William W. Whitson



Bristol Scout
(Photographs reprinted by permission of the San Diego Air and Space Museum)

Although the Bristol Scout first appeared in February, 1914, it was so light that its 80hp Gnome rotary engine gave it had an extraordinary speed of 97mph and an equally extraordinary ceiling of nearly 16,000 feet. Pilots loved the little machine because it was feathery light on the controls and a pleasure to fly.

On July 25, 1915, David Harrison, still a West Point cadet, (see APPRENTICE WARRIOR) had an opportunity to watch Captain L.G. Hawker attack three better-armed  German two-seaters. Hawker destroyed one and damaged the other two. For his exploit, he received a Victoria Cross. However, no squadron was ever completely equipped with the Scout, but in early 1916 nearly every squadron had several. Before and during the battle of the Somme, most were withdrawn and assigned to training units.


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