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Camel - Aircraft Profile - Sopwith : Camel


Manufacturer : Sopwith
Number Built : 5714
Production Began : 1916
Retired :
Type : Fighter

SOPWITH CAMEL: was the most successful fighter of World War one. Claiming almost 3,000 air victories. The prototype of the Sopwith camel first flew in December 1916, and its first combat mission began in June 1917. joined 4 squadron RNAS based near Dunkirk. The first Royal Flying Corp squadron to receive the aircraft was no. 70 squadron. The Sopwith camel was the first designed fighter to have two forward firing machine guns. Its design gave it amazing maneuverability and aerobatic qualities. and was perfectly suited for aerial dog fighting. Squadron after squadron was re equipped with the camel and by the end of February 1918 13 squadrons were fully operational with the aircraft along the western front. Also used on the Italian Front with 3 squadrons equipped. This figure increased with a total of 19 squadrons equipped on the western front by August 1918. This included two squadrons no. 151 and 152 for night fighter duties. in June 1918. There was also a naval version of the Sopwith camel. the 2F.1s which gradually replaced the Sopwith Pup and other naval aircraft. The Naval version most memorable fete was done by Lt S D Culley who took off from a towed wood platform and destroyed the Zeppelin L.53 on the 10th August 1918. also on the 18th July six aircraft took off from the forward deck of HMS Furious to bomb the Zeppelin base at Tondern which they successfully did destroying two Zeppelins L.54 and L.60. This was the first time carrier borne aircraft had destroyed a land base installation. In total 5597 F.1s and 317 2F.1s were ordered but there may have been 200 less built. Performance. speed: 113mph at 10,000 feet. service ceiling 19,000 feet. Armament: two fixed forward firing Vickers .303 machine Guns. or one .303 forward firing and one .303 Lewis Gun


Latest Camel Artwork Releases !
 With his personal emblem of black and white fuselage band adorning his Fokker E.V, 153/18, Richard Wenzl briefly commanded Jasta 6, based at Bernes in August 1918, and claimed a modest 6 victories during his career with JG 1. The Fokker E.V was both fast and manoeuvrable, but a series of engine and structural failures meant that these exciting new machines saw only brief service before being re-worked to emerge as the D.VIII, sadly too late to make any impression on the war. Wenzl is shown here in combat with Sopwith Camels of 203 Sqn, assisted by Fokker D.VIIs, which served alongside the E.Vs of Jasta 6. The D.VII shown is that of Ltn d R Erich Just of Jasta 11, also based at Bernes.

Leutnant d R Richard Wenzl by Ivan Berryman. (PC)
 Mystery still surrounds just why Manfred von Richthofen risked so much in chasing the novice pilot Wilfred Wop May into Allied-occupied territory on the morning of Sunday, 21st April 1918, but it was to be his last flight, this error of judgement costing him his life. Von Richthofen had broken from the main fight involving Sopwith Camels of 209 Sqn to chase Mays aircraft, but found himself under attack from the Camel of Captain Roy Brown. All three aircraft turned and weaved low along the Somme River, the all red Triplane coming under intense fire from the ground as well as from Browns aircraft. No one knows exactly who fired the crucial bullet, but Manfred von Richthofens aircraft was seen to dive suddenly and impact with the ground. The Red Baron was dead and his amazing run of 80 victories was over. The painting shows Mays aircraft (D3326) in the extreme distance, pursued by DR.1 (425/17) and Browns Camel (B7270) in the foreground.

Captain Roy Brown engages the Red Baron, 21st April 1918 by Ivan Berryman. (PC)
Swamped by mud amidst a desolate, shattered landscape, men and horses of the Royal Field Artillery drag their 18 pounder field-gun towards a new position on 15 November 1917, during the final days of the Battle of Passchendaele.  Whilst the army continues its grim fight on the ground, overhead Sopwith Camels from 45 Squadron Royal Flying Corps tangle in an equally deadly duel with German Albatros fighters of Jasta 6.  Flying the lead Sopwith Camel is the RFC Ace, 2nd Lt Kenneth Montgomery who scored the last of his 12 victories in this dogfight when he shot down the German Ace Leutnant Hans Ritter von Adam, the Commanding Officer of Jasta 6 with an impressive 21 victories to his name.  To commemorate one of the most significant anniversaries in history, Anthony Saunders has created a powerful painting portraying the bleak sacrifice made by so many heroic young men.  The names of the bitter battles they endured, however, still live on a hundred years later - Ypres, the Somme, Vimy Ridge, Arras, Loos - and one of the most savage - Passchendaele.

The Big Push - Passchendaele 1917 by Anthony Saunders.
 After having shot down an Albatros DV over Ypres, captain Billy Barker in his personal aircraft B6313 leads his flight of novices in loose formation back to Allied Lines. Flying West into the early evening sun against the back drop of a dramatic skyline the four Sopwith Camels head back to their base at St Omer.

Patrolling the Line by Gerald Coulson. (B)

Camel Artwork Collection

Last But One by Ivan Berryman.

Manfred Von Richthoffen (The Red Baron) by Tim Fisher.

