The Sopwith Aviation Company was a British aircraft company that designed and manufactured aeroplanes mainly for the British Royal Naval Air Service, Royal Flying Corps and later Royal Air Force in the First World War, most famously the Sopwith Camel. Sopwith aircraft were also used in varying numbers by the French, Belgian, and American air services during the War.

The company was founded in Kingston upon Thames by Thomas Octave Murdoch (Tommy, later Sir Thomas) Sopwith, a well-to-do gentleman sportsman interested in aviation, yachting and motor-racing, in June 1912, when Sopwith was only 24 years old. The company's first factory premises opened that December in a recently closed roller skating rink in Canbury Park Road near Kingston Railway Station in South West London.  An early collaboration with the S. E. Saunders boatyard of East Cowes on the Isle of Wight, in 1913, produced the Sopwith "Bat Boat", an early flying boat with a Consuta laminated hull which could operate on sea or land.  A small factory subsequently opened in Woolston, Hampshire in 1914.

During the First World War, the company made more than 16,000 aircraft and employed 5,000 people. Many more of the company's aircraft were made by subcontractors rather than by Sopwiths themselves. These included Fairey, Clayton and Shuttleworth, William Beardmore and Company and Ruston Proctor.

After the war, the company attempted to produce aircraft for the civil market based on their wartime types, such as the Dove derivative of the Pup and the Swallow, a single-winged Camel, but the wide availability of war-surplus aircraft at knock-down prices meant this was never economic. In 1919 the company worked with ABC motorcycles and produced 400cc flat twin motorcycles under licence. They also purchased ABC Motors in an attempt to diversify, but this venture also failed. The Sopwith company was wound up in 1920 after the business collapsed, and in the face of a potential large demand from the government for Excess War Profits Duty.

Upon the liquidation of the Sopwith company, Tom Sopwith himself, together with Harry Hawker, Fred Sigrist and Bill Eyre, immediately formed H.G. Hawker Engineering, forerunner of the Hawker Aircraft and Hawker Siddeley lineage. Sopwith was Chairman of Hawker Siddeley until his retirement. Hawker and its successors produced many more famous military aircraft, including the inter-war Hart, and Demon; World War II's Hurricane, Typhoon, and Tempest; and the post-war Sea Fury, Hunter and Harrier. These later jet types were manufactured in the same factory buildings used to produce Sopwith Snipes in 1918.

Aircraft Produced

Pre World War I

  • Sopwith-Wright Biplane (1912)
  • Sopwith Hybrid Biplane (1912)
  • Sopwith Three-seater(1912)
  • Sopwith Bat Boat (1913)
  • Sopwith Sociable (1913)
  • Sopwith Circuit of Britain floatplane
  • Sopwith Admiralty Type C (1914)
  • Sopwith Special torpedo seaplane Type C
  • Sopwith 1914 Schneider Racer
  • Sopwith Type SPGN or "Gunbus"

World War I

  • Sopwith Admiralty Type 137
  • Sopwith Type 806
  • Sopwith Type 807
  • Sopwith Type 860
  • Sopwith Two-Seat Scout
  • Sopwith Tabloid
  • Sopwith Baby
  • Sopwith Sparrow
  • Sopwith 1 Strutter
  • Sopwith Pup
  • Sopwith Triplane
  • Sopwith L.R.T.Tr.
  • Sopwith Bee
  • Sopwith Camel
  • Sopwith B.1
  • Sopwith Hippo
  • Sopwith Cobham Twin Engine Bomber
  • Sopwith AT "Aerial Target" – radio controlled guided missile
  • Sopwith Dragon
  • Sopwith Snipe
  • Sopwith Dolphin
  • Sopwith Salamander
  • Sopwith Cuckoo
  • Sopwith Bulldog
  • Sopwith Buffalo
  • Sopwith Rhino
  • Sopwith Scooter
  • Sopwith Swallow
  • Sopwith Snail
  • Sopwith Snapper
  • Sopwith Snark

Post World War I

  • Sopwith Gnu
  • Sopwith 1919 Schneider Cup Seaplane
  • Sopwith Atlantic
  • Sopwith Antelope
  • Sopwith Wallaby
  • Sopwith Rainbow racer
  • Sopwith Grasshopper

Source: Wikipedia