Sopwith Pup

Sopwith Pup
Fighter and Scout
Sopwith Aviation Co Ltd, UK
19 feet 3.75 inches
9 feet 5 inches
Weights 787
Dimensions Wing span: 26 feet 6 inches
Speed 111 mph (sea level), 103 mpg @ 9000 ft
Engines One 80hp Le Rhone
  • Climb: 10,000 ft/14 mins
  • Endurance: 3 hours
Guns: 1 x Lewis MG, Rockets: 8 x Le Prieur rockets
Ships embarked in

The Sopwith Pup was a British single-seater biplane fighter aircraft built by the Sopwith Aviation Company. It entered service with the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service in October 1916 and over 1700 were built. With pleasant flying characteristics and good manoeuvrability, the aircraft proved very successful. The Pup was eventually outclassed by newer German fighters, but it was not completely replaced on the Western Front until the end of 1917. The remaining Pups were relegated to home defence of the United Kingdom and training units. The Pup's docile flying characteristics also made it ideal for use in aircraft carrier deck landings and launching experiments from cruisers and battle-cruisers.

A Sopwith Pup made the first trial flight from HMAS Sydney at Scapa Flow on 8 December 1917. The Commanding Officer of Sydney, Captain John Dumaresq, RN was quick to realise the benefits of air power at sea and borrowed a Sopwith Pup from the cruiser HMS Dublin for launching trials from a fixed platform constructed over the forward six-inch gun. This was successfully undertaken and on 17 December the same aircraft was launched with the platform in a revolved position turned into the wind. The Sopwith Pup was then returned to HMS Dublin and Sydney did not conduct any more flying activities until she received a Sopwith Camel, on loan, in February 1918.

HMAS Australia also conducted flight trials, at Rosyth, in December 1917 using a borrowed Sopwith Pup. Due to the battle-cruisers size the initial launches were conducted from her larger quarterdeck, the first recorded launch of its kind. To launch aircraft larger than the Sopwith Pup would require a platform to be built and in early 1918 one was constructed atop Australia’s Q 12-inch gun turret. Flights from February 1918 onwards from Australian warships would be conducted using the larger and heavier Sopwith Camel or Sopwith 1½ Strutter.