The Sky Warriors by Anthony Saunders.

Homeward Bound - Sopwith Camel by David Pentland.

A Hand of Aces by Ivan Berryman.

Gotha G. V. by Ivan Berryman.

Rittmeister Karl Bolle by Ivan Berryman.

Leutnant d R Richard Wenzl by Ivan Berryman.

Captain Roy Brown engages the Red Baron, 21st April 1918 by Ivan Berryman.

Leutnant Wolfram von Richthofen by Ivan Berryman.

Sopwith Camel by Anthony Saunders.

Donald MacLaren by Ivan Berryman.

Gefreiter Jakob Tischner - Roland D.VIa by Ivan Berryman.

Captain Arthur Henry Cobby by Ivan Berryman.

The Final Curtain by Ivan Berryman.

Richthofens Flying Circus by Nicolas Trudgian.

Patrolling the Line by Gerald Coulson.

Knights of the Sky by Nicolas Trudgian

The Big Push - Passchendaele 1917 by Anthony Saunders.

Sopwith Camel Aces of World War One.

High Patrol by Robert Taylor.

Balloon Buster by Robert Taylor.

Fast and Furious by Stan Stokes.

The Ringmaster by Stan Stokes.

Top Aces for : Camel
A list of all Aces from our database who are known to have flown this aircraft. A profile page is available by clicking the pilots name.
John Inglis Gilmour39.00
Walter MacFarlane Carlaw12.00
Ernest James Salter9.00
George Henry Hackwill9.00
Francis Mansel Kitto9.00
Reginald Stuart Maxwell9.00
Henry Hollingdrake Maddocks7.00
Oliver Manners Sutton7.00
Michael Edward Gonne5.00
Squadrons for : Camel
A list of all squadrons from known to have used this aircraft. A profile page is available by clicking the squadron name.

No.203 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 1st April 1918
Fate : Disbanded 31st December 1977

Occidens oriensque - West and east

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No.203 Sqn RAF

Full profile not yet available.

No.208 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 1st April 1918


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No.208 Sqn RAF

Full profile not yet available.

No.209 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 1st April 1918
Fate : Disbanded 31st December 1968
City of Hong Kong

Might and main

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No.209 Sqn RAF

Full profile not yet available.

No.210 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 1st April 1918
Fate : Disbanded 15th November 1971

Yn y nwyfre yn hedfan - Hovering in the heavens

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No.210 Sqn RAF

Full profile not yet available.

No.28 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 7th November 1915

Quicquid agas age - Whatwsoever you may do

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No.28 Sqn RAF

Full profile not yet available.

No.44 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 15th April 1916
Fate : Disbanded 21st December 1982

Fulmina regis justa - The Kings thunderbolts are righteous

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No.44 Sqn RAF

Full profile not yet available.

No.46 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 19th April 1916
Fate : Disbanded 31st August 1975.

We rise to conquer

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No.46 Sqn RAF

No. 46 Squadron was formed on the 19th April 1916 and based at RAF Wyton base. In October 1916, 46 Squadron moved to France and was equipped with the two seater Nieuport. 46 Squadrons role was artillery spotting and reconnaissance until May 1917 when 46 squadron were re equipped with the fighter the Sopwith Pup. 46 Squadron operated as part of the 11th Army Wing, and saw many engagements with the enemy. Returning to England and based at Sutton's Farm, Essex, the squadron took part in the defence of London, in July 1917. London had been bombed several times by German Gotha Bombers but after 46 Squadrons patrols no enemy aircraft managed to bomb London in their area. Later 46 squadorn returned to France at the end of August 1917 and in November the squadorn was re equipped with the Sopwith Camel and participated in the Battle of Cambrai protecting the ground troops. In November 1917, Lieutenant (later Major) Donald Maclaren joined 46 Squadron. His first dogfight was not until February 1918, but in the last 9 months of the war Donald Maclaren was credited with shooting down 48 aeroplanes and six balloons, making him one of the top aces of World War I. By November 1918, 46 Squadron had claimed 184 air victories, creating 16 aces. After the First World War had ended the squadorn returned to England and was disbanded on the 31st of December 1919. The outbreak of war found 46 Squadron at RAF Digby, equipped with Hawker Hurricanes. Action with the enemy came quickly when, at the end of October 1939, Squadron Leader Barwell and Pilot Officer Plummer attacked a formation of 12 Heinkel 115s, destroying one each, and scattering the remainder. The next six months were uneventful, consisting in the main of providing air cover for the shipping convoys steaming along the East Coast - a few enemy aircraft were sighted but no contacts were made. In May 1940, the squadron was selected to form part of the Expeditionary Force in Norway, which had been invaded by the Germans on 9th April. The Hurricanes were embarked on HMS Glorious and, despite doubts that a Hurricane could take off from a carrier flight deck in a flat calm, they all took to the air without difficulty, thanks to the efforts of the ship's engineers, who managed to get the Glorious up to a speed of 30 knots. No.46 Squadron assembled at Bardufoss and began operation on 26 May. Patrols were maintained over the land and naval forces at Narvik without respite, some of the pilots going without sleep for more than 48 hours. Conditions on the ground were very basic with poor runways and primitive servicing and repair facilities. Many air combats took place, and in its brief campaign in Norway the squadron accounted for at least 14 enemy aircraft, besides probably destroying many others. On 7th June the squadron was ordered to evacuate Norway immediately and, on the night of 7th through 8th June, the Hurricanes were successfully flown back to Glorious a dangerous procedure as none of the aircraft were fitted with deck arrester hooks. The ground parties embarked on HMS Vindictive and SS Monarch of Bermuda and reached the UK safely, but the squadron's aircraft and eight of its pilots were lost when Glorious was sunk by German warships on 9th June 1940. The two pilots who survived were the Squadron Commander, Squadron Leader (later Air Chief Marshal) Bing Cross, and the Flight Commander, Flight Lieutenant (later Air Commodore) Jamie Jameson.

