Sopwith Tabloid

The Sopwith Tabloid was one of the first aircraft built by the Sopwith Aviation Company and was originally designed as a sports aircraft before it became a military variant.


Development and design:

In the middle of 1913 the designer Harry Hawker began with the development of a sports aircraft at the company Sopwith Aviation Company. The arrangement of the two seats on the aircraft was unusual. Until then it was usual to place them one behind the other, but in the Sopwith Tabloid they were installed next to each other. The wings of the same length were staggered and a wing distortion was used for control.

The rectangular fuselage consisted of an ordinary wire construction with the front part made of aluminium and the rear part made of fabric. Another unusual feature at the time was the complete covering of the engine. The air needed for cooling was only brought in through two small slits on the front.

The prototype was powered by an 80 hp Gnome Lambda rotary engine, which eventually reached a top speed of 148 kilometres per hour.

On 27 November 1913 the first flight with the new airplane could be accomplished, whereupon the Department of Defense became attentive to this and demanded a military variant and ordered first 40 pieces.

Due to the high speed at that time, the aircraft was predicted to be successful at the Schneider Trophy in 1914. The Schneider-Trophy was a competition of seaplanes, which was held once a year since 1911 to promote civil aviation. For this race the engine was exchanged for the more powerful Gnome Monosoupape with 100 HP. In addition, a single float was initially mounted under the aircraft, which had to be split after an accident and mounted at the ends of the lower wing.

At the subsequent race in Monaco, the Sopwith Tabloid could clearly convince. The airplane needed for the necessary distance only 2/3 of the time, which the fastest airplane had needed before. Not only did it set a new record, but the military ordered 12 aircraft, which were unofficially classified as Sopwith Schneider.

A total of 160 aircraft of this type were built, with the military variant being almost exclusively single-seater aircraft.


Sopwith Tabloid


Sopwith Tabloid


Sopwith Tabloid


Sopwith Tabloid




Use in the First World War:

At the beginning of the First World War, the Royal Flying Corps and Royal Naval Air Service had around 36 Sopwith Tabloid aircraft.

In northern France, these were mainly used as reconnaissance aircraft.

The aircraft used by the Royal Naval Air Service were partly equipped with a Lewis machine gun. These were either mounted so that they fired over the propeller or through the propeller, deflected by deflection wedges.

In addition to the reconnaissance variant, the aircraft were also used as bombers. Thus such bombers flew the first bomb attack of British airplanes on targets in the German Reich on 22 September 1914. On 8 October 1914 another attack took place on the airship hangars in Cologne and Düsseldorf. The target in Cologne could not be found, instead the station was bombed. In Düsseldorf the German Zeppelin LZ 25 was destroyed.

Until April 1915 the few Sopwith Tabloid remained on the fronts until they were withdrawn.




Technical data:

Designation: Sopwith Tabloid
Country: Great Britain
Type: Reconnaissance plane, Bomber
Length: 6,2 meters
Span: 7,83 meters
Height: 2,57 meters
Weight: 309 kg empty
Crew: Max. 1
Engine: One Gnôme Monosoupape 100 hp (74 kW) rotary engine
Maximum speed: 148 km/h
Range: Max. 510 kilometers
Arming: 1 x 7,7 mm Lewis machine gun

2 x 9 kilogram bombs






You can find the right literature here:


The First Air War, 1914-1918

The First Air War, 1914-1918 Hardcover – December 1, 1990

In this concise study, Kennett tells the complete story of World War I's air battles, from Eastern to Western front, from the skies of Europe and its seas to those of the Middle East and Africa.

