 1449 and N2060 to 2134). It had originally been planned to fit the Bentley A. R. I from N 1410, but these engines were not available in time. The first hatch of 130 hp Babies differed from the others in having Ranken anti-Zeppelin darts fitted instead of a machine-gun.
  In the same way as the Schneiders, Babies operated from seaplane-carriers in the North Sea and in the Mediterranean. They also flew on fighter patrols from Dunkirk until superseded by Sopwith Pups in July 1917. In the various Middle East campaigns. Babies were frequently used in bombing raids. Ben-my-Chree's Babies attacked the Chikaldir railway bridge in December 1916, and. in November, those from the carrier Empress took part in the Palestine fighting. Bombing raids on Zeppelin bases from home waters were less successful. In an attack on the Tondern airship base from the carriers Engadine and Vindex on 4 May 1916 only one out of 11 Babies succeeded in bombing the target.

  RNAS coastal air stations at Calshot, Dundee, Dunkirk, Felixstowe, Fishguard Great Yarmouth, Killingholme, Scapa Flow and Westgate. Seaplane carriers Ben-My-Chree, Campania, City of Oxford, Empress, Engadine, Furious, Manxman, Peony, Raven II, Riviera and Vindex. RNAS stations at Alexandria, Otranto, Port Said, Santa Maria di Leuca, Suda Bay and Thasos. After April 1918, with Nos.219, 229, 246, 248, 249, 263 and 270 Squadrons.

  Description: Single-seat scouting and bombing seaplane. Wooden structure. fabric covered.
  Manufacturers: Sopwith Aviation Co Ltd. Kingston-on-Thames. Sub-contracted by the Blackburn Aeroplane & Motor Co Ltd. Leeds.
  Power Plant: One 110 hp or 130 hp Clerget.
  Dimensions: Span. 25 ft 8 in. Length. 23ft. Height, 10 ft. Wing area, 240 sq ft.
  Weights (with 130 hp C1erget): Empty, 1,226 lb. Loaded, 1.715 lb.
  Performance (with 130 hp C1erget): Maximum speed. 100 mph at sea level. Climb, 35 min to 10.000 ft. Endurance, 2 1/4 hr.
  Armament: One Lewis machine-gun and provision for two 65 lb bombs. Ranken darts replaced the Lewis gun on some aircraft.
Baby (N2071) of No.229 Squadron, Great Yarmouth.

  Also known as the Tweenie and the Churchill, this two-seat side-by-side biplane was fitted with dual control and used for training by the Naval Wing of the RFC in 1913-14 at Hendon and Eastchurch. It was fitted first with an 80 hp and later a 100 hp Gnome engine and had the official serial number 149. The photograph shows the Tweenie at Hendon, where it was flown extensively by Lt Spenser Grey, RN.

  Used by the RNAS on patrols in home waters during 1915 and 1916, the Type 860 was designed to carry an 810 lb 14 in torpedo. Twenty-four were delivered to the RNAS, numbered 851 to 860, 880, 897 to 899 and 927 to 938. The engine was a 225 hp Sunbeam or 220 hp Canton-Unne.
Sopwith Admiralty Type 860.
Sopwith 1 1/2 Strutter

  The claims of the Sopwith 1 1/2 Strutter to historical fame are many. It was, of course, the first of the Sopwith breed to achieve widespread use as a fighting aeroplane and hence the precursor of a justly renowned series. In addition to this it was the first British aeroplane to enter service already equipped with a synchronising gear, enabling the fixed front gun to fire between the revolving blades of the airscrew, and also the first two-seater which gave the pilot a chance to use his gun effectively as well as the observer. It thus established what came to be a classic formula, that of the two-seat fighter, later exemplified in the Bristol Fighter and the Hawker Demon.
  Nor did the 1 1/2 Strutter's pioneering tendencies end here. In 1916, with the 3rd Wing of the RNAS at Luxeuil. 1 1/2 Strutters became the first British aircraft ever to take part in bombing raids of an avowedly strategic nature, attacking German industrial centres and providing, as it were, a prelude to the heavier blows struck later by the squadrons of the RAF's Independent Force. Finally, in the sphere of shipboard flying, it was a 1 1/2 Strutter that became the first two-seater to take off from a British warship, in April 1918.
  The Admiralty had from the earliest beginnings of the RNAS shown interest in the products of the Sopwith Company, and it was therefore only logical that the 1 1/2 Strutter should be first ordered for naval service, though it later entered the RFC as well. The prototype (No.3686) was completed at the end of 1915, and first deliveries of RNAS Strutters began early in 1916, against an Admiralty contract for 150. Some of the first to enter service equipped part of No.5 Wing at Coudekerque in April 1916. NO.5 Wing was formed in March 1916 for long-range bombing duties and was equipped primarily with Caudrons and Farmans. The 1 1/2 Strutters were able to provide a welcome escort, as well as operating in the bombing role themselves. As related in the narrative on the Caudron G.4, a 1 1/2 Strutter was on 2 August 1916 used to control a No.5 Wing bombing formation by firing Very lights, a sort of forerunner of the master bomber technique of the Second World War. A few days later, on 9 August, two of NO.5 Wing's 1 1/2 Strutters flown by F/Sub-Lts R H Collet and D E Harkness made bombing attacks on the Zeppelin sheds at Evere and Berchem Ste Agathe; another attack followed on 25 August, this time on the sheds at Cognelee. Subsequently the 1 1/2 Strutters of No.5 Wing participated in many important raids on enemy aerodromes and ammunition dumps, as well as naval targets such as U-boat bases and the Tirpitz battery.
  Meanwhile, plans for the establishment of NO.3 Wing. RNAS (which was to have received 20 1 1/2 Strutters by 1 July 1916). had been delayed due to the Admiralty's agreement to forgo its Strutters in favour of the RFC, which was desperately short of aircraft with which to fight the Battle of the Somme. Eventually No.3 Wing's 1 1/2 Strutters started their raids in October 1916 and, though severely hampered by winter weather conditions, bombed industrial targets at Hagendingen, Oberndorf, Dillingen and other towns in the Saar where the Admiralty believed steel for U-boats was being manufactured in large quantities. It is interesting to note that No.3 Wing's base at Luxeuil was close to Belfort. from whence the RNAS Avros had taken off in November 1914 to raid Friedrichshafen.
  Two distinct versions of the 1 1/2 Strutter were supplied to the RNAS, where the type was officially known as the Sopwith Type 9700. As well as the normal two-seater, the RNAS used a single-seat bomber without the rear cockpit, with provision for 12 bombs stowed internally. It is recorded that, of some 550 1 1/2 Strutters supplied to the RNAS, about 420 were two-seaters and the remainder single-seaters.
  Although by 1917 the 1 1/2 Strutter was outclassed as a fighting aircraft on the Western Front, it continued to give extensive service with the RNAS in other theatres of war. The RNAS was, in fact, the only service to operate the type outside France. In Macedonia, particularly, the naval Strutters saw a lot of action in bombing raids between April and September 1917, when they hit targets such as aerodromes, ammunition dumps and railway communications behind the enemy lines on the Struma.
  The Sopwith 1 1/2 Strutter's versatility extended also to anti-submarine patrols, both in home waters and in the Mediterranean area. The home-based patrols started in April 1917 and those in the Mediterranean in June 1917. On 17 September 1917 a 1 1/2 Strutter based at Otranto claimed the sinking of a U-boat by attacking it with a 65 lb delayed-action bomb.
  At the Armistice some 170 Sopwith 1 1/2 Strutters remained in service with the RAF and nearly 40 of these were at sea with the Grand Fleet. Indeed, when, in March 1918, HMS Furious was made the flagship of the Flying Squadron of the Grand Fleet her complement included 14 1 1/2 Strutters. For deck flying the life Strutter was used both with the normal wheeled undercarriage and with a special skid undercarriage first developed in trials at the Isle of Grain: the latter version usually had a hydrovane mounted at the front end of the skids to prevent the aircraft nosing over if forced into the sea. This device. as well as the inflatable air-bags located either side of the engine nacelle, remained a feature of naval aircraft until about 1923, when flotation equipment was mounted inside the rear fuselage instead.
  Numerous experiments in deck-flying were made with 1 1/2 Strutters. One aircraft (N5601) fitted with skids was flown off a railed deck aboard HMS Vindex, and the first successful landing aboard HMS Argus using the early form of deck arrester gear was made by Wg Cdr Bell-Davies, Vc, in F2211 on 1 October 1918. A further development of 1918 was the introduction of 1 1/2 Strutters for two-seat reconnaissance duties aboard capital ships. This involved flying off a short platform mounted above the forward gun turret and became standard practice aboard battle cruisers after the first successful take-off had been achieved from the Australian warship HMAS Australia by Capt F M Fox on 4 April 1918, carrying an observer and full wireless equipment.

  Nos.2, 4, 5, 7 and 8 Squadrons, RNAS (Western Front); Maccdonian units: 'A' Squadron (Thasos). 'B' Squadron (later No.23 (Naval)) (Mitylene). 'C' Squadron (later No.20 (Naval)) (Imbros and Mudros). 'D' Squadron (Stavros). 'E' Squadron (Hadzi Junas). 'F' Squadron (Amberkoj). 'G' Squadron (Mudros) and 'Z' Squadron (Thasos). NO.225 Squadron (Italy). RNAS coastal air stations at Dover, Great Yarmouth, Mullion, Otranto, Pembroke and Prawle Point. RNAS training schools at Cranwell and Manston. Aircraft-carriers: Argus and Furious. Battleships: Australia, Barham. Courageous, Glorious, Indomitable, Inflexible, Malaya, Queen Elizabeth, Renown, Repulse, Valiant, and Warspite. Seaplane carriers: Campania, Vindex and Vindictive.

