BILL McBRIDE COLLECTION
No. 9744. Sopwith F.1 Camel Royal Flying Corps
Source unknown

Sopwith F.1 Camel

02/28/2010: Remarks by Johan Visschedijk: "Evolved from the Sopwith Pup, to which it bore a close family resemblance, the F.1 design was passed by the Sopwith experimental department on December 22, 1916. Possessing conventionally wire-braced and fabric-covered wooden wings, and a wire-braced wooden box girder fuselage covered by light alloy panels forward, plywood to aft of the cockpit and fabric, the Camel had an armament of twin synchronized 0.303 in (7.7 mm) guns. It was produced in series powered with the 130 hp Clerget 9B, the 150 hp Bentley B.R.1 or the 110 hp Le Rhône nine-cylinder rotaries.

The Camel (F.1 and the shipboard version 2F.1) was to be ordered in large numbers from various contractors (Boulton & Paul at, British Caudron, Clayton & Shuttleworth, Hooper, March, Jones & Cribb, Nieuport & General, Portholme Aerodrome, Proctor, Ruston, and Sopwith) for both the RFC and RNAS, deliveries commencing in May 1917. A total of 5,597 was ordered, of which 5,490 were apparently delivered.

The F.1 Camel was adapted for the nocturnal intercept role as a replacement for the 1½ Strutter on Home Defence duties. Mostly Le Rhône-powered, Camel night fighters were armed with twin 0.303 in (7.7 mm) guns above the wing centre section and firing upwards at an angle of 45º, the cockpit being moved one bay farther aft and the centre section cut-out being enlarged. A total of 2,519 F.1 Camels (plus 129 2F.1 Camels) was on RAF charge on October 31, 1918, but these did not survive long after the Armistice, giving place to the Sopwith Snipe.

Camels were often used for bombing, although the aircraft shown above has been examined after its forced-landing, as shown by the opened fuselage hatch, there is still a bomb on the carrier, just visible above the wheel. The following data relate to the 130 hp Clerget 9B-powered F.1 Camel:

Created February 28, 2010