About the Project…
My grandparents lived only half an hour away, and we used to visit them very regularly. My brother and I used to listen to our Granddad’s stories about flying in the First World War, and although we didn’t understand them fully at the time, they must have caught our imaginations, because both I and my brother Rick became, and have remained, fascinated with aviation ever since.
Granddad flew with No. 2 Wing RNASfrom Dec 1915 to Aug 1916, at Imbros, off the Gallipoli peninsula, and at Thasos, a Greek island off the coast of Bulgaria, who had recently joined the Axis powers.
He flew ten different types of aircraft in his time there, and of them all his favourite was the Bristol Bullet, or Scout. He flew seven different Scouts, and his favourite was serial number 1264.
After he died we found three souvenirs in his workshop a stick, rudder bar and magneto, and we guessed that these were from 1264.
Then in 2002 our friend Theo Willford suggested we rebuild 1264, and the research started.
We started building in 2008, and in on 9 July 2015 it took to the air for the first time, almost exactly 100 years after the original.
In 2016 we hope to return the aircraft to Imbros or Thasos to reprise Granddad’s flights exactly 100 years after he was there.
We also hope to fly over the Somme on 1 July 2016, to commemorate my Granddad’s first cousin, David, who died of injuries received at Beaumont Hamel on the first day of the battle.
And we believe that the Scout can be a very useful way of telling the story of WWI aviation, in which the Scout lays such a central part. It’s accessible, and unusually mobile because of its ability to fit in a road trailer.
Our efforts are being filmed by Stephen Saunders, who is planning to make a TV film of the project.
Here are some outstanding facts about this particular aircraft and about the Bristol Scout in general.
- 1264 is the only airworthy Bristol Scout in the world.
- It contains the only original Bristol Scout airframe parts discovered to date.
- It is built as accurately as possible exactly as Granddad flew it from March – Aug 1916.
The Bristol Scout:
- was the only production aircraft designed solely by Frank Barnwell, and based on the Scout design he wrote a seminal paper for Glasgow University in November 1914 which defined for the first time a logical method of designing an aircraft – a process which is still used today.
- was, with the Sopwith Tabloid, the first time British designs comprehensively outperformed the rest of the world.
- was the aircraft which, more than any other, showed the need for an armed single-seat fighter aircraft in which you aimed the aircraft, not the gun. Its combination of design features was copied by most of the single seat machines of WWI.
- was the first wheeled aircraft to take off from a moving ship.
- was the first aircraft to take off from another aircraft.
- was the aircraft in which the first VC for aerial combat was won by Lanoe Hawker.
- was the aircraft in which Britain’s first ace, Albert Ball won his first victories.
The blog is more or less arranged in chronological order, and deals with a whole lot of stuff. I’ve tried to keep up to date with the categories and keywords, so that should be a good way to sort out the information you’re looking for.