  Description: Single-seat bomber, or two-seat bomber, fighting and reconnaissance aircraft for shore-based or carrier-borne operations. Wooden structure, fabric covered.
  Manufacturers: Sopwith Aviation Co Ltd, Kingston-on-Thames (Nos.9376 to 9425, 9651 to 9750, 9892 to 9897, N5080 to 5179, and N5500 to 5537) Sub-contracted by: Mann, Egerton & Co Ltd, Norwich (N5200 to 5219, N5220 to 5249 and N5630 to 5654) and Westland Aircraft. Yeovi1 (N5600 to 5624). Also 70 French-built 11/2 Strutters converted for ship-board flying in 1918 and serialled F2210-2229 and F7547-7596.
  Power Plant: One 110 hp or 130 hp Clerget.
  Dimensions: Span, 33 ft 6 in. Length, 25 ft 3 in. Height. 10 ft 3 in. Wing area, 346 sq ft.
  Weights (two-seater with 110 hp Clerget): Empty, 1,259 lb. Loaded, 2,149 lb. (single-seater with 130 hp C1erget): Empty, 1,316 lb.
  Performance (two-seater with 110 hp Clerget): Maximum speed, 106 mph at sea level; 92 mph at 12,000 ft. Climb, 1 min 20 sec to 1,000 ft; 10 min 50 sec to 6,500 ft; 20 min 25 sec to 1,000 ft. Endurance, 4 1/2 hr. (Single-seater with 130 hp C1erget): Maximum speed, 102 mph at 6,500 ft. Climb, 12 min 40 sec to 6,500 ft; 24 min 35 sec to 10,000 ft. Service ceiling, 13,000 ft.
  Armament (single-seat bomber): One Vickers machine-gun forward and four 65 lb bombs. (Two-seater): One Vickers machine-gun forward and one Lewis machine-gun aft. Two 65 lb bombs for anti-submarine patrol.
An RNAS 1 1/2 Strutter (No.9393) of the Sopwith-built batch 9376 to 9425.
Single-seat Type 9700s of NO.5 Wing. RNAS.
A 1 1/2 Strutter undergoing flotation tests with inflatable air bags.
1 1/2 Strutter takes off from a gun-turret platform.
1 1/2 Strutter (F2211) flies from HMS Argus.
1 1/2 Strullers of No.3 Wing, RNAS.
Sopwith F.I Camel

  The Camel is generally conceded to have been the greatest British fighting scout of the First World War: it destroyed the record total of 1,294 enemy aircraft. The Camels in RNAS service accounted for 386 of these. Its manoeuvrability became a legend and was matched only by that of the Fokker Triplane. The installation of twin Vickers guns contributed to its success; it was the first British fighter to be so equipped.
  Five Camels from the RNAS station at Dunkirk were the first to see action, on 4 July 1917, when they attacked a formation of Gothas returning from a raid over England. By the end of July NO.6 (Naval) Squadron had gone over completely from Nieuports to Camels and Nos.8 and 9 (Naval) Squadrons were also getting Camels in place of Triplanes. All the original F.I Camels for the RNAS had 130 hp C1erget engines; later the 150 hp Bentley B.R.I was substituted, and eventually became the more common installation in naval Camels.
  The exploits of naval Camels fighting over the Western Front rivalled those of their RFC counterparts. In August 1917, for example, a Camel of 'Naval Eight' made one of the first successful night ground-attack sorties by a British fighter and destroyed a kite-balloon shed by gun-fire. The RNAS Camels were for long periods placed at the disposal of the Army and attached to the RFC; at other times they reverted to Naval command and flew fleet patrols to protect the ships of the Belgian Coast Barrage from enemy air attack. From 1 April 1915 the naval Camel squadrons became part of the RAF officially, but they retained their naval identity until their disbandment, for the most part in 1919.
  It fell to a Bentley-powered Camel of No.209 Squadron (formerly No.9 Naval) to take part in one of the most dramatic air fights of the First World War. This historic event was on 21 April 1918, when the celebrated von Richthofen (80 victories) was shot down by Capt A R Brown.
  The F.I Camel was also used in limited numbers by the RNAS in Italy and the Aegean, at coastal air stations in the United Kingdom and at Cranwell, where a two-seat version of the Camel was also flown.

  Clerget-Camel to Nos.6, 8 and 9 (Naval) Squadrons (Western Front) and Bentley-Camel to Nos.l, 3, 4, 8, 9, 10 and 13 (Naval) Squadrons which from April 1918 became Nos.201, 203, 204, 208, 209, 210 and 213 Squadrons, RAF. Also issued as partial equipment of Nos.220 (Imbros), 221 (Stavros), 222 (Thasos and Mudros), 223 (Stavros and Mudros), No.224 (Italy), 225 (Italy), 226 (Italy) and 227 (Italy).

  Description: Single-seat fighting scout. Wooden structure, fabric covered.
  Manufacturers: Sopwith Aviation Co Ltd. Kingston-on-Thames and eight sub-contractors.
  Power Plant: One 130 hp Clerget or 150 hp Bentley B. R.I.
  Dimensions: Span, 28 ft. Length, 18 ft 9 in with Clerget and 18 ft 6 in with B.R.1. Height, 8 ft 6 in. Wing area, 231 sq. ft.
  Weights (with 130 hp Clerget): Empty, 929 lb. Loaded, 1,453 lb.
  Performance (with 130 hp Clerget): Maximum speed, 106 mph at 15,000 ft. Climb, 20 min 40 sec to 15.000 ft. Endurance, 2 1/2 hr. Service ceiling, 19,000 ft.
  Armament: Twin fixed, synchronised Vickers machine-guns and capacity for four 25 lb bombs below wings.
Sopwith F.l. Camels of No.10 (Naval) Squadron seen on the Western Front in 1918.
Sopwith Pup

  Although the Sopwith Pup was used both by the RNAS and the RFC it was, like its immediate predecessor the 1 1/2 Strutter, pioneered in service by naval squadrons on the Western Front. As early as May 1916 a Pup was on trial with Naval 'A' Squadron at Furnes and by the following September was in squadron service with the RNAS, fully three months before the first RFC squadron went into action with Pups.
  The Pup was known officially as the Sopwith Scout and chronologically occupies a position between the 1 1/2 Strutter and Triplane. It had many qualities to recommend it: it was at once a superior fighting aeroplane and a thoroughly delightful flying machine. As a fighting scout it maintained its ascendancy from the autumn of 1916 until about the middle of 1917: it proved more than a match for the German Albatros and earned the respect of even the most skilful enemy pilots. Due largely to its low wing loading, the Pup could hold its height better than any Allied or enemy aircraft of its day and retained its excellent manoeuvrability to an altitude of about 15.000 ft. These qualities are the most remarkable in view of the low power output of the Le Rhone rotary, even by the standards of 1916.
  In keeping with the traditional association of the Sopwith Company and the Admiralty, the Pup prototype (No.3691) which emerged in February 1916, and the five succeeding prototypes (Nos.9496, 9497, 9898, 9899 and 9900), were all delivered to the RNAS. The first production contracts were placed with William Beardmore & Co, and as their first Pup was numbered 9901, the official designation Sopwith Type 9909 was adopted in accordance with the Admiralty custom. Some 175 Pups were built for the Admiralty. The first went to NO.5 Wing, RNAS, on 28 May 1916.
  RNAS Pups first entered service in quantity with No.1 Wing early in September, and by 24 September 1916 had claimed their first victim when F/Sub-Lt. S J Goble shot down an L.V.G. two-seater. At about this period the RFC, which had suffered heavy casualties during the Battle of the Somme, began to look for reinforcements, and on 25 October 1916 the famous No.8 (Naval) Squadron under Sqn Cdr G R Bromet was formed for this purpose. Its equipment at first consisted of six Pups, six Nieuports and six 1 1/2 Strutters; later the Pup was standardised throughout. Naval Eight operated from Vert Galand, and was the first complete RNAS squadron to work with the Army on the Western Front. The squadron operated with the RFC until 7 February 1917, when it was relieved by No.3 (Naval) Squadron, also equipped with Sopwith Pups, and returned to the Dunkirk command. During its three months with the RFC, Naval Eight destroyed 14 enemy aircraft and drove down another 13 out of control. Until re-equipped with Camels in July 1917, No.3 (Naval) Squadron's Pups flew and fought with great distinction, and by the middle of June had accounted for no fewer than 80 enemy aircraft. Such was their renown, in fact, as a fighting unit that enemy pilots frequently avoided combat with them. On returning to naval command in June 1917, No.3 (Naval) Squadron was relieved by No.9 (Naval) Squadron, which was attached to the RFC until 28 September 1917. Very shortly after joining the Army command, No.9 (Naval) exchanged its six Pups and nine Triplanes for Sopwith Camels.
  Meanwhile another RNAS unit, No.4 (Naval) Squadron at Bray Dunes, had been occupied exclusively on naval work. First equipped with Pups in March 1917, No.4 (Naval) Squadron engaged in offensive patrols, escort duties and the protection of naval units from air attack. Their fighting efficiency was just as high as that of the better-publicised Pup squadrons attached to the RFC. On 12 May 1917, for example, seven of No.4 (Naval)'s Pups shot down five Albatros scouts in a dogfight near Zeebrugge with no losses to themselves.
  Another more directly naval use for the Pup was in the protection of merchant shipping and in escorting the slower seaplanes on reconnaissance work. From May 1917 Pups were flown from Walmer for this purpose, and in July 1917 superseded Baby Seaplanes at St Pol. Pups remained with the Seaplane Defence Flight until supplanted by Camels in September 1917; in common with the Walmer Pups, they were provided with airbags to enable them to float if forced down in the sea.
  The brilliance of the Pup's fighting record over the Western Front tends to overshadow its other activities. If this were not so it would probably be best remembered for its equally important r6le in the development of deck-flying in the RNAS. At the beginning of 1916 it was decided to introduce Pups in place of Baby seaplanes aboard seaplane-carriers such as Campania and Manxman which had a short flying-off deck but no provision for landing-on. Until the advent of this scheme, landplanes had never been used from carriers, and the problem at once arose of how to keep the Pup afloat when it alighted alongside its mother ship. This was solved by fitting emergency flotation bags below the lower wings. These were developed after experiments at the Isle of Grain and proved more efficient than the earlier type of air-bag installed inside the rear fuselage.
  Having established itself on the early carriers (which had a flying-off deck about 200 ft long), the Pup was then used to initiate two further developments in naval aviation: namely, the take-off from short platforms mounted above the gun turrets of warships and the successful return to a ship's deck instead of the inconvenient ditching. The Pup was the first aeroplane to achieve either of these feats. The first of them goes to the credit of FICdr F J Rutland, who succeeded in flying a Pup off the 20 ft platform of the light cruiser HMS Yarmouth in June 1917. The second feat was achieved on 2 August 1917 when Sqn Cdr E H Dunning became the first man in history to land an aircraft on the deck of an aircraft-carrier. The experiment took place aboard HMS Furious, and its success was all the more remarkable in view of the fact that at this period the idea of a continuous flying-deck along the full length of a ship was unheard of and Dunning was forced to manoeuvre his Pup round the superstructure and funnels of Furious and somehow contrive to get down on the 228 ft flight-deck mounted forward. This he did with great resource, and with the aid of a deck party who seized rope toggles beneath the wings and fuselage to bring the Pup to rest, as at this period there were no arrester devices either. Sad to relate, this great pioneer was killed a few days later when attempting a third landing aboard Furious.
  Both these successful experiments led rapidly to wider operational uses for the Pup. Many other light cruisers were equipped in the same way as HMS Yarmouth, and the value of the scheme was confirmed on 21 August 1917, when F/Sub-Lt B A Smart, flying 6430, took off from Yarmouth, then cruising off the Danish coast, and shot down the Zeppelin L23 in flames.
  On 1 October 1917 the Pup was flown from a battle cruiser for the first time. when Sqn Cdr F J Rutland took off from a platform aboard HMS Repulse. This marked yet another step forward, for this platform was on a turntable and it enabled the Pups to be launched into wind without the warship diverting from its course: the original platforms had been fixed.
  By this time it was clear that the real future of naval aviation lay with the aircraft-carrier proper, and work went ahead to provide HMS Furious with an aft landing-on deck at the same time that Pups were being used at the Isle of Grain for early experiments with deck-arrester gear. The original scheme (curiously prophetic of the system re-introduced in the nineteen-thirties) was to utilize transverse cables across the deck which would be engaged by a hook dangling below the rear fuselage. This was first tried out on a Pup (No.9497), but did not work out in practice, and the Pups which eventually went aboard HMS Furious in 1918 were fitted with a rigid skid undercarriage in place of wheels. In place of the transverse arrester wires were fore-and-aft wires which engaged 'dog-lead' clips on the Pup's undercarriage. Although aircraft with skids eventually gave way once again to those with wheeled undercarriages, the fore-and-aft arrester wires persisted in aircraft-carriers until finally abandoned in the mid nineteen-twenties. The Pups with skids were re-designated Sopwith Type 9901s by the Admiralty. In mid-1918 10 of these aircraft were serving with aircraft-carriers and there were also 13 other Pups with the Grand Fleet being used for gun-turret platform take-offs from battleships and cruisers.

