Military History Books
by Harold A. Skaarup   www.SilverHawkAuthor.com   
 
Canadian Warplanes 1: Sopwith Camel, Dolphin, 1-1/2 Strutter, Pup, Snipe and Triplane

Sopwith Camel, Dolphin, 1-1/2 Strutter, Pup, Snipe and Triplane fighters

Data current to 10 Aug 2020.

Sopwith F.1 Camel

 (DND Archives Photo, AH-517)

Sopwith F.1 Camel, Capt William George Barker, VC. 

The Sopwith Camel became the most successful British fighter of the First World War.  The Sopwith F.1 and 2F.1 Camel first went into operations on the Western Front in 1917 and then served in virtually every theatre of Royal Flying Corps (RFC), Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) and Royal Air Force (RAF) service.  Several Canadian aces used the Camel as their mount.  The Camel was very manoeuvrable, and it could be tricky to fly in the hands of a novice pilot.  For experienced pilots, however, the aircraft proved to be a superb fighter. 

The Camel's machine-guns were mounted on the forward fuselage with their breeches enclosed in a faired metal cowling—a “hump” that gave the Camel its name.  Several Camels were also shipped to Canada in the post-war period as part of an Imperial gift.  Three registered Sopwith F.1 Camels entered service with the RCAF at Camp Borden in 1924. The following year, the RCAF purchased seven additional aircraft to provide further spares for the active aircraft.  These latter aircraft were in fact 2F.1 models that had been “navalized” variants.  Used primarily by wartime experienced fighter pilots for refresher training, the Camels lasted another five years before finally being scrapped.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3390979)

Sopwith F.1 Camel in service, ca. 1918.

 (DND Archives Photo, DND65-90)

Sopwith F.1 Camel, Serial No. N7143, at Turnhouse, Scotland, in 1918.  This machine was flown by Lieutenant William S. Lockhart.

 (DND Photo, RE19641-2)

Captain William S. Stephenson beside "his rather time-worn" Sopwith Camel (Serial No. D6---), coded B, in 1918.  This photo is from the book, "Knights of the Air, Canadian Fighter Pilots in the First World War" by LCol David L. Bashow (McArthur & Company, Toronto, 2000).  On page 193, David notes, "on 28 August 1918, the final battle on the Somme commenced. Naturally, Allied airpower was extensively involved with this counter-offensive. Captain William S. Stephenson of Winnipeg, a twelve-victory ace who had previously won a Military Cross for "conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty," further distinguished himself through his exploits as a Sopwith Camel pilot with No. 73 Squadron, RAF, being awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross". His citation reads, "This officer has shown conspicuous gallantry and skill in attacking enemy troops and transports from low altitudes, causing heavy casualties. His reports also have contained valuable and accurate information. He has further proved himself a keen antagonist in the air, having during recent operations accounted for six enemy aeroplanes".

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3390976)

Sopwith F.1 Camel, being armed with bombs, No. 203 Squadron, Allonville, France, July 1918. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, PA-2788).

Squadron Commander Raymond Collishaw in a Sopwith F.1 Camel aircraft, Allonville, France, 1918. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3585191)

Sopwith F.1 Camel. 

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3390990)

Sopwith F.1 Camel, RAF (Serial No. B3802), ca 1918. 

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3584525)

Sopwith F.1 Camel project, RCAF Station Rockcliffe, Ontario, 9 Jun 1951. 

(DND Photo)

Sopwith 2F.1 Ship's Camel (Serial No. N8156), Canada Aviation and Space Museum. 

The Museum's 2F.1 Ship's Camel was manufactured by Hooper and Company Limited of London, England in late 1918. One of the last Camels to be produced, it was not completed in time to serve during the First World War. It was, however, used by the RAF until 1925, when it was transferred to Canada along with six other Ship Camels.

The Camel was used by the RCAF for demonstration flights and as a training airframe.  It was loaned to the Canadian War Museum in 1957, and was later stored and displayed at the National Research Council in Ottawa.  Restored between 1958 and 1959, and made airworthy between 1966 and 1967, the aircraft was flown between May and June of that year before being transferred to the Museum.

 (DND Archives Photo, PCN-4592)

Sopwith 2F.1 Ship's Camel (Serial No. N8156), Canada Aviation and Space Museum. 

Sopwith 5F.1 Dolphin

  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3726516)

Sopwith 5F.1 Dolphins, Canadian Air Force, No. 1 and No. 2 Fighting Sqns, Upper Heyford, UK, 1919.  None have been preserved in Canada. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3390998)

Sopwith 5F.1 Dolphin, RAF.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3390999)

Sopwith 5F.1 Dolphin, RAF.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3390997)

Sopwith 5F.1 Dolphin, Canadian Air Force, No. 1 and No. 2 Fighting Squadrons, Upper Heyford, UK, 1919. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3390995)

Sopwith 5F.1 Dolphins, Canadian Air Force, No. 1 and No. 2 Fighting Squadrons, Upper Heyford, UK, 1919.  

