Arguably one of the most famous and best-known of all WWI fighter aeroplanes, the Sopwith Camel truly epitomizes the spirit of aerial fighting in 1917-1918. The prototype F.1 Camel, armed with twin synchronised Vickers machine guns and powered by a 110-hp Clerget rotary engine, emerged from the Sopwith works on 22 December 1916 – the Company’s Christmas present to Britain’s flying services. Camels served with the RFC, RNAS and later RAF with distinction – in the right hands it was a formidable weapon but could prove unforgiving to the inexperienced. Camels are credited with destroying over 1280 enemy aircraft during the war – an impressive figure. In the words of one ex-pilot it was a …

fine aeroplane which inspired everyone who knew it with real – sometimes fanatic-affection’.