  No.1 Wing. RNAS. and Nos.2, 3, 4, 8, 9 and 12 (Naval) Squadrons (Western Front); Naval 'A' Squadron (Dunkirk): Naval 'C' Squadron (Imbros); Seaplane Defence Flight (St Pol); RNAS coastal air stations at Dover, Great Yarmouth, Port Victoria and Walmer; RNAS training schools at Cranwell and Mansion. Aircraft-carriers: Argus, Campania, Furious, Manxman and Vindictive. Warships with flying-off platforms: Caledon, Cassandra, Cordelia, Dublin, Repulse, Tiger and Yarmouth.

  Description: Single-seat fighting scout for shore-based or shipboard duties. Wooden structure, fabric covered.
  Manufacturers: Sopwith Aviation Co Ltd. Kingston-on-Thames (Prototypes and N5180 to 5199, N6160 to 6209, N6460 to 6479). Sub-contracted by Wm Beardmore & Co Ltd. Dalmuir, Dumbartonshire (Nos.9898 to 9950 and N6430 to 6459).
  Power Plant: One 80 hp Le Rh6ne.
  Dimensions: Span. 26 ft 6 in. Length, 19 ft 3 3/4 in. Height, 9 ft 5 in. Wing area, 254 sq ft.
  Weights: Empty, 787 lb. Loaded, 1.225 lb.
  Performance: Maximum speed. 105 mph at 5.000 ft: 103 mph at 9,000 ft; 85 mph at 15,000 ft. Climb 6 1/2 min to 5.000 ft; 16 1/2 min to 10,000 ft; 35 min to 16.100 ft. Endurance, 3 hr. Service ceiling, 17.500 ft.
  Armament: One fixed, synchronised Vickers machine-gun forward was standard on Pups used over the Western Front. Those flown from ships had a single Lewis machine-gun firing upwards through the centre section or eight Le Prieur rockets mounted on the interplane struts, or both.
Pup (No.3691) of Naval 'A' Squadron. Dunkirk. May 1916.
A Pup takes off from HMS Yarmouth.
Pup (N6438) lands on Furious in April 1918.
Beardmore-built Pup No.9922 with skids and early arrester gear.
Having acclaimed the Pup's daintiness, it is needful here to pre-empt the question 'Whatever happened?' by explaining that the specimen is that described in the text as Pup with sprung skids and short, underslung, forwardly located arrester hook'.
Sopwith Triplane

  The Sopwith Triplane was one of the great successes of the First World War. Its unusual configuration bestowed such qualities as a remarkable rate of roll and a fast climb, both invaluable in air combat. It was used only by the RNAS, and it gained complete ascendancy over the Western Front during the heavy aerial fighting of 1917.
  In the Sopwith chronology the Triplane bridged the gap between the Pup and the Camel, and the first prototype (N500) did Service trials with Naval 'A' Fighting Squadron at Furnes in June 1916. Production Triplanes entered service with No.1 and 8 (Naval) Squadrons in February 1917 and with No.10 (Naval) Squadron in May. Some remarkable engagements were fought by such redoubtable Triplane pilots as Sqn Cdr C D Booker, DSC, and F/Sub-Lt R A Little, of 'Naval Eight' and F/Sub-Lt Raymond Collishaw of 'Naval Ten'. The Triplanes of Collishaw's 'B' Flight (named Black Death, Black Maria, Black Roger, Black Prince and Black Sheep) became the terror of the enemy: between May and July 1917 they destroyed 87 German aircraft. Collishaw personally accounted for 16 in 27 days and shot down the German ace Allmenroder on 27 June.
  The Triplane's career was glorious but brief. It remained in action for only seven months; in November 1917 the Camel had supplanted it in squadrons. Total deliveries to the RNAS amounted to 149. All production aircraft were built by sub-contractors: 104 from Clayton & Shuttleworth and 43 from Oakley. The last Triplane (N5912), delivered by Oakley Ltd on 19 October 1917, survives in the RAF Museum at Hendon.
  From February 1917 Triplanes had a smaller tailplane of 8 ft span instead of the original Pup-type of 10 ft span. This accompanied the change to a 130 hp engine and improved diving characteristics.

  Nos. 1, 8, 9, 10 and 12 (Naval) Squadrons. Western Front. One aircraft (N5431) used by 'E' Squadron of NO.2 Wing. RNAS. in Macedonia.

  Description: Single-seat fighting scout. Wooden structure, fabric covered.
  Manufacturers: Sopwith Aviation Co Ltd. Kingston-on-Thames. Sub-contracted by Clayton & Shuttleworth Ltd. Lincoln (N533-538, N541-543, N5420-5494 and N6290-6309) and Oakley, Ltd, Ilford (N5350-5389 and N5910-5912).
  Power Plant: One 110 hp or 130 hp Clerget.
  Dimensions: Span. 26 ft 6 in. Length, 18 ft 10 in. Height, 10 ft 6 in. Wing area, 231 sq ft.
  Weights: Empty. 1,101 lb. Loaded. 1,541 lb.
  Performance (with 130 hp Clerget): Maximum speed, 113 mph at 6.500 ft. Climb, 22 min to 16.000 ft. Endurance, 2 3/4 hr. Service ceiling, 20,500 ft.
  Armament: One fixed, synchronised Vickers machine-gun was standard, but a few aircraft had twin Vickers.
Triplane (N6290) of No.8 (Naval) Squadron.
Sopwith 2F.I Ship Camel

  Unlike the F.I Camel. which served both the RNAS and RFC, the 2F.I was designed specifically as a shipboard fighter and, to this end, incorporated a number of features that distinguished it from the earlier Camel. The fuselage was made in two parts, the rear half being detachable just behind the cockpit: this conserved space aboard ship. Another distinguishing feature was the use of steel tubular centre-section struts instead of the wide wooden struts of the F.I.
  The prototype 2F.I Camel (N5) flew in March 1917, and the 230 production aircraft that followed were built by the major sub-contractor Beardmore and six other companies after an initial 50 by Sopwith.
  The main operational function of the 2F.I Camels was to intercept Zeppelins over the North Sea. For this purpose they were carried in numerous warships, where they were flown from platforms mounted above gun turrets in the same way as the Pups they superseded. They were also flown from aircraft-carriers such as Furious. Yet another means of getting the Camels to the scene of operations was from lighters towed by destroyers of Harwich Force; the first successful take-off by this method was achieved by Lt S D Culley on 31 July 1918. A few days afterwards, on 11 August, the same officer shot down the Zeppelin L53 whilst flying from a lighter in Camel N6812. It was the last Zeppelin to be destroyed in air combat.
  Another method of attacking Zeppelins was to bomb them in their sheds - a technique much favoured by the RNAS from the earliest days of the war. In June 1918 a specially trained force of 2F.I Camels joined Furious for an audacious strike on the airship sheds at Tondem. Escorted by the First Light Cruiser Squadron. Furious flew off seven Camels on 19 July 1918. Six of the Camels, each carrying two 50 lb bombs, succeeded in reaching Tondem and the Zeppelins L54 and L60 were destroyed.
  By October 1918 there were 129 2F.1 Camels in service and 112 were carried in ships of the Grand Fleet. Camels aboard Argus took part in some of the earliest experiments with deck-arrester gear in 1919.

  Carriers: Argus, Furious, Manxman, Pegasus and Vindictive. Turret platform launch from 47 battleships, battle cruisers and cruisers. RNAS shore stations: Cranwell, Dover (No.233 Squadron), East Fortune, Felixstowe (No.230 Squadron), Great Yarmouth (Nos.212 and 273 Squadrons), Isle of Grain, Leuchars, Manston (No.219 Squadron), Port Victoria and Turnhouse. Air launch experiments from airship R23.

