Sopwith Snipe

The Sopwith 7F.1 Snipe was a British single-seat biplane fighter of the Royal Air Force (RAF). It was designed and built by the Sopwith Aviation Company during the First World War, and came into squadron service a few weeks before the end of the conflict, in late 1918.

The Snipe was not a fast aircraft by the standards of its time, but its excellent climb and manoeuvrability made it a good match for contemporary German fighters.

It was selected as the standard postwar single-seat RAF fighter and the last examples were not retired until 1926.

Sopwith Triplane

The Sopwith Triplane was a British single seat fighter aircraft designed and manufactured by the Sopwith Aviation Company during the First World War. It has the distinction of being the first military triplane to see operational service.

The triplane concept had a brief life and in less than two years it had been eclipsed by the new and more powerful biplane fighters on both sides.

The arrival of the Triplane on the Western Front in early 1917 made such an impression on the Germans that they produce their own triplane fighters, this lead to the Fokker Dr1 which the infamous Red Baron, Manfred von Richthofen flew. 

Both the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service ordered the type but policy changes led to the Triplane only being used by the Royal Naval Air Service fighter squadrons on the Western Front.

The Sopwith Triplane at RAF London is one of only two known survivors.

Sopwith F.1 Camel

This Sopwith F.1 Camel was on display at RAF London.

The Sopwith Camel is a British First World War single-seat biplane fighter aircraft that was introduced on the Western Front in 1917. It was developed by the Sopwith Aviation Company as a successor to the Sopwith Pup and became one of the best known fighter aircraft of the Great War.

The Camel was powered by a single rotary engine and was armed with twin synchronized Vickers machine guns. The Camel was the highest scoring British fighter of the First World War. It took its name from the hump over the breeches of the two machine guns.

It was challenging to fly well, it could kill an unwary pilot. Though difficult to handle, it was highly manoeuvrable in the hands of an experienced pilot. Camel pilots have been credited with downing 1,294 enemy aircraft, more than any other Allied fighter of the conflict.  It was ideal for daylight combat but versatile enough to allow it to be used for night fighting and ground attack, especially towards the end of the war when newer aircraft had better dogfighting capabilities.

This aeroplane was probably built by Boulton & Paul at Norwich. Sold as war-surplus, it briefly flew re-engined with a 45hp Anzani engine in 1923 and was part of the renowned Nash Collection from 1936. Restored at Heathrow airport 1958-1962.

Sopwith 5F.1 Dolphin

The Sopwith 5F.1 Dolphin was a British fighter aircraft manufactured by the Sopwith Aviation Company. It was used by the Royal Flying Corps and its successor, the Royal Air Force, during the First World War. The Dolphin entered service on the Western Front in early 1918 and proved to be a formidable fighter. The aircraft was not retained in the postwar inventory and was retired shortly after the war.

The Dolphin’s unusual wing arrangement gave its pilot an excellent view. It was heavily armed with up to four guns. Many pilots removed one or both Lewis guns from the top wing. No. 87 Squadron repositioned them on the lower wings outside the aircrew arc to increase the volume of fire when ground strafing.

This Sopwith 5F.1 Dolphin was on display at RAF London.

This example is a composite reconstruction with original tail surfaces, fuselage frame parts and nose cowlings from three separate aircraft. Its identity comes from the original Sopwith built rear fuselage section, from an aircraft built in 1918 and probably used by a training unit.