Aviation Historian 26
P.Jarrett - Montrose at war
A marvellous panoramic view of the Montrose hangars, circa 1917/18. The two machines in the foreground are an Avro 504J, on the left, with a lot of indecipherable writing on its propeller blades, and a Sopwith F.1 Camel; and behind the Avro is a Sopwith Pup with banded interplane struts. Worthy of note in the distance, right of centre, is an extremely long striped windsock, and near its base stands the station ambulance.
Unlucky for some - Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2e B3983 was built from spares at Montrose and was allotted to No 52 TS. On September 13, 1917, however, while 2nd Lt R. Jardine was making his second B.E.2e flight in it, he climbed too steeply and stalled, losing his life in the resulting crash and writing off the aircraft. Airco D.H.4s are just about visible in the distance on the right.
Unarmed le Rhone-engined Bristol Scout D serial 5598, built by the British & Colonial Aeroplane Co, displays ostentatious decoration of the kind usually confined to machines flown by instructors at training units. The fuselage sides are painted with fish-type “scales”, sinuous “veins” are painted on the underside of the upper wings, and large eyes and teeth adorn the front of the engine cowling, it is recorded that this machine was with No 18 TS by April 1918 and then with No 30 Wing. It then passed to No 2 Training Depot Station (TDS) at Gullane, on the southern shore of the Firth of Forth.
Pine trees have arrested the descent of Avro 504J D197 of No 36 Training Squadron (TS) just in time to prevent it hitting the ground, and mechanics are setting about the unenviable task of retrieving it. The parent company’s stencilling is clearly evident on the rear fuselage. The aircraft was deleted from unit on April 1, 1918; the day the RAF was created and perhaps the date of the accident. Snow is visible on the ground and trees in the background.
A wintry study of an Avro 504J fuselage after being towed from its crash site; quite probably that of D197 after its arboreal misadventure. To facilitate the wreck’s transport the wings have been removed and the interplane struts are piled in the rear cockpit, while the undercarriage has been laid, inverted, over the fuselage. Unarmed Sopwith Pup B7486 stands in the background. Powered by a Clerget rotary, this Pup served with No 6 TS and then No 30 Wing at Montrose until it was deleted from unit on June 15, 1918.
It is difficult to imagine just what happened for Avro 504J B4350 and Sopwith Pup C287 to end up in this predicament, but it was probably a taxying accident. The Pup was from a batch built by the Standard Motor Co, and the Avro, with a Gnome Monosoupape rotary engine, was built by the parent company. Intriguingly, there is a civilian schoolboy in the foreground on the right! The Avro spent its time with Nos 18 and 36 TSs and then with No 32 TDS, undergoing several changes of engine during its life. The Pup was with No 18 TS by June 1, 1918, but was deleted on June 11 - perhaps as a result of this mishap.
This tangled mass of wreckage appears to be a close-up of Jardine’s B.E.2e, B3983, from the other side. It certainly appears to have an in-line vee engine, and the B.E.2e had a 90 h.p. RAF 1a. Various items of cockpit instrumentation are discernible in the foreground.