Sopwith Aircraft Pre-CamelThere were various planes created by Sopwith which came before the Camel including:
- The Sopwith-Wright Biplane, the first plane ever created by Sopwith
- The Sopwith Gunbus, the last plane to be built before World War One
- The Sopwith Admirality Type 137, the first plane to be built by Sopwith durign World War One
- The Sopwith Bee, a personal aircraft built for Harry Hawker and the plane built directly before the Camel
- The Sopwith Pup, the plane which the Camel was built to replace
The Sopwith Aviation Company - IntroductionThe Sopwith Aviation Company was the organisation behind the creation of various planes such as the Sopwith Camel and the Sopwith Triplane.
- Founded by Thomas Sopwith in 1912
- Based in Kingston upon Thames
- Employed 5,000 people and built over 16,000 aircraft
- Sopwith founded it when he was only 24
The Beginning of the First World WarWorld War One began on the 28th July 1914.
- The war effectively began due to the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand
- The war amounted to a total death toll of 37 million, 22 million in the Allies and 15 million in the Central Powers
- Aircraft were a key military tool and were deployed by both sides in the duration of the war
- Some of Britain's vital aircraft were designed and constructed in Kingston
The Sopwith Camel - InventionThe Sopwith Camel was a fighter biplane which was vital for winning the war.
- Invented by Thomas Sopwith to replace the Sopwith Pup
- Named due to the artillery on the front of the plane shaped like a hump
- Camel had 1294 victories throughout World War II
- Was viewed with controversy by other countries as they believed it was unsafe to fly, slower than it should have been and was very tricky to manoeuvre
SPAD S.VII - InventionThe French then designed a key plane in the war entitled the SPAD S.VII.
- Initial production began on 10th May 1916 and was for 268 copies of the aircraft
- Early production was slightly faulty which lengthened the amount of time of construction
SPAD S.VII - First FlightThe SPAD S.VII first flew in May 1916 and designed by Louis Béchereau.
- The SPAD had one 37 mm Puteaux single shot cannon and 1 x 7.7 mm Vickers machine gun onboard
- Almost 7,000 SPADs were built throughout the war
- The SPAD became the first choice of many great French aces including Georges Guynemer
The Airco DH.4The Airco DH.4 was an bomber aircraft frequently used in World War One.
- The biplane could carry a Vickers machine gun, a Lewis gun and either 2 230lb or 4 112lb bombs
- Over 6,000 of the DH.4s were built altogether in both the UK and the USA
- Its top speed was 143mph or 216 km/h at sea level, meaning it was very quick
- The plane retired in 1932 by the United States Army
The Bristol F.2The Bristol F.2 was a fighter plane created in 1916 and introduced to the war in 1917.
- The F.2 lasted through the war and some time after before being retired in the 1930s
- Similar to the Airco DH.4, the F.2 carried a Vickers and a Lewis gun but onl carried one 240lb bomb
- Over 5,000 of the F.2s were created
- There are three F.2s which have survived until today
The Sopwith Camel - First FlightThis day marked the initial flight of the Sopwith Camel which would then go on to become an essential aircraft in the war.
- Flown by Harry Hawker, the Australian pilot who helped with various Sopwith designs and creations and later founded Hawker Aircraft
- Flown at Brooklands, a site which was originally a race track but then became a useful testing, storing and creating site for aircraft. Brooklands is now a museum
Fokker Dr.1 - First FlightThe Fokker Dr.1 flew for the first time on this day and was piloted on various occasions by Manfred von Richthofen.
- 320 aircraft were built but none survived to this day
- Used synchronisation to stop the S[andau guns from shooting out the propellers, which was a common technique discovered by the Germans
- Von Richthofen won 19 of his last 21 victories using the Dr,1 but the plane also caused his death
Fokker Dr.1 - Invention
The End of the First World WarThe First World War ended on this day when Germany decided to sign an armistice with the Allies
Sopwith Aircraft Post-CamelThere was a range of aircraft created by Sopwith after World War One and leading up to World War Two:
- The Sopwith Snark, the last plane to be built in World War One
- The Sopwith Gnu, the first aircraft to be built once the war ended
- Sopwith 1919 Schneider Cup Seaplane/The Sopwith Rainbow, a racing aircraft first constructed as a seaplane before becoming a land plane and eventually being retired in 1923
- The Sopwith Grasshopper, the last aircraft to be built by the Sopwith Aviation Company
The Sopwith Aviation Company EndThe Sopwith Aviation Company closed after eight years in 1920 after the business collapsed.
- The aircraft continued to be used, in particular the Sopwith Snipe which lasted until the late 1920s
- The aircraft created by the company was used internationally as well as nationally, in the US, France and Belgium
- Although his business fell through, Sopwith was still a prominent figure in the aircraft world, as he soon became part of Hawker Aircraft and H.G. Hawker Engineering
Establishment of H.G. Hawker EngineeringAfter the collapse of the Sopwith Aircraft Company, the H.G. Hawker Engineering company was established by Harry Hawker.
