Sopwith Pup (Replica)


The Sopwith Admiralty type 9901 followed the One and a half Strutter from the Sopwith workshops. With a similar appearance but 20% smaller than it's two-seat predecessor, the aircraft soon acquired the nickname 'Pup', which has superceded the official name of 'Scout'.. The prototype (3691) appeared in early 1916, and in May it was sent to the RNAS for evaluation. Five further protypes followed, and the aircraft was subsequently ordered for the RNAS and RFC. The RNAS began to recieve production aircraft in October 1916, and they went to 8 Squadron. The first RFC squadron to receive the type was 54 who arrived in France on December 24, 1916. Compact and light, the aircraft developed a lasting reputation for manouverability and good handling. The aircraft was successful through the summer of 1917, but was becoming obsolescent as the year drew to a close. From July 1917 the type began to be used for Home Defence. A number of aircraft were upgraded from the 80hp Le Rhone to the 100hp Monosaupape engine improving the climb and ceiling. The aircraft entered a new sphere of operation when experiments began on shipboard operation. The first successful shipboard landings were made in the type when E.H.Dunning landed aboard HMS Furious on August 2nd 1917. Pups were eventually replaced by the later Camel in the shipboard role. Final production amounted to 1,770 aircraft. One interned Pup was used by the Dutch, two are belived to have been used by the USN, and a number went to Japan after WWI. A civil version, the two seat Dove was not successful in light of the quantity of surplus aircraft available and only 10 were produced in 1919. (Shuttleworth's example was the last of these, and has been converted back). A number of Pups were however converted to two seaters .

New Zealander link to the type begins with those pilots who encountered the Pup in service during WWI. At least one is known to have died operating the type - Lt Ernest Burton who was serving with the Australian Flying Corps was killed in a training accident when his Pup (B7529) collided with a Camel (B7338) on April 4, 1918. Flight Lieutenant (later Capt) Harold Beamish who eventually reached a tally of 11 aerial victories flew a Pup while with 3 Squadron RNAS in June-July 1917. During this time he is known to have shot down one opponent.

The RNZAF Museum (Air Force World) in Christchurch has a Pup replica presented in the colours of Beamish's Pup N6460. The replica (c/n SS/SPR/001) was built by Skysport Engineering in England in the mid-1980s. Constructed to original specifications and including a number of original components (such as the Scarff-Dubrovsky interruptor gear), the replica is as per an original Pup. The aircraft was test flown as G-BIAT on July 2, 1986 but the 80hp Le Rhone experienced a rich cut and the aircraft was force landed in a paddock. Damage was caused to the forward fuselage, landing gear and lower wings in the incident. The damaged aircraft was subsequently traded and then stored in Sydney, Australia from 1998 to 1995. The aircraft was then exchanged by the RNZAF Museum with Rob Greinert for P-47D 42-8066. The Pup was subsequently repaired in the Museum's workshop, and rolled out for non-flying display in late 1998.

Last Update:- 6 June, 2002

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