  Description: Single-seat ship-board fighting scout.
  Manufacturers: Sopwith (N6600-6649) and seven sub-contractors (serials ranging from N6750 to 8204).
  Power Plant: One 150 hp Bentley B.R.I.
  Dimensions: Span, 26 ft 11 in. Length, 18 ft 9 in. Wing area, 221 sq ft.
  Weights: Empty, 1,036 lb. Loaded, 1.530 lb.
  Performance: Maximum speed, 117 mph at 15.000 ft. Climb, 25 min to 15.000 ft. Service ceiling, 17.300 ft.
  Armament: One fixed, synchronised Vickers gun above the fuselage and one Lewis gun above the wing centre section. Four 25 lb bombs.
Both guns are clearly installed on the Beardmore-built N7136, seen here at Dalmuir. Note also the external elevator-control cables, running from the lever just behind the fuselage joint.
The picture is of Lt S.D. Culley, RN, during the first successful tow lighter demonstration, made on 31 July 1918. Here it should be recalled that Cdr Samson had nearly lost his life attempting this feat some weeks earlier, when his Camel snagged some ties during launch.
A reminder that the 2F.1 Camel was developed essentially for Naval use with seaborne forces, and epitomising also the glorious victory by Lieut Stuart Culley over Zeppelin L53 just before the Armistice, as described in the text. (A reminder also that although the 2F.1 was operated from 'real' aircraft-carriers it was not a true deck-landing aircraft, as were its successors, though like other Sopwiths, it helped to show the way).

The B.1, which bore a close relationship to the Cuckoo, was a single-seat bomber which first appeared early in 1917. Only one example was built, serialled B1496, but it saw service with the Fifth Wing of the RNAS at Dunkirk, where it was used on bombing raids alongside D.H.4s. One 200 hp Hispano-Suiza engine. Loaded weight, 2.945 lb. Maximum speed, 118 1/2 mph at 10.000 ft. Climb, 15 1/2min to 10.000 ft. Service ceiling, 19.000 ft. Span, 38 ft 6 in. Length, 27 ft. The bomb load was 560 lb.
The first Sopwith B.l, still carrying the manufacturers' stencil on its fin, and apparently without a serial number on the white rectangle forward of the tailplane, having its compass swung - essential when loaded with bombs - with No 5 (Naval) Squadron, RNAS, at
Petite Synthe on 16 May 1917. The unpainted rectangle immediately aft of the cockpit is the upper hatch of the bomb bay. Note the Lewis gun on the front fuselage decking, added during the Service trials.
Sopwith Cuckoo

The Cuckoo was something of a landmark in British naval aircraft design; it was the first landplane torpedo-carrier capable of operation from a flying-deck. Before the advent of the Cuckoo the torpedo could be carried only by seaplanes which were severely restricted in their capabilities. They suffered not only the weight handicap of their floats, but also the inability to operate from any but the calmest of seas. The idea of using a landplane first came from that staunch advocate of the torpedo, Commodore Murray Sueter, who made the suggestion to Sopwith in October 1916.
The prototype Sopwith T.I (N74), later named Cuckoo, first appeared in June 1917 powered by a 200 hp Hispano-Suiza engine. Contracts finally totaled 300 but in the event only 232 were completed as cancellations followed the Armistice in 1918. Blackburn built 162 (N6900#6929, 6950-6999, 7150-7199 and 7980-8011) and the sub-contractors Pegler (N6930--6949) and Fairfield (N7000-7049) twenty and fifty respectively. The first Cuckoo delivered was Blackburn's N6900 in May 1915. Subsequently, about 20 Cuckoos were converted into Mk.IIs which were fitted with the Wolseley Viper engine in place of the Sunbeam Arab of the production Mk.I. Additionally, from N8005, a larger rudder was introduced.
The Cuckoo first entered service with the Torpedo Aeroplane School at East Fortune, and equipped No.185 Squadron in November 1918. The Armistice intervened before the squadron could prove itself in action.
Cuckoos served only briefly in Argus and with shore-based torpedo squadrons. They were finally withdrawn when NO.210 Squadron disbanded at Gosport in April 1923.

No. 185 Squadron (East Fortune), No.186 Squadron (Gosport) and No.210 Squadron (Gosport). Aircraft-carriers Argus and Furious.

Description: single-seat carrier-borne or shore-based torpedo-carrier. Wooden structure, fabric covered.
Manufacturers: Sopwith Aviation Co Ltd. Kingston-on-Thames. Sub-contracted by Blackburn Aeroplane & Motor Co Ltd. Leeds; Fairfield Shipbuilding & Engineering Co Ltd. Glasgow: Pegler & Co Ltd, Doncaster.
Power Plant: One 200 hp Sunbeam Arab.
Dimensions: Span, 46ft 9 in. Length, 28 ft 6 in. Height, 10ft 8 in. Wing area, 566 sq ft.
Weights: Empty, 2.199 lb. Loaded, 3.883 lb.
Performance: Maximum speed, 103 1/2 mph at 2.000 ft; 98 mph at 10,000 ft. Climb, 4 min to 2.000 ft; 31 min to 10.000 ft. Endurance, 4 hr. Service ceiling, 12.100 ft.
Armament: One 18 in Mk.IX torpedo carried below the fuselage.

  The F.B.5 Gunbus, the first British two-seat fighter aeroplane, made its appearance In 1914. It was used mainly by the RFC but over 20 were delivered to the RNAS beginning with No.32. This resulted in the aeroplane being known as the Type 32 in the RNAS. Subsequent serials were 861 to 872, 1534 to 1535 and 3595 to 3606. Nos.l and 4 Squadrons of the RNAS used at least one Gunbus each in France in 1915, but there is no operational record of other naval Gunbuses. One 100 hp Gnome Monosoupape engine. Loaded weight, 2,050 lb. Maximum speed, 70 mph at 5,000 ft. Service ceiling, 9,000 ft. Span, 36 ft 6 in. Length, 27 ft 2 in.

  Designed originally at the same time as a twin-engined flying-boat for the 'Round Britain' contest for seaplanes, cancelled on the outbreak of war, the type was adopted by the RNAS for anti-submarine patrol duties, and eight production aircraft (designated White and Thompson No.3) were delivered with the serial numbers 1195 to 1200, 3807 and 3808. One 120 hp Beardmore engine. Loaded weight, 2,400 lb. Maximum speed, 85 mph. Crew of two, side-by-side. Span, 45 ft. Length, 27 ft 6 in.


  Two-seat dual-control training flying-boat used by the RNAS in 1917-18. It entered service at Calshot, Felixstowe and Lee-on-Solent, and 79 were still on charge at the time of the Armistice. It was built under licence by S E Saunders Ltd of Cowes and the Supermarine Aviation Works as well as by the parent company. The example illustrated (N2569) is one of the later production versions built by Norman Thompson and is fitted with a 200 hp Hispano-Suiza engine. Earlier versions had the 160 hp Beardmore or the 200 hp Sunbeam Arab engines. Total production was 134, serialled N 1180-1189, N2260-2294, N24002429, N2500-2516, N2555-2579 and N2760-2778. Maximum speed with the Arab engine was 85 mph at 2.000 ft and the service ceiling 11,400 ft. Loaded weight, 3.169 lb. Span, 48 ft 4 3/4 in. Length, 27 ft 4 1/2 in.

  This biplane, remarkable for its wooden monocoque fuselage, was first flown in March 1915. Nine were delivered to the RNAS with the serial numbers 1171 to 1179 and entered service at coastal air stations at Eastbourne, Great Yarmouth and Killingholme. One 70 hp Renault engine.

  This larger pusher seaplane was developed from a type first shown at Olympia in February 1913. The five-bay wings, unusual in themselves, were made to fold in production aircraft. Eleven examples were built for the Admiralty with the serial numbers 155, 171 to 177 and 893 to 895. No.176, which appears in the photograph, was one of two Wight Pusher Seaplanes sent to the Dardanelles aboard the seaplane-carrier Ark Royal in February 1915. They were used for reconnaissance flights over the Turkish lines. One 200 hp Salmson radial engine. Loaded weight, 3.500 lb. Maximum speed, 72 mph. Span, 63 ft.

  The Wight Type 840 was designed as a torpedo-carrying seaplane to the same requirements as the more famous Short Type 184. It could carry a single 810 lb 14 in torpedo, but there are no records of this weapon having been used in action. It served with the RNAS at Felixstowe, Scapa Flow and Gibraltar on anti-submarine patrol between 1915 and 1917. No.835 (illuistrated) was one of the batch 831 to 840 built by the parent company, which also produced Nos.1300 to 1319 and 1351 to 1354. About 70 Wight 840 seaplanes were delivered to the RNAS, including sub-contracted aircraft by Beardmore of Dalmuir and Portholme of Huntingdon. A landplane version also existed. One 225 hp Sunbeam engine. Loaded weight, 4.453 lb. Maximum speed, 81 mph. Span, 61 ft. Length, 41 ft.
Wight 'Converted' Seaplane

  The Wight 'Converted' Seaplane was descended from a single-engined landplane bomber (N501) of 1916 which did not enter production. It was the third type of Wight seaplane to be used in numbers by the RNAS, the others being the Pusher Seaplane of 1913 and the Admiralty Type 840 of 1915.
  As its name indicated, the Seaplane was a straightforward adaptation of the Bomber, and apart from the undercarriage differed only in minor details such as the installation of double-acting ailerons and modified kingposts on the top wing. The same Rolls-Royce Eagle engine was retained in the first production 'Converted' Seaplanes, but the later batches had a Sunbeam Maori.
  Although it was not used in such large numbers as some other types of RNAS seaplanes, the Wight 'Converted' put in a great deal of work on maritime patrols, and one of them is alleged to have destroyed a U-boat, the first to be sunk in the English Channel by direct air attack from a British aircraft. The date was 22 September 1917. The Wight hit its quarry with its first 100 lb bomb. It was operating from the RNAS Station at Cherbourg and was flown by F/Sub-Lt C S Mossop and Air Mechanic A E Ingledew.
  A total of 50 Wight 'Converted' Seaplanes was ordered for the RNAS, but only 37 were built, as it was decided to standardise on the Short 184. The serial numbers allocated were 9841 to 9860, N 1280 to 1289 and N2180 to 2199.
  Only a handful of 'Converted' Seaplanes remained at RNAS Stations by the Armistice. Official records listed seven on 31 October 1918. The type was withdrawn in June 1919.

  No.241 Squadron (Portland) and No.243 Squadron (Cherbourg).

