Britain's Forgotten Fighters of the First World War by Paul R. Hare

By Paul R. Hare

People with any curiosity within the First global conflict could have have heard of the planes so much linked to that clash - the mythical Sopwith Camel and Royal plane Factory’s S.E.5a, that are known as the «Spitfire» and «Hurricane» of the good conflict. Aviation fans may well even understand of the Camels predecessors, the Sopwith puppy or the Triplane.

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F. Towle successfully flew 1255 from the deck of HMS Vindex, a former Isle of Man steam packet that had been converted to carry land and seaplanes. Landing back on the ship was not possible and although the seaplane could land alongside and be hoisted aboard, those machines, like the Scout with wheeled undercarriages, were obliged to ditch in the sea. In order to take off from the short flying deck (which was just 64-feet long), the ship steamed at full speed into the wind, the Scout being held in flying position, its tail skid on a special launching trestle that was developed at the Isle of Grain with the aid of another Scout, 3026.

The drum failed to release and so Strange stood up in the cockpit, holding the control column between his knees to get a better grip. However, the machine flipped over, throwing him out of the cockpit and entered a flat spin. Strange managed to hold on to one of the centre-section struts and later recalled: I kept on kicking upwards behind me until at last I got one foot, and then the other, hooked inside the cockpit. Somehow I got the stick between my legs again and jammed on full elevator and aileron.

Within two weeks of its public debut, the prototype Tabloid had been crated and shipped to Australia, accompanied by Harry Hawker for demonstration in the hope of attracting sales in Hawker’s homeland. Sailing on RMS Maloja, they reached Adelaide on 19 January 1914 and made over sixty flights, some with civic dignitaries and government officials including the Minister of Defence as passengers. Authorities in the UK were clearly as impressed with its performance as the crowds at Hendon had been and on 18 December 1913, placed an order for nine examples at a cost of £1,075 each as fast scouts.

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Britain's Forgotten Fighters of the First World War by Paul R. Hare
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