H.King Sopwith Aircraft 1912-1920 (Putnam)
The 'Sopwith Mouse'
The above name was conferred by John ('Jack' later Sir John) Alcock himself upon the single-seat 'fighting scout' built at his instigation in mid-1917. Alcock had flown the Triplane and the Camel, and in his own little two-bay machine used major Sopwith components. The front fuselage and bottom wings, for instance, were adapted from the Triplane, while the top wings were in essence those of the Pup (though with longer ailerons, and these on the top wings only the bottom ones, of course, being much smaller). From the Camel came the horizontal tail-surfaces.
Alcock's delightful little creation had a 110 hp Clerget engine. Apparently it performed well, and was flown at Mudros after Alcock himself had been taken prisoner, the recognised designations, apart from 'Sopwith Mouse', being 'Alcock Scout’ or A.I.
Later (June 1919) Capt John Alcock and Lieut Arthur Whitten Brown, in a Vickers Vimy, made the first nonstop air crossing of the Atlantic. Earlier before the 1914 war Alcock had helped in developing the 150 hp Sunbeam engine, using a Farman pusher biplane, and thus presaging the installation in the Robey-built Sopwith Gun Bus. He had, in fact, been engaged by Louis Coatalen, the Sunbeam engine-designer himself.
O.Thetford British Naval Aircraft since 1912 (Putnam)
Devised but not flown by F/Lt J W Alcock (later to achieve fame in the Vimy Atlantic crossing of 1919), this single-seat scout was operated by No.2 Wing of the RNAS at Mudros in 1917-18. It was comprised of components from the Sopwith Triplane and Pup and had a 100hp Monosoupape or 110 hp Clerget engine. Armament was twin Vickers machine-guns. No other details available.
H.King Armament of British Aircraft (Putnam)
Alcock A-1. Named by 'Jack' Alcock the Sopwith Mouse (being built largely of Sopwith components), this most private of private-venture aircraft (1917) had a single fixed Vickers gun on the centre line of the fuselage, a la Pup and Triplane.
P.Lewis The British Fighter since 1912 (Putnam)
A rather curious event took place during 1917 at Mudros in the Aegean which, although it contributed nothing to fighter development, deserves to be recorded as an example of initiative and ingenuity. During his service on the station with No. 2 Wing, R.N.A.S., Flt.Lt. J. W. Alcock, well known in flying circles before the 1914-18 War and to become famous after the Armistice for his trans-Atlantic flight with Lt. A. W. Brown, designed a single-seat fighter biplane which was put together from Sopwith Triplane and Pup parts. Two engines were tried in the Alcock A.I Scout, or Sopwith Mouse as Alcock called it; the first was a 100 h.p. Monosoupape Gnome, followed by a 110 h.p. Clerget. Unluckily, Alcock was taken prisoner before his brainchild was ready but the machine was test-flown at Mudros and Stavros after completion by his colleagues. The A.I’s armament consisted of a pair of Vickers guns.
F.Mason The British Fighter since 1912 (Putnam)
Flight-Lieut John W Alcock (later to be knighted for his epic first non-stop flight across the Atlantic) was serving with No 2 Wing, RNAS, at Mudros in the Aegean during the summer of 1917 when he built a small biplane scout, variously referred to as the Alcock A.I and ‘Sopwith Mouse’. Many of the design calculations were performed by Cdr Constantine of the Greek Navy at Mudros.
Alcock’s fighter employed numerous components from crashed aircraft, including the fuselage, undercarriage and most of the lower wing from a Sopwith Triplane, and the upper wing of a Pup, into which was inserted a new centre section with cutout. A 100hp Gnome monosoupape engine drove a two-blade propeller, and the two-bay wings were rigged without effective stagger, the interplane struts converging downwards owing to the considerable difference in the two wing chords. It is not known whether the vertical tail surfaces (dorsal and ventral fins, and unbalanced rudder) were newly constructed or salvaged components, but the tailplane and elevator bear a similarity to those of the Pup.
The fuselage was located roughly in the centre of the wing gap, clear of the lower wing, with the new centre section of the upper wing level with the pilot’s horizontal line of sight. Twin synchronized Vickers guns were mounted forward of the cockpit.
Contrary to the account in the official history (The War in the Air, Vol. 5), Alcock did not fly his aircraft, being shot down in a Handley Page O/400 and captured by the Turks on 30 September 1917, before its completion. Nevertheless it was subsequently flown, probably on 15 October by Wing Capt Francis Rowland Scarlett (later Air Vice-Marshal, cb, dso, raf), and was later destroyed when it was struck on the ground by a D.H.4 at Mudros.
Type: Single-engine, single-seat, two-bay biplane fighting scout.
Manufacturer: Flight-Lieut J W Alcock, RNAS, and personnel of No 2 Wing, RNAS, Mudros.
Powerplant: One 100hp Gnome monosoupape engine driving two-blade propeller; later fitted with 110hp Clerget engine.
Armament: Two synchronized 0.303in Vickers machine guns.
The Author is indebted to Mr J M Bruce for permission to reproduce the above material, which represents the result of research among former members of No 2 Wing, RNAS. The official history also incorrectly states that the Alcock A.I was powered by a captured Benz engine.
W.Green, G.Swanborough The Complete Book of Fighters
ALCOCK A.1 UK
Evolved at the RNAS base at Mudros, in the Aegean, by Lt John Alcock during the summer of 1917, the A.l employed modified components of the Sopwith Triplane (forward fuselage and lower wings), Sopwith Pup (upper wings), and Sopwith Camel (tailplane and elevators) which were married to a rear fuselage and vertical tail surfaces of original design. Powered by a 110 hp Clerget 9Z nine-cylinder rotary engine and carrying a 0.303-in (7,7-mm) Vickers machine gun, the A.l (which was also referred to by its designers as the "Sopwith Mouse” in recognition of its part parentage) flew at Mudros in October 1917, but was written off after crashing early in 1918.
Approx span, 24 ft 3 in (7,39 m).
Approx length, 19 ft lin (5,82 m).
Approx height, 7 ft 9 in (2,36 m).