  Description: Two-seat anti-submarine patrol seaplane. Wooden structure with fabric covering.
  Manufacturers: J Samuel White & Co, East Cowes, Isle of Wight.
  Power Plant: One 322 hp Rolls-Royce Eagle VI or 265 hp Sunbeam Maori.
  Dimensions: Span. 65ft 6 in. Length, 44 ft 8 1/2 in. Height, 16 ft. Wing area, 715 sq ft.
  Weights: Empty, 3.758 lb with Eagle engine and 3.957 lb with Maori engine. Loaded, 5.556 lb with Eagle engine and 5.394 lb with Maori engine.
  Performance (Eagle engine): Maximum speed. 84 1/2 mph at 2.000 ft; 82 1/2 mph at 6.500 ft. Climb, 4 min 20 sec to 2.000 ft; 42 1/2 min to 10.000 ft. Endurance, 3 1/2 hr. Service ceiling, 9.600 ft.
  Armament: One Lewis machine-gun on Scarff mounting aft and provision for four 100 lb or 112 lb bombs below the wings.
Wight 'Converted' Seaplane (No. 9583).

  Six examples of this three-engined triplane bomber were purchased from Italy for the RNAS, but were not, so far as is known, used operationally although originally intended for NO.227 Squadron at Pizzone, in April 1918. They had the serial numbers N526 to 531 inclusive: N527 is illustrated.
The Caproni Ca 42, powered by three 400hp Isotta-Fraschini, or Libertys, was the last and the heaviest of the Caproni triplane bombers to be produced. Delivered in early 1918, these five-man machines carried up to 3.910lb of bombs in a central housing attached to the lower wing. Top level speed of the Ca 42 was 87mph at 6.560 feet, while its defensive armament consisted of five Ravelli machine guns. Over 20 of these mammoth triplanes were built, the machine seen here carrying the British serial no N 527, being the second of six Ca 42s operated by the RNAS for a period during 1918.

  Thirty-six of these pusher biplanes (Nos.3657 to 3681 and 8258 to 8268) were purchased from the USA by the Admiralty in 1915. Some of them were test-flown at Hendon, but they were not a success and never entered squadron service. They went into storage at the White City and were finally condemned in May 1916. The power plant is a single 140 hp Sturtevant engine.
Curtiss H.4 Small America

  The H.4 was the first of the Curtiss flying-boats acquired from the USA to enter service with the RNAS. The firm of Curtiss had been the first to produce a successful flying-boat, which flew on 12 January 1912, and in the following year a British agency for Curtiss boats was acquired by the White and Thompson Company of Bognor, Sussex. It was in this way that John Porte, whose name is synonymous with the development of flying-boats for the RNAS during the First World War, first came into contact with Curtiss types and soon afterwards joined the parent company in the USA, for in 1913 he was the White and Thompson Company's test pilot.
  If the World War had not intervened, John Porte was to have flown the Atlantic in a flying-boat named America. In the event, he re-joined the RNAS as a squadron commander in August 1914 and persuaded the Admiralty to purchase two Curtiss flying-boats (Nos.950 and 951), which were delivered in November 1914. These boats were tried out at Felixstowe air station and were followed by 62 production aircraft, four of which (Nos.1228 to 1231) were built in Britain. Curtiss supplied an initial batch of eight (Nos.1232 to 1239) and a second of 50 (Nos.3545 to 3594). The entire series was given the official designation H.4 and acquired the name Small America, retrospectively, after the introduction later of the larger H.12, or Large America.
  Despite numerous deficiencies such as poor seaworthiness, the H.4 boats saw operational service. More important, however, was the contribution they made to the evolution of flying-boats generally as a result of the experiments they underwent at the hands of John Porte, a designer and innovator of genius. The H.4s so employed were Nos.950, 1230, 1231,3545,3546 (the 'Incidence Boat'), 3569 and 3580. Various hulls and planing bottoms were tried to improve take-off and alighting characteristics. This knowledge was put to good use in the later Curtiss and Felixstowe flying-boats.
  A few H.4 flying-boats were still in service as late as June 1918 when, it is recorded, Nos.1232, 1233 and 1235 were at Killingholme coastal air station.

  Description: Reconnaissance flying-boat with a crew of four. Wooden structure with wood and fabric covering.
  Manufacturers: Curtiss Aeroplanes and Motors Corporation, Buffalo, Hammondsport. NY. Sub-contracted by Aircraft Manufacturing Co in Great Britain.
  Power Plant: Variously, two 90 hp Curtiss, two 100 hp Curtiss, two 150 hp Sunbeam or two 100 hp Anzani.
  Dimensions: Span, 72 ft 0 in. Length, 36 ft 0 in. Height, 16 ft 0 in.
  Weights: Empty, 2,992 lb. Loaded, 4,983 lb.
  Performance: Not available.
  Armament: Flexibly-mounted machine-gun in bows and light bombs below the wings.
Curtiss H-4

  The JN-3 was the forerunner of the more famous JN-4 Jenny trainer, and six (Nos. 1362 to 1367) were ordered for the RNAS in 1914; deliveries followed in March 1915. A further 79 (Nos.3345 to 3423) were produced to Admiralty orders by the parent firm and 12 (Nos.8392 to 8403) by Curtiss (Canada) at Toronto. All were fitted with the 90 hp Curtiss OX-5 engine.

  One hundred of these bombers were ordered for the RNAS in 1915 (Nos.9500 to 9599), but the contract was subsequently cancelled. One example (No.3700) was eventually delivered to Hendon in November 1916. Designed by Curtiss and built in Canada, the Twin Canada had two 160 hp Curtiss XV engines.
CURTISS R-2 and R-4

  Eighty-four delivered to the RNAS in 1915 (Nos.3445 to 3529) for reconnaissance duties. The type proved unsuccessful because its 160 hp Curtiss XV engine was unreliable and in British service was replaced by a 200 hp Sunbeam but a few are believed to have served for armament training duties until as late as 1918. Nos.3455 and 3459 went to the RNAS at Luxeuil and Nos.3462, 3463 and 3464 to Mudros.

  The celebrated 'Jenny' trainer, used both by the RFC and RNAS. The Admiralty ordered 250, but only 80 entered service with the RNAS. One hundred were transferred to the RFC and 70 were not delivered. The RNAS trainers were allotted the serial numbers 3424-3444, 8802-8880, 8901 and N5670-5673. One 90 hp Curtiss OX-2 engine. Loaded weight. 2,130 lb. Maximum speed, 70 mph at 6,500 ft. Climb, 10 min to 3,000 ft. Span, 43 ft 9 in. Length, 27 ft 4 in. The JN-4A illustrated had increased dihedral (4 deg) over the original JN-4.

  Twenty of these enormous triplane flying-boats were ordered from the USA for the equipment of the RNAS in 1915. They were intended to carry a crew of six and to be heavily armed for anti-Zeppelin patrols over the North Sea. They were allotted the serial numbers 3073 to 3092, but in the event only one (No.3073) reached the RNAS in 1916. Power was provided by four 250 hp Rolls-Royce Mk.I engines. Loaded weight, 22,000 lb. Maximum speed, 100 mph. Span, 134 ft. Length, 58 ft 10 in.
Curtiss H.12 Large America

  The H.12, known as the Large America, was by far the most famous of the series of Curtiss flying-boats used by the RNAS. It was developed from the H.4 Small America and was both larger and more powerful. Despite a distinguished operational record, related in detail in C F Snowden-Gamble's classic The Story of a North Sea Air Station, the H.12 was handicapped by weakness of the hull planing bottom which made take-off hazardous in all but the calmest of seas.
  The original power plant of two 160 hp Curtiss engines proved inadequate and was superseded by two Rolls-Royce engines. A total of 71 H.12s reached the RNAS, the first batch being Nos.8650 to 8699 and the second N4330 to 4350. Great Yarmouth air station made its first H.12 patrol with No.8660 on 1 May 1917 and Felixstowe air station with No.8661 on 13 April 1917, initiating the famous 'Spider-web' patrols.
  In both its roles, as an anti-submarine reconnaissance aircraft and as an anti-Zeppelin fighter, the H.12 enjoyed outstanding success. The first of these was on 14 May 1917, when No.8666 from Great Yarmouth, flown by F/Lt Galpin, shot down the airship L22 about 18 miles NNW of Texel Island. This was the first Zeppelin claimed by a flying-boat. The second Zeppelin to be shot down by an H.12 was L43, which fell to Felixstowe's No.8677, flown by F/Sub-Lt Hobbs, on 14 June 1917.
  Against U-boats the first success went to F/Sub-Lts Morrish and Boswell, who attacked UC-36 on 20 May 1917, and the second to H.12s 8662 and 8676, UB-20 on 29 July 1917. Another victory was scored on 22 September 1917, when NO.8695 was instrumental in sinking UB-32. Another submarine, the UC-6, was claimed by F/Sub-Lts Hobbs and Dickey on 28 September 1917.
  Some of the H.12s were modified later in their careers, and were almost indistinguishable from the F.2A. These H.12s were styled 'Converted Large Americas'. On 31 October 1918, when there were 18 H.12 boats still in service, six were of the converted type.

  'War Flight' of RNAS. Felixstowe and 'Boat Flight' of RNAS. Great Yarmouth (later No.228 Squadron. RAF). Also at RNAS. Killingholme and with NO.234 Squadron (Tresco) and No.240 Squadron (Calshot).

  Description: Anti-submarine and anti-Zeppelin patrol flying-boat with crew of four. Wooden structure with wood and fabric covering.
  Manufacturers: Curtiss Aeroplanes and Motor Corporation, Buffalo. Hammondsport, NY.
  Power Plant: Originally two 275 hp Rolls-Royce Eagle I. Later two 345 hp Eagle VII or 375 hp Eagle VIII.
  Dimensions: Span, 92 ft 8 1/2 in. Length, 46 ft 6 in. Height, 16 ft 6 in. Wing area, 1,216 sq ft.
  Weights: Empty, 7,293 lb. Loaded, 10,650 lb.
  Performance: Maximum speed, 85 mph at 2,000 ft. Climb, 3.3 min to 2,000 ft; 29.8 min to 10,000 ft. Endurance, 6 hr. Service ceiling, 10,800 ft.
  Armament: Up to four Lewis guns on flexible mountings and four 100 lb or two 230 lb bombs below the wings.
Curtiss H.12
Curtiss H.16 Large America

  The H.16 was an improved and enlarged version of the more famous H.12 and was delivered to Britain in 1918. It represented a notable advance on the H.12, in that it incorporated the stronger and more seaworthy Porte-type hull, thus bringing the American boats into line with their British counterparts, the Felixstowe series, whose design they had originally helped to inspire. The wheel had turned full circle.
  The initial Admiralty contract for H.16 flying-boats covered 15 aircraft, N4060 to 4074, fitted with twin 250 hp Rolls-Royce Eagle engines. This was followed by an additional contract for 110 aircraft, N4890 to 4999, but the end of the war saw the last 50 cancelled. The second batch of H.16s mounted twin 375 hp Rolls-Royce Eagle engines.
  H.16 Large Americas rivalled the Felixstowe boats in performance, but they figured less in records of the period and no particularly outstanding operations are associated with the type. On 31 October 1918 there were some 69 on charge with the RAF, but 39 of these were in store or with contractors. At about the same time another 50 or so H.16s were operated round British shores by the US Navy. The US Navy versions had twin 330 hp Liberty engines and were based at Killingholme. It is alleged that one of the American H.16s at Killingholme was actually looped by an over-exuberant pilot!