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Aircraft of World War I 1914-1918 (Essential Identification Guide)

Aircraft of World War I 1914-1918 (Essential Identification Guide) 2nd Edition

Illustrated with detailed artworks of combat aircraft and their markings, Aircraft of World War I: The Essential Aircraft Identification Guide is a comprehensive study of the aircraft that fought in the Great War of 1914–18. Arranged chronologically by theatre of war and campaign, this book offers a complete organizational breakdown of the units on all the fronts, including the Eastern and Italian Fronts. Each campaign includes a compact history of the role and impact of aircraft on the course of the conflict, as well as orders of battle, lists of commanders and campaign aces such as Manfred von Richtofen, Eddie Rickenbacker, Albert Ball and many more. Every type of aircraft is featured, including the numerous variations and types of well- known models, such as the Fokker Dr.I, the Sopwith Camel and the SPAD SVII, through to lesser-known aircraft, such as the Rumpler C.1, and the Amstrong Whitworth FK8. Each aircraft profile is accompanied by exhaustive specifications, as well as details of individual and unit markings. Packed with more than 200 color profiles of every major type of combat aircraft from the era, Aircraft of World War I 1914–1918 is an essential reference guide for modellers, military historians and aircraft enthusiasts.

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World War One Aircraft Carrier Pioneer: The Story and Diaries of Captain JM McCleery RNAS/RAF

World War One Aircraft Carrier Pioneer: The Story and Diaries of Captain JM McCleery RNAS/RAF Hardcover – June 13, 2011

Jack McCleery was born in Belfast in 1898, the son of a mill owning family. He joined the RNAS in 1916 as a Probationary Flight Officer. During the next ten months he completed his training at Crystal Palace, Eastchurch, Cranwell, Frieston, Calshot and Isle of Grain, flying more than a dozen landplanes, seaplanes and flying boats, gaining his wings as a Flight Sub-Lieutenant. In July 1917 he was posted to the newly commissioning aircraft carrier HMS Furious, which would be based at Scapa Flow and Rosyth. He served in this ship until February 1919, flying Short 184 seaplanes and then Sopwith 1½ Strutters off the deck. He also flew a large number of other types during this time from shore stations at Turnhouse, East Fortune and Donibristle.

He served with important and well-known naval airmen including Dunning, Rutland (of Jutland) and Bell Davies VC. He witnessed Dunning’s first successful landing on a carrier flying a Sopwith Pup in 1917 and his tragic death a few days later. He also witnessed the Tondern raid in 1918, the world’s first carrier strike mission. He took part in more than a dozen sweeps into the North Sea by elements of the Grand Fleet and Battle Cruiser Fleet. He carried out reconnaissance missions off the coast of Denmark, landing in the sea to be picked up by waiting destroyers. He witnessed the surrender of the High Seas Fleet. Promoted to Captain, he acted as temporary CO of F Squadron for a time postwar.

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A World War 1 Adventure: The Life and Times of RNAS Bomber Pilot Donald E. Harkness

A World War 1 Adventure: The Life and Times of RNAS Bomber Pilot Donald E. Harkness Paperback – June 25, 2014

A deeply personal and revealing eyewitness narrative of one airman's life as a bomber pilot in England 's RNAS (Royal Naval Air Service) in WWI. It is a true story, an adventure, and a war memoir carefully constructed from Captain Donald E. Harkness's unpublished diaries, letters, sketches and photographs - only recently uncovered nearly a century later - that documented his remarkable experiences and military adventures over England, France and Belgium. The first book written by a highly decorated WWI flyer from New Zealand that captures the "behind the scenes" life of RNAS pilots, as well as the surprises, terrors, traumas, humor, and sheer excitement of an aerial form of combat never before experienced by anyone, anywhere - and only eleven short years after the Wright Brothers historic flight at Kitty Hawk. With a talent for writing, Don begins an epic journey at a major turning point in history when the world is poised at the dawn of flight, and bracing itself for unknown dangers of unprecedented sophistication and savagery. Don's journal reveals unique insights and vivid imagery of another time and experience, to wit: - the terror and devastation of a Zeppelin bombing raid in London - the training regimen of early flying schools, and their serious & comic episodes - the wonder, awe, and poetry of flying aloft in the majestic heavens - vivid bombing raids, plus the raid that earned him the DSC - his crash-landing and capture - working with the underground to help downed pilots evade capture - London's unrestrained exuberance on Armistice Day; . . . and much, much more.

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