The RAF Museum’s Sopwith Camel
Fairly recently in Motor Sport you referred to the Sopwith Camel in the RAF Museum and I remember this machine well! It was kept in a lock-up in Aldenham Road, Bushey, originalIy part of a row of stables or farm buildings – wings off and rotary engine removed and with the tail propped up on a trestle. Manton took his time over converting the bearers to accept a smaller engine, but eventually the job was complete and, having found a suitable field and done a deal with the farmer, he towed the Camel to Tring where he carried out simple taxying trials and, in due course, I believe, persuaded the machine to leave the ground. Whether in fact he managed a circuit I do not know, but he told me it was considerably underpowered.
However, he appeared to lose interest and eventually sold it for £50, to a man who came all the way from Wales. He got 25 on account with a promise of the balance in a month. The man tied the tail skid of the Camel to his car, lashed the wings to the sides of the fuselage, and set off. This was the last Manton saw of his Camel for over 50 years, and alas, did not get the other £25!
E. Gordon Tate
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An Aviation Fixture
The International Air Tattoo 1981 will be held at RAF Greenham Common on June 27th and 28th, to bring together aeroplanes of all kinds, with emphasis on the World’s Maritime patrol, search and rescue aircraft. Further details are to be released next month, but the dates are there for your diaries, a 7-hour continuous flying display being scheduled for both days, from 10.30 am to 5.30 pm. — W.B.
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