B6289, W. M. Alexander, No. 10(N) Squadron RNAS, Téteghem, France, January 1918

Canadian William Melville Alexander was native from Toronto, and he was keen to learn to fly as soon as he turned out 18. As the Curtiss and Wright Brothers flying schools were at full capacity, he took a journey to Stinson school in San Antonio, Texas. There he got just 3,5 hours of training prior to his flying test. He succeeded and received Aero Club of America Certificate No. 447. In 1916, back in Canada, he was appointed a flight sub-lieutenant in the RNAS and after future training he was sent overseas to become member of No. 3 (Naval) Wing in France. There he was flying Sopwith 1½ Strutters. Four months later, his unit was disbanded, and Alexander was posted to the new No. 10 (N) Squadron to fly Sopwith Triplanes as a part of Raymond Collishaw’s “Black Flight”. He achieved his first victory on June 2, 1917, (shared) and he added seven more by the end of July. After the unit started to receive new Camels, Alexander achieved his first victory on this type on August 16. He was also still using Triplane for some time alongside Camel. On August 27 he was appointed an acting Flight Commander. Altogether he achieved 23 victories, most of them classified as Out of Control (OOC) which was also the case of the only victory achieved with Camel B6289. He did not continue military service after the war and died on October 4, 1988, in Canada.


E7232, No. 4 Flying School, Freiston, United Kingdom, 1918

This Camel was manufactured by Ruston Proctor & Co Ltd. In September 1918 and was posted to No. 4 Flying School in Freiston, where it got colorful painting of white and red colors. The upper side of the top wing obtained the motif of the rays of rising sun, while upper side of bottom wing got simple stripes of white and red color. The name Dimps was painted on the left side only probably. The site of the RNAS Freiston Shores was established in 1917 and served as a satellite base for air-weapon training for nearby RNAS Cranwell. Originally it was nothing more than a field on area of about 80 acres and was originally used for final two weeks of training of officers on the advanced flying course at RNAS Cranwell. However, its role was soon extended, and the airfield was expanded and hangars, accommodation blocks and a control tower were built. The airfield was originally known as the RNAS Gunnery School or Armament Training School and then became the School of Aerial Fighting and Bomb Dropping when the RNAS became amalgamated into the newly formed RAF in 1918. The name of the school than changed again to the No. 4 School of Aerial Fighting and Gunnery and was redesignated again as No. 4 Fighting School. The base was disbanded in March 1920.    


D6402, Henry W. Woollett, No. 43 Sqn, Avesnes-le-Comte, France, April 1918

Henry Winslow Woollett was set to follow in the footsteps of his father, who was a doctor. Henry, medical student at the outbreak of WWI, was commissioned in the Linconshire Regiment in August 1914 and took part in the Suvla Bay landings in the Dardanelles. He was transferred to the RFC in 1916 and after training he joined No. 24 Squadron RFC in November. They were flying DH-2s in France, which were getting obsolete at the time. Woollett managed to shoot down one enemy flying this “bunch of wires”. After converting to DH-5s, he added for more. In August 1917 Woollett returned to England, became Flight Commander. Back to France in March 1918, he joined No. 43 Squadron with Camels. As a leader of the C Flight, he brought his score to 35 by early August. Of these victims 11 were balloons. His specialty in fighting these heavily defended targets, was the reason behind the adoption of irregular fields of very light color over the upper wing and rudder. This was to mimic the appearance of more colorful German aircraft. This additional camouflage lasted only for a couple of days before being ordered to be painted out. Some sources state white color of these fields, but on the existing photo they look somewhat darker and might be of very light blue as well. This is up to every modeler to choose.     


B5406, Lt. Sadhar H. Malik, No. 28 Squadron RFC, Droglant, France, October 1917 

Sadhar Hardit Malik became the first Indian to fly as a pilot with the RFC in the WWI. He travelled to England from Punjab at the age of 14 to attend preparation school and college studies at Balliol College. After his graduation in 1915 he applied to join the RFC but was denied. He then served with the French Red Cross in 1916 as an ambulance driver and still determined to fly he applied to join the Aéronautique Militaire in 1916. When his Oxfortd tutor Francis Urquhart learned about it, he considered it scandalous and wrote to head of the RFC General Henderson. The intercession paid off and Malik was accepted as an air cadet. On April 6, 1917, he received a temporary commission as a second Lieutenant in the RFC and was trained as a pilot. His first assignment was with No. 26 Sqn from July 13, 1917. As an observant Sikh, he wore a turban instead of a helmet, later covered by specially designed flying helmet. Malik was transferred to No. 28 Sqn in 1917 and managed to score his first victory on October 18. Just eight days later he scored another kill but was wounded in his right leg. He was set to get back to the action after convalescence, but he was diagnosed as having an allergy to the Sopwith Camel’s castor oil lubricant. Due to that he spent rest of the war flying Bristol F.2b Fighters and returned to India after the end of the hostilities to serve in the Indian Civil Service. He was very successful and held several trade and diplomatic posts, namely as Indian Ambassador to France. He died on October 31, 1985.