Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2b

This replica Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2b was at RAF London.

Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2b

The Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2 was a British single-engine tractor two-seat biplane designed and developed at the Royal Aircraft Factory. Most of the roughly 3,500 built were constructed under contract by private companies, including established aircraft manufacturers and firms new to aircraft construction.

Early versions entered squadron service with the Royal Flying Corps in 1912 and the type served throughout the First World War. Initially used as a reconnaissance aircraft and light bomber, some examples modified as single-seat night fighters destroyed German airships.

The B.E.2b was a very stable aircraft. On 26 April 1915, 2nd Lt William Barnard Rhodes-Moorhouse attacked Courtrai Railway Station, Cambrai, Northern France flying B.E.2b No 687. Dropping a 100lb bomb he was fatally wounded by ground fire but managed to fly home, being awarded the first Victoria Cross awarded for an aerial action.

Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2b

The detailed replica at RAF London was mostly built under contract at the former RAF Museum facility at Cardington in 1983-88. It incorporates a few original B.E.2a fittings and the correct original propeller, and carries the markings of the aircraft in which 2nd Lt Rhodes-Moorhouse won his VC.

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