About this image
This picture is one of a series taken by a Derbyshire man, H V Green of Killamarsh (see DCHQ001866), who served as a despatch rider during World War 1 as part of General Allenby's advance in Egypt. His photographs record the flight and accident of a Bristol fighter bi-plane (No. C4728) in which two men were killed. Bristol fighters did not enter service during the war until 5 April 1917, and this photograph was taken at some time during 1917, so the plane could not have been in service long before this accident. The versatile Bristol Fighter was a manoeuvrable, heavily armed two-seater biplane designed by Frank S. Barnwell. One of the most successful fighters of the war, it got off to a poor start during 'Bloody April' when it was introduced to the Western Front by the inexperienced pilots and observers of 48 Squadron. In the mistaken belief that the aircraft was structurally weak, pilots were instructed to avoid violent manoeuvres during combat. Heeding this advice, the pilots of six B.F.2a fighters encountered Manfred von Richthofen and his flight of five Albatross D.IIIs near Douai. In a fight that lasted almost 30 minutes, four of the Bristol Fighters were shot down. The fight with Jasta 11 almost convinced the British to withdraw this aircraft from service. Despite these initial set backs the Bristol Fighter went on to give distinguished service. Canadian ace Andrew McKeever achieved the highest score with the Bristol Fighter, downing 31 enemy planes. Australian and New Zealand pilots scored many hits using Bristol Fighters in service in Egypt. The following details list the specifications of the aircraft:- Manufacturer: The British and Colonial Aeroplane Company. Type: Fighter/Bomber. Entered Service: 5 April 1917. Number Built: 3,101. Engine(s): Rolls-Royce Falcon III, 12 cylinder, liquid cooled inline V, 270 hp. Wing Span: 39 ft 3 in [11.96 m]. Length: 25 ft 10 in [7.87 m]. Height: 9 ft 9 in [2.97 m]. Gross Weight: 2,779 lb [1,261 kg]. Max Speed: 123 mph [198 km/h] at 5,000 ft [1,524 m]. Ceiling: 21,500 ft [6,553 m]. Endurance: 3 hours. Crew: 2. Armament: 1 Vickers machine gun, synchronized, forward firing 2-3 Lewis machine guns on a Scarff ring, rear cockpit 240 lb [108.9 kg] of bombs.