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Charles A W Watson (deceased)
|Born in 1899, Charles Watson joined 11 Squadron on the Western Front in 1918 as an observer / gunner on Bristol F2B fighters, and was the worlds last survivor to be shot down during the First World War. On 9th August 1918, he and his pilot were shot down during an aerial duel near Peronne. With his pilot temporarily blinded by escaping petrol fumes, Charles managed to land the plane in front of French Army lines using the spare joystick and, with the help of the French, managed to get his dazed wounded pilot back to safety.|
|The Aircraft :|
|Camel||SOPWITH CAMEL: was the most successful fighter of World War one. Claiming almost 3,000 air victories. The prototype of the Sopwith camel first flew in December 1916, and its first combat mission began in June 1917. joined 4 squadron RNAS based near Dunkirk. The first Royal Flying Corp squadron to receive the aircraft was no. 70 squadron. The Sopwith camel was the first designed fighter to have two forward firing machine guns. Its design gave it amazing maneuverability and aerobatic qualities. and was perfectly suited for aerial dog fighting. Squadron after squadron was re equipped with the camel and by the end of February 1918 13 squadrons were fully operational with the aircraft along the western front. Also used on the Italian Front with 3 squadrons equipped. This figure increased with a total of 19 squadrons equipped on the western front by August 1918. This included two squadrons no. 151 and 152 for night fighter duties. in June 1918. There was also a naval version of the Sopwith camel. the 2F.1s which gradually replaced the Sopwith Pup and other naval aircraft. The Naval version most memorable fete was done by Lt S D Culley who took off from a towed wood platform and destroyed the Zeppelin L.53 on the 10th August 1918. also on the 18th July six aircraft took off from the forward deck of HMS Furious to bomb the Zeppelin base at Tondern which they successfully did destroying two Zeppelins L.54 and L.60. This was the first time carrier borne aircraft had destroyed a land base installation. In total 5597 F.1s and 317 2F.1s were ordered but there may have been 200 less built. Performance. speed: 113mph at 10,000 feet. service ceiling 19,000 feet. Armament: two fixed forward firing Vickers .303 machine Guns. or one .303 forward firing and one .303 Lewis Gun|
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