World War I
War I was declared on 4 August 1914 the demand for Sopwith aircraft far
exceeded the capacity of the existing Sopwith factory, and although Sopwith was
able to start mass production of aircraft, many were built at other factories
throughout England and France.
1 1/2 Strutter
The first to be built in significant numbers was the 1 1/2 Strutter. With a single seat and two seat variant it had guns fore and aft. Of the 4,200 built, Sopwith built 246, eight other British factories built 1,020 and the remaining were built by the French.
The Strutter was followed by the much more agile Scout which was soon renamed Sopwith Pup. Of the 1,847 Pups to be built, 97 were built at Sopwith and the remainder by other British factories.
Sopwith F. 1 Camel
Sopwith 5F. 1 Dolphin (Harry Hawker standing in front)
Sopwith 7F.1 Snipe
When World War I
came to an end, the demand for Sopwith aircraft ceased. With a workforce of near 2000, and huge
amount of capital equipment, which had no further use, the future for Sopwith
Aviation was dire. With a considerable post war tax commitment
imposed by the Government, the company struggled and eventually went into
liquidation in 1920, paying all creditors.
H. G. Hawker was
subsequently formed by Harry Hawker, F. Sigrist, V.W. Eyre and F.I. Bennett.
TOM Sopwith joined the board sometime after. H. G Engineering initially
struggled, building aluminium motor car bodies to motor cycles and even
Although Harry was
killed in an aircraft accident in 1921,
TOM Sopwith led the company through a period of phenomenal growth. Merging with Armstrong Siddeley in 1935, then de
Havilland in 1961, it went on to manufacture some of the most famous aircraft in aviation
history—continuing to bare the Hawker name.
In 1977, the British Government nationalised the UK aviation
industry by forming British Aerospace.
The first of all the Hawker aircraft was the Hawker Duiker which was used for reconnaissance after World War I.
The Harrier was a two seat biplane High altitude Bomber first flown in 1927.
The Hawker Hart was a two-seater light bomber. It was designed during the 1920s by Sydney Cam and first flew in 1928
The Hawker Fury was a British biplane fighter aircraft used by the Royal Air Force in the 1930s and holds the distinction of being the first interceptor in RAF service to capable of more than 200 MPH
An improved Hawker Hart bomber, the Hawker Hind was light bomber of the Inter-war years, introduced in 1935
The Hawker Demon was a fighter variant of the Hart light bomber. 54 were built for the RAAF with the 1st 18 delivered in 1935.
The Hawker Hurricane is a British single-seat fighter. At the end of June 1940, following the fall of France, the majority of the RAF's 36 fighter squadrons were equipped with Hurricanes. The Battle of Britain officially lasted from 10 July until 31 October 1940, but the heaviest fighting took place between 8 August and 21 September. Both the Supermarine Spitfire and the Hurricane are renowned for their part in defending Britain against the Luftwaffe; generally, the Spitfire would intercept the German fighters, leaving Hurricanes to concentrate on the bombers, but despite the undoubted abilities of the "thoroughbred" Spitfire, it was the "workhorse" Hurricane that scored the higher number of RAF victories during this period, accounting for 55 percent of the 2,739 German losses, according to Fighter Command, compared with 42 per cent by Spitfires.
Although over 14,500 Hurricanes were built , it is believed that only 12 survive in airworthy condition worldwide.
A single-seater fighter bomber, the Hawker Typhoon was designed to be a medium–high altitude interceptor as a replacement for the Hawker Hurricane. 3,317 were produced between 1941 and 1945.
Developed from the Hawker Typhoon, the Hawker Tempest was introduced in January 1943. 1,702 were built.
The Hawker Tornado was a single-seat fighter intended to replace the Hawker Hurricane. Only four were built.
Hawker Sea Fury
The Hawker Sea Fury was the last propeller driven fighter to serve with the Royal Navy, and also one of the fastest production single piston-engine aircraft ever built. The Sea Fury entered service two years after WWII ended. The Sea Fury proved to be a popular aircraft with a number of overseas militaries, and was used during the Korean War in the early 1950s. It could reach 460mph, with over 860 built.
Hawker Sea Hawk
The Hawker Sea Hawk was a single-seat jet fighter. Although its origins stemmed from earlier Hawker piston-engine fighters, the Sea Hawk became the company's first jet aircraft. 542 were built.
The Hunter entered service with the Royal Air Force as an interceptor aircraft in the 1950s. Two-seat variants remained in use for training and secondary roles with the RAF and British Navy until the early 1990s. On 7 September 1953, the modified first prototype broke the world air speed achieving 727.63 mph (1,171.01 km/h). 1,972 were built.
The Hawker Siddeley Harrier
The Hawker Siddeley Harrier, known colloquially as the "Harrier Jump Jet", was developed in the 1960s and formed the first generation of the Harrier series of aircraft
Photos courtesy of the Brooklands
Museum via the Kingston Aviation Centenary