- Hawker was not the only founder, as Sopwith also joined him when his business fell through
- H.G. Hawker Engineering later became Hawker Aircraft Limited, and later still Hawker Siddeley Aircraft
- The company was responsible for some of the most essential aircraft of World War Two
Hawker DuikerThe Hawker Duiker was the first plane ever to be built by H.G. Hawker Engineering.
- The plane first flew in July 1923
- The Duiker was a reconnaissance plane and was created to assist the Army
- Only one aircraft was built
- The weapons onboard were those of the company Vickers which also shared the Brooklands site
Hawker HartThe Hawker Hart was an important plane used between the two wars and was light bomber biplane.
- The aircraft was predominantly used by the Royal Air Force before retiring in 1943
- Onboard was a synchronised Vickers machine gun, a Lewis gun and up to 500lbs of bombs
- The plane's top speed was 185mph/ 298km/h and could reach 10,000ft in 8 minutes and 30 seconds
Hawker HindThe Hawker Hind was a developed version of the Hawker Hart, first flown in 1934 and introduced the year after.
- 528 Hawker Hinds were produced between 1935 and 1938
- The Hind had a Vickers machine gun, a Lewis gun and could hold up to 510lb of bombs
- The Hind was not just used in the UK - South Africa, Iran and New Zealand also used the aircraft among others
- The plane was retired in 1957
Hawker Hurricane - First FlightThe Hawker Hurricane was one of the most useful planes in World War Two and participated in 60% of the RAF's victories in the Battle of Britain.
- Although they were overshadowed by the Spitfires, the Hurricane was altogether more successful
- More than 14,500 Hurricanes were produced
- Onboard they carried four Hispano Mk II cannons and a maximum of 500lbs worth of bombs
Supermarine SpitfireThe Supermarine Spitfire is one of the most famous planes to fight in the second world war.
- Over 20,000 were built between 1938 and 1948
- Onboard were two Hispano Mk II cannons, 4 Browning machine guns/2 M2 Browning machine guns and 2 250lb bombs
- Its top speed was 448mph or 717km/h
The Start of the Second World WarWorld War Two began on the 1st September 1939 when Germany invaded Poland, also known as the September/Poland Campaign.
- Throughout the war, around 73,000,000 people, both soldiers and civilians, were killed
- Over 150 types of planes in WW2 came from the United Kingdom
- One of the most helpful aircraft used in the war was the Hawker Hurricane, which was built in Kingston
The Battle of BritainThe Battle of Britain was an air fight between the RAF and the Luftwaffe which lasted for three months and three weeks.
- The main British aircrafts were the Hawker Hurricane, the Spitfire and the Bf 109
- The British won the battle and forced the German Luftwaffe away
- This caused Hitler to threaten Operation Sea Lion, which was a large invasion consisting of both aircraft and amphibious vehicles
VE Day - The End of World War TwoVE Day, 8th May 1945, marked the end of the war, hence the name Victory in Europe Day.
- The victory came after Hitler's suicide on the 30th April during the Battle of Berlin
- The act of military surrender was signed in Reims, France, on the 7th May, and in Berlin on the 8th
- The surrender was made by Hitler's successor, President of Germany Karl Dönitz
Hawker HunterThe Hunter was a subsonic military aircraft used in the 1950s and 60s as a fighter and ground attack monoplane.
- Onboard the Hunter were: four ADEN revolver cannons, four hardpoints to carry either 72 rockets or 32 Hispano SURA rockets, four Sidewinder missiles, four Maverick missiles, a variety of unguided bombs and two drop tanks
- The Hunter broke the world air speed record in 1953, achieving 727.63mph/1,171.01 km/h
- The Hunter is still in use, currently with the Lebanese Air Force
Hawker Siddeley HarrierThe Hawker Siddeley Harrier was the first plane able to take off from a vertical trajectory and one of the first to use an aircraft harrier on the sea.
- The Harrier was introduced two years after its first flight in 1967
- Onboard the Harrier were: two ADEN cannon pods, five hardpoints to carry 72 rockets, two air missiles and a variety of different bombs, as well as a reconnaissance pod and two drop tanks
- The Harrier was officially retired in 2006
Collapse of Hawker Siddeley AircraftAfter 43 years, Hawker Siddeley Aircraft collapsed and was forced to close in 1972.
- Although the company ended in 1972, the aircraft continued to exist and be used until 1977
- Hawker Siddeley had also expanded its products: as well as aircraft, the company made missiles and weapons, space hardware and heavy equipment such as a piece of logging equipment