  H.16s served with No.228 Squadron at Great Yarmouth and Killingholme, No.230 Squadron (Felixstowe). No.238 Squadron (Cattewater) and No.257 Squadron (Dundee).

  Description: Anti-submarine patrol flying-boat with a crew of four. Wooden structure with wood and fabric covering.
  Manufacturers: Curtiss Aeroplanes and Motors Corporation, Buffalo, Hammondsport, NY.
  Power Plant: Two 375 hp Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII.
  Dimensions: Span. 95 ft. Length. 46 ft 1 1/2 in. Height, 17 ft 8 in. Wing area, 1,000 sq ft.
  Weights: Empty, 7,363 lb. Loaded. 10.670 lb.
  Performance: Maximum speed. 98 mph at 2,000 ft; 95 mph at 6,500 ft; 92 mph at 10,000 ft. Climb, 512 ft/min; 3.7 min to 2,000 ft; 14.6 min to 6,500 ft; 28 min to 10,000 ft. Endurance, 6 hr. Service ceiling, 12,500 ft.
  Armament: Twin Lewis machine-guns on ring mounting in bows and amidships. Provision for two further Lewis guns to fire through the side of the hull and for bombs mounted on racks beneath the wings.
Curtiss H.16 Large America (No.4060).
Curtiss H.16

  This two-seat biplane was produced by the Thomas Bros. Aeroplane Company of the USA and designed by an Englishman, B D Thomas, who bore no relationship to the American proprietors. Twenty-four were ordered by the Admiralty for the RNAS in 1915; they were in two batches of 12 numbered 3809 to 3820 and 8269 to 8280. One 90 hp Curtiss OX-5 engine. Maximum speed, 83 mph. Climb, 10 min to 3.800 ft.

  Fundamentally similar to the aircraft used by Louis Bleriot for his historic crossing of the English Channel in 1909, this type was used by both the Naval and Military Wings of the RFC and subsequently by the RNAS from 1912 to early 1915. One 80 hp Gnome engine and a loaded weight of 1.388 lb. Maximum speed, 66mph at sea level. Climb, 230 ft/min. Span, 34 ft 3 in. Length, 27 ft 6 in.
The Bleriot Type XI-2 Artillerie, as its name implies, was employed on reconnaissance for the artillery and entered service with the French and Italians during 1911. At the outbreak of war, this 70hp Gnome-engined two seater was in service with the French, Britain's RFC and RNAS, Belgium and Italy. Its relatively meagre top level speed of 66mph at sea level was no great problem at a time when effective anti-aircraft artillery or fighters were yet to make an appearance, while its 3.5 hour endurance provided a useful time aloft.

  This was a development of the earlier Bleriot XI. Served with the RFC and RNAS (Nos. 1538-1549) during 1914-15.

  The early type of Breguet biplane was used by the Naval Wing of the RFC from 1912. The first to be purchased from France (No.6) was delivered to Eastchurch in August 1912 and early in 1914 was stationed at Felixstowe. Originally fitted with the 80 hp Chenu engine, it later had the 110 hp Canton Unne installed.

  Seventeen of these Breguet BUC/BLC pusher biplanes were supplied to the RNAS, where they served with 'A' and 'B' Squadrons of No.5 Wing in Belgium from April to June 1916. Named de Chasse by the Royal Navy, they were serialled 1390-1394, 3209-3213, 3883-3887 and 3946. One 225 hp Sunbeam Mohawk engine. Span, 53 ft 9 1/2 in. Length, 31 ft 2 in. Maximum speed, 86 mph at sea level. Service ceiling, 12.140 ft.


The RNAS took this large pusher aircraft into service for use as a bomber, primarily with NO.3 Wing during 1916. Twenty-seven examples were supplied by the French manufacturers (3946, 1398-1399 and 9175-9200) and an additional 10 were built in Britain by Grahame-White (9426-9435) and designated Type XIX. They did not prove very successful and were soon withdrawn. One 225 hp Renault or 250 hp Rolls-Royce engine. Maximum speed, 88 mph at sea level. Climb, 15 1/2 min to 6.500 ft. Range, 435 miles. Service ceiling, 14.000 ft. Span, 57 ft 9 in. Length, 32 ft 6 in.

  The RNAS used 140 of these aeroplanes. mostly for training purposes at Vendome in France. The G.3 was the single-engined forerunner of the G.4 and earlier G.2s (Nos.40, 55, 56 and 57) were in service as seaplanes with coastal air stations prior to 1914. No.55, an amphibian, was embarked in HMS Hermes at Great Yarmouth in July 1913 and operated from the forward flying-off deck. The pre-war Caudrons had an 80 hp or 100 hp Gnome engine. Some G.3s. like No.3066 illustrated, mounted the 100hp Anzani engine. Loaded weight, 1.619 lb. Maximum speed, 70 mph. Climb, 20 min to 6.500 ft. Service ceiling. 10.000 ft. Span, 43 ft 5 in. Length, 22 ft 6 in.
Caudron G.4

  This curious-looking aircraft was a twin-engined derivative of the earlier Caudron G.3, which had served with the RNAS from its very early days. One Caudron G.3 (90 hp Gnome engine) was on the strength of the RNAS on 4 August 1914, when the total muster was 40 landplanes and 31 seaplanes. Subsequently, the type was widely used by the RNAS for pilot training both in Great Britain and in France.
  Although used chiefly by the French Air Force over the Western Front and, to a more limited extent, by the RFC, the Caudron G .4 has a definite place in the history of the RNAS. As has been recorded elsewhere, the RNAS was quick to appreciate the value of the bomber in air operations, and as early as March 1916 the Fifth Wing, specially trained for long-range bombing duties, had taken up its station at Coudekerque under the command of Sqn Cdr Spenser Grey. In the absence of more suitable British types, the initial equipment of this Wing comprised French Breguets and Caudron G.4s. Later the Sopwith 11/2 Strutter was added. Caudron G.4s also formed part of the equipment of No.4 Wing, which arrived at Petite Snythe from Eastchurch under the command of Sqn Cdr C.L. Courtney on 11 April 1916.
  The Caudrons of Nos.4 and 5 Wings, RNAS, were busily engaged during 1916 in day and night raids on German seaplane, submarine and Zeppelin bases in Belgium. On 2 August 1916 they took part in a daylight raid on the enemy aerodrome at St Denis Westrem, near Ghent, at the request of General Trenchard. The 10 Caudrons (plus one Farman) attacked in line astern, directed by Very signals from one of the five escorting Sopwith 1 1/2 Strutters, an early example of 'master-bomber' tactics.
  The cumbersome Caudrons remained with the RNAS until the spring of 1917, when the Handley Page 0/100 made its appearance. One of their last major operations was against Bruges docks in February 1917 with NO.7 Naval Squadron.
  Altogether, the RNAS took delivery of 46 Caudron G.4s, the parent firm supplying 39 (Nos.3289-3300 and 9101-9131), and the British Caudron Company seven (Nos.3333-3334, 3894-3895 and 3897-3899).

  Nos.4 and 5 Wings, RNAS (Belgium); NO.7 (Naval) Squadron.

  Description: Two-seat long-range day or night bomber. Wooden structure, fabric covered.
  Manufacturers: Caudron Freres, Rue (Somme), Le Crotoy. Sub-contracted by the British Caudron Co.
  Power Plant: Two 80 hp Le Rhone or two 100 hp Anzani.
  Dimensions: Span, 55 ft 5 in. Length, 23 ft 6 in. Height, 8ft 5 in. Wing area, 427 1/2 sq ft.
  Weights: Empty, 1,870 lb. Loaded, 2,970 lb.
  Performance: Maximum speed, 82 mph at 6,500 ft; 80 mph at 10,000 ft. Climb, 33 min to 10,000 ft. Endurance, 4 hr. Service ceiling, 14,000 ft.
  Armament: One machine-gun mounted in front cockpit and bombs on racks beneath wings.
Caudron G.4 of the RNAS.
Caudron G.4

  This type, one of the earliest products of the French aircraft industry, was to be seen at most of the pre-1914 flying meetings. A number entered service with the Naval Wing of the RFC from 1912 and were used both as landplanes and seaplanes. NO.7 was acquired in July 1912 and flown from Lake Windermere: its engine was a 70 hp Gnome. Others were Nos.22, 30, 36 and 44, all with the 80 hp Anzani engine. The example illustrated has the early Naval Wing serial number M.I on its rudder.
Henri Farman F.22
Henry Farman F.20 and F.22

  The name of the Henry Farman pusher biplane appears in some of the earliest annals of British naval aviation. It is recorded that on 27 August 1914 seaplanes Nos.97 and 156 of the RNAS led the Battle Fleet to sea. The seaplanes in question were Henry Farmans and, indeed, many of the aircraft of this type supplied to the RNAS before the outbreak of war were fitted with twin floats as shown in the three-view drawing. Both landplanes and seaplanes were built in England by the Aircraft Manufacturing Company at Hendon, and all were powered by the 80 hp Gnome, with the exception of No.115, which had a 100 hp Renault.
  The first RNAS unit to go overseas, the Eastchurch squadron commanded by Wg Cdr C R Samson, flew to Ostend with nine assorted types, one of which was a Henry Farman F.20. In March 1915 this unit became No.3 Squadron, RNAS, and was sent to the Eastern Mediterranean to participate in the Dardanelles campaign with eight Henry Farmans, two B.E.2cs, two B.E.2s, two Sopwith Tabloids, a Breguet and three Maurice Farmans. Of all these types, the Henry Farmans were the least useful, as they were too slow and difficult to maintain in the field. They were used briefly as single-seaters for reconnaissance; a further six which arrived in May were promptly returned to England as being valueless for first-line duties. Re-engined with the 140 hp Canton Unne, the Henry Farman was distinctly better, and served as a bomber with the RNAS in the Aegean from July 1915 onwards. This version, the F.27, was of steel construction, and it was with this type that Wg Cdr Samson dropped a 500 lb bomb (the biggest of the war at that date) on a Turkish barracks during a flight from Imbros on 18 December 1915. The Farman F.27 is described and illustrated separately in Appendix A.
  Some of the earliest bombing attacks on submarines and Zeppelin sheds were made by Henry Farmans of the RNAS in Belgium. On the night of 6/7 June 1915, F/Sub-Lt J S Mills of No.1 Wing destroyed LZ38 in its shed at Evere with four 20 lb bombs. On 26 August 1915 Sqn Cdr A W Bigsworth of No.2 Wing attacked a U-boat six miles off Ostend and, on 28 November 1915, F/Sub-Lt Viney claimed to have blown a U-boat in half with two well-aimed 65 lb bombs, but this feat was never officially recognised.