No.54 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 15th May 1916

Audax omnia perpeti - Boldness to endure anything

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No.54 Sqn RAF

No. 54 Squadron was formed on the 5th of May 1916 at Castle Bromwich. The squadron was equipped with BE2C's and Avro 504's and was part of the home defence force. Shortly after 54 squadron changed to day fighter duties and moved to France then equipped with Sopwith Pups. Their role was to escort bombers and attack observation balloons. Near the end of the great war 54 squadron was re -quipped with Sopwith Camels and tasked with ground attack as well as fighter sorties. In February 1919, the squadron returned to RAF Yatesbury and on 2nd October 1919 54 squadron was disbanded. On the 15th of January 1930, 54 squadron was reformed at RAF Hornchurch as a fighter squadron equipped initially with Siskin aircraft. The Siskins were subsequently replaced with Bulldog fighters and in September 1936 54 squadron was re-equipped with Gloster Gauntlets and in April 1937, they recieved Gloster Gladiators. In March 1939 the squadron recieved the new Supermarine Spitfire. After the outbreak of world war two, 54 Squadron was given the duties of patrolling the Kent coast, until having to support and give air cover to the evacuation of Dunkirk in May and June 1940. The squadron was heavily involved during the Battle of Britain until November 1940 and after the Battle of Britain had ceased the squadron moved in November 1940 to RAF Castletown where its duties were coastal patrols. In June 1942 the squadron moved to RAF Wellingore to prepare for the squadron moving to Australia. In January 1943 54 squadron joined No.1 Wing of the Royal Australian Air Force. The Spitfires of the squadron were given the role of air defence duties against Japanese air attacks in the Darwin area. After the war had ended 54 squadron was disbanded in Melbourne on the 31st of October 1945, although the squadron name continued when on the 15th of November 1945 No.183 Squadron was renumbered 54 Squadron and flew initially Hawker Tempests. Taking up jet aircraft, the squadron subsequently used Vampires, Meteors, Hunters, Phantom and Jaguars before disbanding on 11th March 2005. 54 Squadron reformed on 5th September 2005 as an ISTAR (Intelligence Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance ) unit equipped with Sentry, Nimrod and Sentinel aircraft.

No.70 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 22nd April 1916

Usquam - Anywhere

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No.70 Sqn RAF

Full profile not yet available.
Signatures for : Camel
A list of all signatures from our database who are associated with this aircraft. A profile page is available by clicking their name.

Flight Lieutenant Henry Botterell

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2003Died : 2003
Flight Lieutenant Henry Botterell

First World War fighter pilot with the Royal Flying Corps. Born in 1896, Henry Botterell joined the Royal Naval Air Service in Canada, and in 1916 sailed for England where he trained as a pilot to fly fighters. In 1917 he was posted to France, joining an operational squadron on the Western Front, butan engine failure on his second take off brought his flying to an abrupt conclusion, forcing him to spend several months in hospital and convalescing back in England, where he was demobilised. After a chance meeting with pilots on leave in England with whom he had trained, Henry applied to rejoin the service and was accepted. Re-qualifying as a fighter pilot, in early 1918 he returned to operational combat flying in France with 208 Squadron Royal Flying Corps. Flying Sopwith Camels he saw active service with 209 Squadron for the remainder of the war until the Armistice in November. Staying in France as part of the continuing Force he eventually returned to Canada in 1919 - bringing back with him a fence post which the wing of his Camel had collected on one of his many low level sorties. The post now resides in the War Museum in Ottawa. Henry died in 2003.

Battle of Britain Timeline of Related Info : 21st May
21May1941Former British Battle of Britain pilot, P/O L. W. Stevens of 17 Squadron, was Killed.
21May1941Former British Battle of Britain pilot, P/O M. DFC Kramer of 600 Squadron, was Killed.
21May1941Former Canadian Battle of Britain pilot, F/O P. W. Lochnan of 1 RCAF Squadron, was Killed.
21May1942Former British Battle of Britain pilot, Sgt. C. Wilcock of 248 Squadron, was Killed.
21May1942Former Czech Battle of Britain pilot, P/O K. J. Vykoukal of 111 and 73 Squadrons, was Killed.

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