Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Sopwith Dove and William Barker

After World War One, the Sopwith Aviation Company decided to create a twin seat adaptation of its Pup fighter for the expected post-war sport aviation market.  The new type was called the Sopwith Dove.  Unfortunately for Sopwith, a civilian post-war aviation boom did not occur in Britain and only ten Doves were built.

This selection of photos were taken when the prototype Dove G-EACM had a brush with fame.  In the spring of 1919, Canadian World War One ace William Barker gave the Prince of Wales a half hour ride in the Dove over London.  (Note that Barker has one of his arms in a sling; a holdover from his October 27, 1918, battle for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross.)

The Dove followed Barker to Canada being registered G-CAAY to the Bishop-Barker Aeroplanes Limited.  In 1921, the Dove was destroyed in a crash at Sault St. Marie, Ontario, while being flown by another pilot.  (Photos courtesy of the Canada. Dept. of National Defence/Library and Archives Canada.)

Modeler's Note:  To the best of my knowledge, the only Dove kit to be issued in 1/72 was a Dove and Swallow conversion released by Airframe of Canada for the Airfix Pup.  Airframe's kits were crude vacuforms molded on very thin plastic, so it would be probably be easier to modify the Airfix Pup on your own than to use the Airframe conversion.

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