  Eastchurch squadron, which became NO.3 Squadron, RNAS, in March 1915 and No.3 Wing, RNAS, in June !915. Also Nos.l and 2 Squadrons (later Nos.1 and 2 Wings), RNAS.

  Description: Two-seat reconnaissance, bombing and training aircraft. Wooden structure, fabric covered.
  Manufacturers: Henry and Maurice Farman, Billancourt (Seine), France. Sub-contracted by Aircraft Manufacturing Co Ltd, Hendon.
  Power Plant: One 80 hp Gnome.
  Dimensions: Span, 44 ft 9 in. Length, 26 ft 6 in. Height, 12 ft. Wing area, 375 sq ft.
  Weights: Empty, 820 lb. Loaded, 1,440 lb.
  Performance: Maximum speed, 60 mph at sea level. Climb, 18 1/2 min to 3,000 ft. Endurance, 3 hr.
  Armament: None standardised, but some aircraft fitted with a Lewis gun in front cockpit.
Henry Farman F.22. (F.20?)

  Extensively employed by the RNAS in the Aegean war theatre in 1915-16, the Henry Farman F.27 had first appeared in 1914. It was notable for its all-steel tubular airframe construction which was very rugged and suitable for the hot climates where it mainly operated. Unlike other Henry Farman variants, it had equal-span wings and a four-wheeled undercarriage. It could carry eight 16 lb bombs and served at the Dardanelles with No.2 Wing, RNAS. Commander C.R. Samson describes his experiences in his Henry Farman F.27 (No.1241) in his entertaining book Fights and Flights. On 14 December 1914 he bombed enemy batteries near Ostend during the first night flight of the War by either side. Later, in 1915, he flew No.1241 during the Dardanelles campaign. About eighty were supplied to the RNAS including 3617-3636, 3900-3919, 8243-8249 and N3000-3024. One 140 hp or 160 hp Canton-Unne (Salmson) engine. Span, 53 ft. Length, 30 ft 3 in. Maximum speed, 90 mph at 6,500 ft. Climb, 14 min to 6,500 ft. Endurance, 4 hr.
By 1915 the war had broadened its geographical coverage to include the Mediterranean and Africa. With the Allied campaign in the eastern Mediterranean and Dardanelles came the requirement for air involvement. though this was never on a large scale. Here a Farman F.27 of 3 Wing RNAS is being prepared at Mudros (on the island of Limnos) in 1915.
No.2 Wing, RNAS at Imbros in 1915: the aeroplanes are Henry Farman F.27s and Nieuport 10 two-seaters.

  Fifty of these aeroplanes (usually known as Horace Farmans) entered service with the RNAS. They were frequently fitted with Le Prieur rockets on the interplane struts (as on the example illustrated). The Farman F.40 was used by NO.5 Wing of the RNAS. One 160 hp Renault engine. Maximum speed, 84 mph at 6,560 ft. Span, 57ft 8 in.

  Some 128 of these small two-seat flying-boats served with the RNAS for training purposes in the 1914-18 war. Forty-four were provided by the original French manufacturers and 80 were built in Britain by the Norman Thompson and Gosport Aviation concerns. Another four (N 1075 to 1078) were handed over by Italy and used by the RNAS at Otranto. The Norman Thompson aircraft were serialled N1040-1059 and the Gosport-built boats N2680-2739. One 100 hp Gnome engine. Maximum speed, 60 mph. Span, 45 ft. Length, 30ft.

  The Maurice Farman S.7 Longhorn preceded the S.11 Shorthorn and could be readily distinguished by the presence of the forward elevator mounted on outriggers ahead of the nacelle. About 16 Longhorns were in service with the Naval Wing of the RFC before 1914. From 1915 the Longhorn served mainly for training purposes. The pre-1914 Longhorns were built by the Aircraft Manufacturing Company Ltd; the later trainers by the Brush, Robey and Phoenix Dynamo concerns. Brush built Nos.8921 to 8940 with 70 hp Renault engines and N5030 to 5059 with the 80 hp Renault. Robey built N5000 to 5016 with the 75 hp Rolls-Royce Hawk engine and the same power plant was used in the batches N5330 to 5349 and 5750 to 5759 (one of which is illustrated) built by the Phoenix Dynamo Manufacturing Company of Bradford. The Longhorn had a maximum speed of 59 mph at sea level. Span, 51 ft. Length, 37 ft 3 in. Loaded weight, 1,887 lb.
Maurice Farman Shorthorn

  Both the Maurice Farman Shorthorn and the Longhorn were being supplied to the RNAS by the Aircraft Manufacturing Company at Hendon before the First World War. Among the first 200 official serial numbers allotted by the Admiralty for naval aircraft, the S.7 Longhorn made its first appearance as No.23, and the S.11 Shorthorn as No.29. The latter was a twin-float seaplane (as shown in the three-view drawing), and was stationed at Great Yarmouth from July 1913. Another of the early Shorthorn seaplanes appeared on strength at Cromarty in July 1913.
  The Longhorn and the Shorthorn (the latter distinguished by the absence of a forward elevator) had been introduced to the British flying services as trainers at the Central Flying School as early as 1912, and they continued to serve in this role with both the RFC and the RNAS.
  Whereas the Longhorn was used only as a trainer, the Shorthorn also saw operational service for reconnaissance and bombing. Of the RNAS's first-line strength of 40 landplanes and 31 seaplanes on 4 August 1914, four were Maurice Farman landplanes fitted with 70 hp or 100 hp Renault engines.
  The Maurice Farmans, with 100 hp Renaults, accompanied Samson's No.3 Squadron, RNAS, to the Dardanelles and were flown over the Turkish lines.
  The last Shorthorns delivered to the RNAS were 20 built as trainers by the Eastbourne Aviation Company. The RNAS used 90 Shorthorns in all.

  With Wg Cdr Samson's unit in Belgium, later No.3 Squadron RNAS, at Dardanelles. RNAS stations at Calshot, Cromarty, Grain and Great Yarmouth.

  Description: Two-seat reconnaissance and bombing aircraft, also used for training. Wooden structure, fabric covered.
  Manufacturers: Henry and Maurice Farman, Billancourt (Seine), France. Sub-contracted by Aircraft Manufacturing Co Ltd, Hendon, Eastbourne Aviation and others.
  Power Plant: One 70 hp or 100 hp Renault.
  Dimensions: Span, 53 ft. Length, 30 ft 8 in. Height, 10 ft 4 in. Wing area, 561 sq ft.
  Weights: Empty, 1,441 lb. Loaded, 2,046 lb.
  Performance: Maximum speed, 66 mph at sea level. Climb, 15 min to 3,000 ft. Endurance, 3 3/4 hr.
  Armament: No defensive armament normally carried. Light bomb-load below wings.
Maurice Farman Shorthorn (N6310) of the RNAS
Farman Shorthorn
Morane-Saulnier Type L

  The Morane-Saulnier Company was one of the pioneer firms of the French aircraft industry. The type L two-seat monoplane, more generally known as the Morane Parasol, made its first appearance in 1913, and was at once ordered by the French Army. At the end of 1914, when French aircraft were eagerly sought by the British Government, the Morane Parasol was also acquired for the RNAS, and 25 (Nos.3239 to 3263) were delivered. The first deliveries were to NO.1 (Naval) Squadron at Dunkirk in May 1915. The RNAS thus became the first of the British flying services to use the type, though the later version, Type LA, was subsequently adopted by the RFC for artillery observation duties during 1916-17.
  The name of the Morane Parasol will forever be associated with the remarkable feat of F/Sub-Lt RAJ Warneford, who was flying an aircraft of this type, No.3253, when he destroyed the Zeppelin LZ37 over Ghent on 7 June 1915. Warneford, a member of No.1 Squadron, RNAS, had set off from Dunkirk to bomb Berchem St Agathe, but was diverted from his task by the sight of a Zeppelin, which he chased, though under heavy machine-gun fire from its gondolas. Eventually he outclimbed the Zeppelin and reached 11 ,000 ft, from which height he dived to drop six 20 lb bombs on the LZ37's envelope. The Zeppelin exploded and went down in flames; meanwhile a broken petrol pipe forced Warneford to land inside enemy lines, where he stayed for 35 min before he effected a repair and flew back. This was the first time that a Zeppelin had been destroyed in the air, and for his achievement Warneford was awarded the YC, being the second airman to be so decorated.
  Apart from this outstanding incident, the career of the Morane Parasol with the RNAS was not particularly distinguished. In addition to its service in Belgium, Wg Cdr E L Gerrard's No.2 Wing had six Moranes on strength during the Dardanelles operations. The Moranes had scant success, chiefly because their Le Rhone engines picked up the fine sand so easily.

  No.1 Squadron, later No.1 Wing, RNAS, at Dunkirk. No.2 Squadron, later No.2 Wing, RNAS, at Dunkirk and Imbros and NO.3 Squadro, later NO.3 Wing, RNAS, at Mudros.

  Description: Two-seat reconnaissance aircraft, frequently used as a single-seater by the RNAS. Wooden structure, fabric covered. Maker's designation: M.S.3.
  Manufacturers: Morane-Saulnier Soc. de Constructions Aeronautiques, Paris.
  Power Plant: One 80 hp Le Rhone 9C
  Dimensions: Span, 36 ft 9 in. Length, 22 ft 7 in. Height, 12 ft 10 in. Wing area, 197 sq ft.
  Weights: Empty, 847 lb. Loaded, 1,441 lb.
  Performance: Maximum speed, 72 mph. Climb, 468 ft/min.
  Armament: No standard armament, though rifles could be carried and bomb racks improvised in the field.
Morane Parasol (No.3253) flown by Warneford with French roundels.
Morane-Saulnier Type L

  A few examples of this French two-seat biplane entered service with the RNAS in 1915-16 and a naval aircraft (No.3683) is illustrated. NO.4 Squadron, RNAS, is recorded as having used the Morane Biplane. The engine was an 80 hp Le Rhone rotary.

