Corgi AA38101 Royal Flying Corps Sopwith Camel Fighter - Henry 'Nap' Botterell, No. 208 Squadron, 1918 (1:48 Scale)
"When you march into France, let the last man on the right brush the Channel with his sleeve."
General Alfred von Schlieffen, referring to the Schlieffen Plan just prior to his death in 1913
The Sopwith Camel Scout is a British First World War single-seat fighter aircraft that was famous for its maneuverability. Intended as a replacement for the Sopwith Pup, the Camel prototype first flew in December 1916, powered by a 110 hp Clerget 9Z. Known as the "Big Pup" early on in its development, the aircraft was armed with two .303 in (7.7 mm) Vickers machine guns mounted in the cowl, firing forward through the propeller disc. A fairing surrounding the gun installation created a hump that led to the name Camel. The top wing was flat - but the bottom wing had dihedral, so that the gap between the wings was less at the tips than at the roots.
The type entered squadron service in June 1917 with No. 4 Squadron of the Royal Naval Air Service, near Dunkirk. The following month, it became operational with No. 70 Squadron of the Royal Flying Corps. By February 1918, 13 squadrons were fully equipped with the Camel. Approximately 5,500 were ultimately produced.
Pictured here is a 1:48 scale replica of a Sopwith Camel fighter piloted by Henry Botterell who was attached to No. 208 Squadron during 1918.
Length: 5.25 inches
Wingspan: 6.75 inches
Release Date: January 2009
Historical Account: "Nap" - Henry John Lawrence Botterell (November 7th, 1896 - January 3rd, 2003) was a Canadian fighter pilot who served in the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) and then in the Royal Air Force (RAF) during World War I. When he died at the age of 106, the Canadian Department of Veterans' Affairs believed he had been the last surviving pilot in the world to have seen action in the Great War.
In September, Botterell joined No. 8 Naval Squadron. The squadron, which was usually referred to as Naval 8, was soon posted to France in support of the Royal Flying Corps. Botterell's immediate superior was also a Canadian, the flying ace Flight Commander James White. The squadron was commanded by another ace, Squadron Commander Christopher Draper, who was later known as the "Mad Major" for his habit of flying under bridges.
On September 18th, 1917, Botterell's second operational flight as a pilot ended in a crash at Dunkirk when the engine of his Sopwith Pup failed. He sustained head injuries, a fractured leg and broken teeth. After six months in hospital, he was discharged and sent back to Canada.
En route to Canada, Botterell ran into some of his former colleagues from Naval 8 in London. They arranged for him to be sent to Manston in Kent in order to re-qualify as a pilot. After 10 hours of refresher training he was approved to start flying once more and was sent to Serny on the Western Front, where he rejoined No. 8 Naval Squadron, now renamed No. 208 Squadron RAF. He served with them from May 11th to November 27th, 1918 flying a variety of missions in different aircraft. He flew patrols and fought over Serny, Tramcourt, Arras, Foucacourt and Estraes. In 60 days between June and August 1918 he flew 91 sorties.
Botterell's sole air victory saw him bring down a German observation balloon, which was well-defended by anti-aircraft guns, on August 29th, 1918 near Arras. He was returning from dropping four bombs on the railway station at Vitry when he saw the balloon. Putting his Sopwith Camel into a dive, he put 400 machine-gun rounds into the balloon, setting it aflame. The German observer parachuted to safety. The scene was immortalized in Robert Taylor's painting "Balloon Buster".
During his service, Botterell flew a variety of planes, including several Sopwiths (Pup, Camel and Snipe), the RE8, the SE5, the Claude Graham White and the Maurice Farman. He logged 251 combat hours.
At the end of the war, Botterell was a Flight Lieutenant with the Royal Air Force (the Royal Flying Corps and RNAS had been combined on April 1st, 1918 to form the RAF). After his return to Canada, Botterell never flew again except on commercial flights.