Sopwith 5F.1 Dolphin, No. 1 and 2 Fighting Sqn, CAF, Upper Heyford, Oxon, UK, 1919.   Canadian Aces Don Mclaren with 54 victories is the first on the left and Andrew McKeever with 31 victories is second from the left.   McKeever was to become CO of Camp Borden post war but died in a traffic accident on Christmaas day, Dec 1919.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3523022) 

(Alan Wilson Photo)

Sopwith 5F.1 Dolphin (Serial No. C3988), RAF Museum, Cosford, UK.

Sopwith 1½ Strutter

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4759735)

Sopwith 1½ Strutter, No. 3 (Naval) Wing, Ochey, UK, Mar 1917. 

Sopwith Pup

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3391006)

Sopwith Pup launching from the aircraft carrier HMS Furious (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3391009)

Sopwith Pup, Special Flying School, Gosport, Hants, UK, 1918. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3213052)

Sopwith Pup, RFC (Serial No. N6181), "Happy", PSL Lloyd S. Breadner, Walmer, Kent, Defence Flight, ca 1916. 

RCAF Air Chief Marshal Lloyd Samuel Breadner, CB, DSC (July 14, 1894 – March 14, 1952) was a Canadian military pilot and Chief of the Air Staff during the Second World War. Breadner obtained his pilot's certificate at Wright Flying School and was commissioned in the British Royal Naval Air Service on 28 December 1915. During the First World War he served on the Western Front as a fighter pilot in the No. 3 (Naval) Squadron. He was promoted to Flight Lieutenant (RNAS) on 31 December 1916. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross on 23 May 1917. He transferred to the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) on its formation in 1924.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3391007)

Sopwith Pup.  

 (Alan Wilson Photo)

Sopwith Pup, RFC (Serial No. N5182), Reg. No. G-APUP, RAF Museum, London, England.

Sopwith 7F.1 Snipe

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No.  3391011)

Sopwith 7F.1 Snipe (Serial No. E8213), "Leicester - Canada", in front of a Bristol F.2b (Serial No. F4336), and a Foker D.VII, No. 1 Squadron (No. 81 Squadron (Canadian), RAF), Canadian Air Force, Upper Heyford, Oxfordshire, England, 1919.  Photo taken at Shoreham-by-Sea.  Both the Bristol and Snipe were sent to Canada when No. Squadron was disbanded on 28 Jan 1920.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3391012)

Sopwith 7F.1 Snipe.  

 (RAF Photo)

Sopwith 7F.1 Snipe, Capt William George Barker, VC. 

 (Author Photos)

Sopwith 7F.1 Snipe 7F.1, fuselage (Serial No. E8102), LCol William G. Barker, VC.  These are the remains of the fighter flown by Barker when he won his VC, preserved Canadian War Museum.

 

 (Author Photos)

Sopwith 7F.1 Snipe  (Serial No. E6938).  The Museum’s Snipe was manufactured in 1918 by Nieuport and General Aircraft Limited of England.  Details of its RAF history remain unknown, although it probably served abroad, as did most RAF Snipes. Ex-Royal Flying Corps pilot and actor Reginald Denny imported the aircraft to California in 1926, and it was featured in several movies.  Jack Canary restored the Snipe between 1953 and 1960.  The Museum purchased the aircraft in 1964.  It was the first of the First World War fighters flown by the Museum’s chief pilot, Wing Commander Paul A. Hartman.  The Snipe was last flown in 1967 during Air Force Day celebrations at Rockcliffe.  Damaged during the celebrations, it was recovered and had some work done on it in time for the opening of the new Museum building in 1988.  (CA&SM)

Sopwith Triplane

  (RAF Photo)

Sopwith Triplane, "Peggy", ca. 1917. 

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3390963)

Sopwith Triplane (Serial No. N5438), ca 1918. 

 (Author Photos)

Sopwith Triplane replica (Serial No. N5492), CF-CBM.  The Museum's Triplane is a reproduction built by American amateur airplane-maker Carl R. Swanson between 1963 and 1966.  The Museum purchased it in 1966, and provided and installed its Clerget 9B rotary engine.  Wing Commander Paul A. Hartman piloted the aircraft during its first flight, on 5 May 1967 at Rockcliffe airport.  It remained airworthy and flew on special occasions until 1971.  (CA&SM)