  Twelve of these early seaplanes were used by the RNAS, the serial numbers being 3187 to 3198. Two of them, Nos.3194 and 3197, were employed for the training of seaplane pilots on Lake Windermere and others served at RNAS Bembridge, Calshot, Walney and Westgate.

  This was the first of all the historic Nieuport biplanes to enter service with the RNAS early in 1915. Although a two-seater, it was often flown as a single-seater (with the front seat removed) and a machine-gun on the top wing. Fifty were supplied to the RNAS (3163-3186,3920-3921, 3962-3973 and 8516-8517) and they served with NO.1 Wing RNAS at Dunkirk and No.2 Wing in the Agean including the Dardanelles campaign. One 80 hp Gnome engine. Maximum speed, 87 l/2 mph. Climb, 16 min to 6,500 ft. Span, 25 ft 11 in. Length, 22 ft 11 in.
No.2 Wing, RNAS at Imbros in 1915: the aeroplanes are Henry Farman F.27s and Nieuport 10 two-seaters.

  The Nieuport 17bis Scouts were preceded in RNAS service by the Nieuport 11 (sometimes known as the Bebe), a slightly smaller machine with a lower-powered (80 hp Le Rhone) engine. Nieuport 11s entered service early in 1916 and took part in some historic operations with the RNAS NO.1 Wing at Dunkirk and NO.2 Wing in the Aegean theatre. They also equipped one flight of the famous 'Naval Eight' Squadron for a few months in 1916, flying alongside Sopwith Pups. RNAS serial numbers were 3974-3994. Maximum speed, 97 mph at sea level. Climb, 5 min to 3,280 ft, 18 min to 9,800 ft. Service ceiling, 18,000 ft. Span, 24 ft 9 in. Length, 18 ft 8 in.
Nieuport 11
Nieuport Two-Seater

  In common with the Nieuport Scout, which it closely resembled in general configuration, the Nieuport two-seater was widely used by the RNAS as well as the RFC.
  The early Nieuport 10 two-seater was followed by the larger, improved Nieuport 12. Both types were, as might be expected, of somewhat larger overall dimensions than the Scout and accommodated pilot and observer in closely-coupled cockpits, the pilot being seated immediately beneath the centre section and the observer-gunner level with the trailing edge. Some Nieuport 10s in RNAS service, however, dispensed with the rear gunner and were flown as single-seaters from the rear cockpit, a single Lewis gun being mounted above the top wing to fire above the airscrew disc, as on the normal Scouts. It was a Nieuport of this type (No.3172) that was being flown by Squadron Commander Bell Davies on 19 November 1915 when he won his Vc.
  The original batches of Nieuport two-seaters in British service were purchased from the French industry, but later the type was built in Britain. The British-built Nieuports differed from the earlier model (shown in the three-view drawing) in having a fixed fin and a fully circular cowling instead of the cutaway type. Fifty were built for the Admiralty by Beardmore in 1916, the serial numbers being 9201 to 9250. Later, some of these aircraft (Nos.9213 to 9232) were transferred to the RFC as A5183 to 5202. Altogether the RNAS received 194 Nieuport two-seaters: 72 had the 130 hp Clerget engine and the remainder the 110 hp Clerget.
  The Nieuport two-seaters did some good work with the Dunkirk Wing in combat with German aircraft along the Belgian coast. A typical engagement was that of 14 December 1915 when F/Sub-Lt C W Graham, with Sub-Lt A S Ince as observer, shot down in flames a German seaplane which was attempting to bomb an Allied merchant steamer stranded on a sandbank. The Nieuport crew were forced down in the sea, but were rescued by the mine-sweeper Balmoral.

  NO.1 Wing, RNAS, Dunkirk; No.2 Wing, RNAS, Imbros; No.3 Wing, RNAS, Dardanelles; No.5 Wing, RNAS, Petite Synthe; No.7 (Naval) Squadron, Petite Synthe; No.10 (Naval) Squadron, 5t Pol.

  Description: Two-seat fighting, reconnaissance and bombing aircraft. Wooden structure, fabric covered.
  Manufacturers: Soc Anonyme des Etablissements Nieuport, Issy-Ie-Moulineaux (Seine), France. Sub-contracted by Wm Beardmore & Co Ltd, Dalmuir, Dumbartonshire.
  Power Plant: One 110 hp or 130 hp Clerget.
  Dimensions: Span, 29 ft 7 1/2 in. Length, 23 ft 11 1/4 in. Height, 8 ft 9 in. Wing area, 236 1/2 sq ft.
  Weights: Empty, 1,210 lb. Loaded, 2,026 lb.
  Performance: Maximum speed, 78 mph at 5,000 ft. Climb, 14 min to 6,500 ft. . Endurance, 3 hr. Service ceiling, 13,000 ft.
  Armament: Single free-mounted Lewis gun in rear cockpit for observer or single fixed Lewis gun above top wing when flown as single-seaters.
Nieuport 12 (9233) built by Beardmore.
Nieuport Type 12
Nieuport Scout

  In its various guises, the Nieuport V-strutter sesquiplane scout was one of the most famous aircraft of the First World War, and will always be associated with the brilliant exploits of such pilots as Ball and Bishop of the RFC, and Navarre and Nungesser of the French Air Force.
  The first RNAS Nieuport Scouts were the Type 11 with 80 hp Le Rhone engines, described and illustrated in the Appendix and in the drawing opposite. These arrived early in 1916 and saw extensive service with NO.1 Wing of the RNAS in Belgium and No.2 Wing in the Aegean. 'A' Squadron at Fumes in Belgium commanded by Squadron Commander F K Haskins became the first homogenous fighter unit of the RNAS in June 1916. From November 1916 the improved Nieuport 17bis was introduced. This had a 130 hp Clerget engine and a round-sided, streamlined fuselage. Around 80 of these were supplied to the RNAS. Those serialled between N3100 and N3209 were from the original French manufacturers but the remainder (N5860--5909) were built under licence by the British Nieuport Co. Ten additional Nieuport Scouts were of the Type 21 model which reverted to the 80 hp Le Rhone engine. These were serialled 3956-3958 and 8745-8751 and for some reason were known to the RNAS as Nieuport 17Bs.
  The RNAS Nieuport Scouts played a significant role in support of the RFC on the Western Front from late 1916 until replaced the following year by Sopwith Triplanes and Camels. For the most part they flew in squadrons with mixed equipment, usually alongside Sopwith Pups as in the case of the famous Naval Eight, but one unit, No.6 (Naval) Squadron, had a full complement of Nieuport 17bis.

  NO.1 Wing, RNAS (Dunkirk), No.2 Wing, RNAS (Aegean) and No.3 Wing, RNAS (Aegean). 0.6 (Naval) Squadron and partial equipment of Nos.l, 4, 8, 9, 10 and 11 (Naval) Squadrons on the Western Front.

  Description: Single-seat fighting scout. Wooden structure, fabric covered.
  Manufacturers: Soc Anonyme des Etablissements Nieuport, Issy-le-Moulineaux (Seine), France, and British Nieuport Company, Cricklewood.
  Power Plant: One 130 hp Clerget.
  Dimensions: Span, 27 ft 3 in. Length, 19 ft 6 in. Height, 7ft. Wing area, 158 sq ft.
  Weights: Empty, 825 lb. Loaded, 1,233 lb.
  Performance: Maximum speed, 115 mph at sea level. Climb, 5 1/2 min to 6,500 ft; 9 min to 10,000 ft. Endurance, 2 hr. Service ceiling, 18,000 ft.
  Armament: One fixed Lewis gun mounted above the top wing firing clear of the airscrew disc. Later a synchronised Vickers gun was mounted above the cowling. Provision for four Le Prieur rockets on each V strut.


  Known in the RNAS as the '17B', the Nieuport 21 was similar to the Nieuport 17 and of the same dimensions but reverted to the 80 hp Le Rhone engine. At least 10 entered RNAS service with the serial numbers 3956-3958 and 8745-8751. Units with them on strength included Nos.8, 9 and 11 RNAS Squadrons. Maximum speed, 93 mph. Climb, 8 3/4 min to 6,500 ft.
Nieuport 21

  Twelve of these early monoplanes served with the RNAS before the First World War. Serialled 8454-8465. 110 hp Le Rhone engine. Speed, 68 mph. Span, 36 ft.

  This famous French fighting scout, which first flew in Mav 1916, was ordered for the RNAS by the Admiralty, and contracts for 120 placed with the firm of Mann, Egerton of Norwich. In December 1916 the Admiralty agreed to hand over 60 of its Spads to the RFC in exchange for Sopwith Triplanes. The following February it was agreed to divert all RNAS Spads to the RFC. The photograph shows a Spad S.7 with a RNAS serial number (N3399). One 140 hp Hispano-Suiza engine. Loaded weight, 1.632 lb. Maximum speed, 119 mph at 6.500 ft. Span, 25 ft 8 in. Length, 20 ft 3 1/2 in.
The photograph shows a Spad S.7 with a RNAS serial number (N3399).

  Two of these French-designed flying-boats were acquired for the RNAS. They were allocated the serial numbers N84 and N85. The Tellier boat N85 is illustrated in special camouflage whilst undergoing trials at the Isle of Grain. The RNAS flying-boats were delivered to the Isle of Grain in April 1918, having been purchased by the Royal Navy in November 1917. One 200 hp Hispano engine. Maximum speed, 90 mph. Span, 51 ft 2 in. Length, 38 ft 10 in.
The Tellier boat N85 is illustrated in special camouflage whilst undergoing trials at the Isle of Grain.

  About 30 Voisin III LA.Ss were in service with the RNAS between 1915 and 1917. They operated as bombers with No.1 Squadron (later NO.1 Wing) and with No.2 Wing at Mudros. Four Voisins were also used by No.8 (Naval) Squadron in East Africa from March 1916. One 140 hp Canton Unne engine. Loaded weight, 2.959 lb. Maximum speed, 62 mph at 6.500 ft. Service ceiling, 10,000 ft. Span, 48 ft 5 in. Length. 31 ft 3 in.