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Sopwith Pup, N6161

Sopwith Pup N6161 was built at Kingston on Thames fitted with an 80 HP le Rhone and delivered to St Pol in France on 25 January 1917. In a 20 minute test flight by Titch Rochford on 29.01.1917 he recorded N6161 as ' Very easy to loop. Comes over much easier than a Bristol Scout.'

On 1 February 1917 N6161 was allocated to No 9 Squadron that was formed that day. The weather that week was crystal clear, but exceptionally cold....23 degrees of frost.... 'Everything was frozen solid, including soda water syphons and the paraffin in the stoves. Two inches of snow on the ground. '

That morning N6161, flown by George Elliott newly arrived in France and on his first mission, was one of two Pups escorting two Sopwith 1 1/2 Strutters on a photo-reconnaissance flight over Bruges. At 12,500 ft they were intercepted by two Rumpler float planes flown by Meyer and Niemeyer. Carl Meyer, who was from Alsace and a very experienced pilot with 4 combat successes, managed to force Elliott down to land on the beach at Bredene. N6161 was captured intact and Elliott survived the war as a PoW. It is said that Meyer wrote to Elliott in the PoW camps.

N6161 was then flown to Nieumunster, where it was photographed in its British markings, and then repaired and test flown, most likely by Meyer, in German markings. It seems to have suffered a taxiing or landing accident, and was photographed on its nose some while later. Some of the original parts of the aircraft were retained by Meyer and, together with other personal effects, were passed down to his family following his death whilst testing a prototype Aviatik on 31 December 1917, to end up in a small private museum in Alsace and subsequently be acquired by the present owner. These remaining original N6161 parts have been incorporated, alongside other original Sopwith factory and period Sopwith Pup components, in the re-construction of N6161 back to flight today by Retrotec, the restoration 'arm' of the Historic Aircraft Collection (HAC) Ltd. The aircraft will be initially flown in the British markings and later may be overpainted with the German markings.

The Pup made her first post restoration flight from Duxford on 17 October 2016.


Sopwith Pup

Wing Span : 26ft 6in (8.08m).
Length : 19ft 3¾in (5.89m).
Height : 9ft 5in (2.87m)
Power-plant : 80hp Le Rhône air-cooled rotary engine.
Weight : 1,225lb (557kg) loaded.
Maximum Speed : 111½ mph (180km/h).
Service Ceiling : 17,500ft (5,600m).
Range : 3 hours.
Armament : 1 × 0.303 in (7.7 mm) Vickers machine gun fired forward through the propeller by means of a gun synchroniser.