Air Enthusiast 1995-09
C.Owers - Bulldog Breed
A12-1 in flight circa 1939. By this time the aircraft had been fitted with navigation lights and underwing flares for night landings. Note also the underwing bomb racks.
In 1939 there were only three Bulldogs surviving in RAAF service and photographer Kip Porteous wanted to preserve the breed on film. A fine study of A12-1.
Bulldog magic. A12-1 tail chases the photo-ship, 1939.
Note coloured wheel covers and spinners in this line-up. A12-2 in centre.
Brian Walker in full period flying gear plays the intrepid airman for his sister. A12-7 has navigation lights, flare brackets and wireless aerial fitted.
Sequence showing the recovery of A12-7 following its forced landing on the Nullarbor Plain. Rolling up on to railway bogies...
Formation take-off. Note the rudder streamer on the lead aircraft.
Successful team, three section cars, the crew and the Bulldog.
The Bulldog was a favourite at air displays, travelling all over Australia to show the taxpayers that they had an airforce. It was not considered unusual for RAAF aircraft to enter air races. A DH Moth comes into land over the Bulldog in which F/O C Henry achieved 185mph to win the 1931 Aerial Derby.
Inspection of RAAF aircraft was a weekly affair. If the machines were not up to scratch, weekend leave would be cancelled.
Laverton aerodrome circa 1939. Behind the Avro Ansons can be seen Supermarine Seagull V amphibians, the sole Miles Magister purchased for the RAAF, Bulldogs, a Moth and Demon.
Paddy Heffernan in the cockpit of a Bulldog.
The Bulldog was built of ribbon steels worked into suitable corrugated sections. One RAAF aircraftsman recalled that they had been reconditioned so many times that hardly any of the original structure remained.
A precarious way to travel...
The aerobatic qualities of the Bulldog were well appreciated by the lucky pilots who got to fly the type. A12-6 carries a streamer on its rudder.
The RAAF used the Jupiter VI radial in its Bulldogs as it was faster below 8,000ft (2,440m) than the VII as fitted to RAF examples.
With painted spinner and wheel discs, this Bulldog also shows the unauthorised eagle badge of the un-numbered Fighter Flight at Point Cook on the forward cowl.
Camera gun mounted above the centre section is obvious in this illustration. Bulldogs were purchased to keep the combat capabilities of the RAAF intact. They were the only single-seat fighters in service in the RAAF when Australia declared war on Germany in 1939.
Unknown Bulldog in very bent condition. From the shadows in the foreground it is evident that the incident has attracted a lot of attention. RAAF reports often only refer to d ‘casualty’ which could have been anything from a scraped wingtip to the amount of damage shown here.
The end of A12-7 after Eric Read crashed during a Met flight on December 14,1936.
Bristol Bulldog II