historyThe Sopwith Pup was a First World War single seat scout aircraft, first flown on the Western Front in October 1916. Pilots were instantly impressed with its speed, manoeuvrability and overall performance. Officially named the Sopwith Scout, this fabric covered wooden aircraft was considered to be the pup of the larger two seat Sopwith 1 ˝ Strutter. Officials thought this nickname undignified which may well have contributed to its continual use. The first operational Pups were received by the Royal Flying Corps on Christmas Eve 1916. The Pup quickly showed that it was one of the few aircraft that could compete with superior German machines of the time, able to easily outmanoeuvre the more powerful and better armed German Fokker and Albatros. During the battle of Arras in April 1917, the losses inflicted by Pups were such as to cause the enemy pilots to avoid them in the air whenever they could and Manfred von Richthofen remarked after his first encounter with a Pup that “we saw at once that the enemy aeroplane was superior to ours”. However its single machine gun soon proved less than adequate in front line combat, and by late Summer 1917 even the agility of the Pup was matched by the newest German fighters.
N5185One of only 3 original Pups left in the world, the example shown in these photographs is on display at the Middle Wallop Army Air Corps museum; this museum tells the history of flight in the British Army.
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