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Sopwith Aviation Co

The Sopwith Aviation Company Ltd in Kingston-on-Thames was founded in a shed at Brooklands in 1912 by Tommy, Thomas Octave Murdoch Sopwith.

Sopwith rebuilt early aircraft before First World War, began development of own types and formed important associations with F. Sigrist (engineer and largely responsible for future success) and H. G. Hawker (pilot). Company registered March 1914.

Bat Boat of 1913 was notable flying-boat and Tabloid landplane of same year gained renown as floatplane by winning 1914 Schneider Trophy. Wartime developments were Schneider and Baby floatplanes.

Became world famous for fighter aircraft, built in great numbers by many companies, though first landplane fighter built in great numbers was two-seat 1 1/2-Strutter. Pup was smaller single-seater. Triplane of 1916 excelled in climb. Two-gun Camel, in service 1917, excelled in maneuverability; shipboard version had detachable rear fuselage. Cuckoo of 1917 was world's first deck-landing torpedo-bomber. Snipe was intended to succeed Camel late in war, and remained in RAF service until 1926: Salamander was similar but armored for ground attack.

With an output of 90 ships a week at Kingston alone, due for commercial reasons this company had to end its activities in 1920 and the busi-ness had to liquidate.

Sopwith wanted to stay in aviation and couldn't start a company with the same name. So he called the new company the Hawker Engineering Company, with a capital of 20,000 pounds.

 

 


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