Corgi AA37709 Royal Flying Corps Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5a Fighter - D3511, Major R. S Dallas, CO RAF No.40 Squadron, Bruay Aerodrome, France, May 1918 (1:48 Scale)
"For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty in attacking hostile aircraft, and in carrying out difficult reconnaissances. On one occasion, although wounded, he continued his combat and brought down a hostile machine. On two other occasions he brought down hostile machines in flames."
- London Gazette, April 26th, 1917
The Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5 was a British biplane fighter aircraft of the First World War. Like the Hurricane compared to the Spitfire in the Second World War, the S.E.5 was not as glamorous as the Sopwith Camel, nor did it achieve the same iconic status, but it was one of the most important and influential aircraft of the war. The S.E.5 was instrumental in ensuring that the period of German dominance known as Bloody April 1917 was not repeated.
The S.E.5 (Scout Experimental 5) was designed by Henry P. Folland and J. Kenworthy of the Royal Aircraft Factory in Farnborough. It was built around the new 150-hp (112 kW) Hispano-Suiza 8a V8 engine which, while it provided excellent performance, was under-developed and unreliable. The first of three prototypes flew on November 22nd, 1916. The first two prototypes were lost in crashes and the third underwent modification before production commenced.
Only 77 original S.E.5s were built before the improved S.E.5a model took over. In total 5,205 S.E.5s were built by six manufacturers including Austin Motors and Vickers. A few were converted as two-seat trainers and there were plans for Curtiss to build 1000 S.E.5s in the United States but only one was completed before the end of the war.
Pictured here is a 1:48 scale replica of a Royal Flying Corps S.E.5a fighter that was piloted by Major R. S Dallas, CO RAF No.40 Squadron, then deployed to Bruay Aerodrome, France, during May 1918.
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Historical Account: "Australia's Most Successful Fighter Ace" - Trading the rural tranquillity of Esk, Queensland for the savage airborne battles above the Western Front, Roderic Stanley Dallas worked in a mine in order to earn money to finance passage to England and dreams of becoming an airman. Accepted for training with the Royal Naval Air Service in 1915, Dallas excelled in both the classroom and in the air and on gaining his pilot's licence, he was posted to No.1 Squadron RNAS, initially flying the Sopwith Pup. His first aerial victory came in May 1916 and from that date, his score began to increase rapidly, as he earned a reputation as a fearless dogfighter, but one who did not take unnecessary risks - he also relished the extremely risky low level missions which many of his fellow pilots avoided and suffered several injuries whilst engaged in such sorties. By the time he was appointed commander of No.40 Squadron RFC in March 1918, Dallas has at least 30 victories to his name and traded his Sopwith fighter for the Royal Aircraft Factory SE5a, an aircraft in which he would go on to score a further nine victories. Unusually, his aircraft was one of a handful of SE5a fighters which were given an experimental camouflage finish, thought to have been trialed on aircraft engaged in ground strafing operations.
Australian Great War ace 'Stan' Dallas was officially credited with 39 aerial victories, which places him as the second most successful Australian ace of WWI, behind the 47 victories of Robert A Little. Post war research later revealed that due to the fact Dallas had a somewhat casual attitude to claiming victories, his actual total may have exceeded 50 victories, which would have seen him earning the title of 'Australia's most successful fighter ace'. A careful student of aerial fighting tactics, Dallas also earned a reputation as something of a prankster, a character trait which was clearly illustrated by an incident which is alleged to have taken place in early May 1918. During a lull in the fighting around Flanders, Dallas 'shot up' a German aerodrome in the sector, before dropping a pair of boots on the airfield - the attached message read, 'if you are not going to come up and fight, your pilots might need these for their ground work'. Circling in the distant mist, he waited until troops came out to inspect the package, before returning to drop a couple of small bombs and to use up the rest of his ammunition. Although the flight was unauthorized, reports of the incident were thought to have caused great amusement among the most senior members of Allied military high command.